During the revolution women led a very different life than females today. The role of a women began the day she was born. Girls were almost always educated at home with the emphasis on being raised to be good wives and mothers. Female literacy was valued for; religious instruction-the Bible, for reading information regarding household affairs, for providing children with basic education, and that was it. Any property and earnings of a married woman belonged to her husband. A husband was legally entitled to hire out his wife for work and collect all of her wages. A man had the legal right to beat on his wife and children. But not permanently disable or kill them. Women did not have the right to leave their husbands. The husband however could place ads in newspapers if they ran away. Divorce was almost non-existent. When divorces were granted the father almost always got custody of the children. Husbands and wives incapable of living peacefully together sometimes mutually agreed upon separate live sometimes living in different households. It was considered completely inappropriate for a woman to address men publicly, like in a speech or sermon.
The women counted on the men in their lives for survival, whether they were fathers, brothers or husbands. During the war the women were expected to take on roles beyond their means. Thousands of women served in the Continental army during the War for Independence as: nurses, cooks, washer women, ammunition runners and water carriers (see pic above). It is not truly known how many women fired artillery or were even in combat positions. During the revolution women found that they were valuable outside the home and many gained a new perspective on life and more importantly they gained confidence that led to change for all women.