Women In The Civil War- Women In An Era When Women Could Not Vote, Hold Bank Accounts Or Take A Direct Role In Business.
The historian Nina Silber has argued that although Northern women’s civic participation was encouraged and did expand because of the Civil War, there still remained obstacles to women’s involvement in the public sphere. Not only were they deprived of their breadwinners, often causing hardship, but their involvement was also predicated on their serving the government, not the government serving their needs.
Poorer women were often far more vulnerable to the war’s devastation than were elite slave holding women. The wives and children of yeomen farmers had far fewer resources to draw on when left to their own devices, and many experienced food shortages as early as 1862. Governor Joseph E. Brown's papers are filled with letters from indigent women seeking relief, in terms of either food and farm supplies or exemptions for their husbands and other male relatives from military service. Neither sort of request met with much response from the state government until the war’s midpoint, when it implemented sporadic efforts at relief for soldiers’ wives and widows through the distribution of corn or grain, and sometimes money. Wives of deserters or Unionists in the South were usually denied any share in such relief.
Sources: Library of Congress and Frank, Lisa T. “Women during the Civil War.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 28 August 2013. Web. 17 November 2013. Photo: Unidentified Union Soldier And Unidentified Woman