“METAMORPHOSED INTO MEN”: WOMEN BOYCOTTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Date

2022-12-01T06:00:00.000Z

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Abstract

The historiography of the American Revolution is lacking tremendously in regard to the participation of its patriotic women. Their contributions to the non-importation agreements of the 1760s and 1770s have been thoroughly examined by historians Linda Kerber, Mary Beth Norton, and Rosemarie Zagarri. However, the relationship between their participation in non-importation and the alteration of identity regimes in America has yet to be dissected. As other scholars have noted, the Revolution erupted in an Atlantic World wracked by intense epistemological confusion which had begun to impact the way Americans understood personal identity formation. An older identity regime, predicated on a socially turned-self, was giving way to a system of identity which viewed the self as intrinsic and autonomous. Their respective studies, however, fail to adequately explain why the Revolution brought forth this change. This thesis uses these inquiries to explore how women’s participation in non-importation during the Revolution played a catalytic role in this transition of the American identity regimes. This study emphasizes the constitutive nature of language; that is, it provides a discursive analysis of newspapers, broadsides, diaries, sermons, pamphlets, and letters to argue that women’s participation in the American Revolution assisted in bringing about the ascendency of the modern regime of identity as an effort to stabilize the early republic’s nascent gendered order.

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Keywords

History, United States, Gender Studies, Women's Studies

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