Authors

Megan E. McNish '16, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2014

Department

History

Abstract

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]

Comments

This paper was written for Prof. Magdalena Sanchez's Hist 300: Historical Method course, Spring 2014.

It was also the recipient of the Greninger Prize, 2014.