Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program



Whaley, Gray


This paper examines the existing intellectual historiography of the causes of the American Revolution through the perspectives of both Revolutionary and Loyalist Women. Through the analysis of letters, petitions, and political pamphlets authored by women of the Revolutionary era, this research challenges Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and highlights the limitations of his conclusions when applied to the female experience. Women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Esther Reed, Grace Galloway, and Sarah Fisher demonstrate that despite being aware of the ideologies behind the American Revolution, these were not the only factors they considered in making their decision. The research of this paper reveals that it was in fact societal expectations as wives that ultimately decided a woman’s choice during the American Revolution. For women, it was family, not politics, that was most influential in their decision to support or to oppose the American Revolution.