Many women took the lead in the boycott of English goods. A group in
North Carolina were lampooned by a British cartoonist as the Edenton Ladies
Tea Party when they dared to sign a pledge to support colonial resistance
to British measures, including a continued boycott of tea.
This was one of the earliest organized efforts on the part of women to
influence public policy. In the 18th century, politics was thought to be an
improper sphere for women, but the American Revolution nudged this dictate
toward liberalization. The first nationwide women's organization, "The Ladies
Association," was organized during the war in Philadelphia by Esther de Berdt
Reed. It raised money for Washington's army and was known, somewhat
derisively, as "Washington's Sewing Circle."