Guide Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia

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Need Help? Try our Search Tips. Award Winner. Reviewed Content. Sale Title. Available for Course Adoption. Features Over 1, signed A—Z entries, authored by notable scholars and referenced for further reading Over contributors, including some of the leading Civil War scholars at work today More than illustrations, including contemporary photographs, lithographs, and drawings 75 maps created specifically for this encyclopedia A chronology, glossary, and exhaustive index Over primary source documents Highlights In depth coverage of the often overlooked roles of African Americans, immigrants, and women, in battle and on the home front Comprehensive treatment of subjects usually covered only in specialized monographs, from social conditions and public relations to press coverage and elections Coverage of subjects related to or affected by the war: slavery, states' rights, secession, emancipation, Reconstruction, the involvement of foreign powers, literature, photography, art, conscription, conscientious objection, and the role of immigrants.

Author Info David S. He is credited with being a formidable tactician and effective battlefield leader, and is commonly regarded as a great hero of the war in the South. Interestingly, Lee began the Civil War with the conviction that the South could not win. Spencer C. Tucker, Editor Paul G. Pierpaoli Jr. Kreiser Jr. Yet, during the same four years, Americans North and South went about the business of their everyday lives as best they could. Giesberg, Judith Ann.

Women during the Civil War

Civil War Sisterhood: The U. Boston: Northeastern University Press, Goodrich, Frank B. MacKay, Winifred K. Milroy, Elizabeth. University Park, Pa. Moore, Frank Moore. Scharf, J. Philadelphia, PA: L. Stille, Charles J. Philadelphia: J. Full text. Memorial of the Great Central Fair for the U. Sanitary Commission Held at Philadelphia, June Philadelphia: United States Sanitary Commission, Taylor, Frank H.

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Philadelphia in the Civil War, Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, United States Sanitary Commission. Philadelphia: Henry B. Ashmead, Book and Job Printer, Great stuff. I work at a local agency that has a very young staff with little knowledge of Philadelphia History. At a Monday morning staff meeting, I do a brief presentation on some local topic. A few weeks ago, my topic was the Sanitary Fair at Logan Sq. Wish I had waited for your article! Your email is never shared. Moss, was published in to benefit a sanitary fair, one of the major means of raising funds to support Union soldiers.

Sanitary fairs were […]. Along with discussing the prospects for peace, delegates also articulated a solidarity of women against war, as mothers and the nurturers of children and as the war's victims. At the end of the meeting, delegates sent a message to the world urging continuous mediation until a peace settlement could be reached and arguing that women must have a voice in any such settlement. In more local efforts, female organizers and activists drew attention to the powerful connections between the costs of prosecuting the war and the expenses that then shifted to working-class families.

Sylvia Pankhurst tried to organize a "no rent" strike among her constituency in East London to protest rapidly rising costs as a result of war. One of the most vivid examples of this type of political protest can be found in the Glasgow rent strike of This became an action both by and for poor women, set in motion by landlords raising rents in response to the arrival of laborers seeking work in war-related factories. With housing already scarce and many of those threatened with eviction the wives of servicemen, tensions grew extremely high.

With the backing of the local Independent Labour Party and their menfolk, these women forced the government's hand by forming pickets, blocking evictions, and using the courts to seek redress. The movement spread beyond Glasgow, and eventually the government intervened. By late December , Parliament had passed the Rent Restriction Act covering the entire nation and alleviating the crisis. Political actions to protest wartime conditions such as the rising cost of living were not restricted to nations in the thick of war, such as those mentioned above, or the German Empire and Austria-Hungary.

The city of Melbourne, Australia witnessed its own women-led demonstrations over the war-induced rise in the cost of living in Elsewhere in Australia, women had actively protested the war and here, as in Europe, the initiative had come from socialist women. More extensive campaigning against the war was carried out by socialist women. In nations neutral at the start of the war, support for the peace movement similarly divided feminists. Moreover, membership in the Women's Peace Party quickly declined.

Those who remained committed to an antiwar stance soon found themselves both busier than ever and under more direct threat from the government. No belligerent state was willing to let those who opposed the war, whatever their motivation, continue to speak out. As was the case with their male counterparts, women protesting the war found themselves viewed as dangerous to their wartime nations. Both Zetkin and Saumoneau were imprisoned for spreading the message of the socialist women's Berne Congress.

In the United States, the enacting of the Espionage Act of and the Sedition Act of , free speech, particularly speech critical of the United States and its war aims, became an endangered species. Women, although a minority of defendants in cases brought under these acts, found themselves suspect as much for their violating appropriate gender roles as for acting against the war. In one of the most famous cases, socialist Kate Richards O'Hare was indicted in June for suggesting that "war corrupted motherhood. It is a sign that the voices of women mattered that without wishing to create martyrs, various governments felt obliged to prosecute vigorously the women who spoke out against the war.

By the winter of , the war had reached a crisis point. Mutinies occurred across the Western Front , revolution struck Russia , protests about scarcities grew, and strikes threatened vital war production. All but the mutinies directly involved women, and all show how interconnected the lives of civilians and soldiers truly were. France, for instance, experienced a huge upsurge in both military and civilian unrest during the spring of While men mutinied in the war zone, strikes proliferated in the munitions factories in and around Paris, places where women workers were, by this time, in the majority.

Striking women workers decisively linked complaints about wages and working conditions with criticisms of the war itself. Most ominously for the government, when they took to the streets at the end of May , they demanded that the government bring their soldiers home and send the presumed cowards men avoiding combat through factory work to battle in their stead. That some 30, women had stopped producing armaments to demand money, their men, and ultimately an end to the war gravely alarmed the government. In January , reacting to the rising cost of bread and coal, groups of Barcelona's women took to the streets and those working in factories struck.

In the end, this wartime agitation was quelled only by the use of military force. Economic hardship also deeply affected women in Austria-Hungary and Germany. Given the severity of the blockade's effects, German women, many now heading households, faced enormous difficulties in obtaining basic supplies for themselves and their families. Protesting against the shortage of vital food stuffs such as potatoes, women, especially "war wives", took to the streets.

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These kinds of protests themselves were not new. Vocal reactions occurred as soon as the shortages of food had become evident earlier in the war, but represented the final eroding of faith in the government as food scandals shocked civilians. The year began with women war factory workers demanding equal rations to male munitions workers. In addition, consumers became enraged by stories of hoarding and profiteering recounted in the press, and the government became newly concerned with the possibility of hungry and newly-radicalized women taking to the streets. As food and fuel became scarcer and concern about survival during yet another winter of war emerged, street protests continued through the summer with increasing violence and the theft of food.

Conditions did not improve throughout the year leading to further disillusionment and arrival of mass strikes in Berlin as opened. The war's economic and political effects were far-reaching, and even affecting women's lives and actions in the European colonies of participant nations. One notable example is India, where the war saw an intensification of efforts to gain self-government, as the British sought both its troops and material support. In efforts to recruit troops in India, the state turned to financial incentives, for instance by offering a life pension to war widows.

This support for women left widowed by war was especially important in the context of a culture where widows did not remarry; an issue that was itself cautiously raised in Hindi women's magazines during the war.

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The contradiction between recruiting Indian troops for combat in Europe while the Arms Act legally denied them the right to bear arms in most of India itself also aroused protest. In , Sarojini Naidu , one of the activists in the Ladies' War Relief Association, which believed that support for the war would further strengthen India's case for independence, spoke out against this Act.

Naidu argued that women were uniquely qualified to address this issue, since they were the "mothers of men whom we wish to make men and not emasculated machines" thus demanding that "the birthright of their sons should be given back to them. Regardless of where they took place, protests and strikes had the serious potential to disrupt what was an international war effort. They further demonstrated how intertwined the actions of civilians and combatants were and in some instances, suggest the importance of women's wartime labor to the war's success.

We can begin to understand what happened to women in the war by looking at them from a comparative perspective that acknowledges the diversity of their experiences. In general, World War One accelerated the pace at which women across class lines entered the public sphere, both to support and to condemn the waging of the war, and gained new economic and social opportunities.

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In some cases this was "for the duration," but in other cases, women acquired new skills and participated in new activities that enabled them to achieve more than had been possible prior to Concern over the spread of venereal disease , among other factors, led to more open public discussions of sexuality including women's. Examining women's wartime lives across many national boundaries, one finds some similarities in how states viewed women but also much variety.

Thus part of what makes this war such a compelling moment in women's history is that it provided an opportunity for many women to forge a new relationship with their nation-state. This does not mean that they succeeded, for we are left with contradictory evidence of women's progress: for instance, a nation like Britain that passed legislation giving women the vote during the war did not enfranchise the vast majority of women war workers let alone acknowledge the contributions of its male and female colonial subjects by bestowing political rights. Women's war experiences varied enormously, but, with few exceptions, they remained distinguished from those of the majority of men conscripted into military service.

No state was willing to break this barrier and draft women to serve in its army. For all the debate at relatively high levels of government over compulsory war service for women in Germany and Britain, nothing really materialized. Thus, to an extent, everything that women contributed to the war was done on a "voluntary" basis. Many perceived that wartime women, particularly the young, had choices that their male counterparts, by and large, did not.

Perhaps this explains why, for all the praise of women's undeniably important work for their wartime societies, the postwar world was unwilling to accord it equal recognition. Grayzel, Susan R.

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International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. DOI : Version 1. By Susan R. Susan R. It does not therefore fully incorporate scholarly work that has appeared since that date and particularly in non-English language sources. Family, Work and Welfare in Europe, , Cambridge , pp. The Maternal Dilemma, New York Female Bolsheviks and Women Workers in , London Authority, p. Women in Scottish Society, Edinburgh Essays on Discourse and Class Analysis, Urbana , pp.

Daniel, Ute: The war from within. Darrow, Margaret H. War stories of the home front , Oxford; New York Berg. Davis, Belinda: Home fires burning. Downs, Laura Lee: Manufacturing inequality. Fell, Alison S. Greenwald, Maurine Weiner: Women, war, and work. Gullace, Nicoletta F. Hanna, Martha: Your death would be mine. Healy, Maureen: Vienna and the fall of the Habsburg Empire.

Jensen, Kimberly: Mobilizing Minerva. Pedersen, Susan: Family, dependence, and the origins of the welfare state.

Civil War through Reconstruction, 1861 through 1874

Proctor, Tammy M. Rupp, Leila J. The making of an international women's movement , Princeton Princeton University Press. Thom, Deborah: Nice girls and rude girls.

Woollacott, Angela: On her their lives depend. Citation Grayzel, Susan R. Metadata Subjects. Author Keywords. GND Subject Headings. LC Subject Headings. Rameau Subject Headings. Regional Section s. Thematic Section s. Images "Halt the Hun! Liberty Loan campaign, poster. Aux Femmes du Canada, recruitment poster. All for War! Wish I Were A Man, recruitment poster, Unloading artillery ammunition, American peace delegates to the International Congress of Women, Navy Recruiting Station, poster.