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A Call to Arms

Mercy Otis Warren wrote and published the tragic play The Adulateur in 1772 to call out the alleged crimes of the British government during the Boston Massacre.

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Edenton Tea Party

In 1774, fifty women in Edenton, North Carolina, signed and published a statement declaring their intention to boycott all British goods. It was the first women’s public collective political action in American history.

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Spinning Wheels, Spinning Bees

Colonial women used spinning wheels like this one to create homespun thread that could be woven into fabric. In the lead-up to the American Revolution, spinning became an overtly political act, because it allowed women to avoid paying tax on imported British textiles and supported the general political protest against English policies.

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Abolition and Revolution

This poem by Phillis Wheatley demonstrates how enslaved and free Black people saw the American Revolution as an opportunity to end the systematic oppression of Black people in the colonies.

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Political Caricatures

These political cartoons illustrate how colonial women’s political action was received by the general public, and how the figures of women became potent political symbols.

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