The question this week is: If you could be present at any time during the history of our country (U.S.A.), when would we choose?
I’d have to say: during the American Revolution.
Mind you, I am more of an indoor-plumbing, central-heating kind of girl. I will not romanticize, nor do I long for, those days. I cannot imagine the physical hardship daily life brought to those who survived; and many didn’t. Many, many died young.
I know I have touched on this before [“Now It’s Independence Day to Me” ,July 2012 archive], but Cokie Robert’s book. “Founding Mothers” really brought home to me the incredible pressure which was inflicted upon the American colonists, enough to pressed them to revolt. It made the necessity of the struggle for independence very real to me.
“Founding Mothers” touches on the day-today life of the wives of the “Founding Fathers” of course, but they were more than active in the fight. There was more to it than their ‘keeping the home fires burning’, which, of course, was important, and which consisted of real work. I doubt most people realize the danger the women and their families were in, the action in which they were involved, plus the suffering and abuse women, children and men were subjected to during the fight and before the revolution even began.
To be a part of the incredibly brave choice and work to fight for independence from the seemingly ‘almighty’ British Empire would have really been something! Until recent decades, there was a famous saying : “The sun never set on the British Empire”; it meant that the British had control of lands around the globe.(No matter the time of day in Britain, it was daytime sometime over a British-held land.) The American colonists had to be strong and had to be smart to get out from under it. And they were; they had to be. They were pushed beyond endurance and as they saw it, they had nothing to lose. They could not continue with the pressure and injustices which were continually being heaped upon them.
I know I would have been part of it, if only in a small way,
or maybe in a big one, knowing my husband!
I again recommend “Founding Mothers” to everyone. It is not just a woman’s book. It truly imparts the daily life of the colonists and how the unfairness of the incredible amount of taxes, (they taxed every scrap of paper the colonists had in their possession!), the abuse from the soldiers/officials and lack of support from the British government affected every aspect of the colonists’ lives, plus it tells of what was really going on at home when George Washington, John Addams and the rest were away. And how much more was done behind the scenes by their women.
Roberts’ sequel, “Ladies of Liberty” is on my shelf but I have yet to read it. I will.
FYI: Do you know this young woman?
She was Sybil Ludington. At 16 years old, she rode forty miles in the middle of the night through a forest to warn the Militia of the British soldiers headed their way. It was twice as long as Paul Revere’s ride, (which was mainly through streets, as far as I can tell.) She gathered almost a regiment of nearly 400 men along the way to fight the advancing British troops. George Washington commended her in person for her bravery.
Sybil was a Colonel’s daughter and at the time, responsible for her eleven siblings. She had been a spy as well and became a messenger for the Revolution afterward.
I don’t know if I could have matched her, but I’d like to think I’d been ready to smuggle messages, keep the powder dry in my cellar, and maybe spy in a Tory house, at the very least.
What about you?