Megan E. McNish '16, Gettysburg College
Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
The American Civil War thrust Victorian society into a maelstrom. The war disrupted a culture that was based on polite behavior and repression of desires. The emphasis on fulfilling duties sent hundreds of thousands of men into the ranks of Union and Confederate armies. Without the patriarchs of their families, women took up previously unexplored roles for the majority of their sex. In both the North and the South, females were compelled to do physical labor in the fields, runs shops, and manage slaves, all jobs which previously would have been occupied almost exclusively by men. These shifts in society, though not experienced by all families, shook the very foundation of Victorian culture. In this sense, as men left to preserve their lifestyles, women were forced to move outside of their typical socially normative roles, which exposed their society to alteration during the war. [excerpt]
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
McNish, Megan E., "A Changing Force: The American Civil War, Women, and Victorian Culture" (2014). Student Publications. 257.