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Master Thesis

Southern Rebel Women during the American Civil War (1861-1865)

Abstract : The Civil War marked a shift in the United States of the nineteenth century. It was a bloody war in which the Confederacy fought the Union in order to keep their independence and remain sovereign. Every man was involved; however, we do not speak often enough of women’s place and contributions during the war. Like men, Southern women wanted to maintain the status quo of the antebellum period. Like men, they were patriots and like men, they fought to defend the Confederacy. Some adopted male attire and enlisted in the Confederate army, some spied, some protected the home front by providing weapons, clothes for soldiers and by nursing them. A lot of these women wrote diaries or accounts in which they related their own experiences of the war. The simple fact of writing on subjects related to the public sphere was a form of rebellion. Women’s writings offer an overview of their lives in Southern society, their plights, theirs ambitions, their sacrifices and their paradoxes. Some wished to have been born men in order to perform unladylike careers but few broke with gender conventions. They did their utmost to defend a society which enslaved African-Americans as well as women. The paradox is that the institution of slavery conferred women a venerated position in society. It was believed that women’s moral superiority alleviated the violence of slavery. Most Southern women were satisfied with their lot, which explains their defence of the South. However, they witnessed the fall of the Confederacy as well as their own fall. This descent is highlighted in women’s writings. It is interesting to hear these women’s voices, to know their feelings, to try to understand their reasons, and to see their disillusionment by the end of the war.
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Contributor : Pau Bibliothèque Du Domaine Anglophone <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 12:16:03 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 3:38:16 AM


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  • HAL Id : dumas-02892073, version 1



Lise Servat. Southern Rebel Women during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Humanities and Social Sciences. 2020. ⟨dumas-02892073⟩



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