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The American Revolution
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance
A Female Patriot

In the Revolutionary era, the role and status of women underwent dramatic reconsideration and revision. All Americans had long held conflicting and dualistic views of women. Women were alternatively depicted as possessing exceptional capacity for sympathy and "virtue," as well as being especially prone to weakness and vice. Gender ideals experienced great stress during the war. With many men off fighting, wives, mothers, and daughters engaged in "masculine" occupations likes farming, bookkeeping, and trade. For the first time, women formed political organizations to boycott British goods, make homespun clothing, or raise funds for troops. Some women, such as Deborah Sampson, even assumed male identities and took up arms. Not surprisingly, patriotism assumed gendered qualities, as shown in this poem by "a female patriot." Do you think a woman actually authored this piece? Is there any evidence that, in fact, a man might have written it? Which female stereotypes does this poem invoke? Does it tend to elevate or denigrate women's status?

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WHEN Adam first fell into Satan's Snare,
And forfeited his Bliss to please the Fair;
God from his Garden drove the sinful Man,
And thus the Source of human Woes began.
'I was weak in Adam, for to please his Wife,
To lose his access to the Tree of Life:
His d?ar bought Knowledge all his Sons deplore,
Death thir Inheritance, and Sin their Store.
But why blame Adam, since his Brainless Race
Will lose their All to obtain a beautious Face;
And will their Honour, Pride, and Wealth lay down,
I'ather then see a lovely Woman frown.
The Ladies are not quite, so complisant,
If they want Tea, they'll storm and rave and rant,
And call their Lordly Husbands Ass and Clown,
The jest of Fools and Sport of all the Town.
A pleasent Story lately I heard told
Of Madam Hornbloom, a noted Scold,
Last Day her Husband said, "My dearest Life,
My Kind, my Fair, my Angel of a Wife;
Just now, from London, there's a Ship come in
Brings noble News will raise us Merchants Fame,
The Fruits of our non-importation Scheme.
The Parliament, dear Saint, may they be blest
Have great part of our Grievances redrest:"
"Have they indeed," replies the frowning Dame,
"Say, is there not some Tea and China come."
"Why, no! We can't import that Indian Weed,
That Duty's still a Rod above our Head."
"Curse on your Heads, you nasty fumbling Crew,
Then round his Shoulders the hard Broom-Stick flew,
Go, dirty Clod-pole get me some Shushong,
This Evening I've invited Madam Strong.
--Silence--you Blockhead--hear, the Lady knocks!
Get to your Cock-Lost or expect some Strokes."
--"Your Servant Madam, Tea is on the Board.
I really tho't you once had broke your Word."
"I ask your Pardon, dear Miss Hornbloom,
My spraling Brats kept me so long at Home;
My stupid Husband too has gone astray,
To wait upon the Sons of Liberty.
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