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Effect of the civil war on women

Effectof the civil war on women

Thecivil is a very important aspect of the U.S history. It brought abouta number of changes in the society including political, social andeconomic changes. During the civil war, women changed their attitudetowards life. White southerners women who were present during thecivil war changed their attitude towards life in a very major way.The civil war was a conflict which significantly changed therelationships between the different races also made women to rethinkabout their existence in the society. Due to their experiences duringthe civil war, women looked for a way in which they could inventthemselves, and increase their worth in the society. Women weredisillusioned by their male counterparts for their failure to protectthem during the war and as such, vowed to fight for their ownindependence.

Immediatelyafter the war ended, women swore not be found in such a helplesssituation again. They realized that it was necessary for them tosafeguard their status as women in the society. However, this was notto be confused for gender cohesion, but rather, it was only the whitewomen from the elite class who wanted to restructure the societalhierarchy and secure their own privileges. Faust offers an excellentaccount of how women learnt from the civil war and changed theirattitude completely (Faust 68). The civil war completely removed thepatriarchal attitude in the society

Faustuses a number of materials to provide his analysis. Some of theliterary materials which he uses include female organizationsrecords, government documents, songs, novels and a wide array ofnewspapers. In addition, Faust also uses memoirs, letters, anddiaries from Southerners women to incorporate his historical account.Using these materials, Faust examines the manner in which womenchanged their perceptions about life, as well as the recognition oftheir true worth in the society. Faust argues that the conditionscreated by the war made women from the South to be “Mothers ofinvention” in a number of ways.

Asthe war began, women appeared in the public limelight, away fromtheir conventional private lifestyles. Southern white women organizedthemselves to champion for their rights and advocate for a patrioticfoundation. Faust takes cognizance of the minimal women participationin public issues and considers the civil war as the impetus whichstimulated a sudden organization of women. Such organizations carriedout a number of activities which brought them to the publiclimelight. Some of the activities which the Southern white women usedto champion their cause include presentation of patriotic tableaux,fund raising for their own affairs, as well as the petitioning of thegovernment. The civil war also changed their attitude about theproducts of their work. Women challenged the government policy thatthey should hand over whatever they had contributed in theirorganizations for the purchase of gunboats which could be used tooffer security in cities, towns and homes.

Althoughwomen were invented new ways of managing their households, the mostimportant transformation in their life was their new approach towardsthe management of slaves. In essence, women’s capacity to manageslaves challenged the common perceptions that women are subordinate,passive and submissive. Frustrated by their inability to manageslaves, women convinced themselves that there was no benefit whichcould be derived from slave management rather, it was only aninconvenience (Faust 73). However, at some point in time womenaccepted patriarchy once again in the society, negating their earliergains.


Faust,Drew G. Mothersof Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American CivilWar.Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Print.