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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This thesis seeks to understand how women could become politically active during the War for Independence. As I began researching women of the period, I grew aware of the connection between Abigail Smith Adams and Mercy Otis Warren through the letters they left behind which developed into the following work. Though both women were better educated than a majority of women of the time, their conversations give a unique window into viewing the world women lived in. Their letters especially highlight how they not only became invested in the cause of independence but also how they sought to express their thoughts equally among men. By delving into the letters of both women, collected by The Massachusetts Historical Society, it became clear that women also struggled to maintain their own social hierarchy in relationships through deference like men, suggesting that they adopted more than just masculine political interests. Their friendship, as seen through their letters, shows the investment and hopes women held with the War for Independence. Their struggle to agree on life after the war, and their inability to maintain their friendship because of political disagreements, suggests that women became equally invested in politics when given the chance.

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