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Author:Rosemary Plakas, Amerihave the right to History Curator, Rare Publication and Special Collections Division (retired)
Note: This guide is adjusted from the original essay in "American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women's History and also Culture in the United States," 2001.
Last Updated: September 12, 2018
Abstract:Rosemary Plakas describes an early episode of Amerideserve to women's cumulative patriotism by focusing on a 1780 broadside,"The Sentiments of an Amerihave the right to Womale," thought to have actually been created by Esther De Berdt Reed, initially lady of Pennsylvania, to inspire women throughout the colonies to raise funds for General George Washington's poorly provisioned troops.
In late May 1780, General George Washington reported to Congress that major and expanded shortages of rations, clothing, and also pay had actually nearly worn down his troops. Immediate relief was essential. Aspiring “to render themselves more really valuable,” the women of Philadelphia, who had actually oboffered that government steps were typically slow and also insufficient, took on this challenge.
Led by Esther De Berdt Reed (1747-1780), initially lady of Pennsylvania, the females easily arranged a organized setup for canvassing the city and also suburbs. In mid-June, at least 3 dozen womales went from residence to home soliciting funds. The efforts of this “resistmuch less force” were so successful that in her July 4, 1780, letter to Washington, Esther Reed could report that the women had actually increased even more than $300,000 in paper money.
Subscription papers for this pioneering charity drive, later published by Reed's grandkid, list 1,645 contributors by name and amount. Although many contributions were in depreciated paper money, even more than a 3rd of the funds were in specie. One pair of leather breeches was donated. Both the countess de La Luzerne, wife of the French minister, and also the marquise de Lafayette, via the marquis, contributed generously. The ladies' campaign obtained recurring praise in thePennsylvania Packet, wright here the amount the womales elevated was presented to rival the amount pledged by guys to establish a bank—and these subscriptions from the men were expected to be returned to them with interest.
Sentiments of an Amerideserve to Woman—more than likely created by Esther Reed—sets out historical examples of aggressive female patriotism as incentive and justification for a call to political action. Professing women's “love for the public good” to be at leastern equal to that of males, the writer urges woguys proactively to make individual sacrifices to give soldiers “extraordinary and unexpected” presents of gratitude and remembrance.
Esther Reed's patriotism is especially noteworthy. She had concerned America only a decade previously as the bride of Joseph Reed. The conditions of war had effectively separated her from her family members and friends in England. In addition, Esther undertook management of the women's relief efforts in the weeks instantly complying with the birth in May of her 6th child, George Washington Reed, at a time as soon as the majority of woguys would certainly have actually limited their physical and also social activities sevecount.
On the verso of this broadsheet is a comprehensive setup for collecting and forwarding funds. Virginia Congressguy John Walker, in his June 13, 1780, letter to Governor Thomas Jefferson, argues that it was drawn up by François, marquis de Barbé-Marbois, secretary to the French legation, who was recognized to have actually motivated the women's relief activities. This broadsheet, which, according to the June 13Pennsylvania Packet, was publiburned on June 10, 1780, was undoubtedly the plan enclosed by a number of congressional deleentrances through their June correspondence residence.
With encouragement from Esther Reed and Martha Washington, similar money drives were organized in Maryland also, New Jersey, and also Virginia. As in Philadelphia, women in these three says adapted their fundincreasing initiatives to meet urbanbreathnyc.comal conditions. Before year's finish, the results of their collective initiatives also were forwarded to General Washington.
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Although the Philadelphia women had hoped that their contributions might be offered to carry out “an extraordinary bounty” beyond the food and clothing because of soldiers by the government, Washington insisted that it was shirts that would administer the biggest comfort to his guys. So in late August, Esther Reed began purchasing linen. Its transdevelopment right into shirts unfortunately fell to other hands, for Esther Reed died unexpectedly on September 18, 1780, of a fever before.
After an loss of “basic sickness” in the city, the Philadelphia womales, wanting to stretch their funds as much as possible, began making the shirts themselves. On December 26, 1780, Sarah Franklin Bache forwarded more than two thousand also shirts to Washington, through the wish that they “be worn through as much pleacertain as they were made.”
This at an early stage episode of Amerideserve to women's collective patriotism deserve to be traced by consulting the adhering to sources discovered in the Library of Congress Online Catalog: