Teaching Activity: Martha Washington and The American Revolution


Students will be better understand the effect of the Revolutionary on Martha Washington and her family, how sacrifice and suffering touched the lives of women and families, and will understand how she and other women aided in the Revolutionary effort.


Primary sources-found on the Martha Washington site

Computer with Internet access-used to view the short film "Martha Washington and Revolution"


1. Watch the introductory movie together as a class.

2. Allow students time to explore the primary sources collected on the Primary Sources page. These resources have been included because they relate to the impact of the American Revolution on the lives of Martha Washington and her family.

3. Using Martha Washington as a case study, have students write an essay analyzing the sacrifices and contributions of women to the American Revolution. Caution students to be as specific as possible, and that they should use primary sources to give their arguments credibility. Give students the following questions to guide their thinking: “Did American women make material contributions to the war effort, or were their roles limited to morale or symbolic value? Considering the length of the war (eight years), how did the types of contributions change over time? Did Martha and others make different contributions at the beginning of the conflict than at the end? Were Martha’s contributions typical of other women, or did her social status make her different from other women?”