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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The American Revolution was at once a military conflict, a political movement, and an event with social and cultural causes, consequences, and meaning for the women who lived in North America. There were moments of opportunity and new freedom for some women, and the possibility of rethinking the concept “woman” itself during the Age of Revolutions, which spanned hemispheres as well as decades. Yet the process of American nation-making with its political compromises and exclusions—particularly concerning slavery and Native Americans; the persistence of patriarchy as enshrined in coverture; and the intersection of the two made for continuity as well as change in the lives of women. Moreover, racialized gendered hierarchy came to characterize the new republic, suggesting that the American Revolution looks far less triumphal and structurally transformative when women’s lives sit at the center of the story.

Keywords: women, gender, American Revolution, Age of Revolutions, politics, slavery, American War for Independence, natural rights, gradual abolition, consumption

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