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July 3, 2020

Daughters of Liberty

“Save your money and save your country!”

The Daughters of Liberty was an all-female political group formed in the mid-to-late 1760s in the North American British colonies. Similar to the Sons of Liberty, the Daughters of Liberty formed as a response to unjust British taxation imposed on colonists. This early women’s group embodied the notion that women were determined to play a role in public affairs and one of the best ways to express their affiliation with colonial protest was to boycott British-made goods. Women were the main buyers of consumer goods for their households and their actions had a major impact on British merchants and therefore the events of the American Revolution. 

They first formed in response to the Stamp Act in 1965 and later the Townshend Act.

The Townshend Act of 1767 was a particular source of contention with American colonists as it enforced customs duties on imported British goods such as tea, paper, glass, and paint. The Townshend Act caused discontent among colonial woman and thus provided an opportunity to encourage female patriotism. Members of the Daughters of Liberty enacted their right to say “no” to the consumption and purchase or sale of British goods, they organized spinning bees to spin yarn and wool into fabric when textiles became scarce, and were instrumental in repealing the Stamp Act of 1765.

One of their most well known boycotts was the boycott of British tea after the Tea Act was passed in 1773. The woman, instead of purchasing British East India tea, began drinking “liberty tea.” Leaves from raspberries or black tea were commonly used as tea substitutes so people could still enjoy tea while refusing to buy goods imported through Britain. The protest against the Tea Act led to the Boston Tea Party. Sarah Bradlee Fulton, otherwise known as the “Mother of the Boston Tea Party.”, is credited with the idea of disguising the men as Mohawk Indians, painting their faces, and donning Native American clothing, in order to avoid being detected by the British.

All contributions and bequests are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by federal and state law. The Women’s Museum of California is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable corporation. Tax ID is 95-3893212.

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