These Founding Mothers Of America Deserve To Be Remembered On Independence Day
There's no better day to be an American than the Fourth of July. Family reunions or parties with friends are the perfect way to use the day off work, the fireworks are always spectacular, and nothing beats an Independence Day hot dog. However, many people have a difficult time reconciling a feeling of disenfranchisement when reflecting on American history because it is so often seen as the story of white men and little else. The Founding Mothers of America deserve a special tribute on July 4, because they did just as much to shape the United States into the country it is today as their male counterparts.
The important thing to remember is that women and minorities have a critical place in the founding of the United States, and everyone has to consciously celebrate their memories in order to restore their importance.
It's even more important to remember the full context of American history this year because the country is going through a particularly fraught and divisive time. A rising wave of nationalism and xenophobia has threatened to constrict the ideals of this nation, but as the Founding Mothers and Fathers prove, America doesn't belong to one type of person — it belongs to women, minorities, immigrants, and anyone else who believes in its ideals.
America's first First Lady had a much more active role in the beginnings of the country than most people realize. Martha was the face of the patriot cause and one of the best morale boosters of the Continental Army, mending soldiers' clothes, cooking for them, and healing their wounds during the long winter months. She fundraised for the troops and donated $20,000 of her own money to the Army. She was also best friends with the next Founding Mother on this list #femalefriendship.
Lucy Flucker Knox
Knox's informal political career began for love, but transformed into something much greater. She met her husband, the United States' first Secretary of War Henry Knox, when she was just 14 years old, and abandoned her Loyalist family to marry him. For 20 years, they fought for independence together — Lucy traveled to every military camp and battlefield with her husband, handing out food and supplies to soldiers and supporting the new nation in every way possible.
In 1781, Freeman brought an unprecedented case before the Massachusetts courts — she wanted to sue for her freedom. Freeman had been born a slave, but after her master's wife attacked her, she contacted an abolitionist to help her escape. She won the case, becoming the first slave ever to legally win freedom through the court system, and her case was integral in declaring slavery unconstitutional in Massachusetts.
Ben Franklin is famous for being the first postmaster general of the United States, but he was really too busy philandering around Europe to do much work — his wife, Deborah, was the one really calling the shots in the States. She single handedly ran the postal service, her own chain of successful print shops, and raised her daughter and Ben's illegitimate son as her own.
Wheatley was kidnapped from Africa when she was a child and used her experience as a slave to write one of the most lauded poetry books of all time (she was also the first black woman to have a book published). She argued publicly for American independence, even while still enslaved, and dimensionalized slaves in the public eye.
Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
Eliza Hamilton was a badass — if you've listened to Hamilton, you know what I'm talking about. After her husband was famously shot and killed by Aaron Burr, Eliza lived for 50 more years to fulfill his legacy. She raised funds for the Washington monument with Dolley Madison, started New York City's first private orphanage and a free school in Washington Heights, and worked toward abolishing slavery. Slay.
Reflecting on these women and their important place in national history gives a fuller sense of the history of the U.S. and who can really lay claim to this country. By having a more holistic view of history, people can understand that the U.S. is a nation for all, not just a few.