Women During The Civil War

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The Civil War altered the lives of women, in both the North and South, just as it altered the nation as a whole. Although it is irrefutable that both the North and the South felt the wrath of the war, the South encountered a unique set of troubles that caused the weight of the war to fall predominantly on Southern women. Attempting to understand the experiences of all Southern women during the Civil War does not come without its challenges. It is impossible to connect the stories and experiences of all Confederate women without generalizing their history. However, by narrowing the analysis to a singular concentration of middle and upper class white-Southern women, there can be greater understanding of the complex relationship between the history of the Civil War and the Southern women who endured it. The diaries and letters left behind by Southern women are the greatest asset in understanding the experiences of the “Confederate woman.” Of course not all Southern women shared identical experiences, the gravity of the war effected women differently largely due to geographic locations, age and social status. However, by tracing specific themes through historical scholarship, Confederate diaries, and letters, it becomes easier to conceive that Southern women took on the heaviest burdens of the war. The first theme consist of Southern women’s entrance into the political discourse of the secession crisis and the subsequent war. The second theme consists of the initial

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