One could say that all thirteen
colonies were both the home front and the battleground for the Revolutionary War, as the war took place in the backyards of
many colonists. Meanwhile, popular opinion was divided between the patriots fighting for separation from Britain,
and the Loyalists still remaining faithful to their king and Parliament. Civilians, the Sons of Liberty and women, had a major
impact on the home front war effort. The temporary “government” of the American Revolution was also categorized
by a high quantity of debt.
After the institution of
the Stamp Act, the colonies found themselves with a new protest group intended to support the patriot cause: the Sons of Liberty.
Mostly middle to upper class men, they used boycotts and primarily peaceful protests to fight the British injustices. Leaders
in the group were Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, who also both contributed to the war effort. Paul (The American Revolution:
Sons of Liberty) While some men were on the front lines of the battle, others remained at home, rebelling with political messages
and shouts of protest.
The American Revolution
brought about a new level of existence for many colonial women. With husbands at war, they became in charge of the home and
small business responsibilities. (Revolutionary War: The Home Front) Some positions they acquired included weavers, carpenters,
blacksmiths, and shipbuilders, all positions generally reserved for men. (Nguyen) However, not all women were lucky enough
to have financial security. Since many Continental Army soldiers came from the poorest sector of society, some women became
destitute and impoverished. (Revolutionary War: The Home Front) With the absence of husbands, women were left to their own
devices for the first time.
Some women did not just
man their personal households during the war, expanding their vision to the war effort itself. One of these women was Anne
Warner “Mad Anne” Bailey, a native of Groton, Connecticut.
First, she is credited for her assistance of the wounded soldiers during the Battle of Groton Heights. Second, she also was
responsible for the door-to-door collecting of flannel, for the treatment of the injured soldiers. She is now famous for her
donation of her own flannel petticoat to the drive. (Hollis) Another woman who helped from the home front was Margaret Corbin,
who established a hospital for the wounded. (Nguyen) This worked with the period’s vision of women as caretakers and
nurses, and did not insult any gender barriers of the time. Women were fundamentally responsible for much of the home front
occurrences during the Revolutionary War.
The Revolutionary War can only be described as
an awkward, unsure time in the government’s history. The country had already described itself independent from Great Britain, but nothing firm had been established to link
the colonies together, except the Continental Congress. Unfortunately, this was such a weak group that they didn’t have
the power to tax the colonial citizens, and tax bills actually decreased. The government had to find another way to fund the
battles. (Trask) They quickly turned towards paper money, cranking it out nonstop from the presses. They actually printed
$250 million in Continental money, as it was referred. (Revolutionary War: The Home Front) They also asked the state governments
to use their taxation power to help defer some of the cost. (Trask) Paper money caused great inflation within the economy,
and great pain within the nation as a whole.
by definition, war does not only affect those that are sent to the front lines. It permeates all of society, forcing the women
into action and protest groups to being their rebellion. The economy falters, creating
unrest and depression during the battles and into peace. The Revolutionary War home front is the sheer epitome of these
Hollis, Suzanne. “Anne
Bailey, American Patriot.” The American Revolution. 4 June 2006. Online. Internet. Available http://www.americanrevolution.com/AnneBailey.htm.
Nguyen, Tina Ann. “American Athenas.” Americanrevolution.org. 19 June 2006. Online. Internet. Available
War: The Home Front.” The Learning Page. 4 June 2006. Online. Internet. Available http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/amrev/homefrnt/homefrnt.html.
“The American Revolution: Sons
of Liberty.” US-History.com. 4 June 2006. Online. Internet.
Trask, Scott. “Inflation and the American Revolution.” Ludwig Von Mises Institute. Online. Internet.
4 June 2006. Available http://www.mises.org/story/1273