Founding Mothers is a great book to read as part of your Fourth of July celebration.
Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised A Nation
by Cokie Roberts
Reviewed by Elizabeth H. Cottrell
4+ stars out of 5
Journalist Cokie Roberts, daughter of Louisiana politicians Hale and Lindy Boggs, combines her sense of a good story—previously untold—with her knowledge of political machinations and impressive commitment to obscure research.
To tell the fascinating story of the wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers of our founding fathers during the years of Revolution and the first decades of this fragile new country, she had to piece together a wide range of sources, many of which consisted of snippets of correspondence. These were letters between husbands and their wives, mothers and their children, and the women themselves, many of whom were friends or at least knew each other. Diaries were also valuable resources.
From the dust jacket is a well-crafted summary: “Roberts brings us the women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their businesses, raised their children, provided them with political advice [and local gossip], and made it possible for the men to do what they did. The behind-the-scenes influence of these women—and their sometimes very political activities—was intelligent and persuasive.”
Two things made a deep impression on me from reading this book. The first was to realize what severe and prolonged deprivations these women endured: danger, hunger, poverty, and of course, loneliness. It took weeks for letters to get to and fro, and they had to worry about their correspondence being lost or falling into enemy hands.
The second was how much a woman today can still identify with these remarkable women. We women are still expected to wear many hats and play many roles, and while we’ve come a long way in what a woman can say and do, we are still often shackled with unfair and unrealistic expectations and limitations.
The story of these remarkable women needed to be told, and I’m enriched and enlightened for having read it. Special thanks to my friend Randy Bailey who loaned me his copy.
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