Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War / Edition 1

Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War / Edition 1

by Catherine Clinton
     
 

No American needs to be told that the Civil War brought the United States to a critical juncture in its history. The war changed forever the face of the nation, the nature of American politics, the status of African-Americans, and the daily lives of millions of people. Yet few of us understand how the war transformed gender roles and attitudes toward sexuality

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Overview

No American needs to be told that the Civil War brought the United States to a critical juncture in its history. The war changed forever the face of the nation, the nature of American politics, the status of African-Americans, and the daily lives of millions of people. Yet few of us understand how the war transformed gender roles and attitudes toward sexuality among American citizens. Divided Houses is the first book to address this sorely neglected topic, showing how the themes of gender, class, race, and sexuality interacted to forge the beginnings of a new society.
In this unique volume, historians Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber bring together a wide spectrum of critical viewpoints—all written by eminent scholars—to show how gender became a prism through which the political tensions of antebellum America were filtered and focused. For example, Divided Houses demonstrates that the abolitionist movement was strongly allied with nineteenth-century feminism, and shows how the ensuing debates over sectionalism and, eventually, secession, were often couched in terms of gender. Northerners and Southerners alike frequently ridiculed each other as "effeminate": slaveowners were characterized by Yankees as idle and useless aristocrats, enfeebled by their "peculiar institution"; northerners were belittled as money-grubbers who lacked the masculine courage of their southern counterparts.
Through the course of the book, many fascinating subjects are explored, such as the new "manly" responsibilities both black and white men had thrust upon them as soldiers; the effect of the war on Southern women's daily actions on the homefront; the essential part Northern women played as nurses and spies; the war's impact on marriage and divorce; women's roles in the guerilla fighting; even the wartime dialogue on interracial sex. There is also a rare look at how gender affected the experience of freedom for African-American children, a discussion of how Harriet Beecher Stowe attempted to distract both her readers and herself from the ravages of war through the writing of romantic fiction, and a consideration of the changing relations between black men and a white society which, during the war, at last forced to confront their manhood. In addition, an incisive introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson helps place these various subjects in an overall historical context.
Nowhere else are such topics considered in a single, accessible volume. Divided Houses sheds new light on the entire Civil War experience—from its causes to its legacy—and shows how gender shaped both the actions and attitudes of those who participated in this watershed event in the history of America.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195080346
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.88(d)
Lexile:
1530L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Pt. IImperiled Unions
1The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender3
2The Politics of Yeoman Households in South Carolina22
Pt. IIMen at War
3Soldiering, Manhood, and Coming of Age: A Northern Volunteer43
4No Desperate Hero: Manhood and Freedom in a Union Soldier's Experience55
5"I's a Man Now": Gender and African American Men76
Pt. IIIWomen at War
6Arranging a Doll's House: Refined Women as Union Nurses97
7Acting Her Part: Narratives of Union Women Spies114
8"Missing in Action": Women of the Confederacy134
9Women and Guerrilla Warfare147
Pt. IVThe Southern Homefront
10Altars of Sacrifice: Confederate Women and the Narratives of War171
11"Since the War Broke Out": The Marriage of Kate and William McLure200
12The Children of Jubilee: African American Childhood in Wartime213
13Wartime Dialogues on Illicit Sex: White Women and Black Men230
Pt. VThe Northern Homefront
14Warwork and the Crisis of Domesticity in the North247
15Writing Out the War: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Averted Gaze260
Pt. VIThe War Comes Home
16Intemperate Men, Spiteful Women, and Jefferson Davis283
17Reconstructing Freedwomen306
18Reshaping the Bonds of Womanhood: Divorce in Reconstruction North Carolina320
Epilogue335
Bibliography341
Notes353
About the Authors415

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