Thursday, September 14, 2017

Founding Mothers and the Stamp Act by J. V.

  1. In the 1760's women were not allowed to own land, they did not have the benefit of a formal education, women were not able to read or write, and often they were believed to lack basic knowledge to make informed decisions about politics and economics, but when it came to the American resistance movements and the boycotts of the 1760's and the 1770's women were proven to be anything but quiet and nice. In yesterday's assignment, we were set to watch a video about a speech Dr. Rosamarie Zagarri gave at the University of Oklahoma. In this speech, she mentioned four main women known to have changed and shaped the ways of history, these women were: Ester Debert Reed, Phyllis Wheatley, Elizabeth Alexander Stevens, and Hannah Leigh Corbin. As mentioned in her speech, "the boycotts depended on the support of the people, they needed the support of the primary consumers in the colonies, [they needed the support of the] women." During that era, even though women were unknowledgeable in politics, they held an enormous power, they held social and economic power. It was the support of the female "shopper" whom the men counted on for the boycotts to be successful, and successful they were. In 1780 Ester Debert Reed, wrote letters called "The sentiments of an American woman," to call to other woman in other colonies to help support our troops. She would go door to door asking for donations of any kind. Phyllis Wheatley, helped bring resistance to slavery, people soon saw that black people were capable of much more than what they were credited for. Phyllis believed that the rhetorics of the American Revolution also applied to the slaves, to the black people. Elizabeth Alexander Stevens, was a woman who owned property and paid taxes. After her, it became a law that only woman who were single, widowed or unmarried, could own land, and only those who owned a certain amount of land could vote or hold public office, including women. Rosamarie's main argument in this speech is to let her listeners know that women also helped shape the ways of this nation. That women started to have a voice and right before the American revolution and that they were a big part of the resistance. She argues that women should be considered founders just as men.
  2. The authors purpose was for her listeners to be able to understand the role women had in the years before and after the American Revolution. The voice that I would have liked to hear in this speech would have been Ester Reeds. According to Rosamarie, Ester lived through the times the colonies formed the boycotts and was there supporting the resistance or the "cause" as it was called then, it would have given me pleasure to hear her story and the accounts she had of her years during that time. We all know facts and hear stories through other people and what they have heard or read but it is always more memorable to hear it directly from a person who lived through an experience. In this case, it would have been memorable to hear directly from Ester how her life was during this era and the experiences she went through firsthand. The primary voice that was heard was Rosamarie, as woman, as a historian, it was her knowledge on the subject that we heard.
  3. When an assignment is given to us, whether it is a reading, or a speech to listen to, we are often left with questions, or misunderstandings that often need clarification. In yesterday's class discussion, our group talks and questions answered by the professor enhance our understanding of this topic. In our own groups, we ask each other questions and we tried to help each other get a better understanding on the subject based on our own views and understanding, or we just fill in the gaps, maybe there was something one of us heard that the other did not pay attention to. We then ask these same questions to the professor and she truly gives us the insight and responses we need to fully understand the subject. For example, she gave us a better understating of the New York Merchants Non-Importation Agreement, most of us believed that this agreement was just to not allow merchants of the colonies to import goods from the English as a boycott. That the colonists were not allowed to import and the orders already being received just be sent back until the Stamp Act be repealed. When, what the colonist wanted to do was to hurt the English colonies and make the English merchants hurt so they (as in the Englishmen) could go back to Parliament and say, "œhey whatever you are doing you need to stop."
  4. Some historical questions that were discussed in class were: what did women do before the American Revolution to help and support the resistance? What did the women do during and after the American revolution to help and support the resistance? We also received clarification and further information about the resolutions of the Stamp Act and the Non-Importation agreement of New York. In class, this is some of the conclusions we drew up from the Founding Mothers speech by Rosamarie Zagarri. In the 1760's before the revolution, women stopped buying imported cloth and started home spinning their own, in often cases they even held what were then called, "patriotic spinning bees," where all the women of the colony got together and homespun the cloths. Women formed groups, called the Daughters of Liberty, as female counterparts to the Sons of Liberty. As soon as men were called away into the war, the wives had to not only take care of the home but now they were left with the responsibility of the farm, the businesses, the family, and if they had any, the slaves and servants. Some followed their husbands to the war and others would either sell items to troops of do deeds for them in support. Some of these deeds could have included washing clothes for them and cooking. In the years that came after the American revolution woman like Phyllis Wheatley and Elizabeth Stevens helped form a new revolution on woman's rights. Phyllis also helped help blacks and slaves see they too have as much potential and they too deserve equality, liberty, and rights. When is can to the resolutions of the Stamp Act, we concluded, that the colonies wanted to also have say in these acts, they wanted to enjoy their rights and liberty. In other words, colonists wanted to also have a say in government not just have to obey the laws of parliament. And lastly, we concluded that the non-importation agreement of 1765 was to hurt the merchants of the English colonies to they, could add pressure to parliament.
  5. Some of the questions that are left lurking in my head are: 1. Even though women did help with the resistance movements why then did it still take a long time for women to be able to have equal rights, were they afraid to remain fighting? And 2. When did Parliament lose power and gave in to what the colonist wanted all along? When did they listen to the cries of the people?