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Kids learning about Revolutionary Women in this issue will be surprised to find out that while women did not hold the front lines during the War of Independence, they greatly contributed to efforts to keep soldiers fed on the battlefield, lent their voices to political debates, and generally kept the home fires burning. From patriots like Deborah Samson, who actually served secretly in the army, to loyalists like Margaret Draper, who kept publishing the Boston News-Letter after her husband’s death, this evenhanded account of how women influenced the war in big and small ways, laying the groundwork for the suffrage movement that followed much later, is not to be missed.
Equally surprising to kids will be the fact that many of the women who took action during the war were mere teenagers, like Sybil Ludington, a 16-year-old who rode alone 40 miles one rainy night to alert patriots of a planned attack. Other incredible tales of bravery like this make learning about Revolutionary women a high point of the study of early American History. Women even worked as spies during the Revolution, collecting valuable info about the other side and passing it to officers in dangerous acts of defiance. Learning about Revolutionary Women, for kids interested in this era, opens their eyes to a whole other side to this famous war, showing them how great men – as the saying goes – often stand on the shoulders of great women.