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Women at War in the Borderlands of the Early American Northeast

Gina M. Martino

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte


Across the borderlands of the early American northeast, New England, New France, and Native nations deployed women with surprising frequency to the front lines of wars that determined control of North America. Far from serving as passive helpmates in a private, domestic sphere, women assumed wartime roles as essential public actors, wielding muskets, hatchets, and makeshift weapons while fighting for their families, communities, and nations. Revealing the fundamental importance of martial womanhood in this era, Gina M. Martino places borderlands women in a broad context of empire, cultural exchange, violence, and nation building, demonstrating how women's war making was embedded in national and imperial strategies of expansion and resistance. As Martino shows, women's participation in warfare was not considered transgressive; rather it was integral to traditional gender ideologies of the period, supporting rather than subverting established systems of gender difference.

In returning these forgotten women to the history of the northeastern borderlands, this study challenges scholars to reconsider the flexibility of gender roles and reveals how women's participation in transatlantic systems of warfare shaped institutions, polities, and ideologies in the early modern period and the centuries that followed.

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Eighteenth-century New England, Native American women in early America, Eighteenth-century New France, Women as combatants, Captivity narratives, History of frontiers, King Philip’s War, New England History, Historical memory in the United States, Acadia, American women's history, Jesuits in New France, Marie de l’Incarnation, Massachusetts, Seventeenth-century New England, 7 Years’ War, Maine, Montreal, Early American history, Women and war in early America, Jeanne Mance, Madeleine de Verchères, Women as Amazons, American Indian women, New Hampshire, History of colonialism in America, Quebec, Violent women in American history, Women in colonial New France, Ursulines in New France, Early American military history, Borderlands history, Mary Rowlandson, Women and gender in colonial New England, separate spheres, Garrison houses in New England, Northeastern borderlands, Seventeenth-century New France, Hannah Dustan, Canadian women's history, Boston, Colonial American history, Military history of early America