Women's History the Passing Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2097 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

Although they were spaced a century apart, the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War shared similar implications, as both helped a new nation define itself in theory and geographically. The first forged a new nation, independent of Great Britain; the other preserved the political and geographic integrity of that new nation. Both had wide-reaching social, political, and economic implications for all Americans. However, women were classified as second-class citizens during and after both wars. The Civil War freed the slaves but did not offer women the right to vote. Although women served their cause in many ways: from assuming the business duties of their husbands in combat to dressing like men and taking up arms, "few people seemed to appreciate women's efforts," (201). In some ways these two wars impacted American women similarly. For instance, women became active in both wars, in some cases more vocal and passionate than their male counterparts. During both wars, women practiced scorched earth policies to help their side. Women were forced to work harder during and after both the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Furthermore, in spite of their efforts women's status within society did not improve, even after the Civil War. In fact, the Civil War in large part put a damper on women's rights issues: women interested in moral reform focused exclusively on abolition.

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However, the Civil War and the American Revolution did affect women differently. The generally improved economic conditions in the United States between these two wars meant that many women endured far harsher living conditions during the Revolution than during the Civil War. During the Civil War, women in the North faired fairly well: "Northern women were relatively fortunate they lived and worked in a prosperous and well-populated area ... And that most of the war's battles were fought far from their homes," (228). However, women in the South dealt with battles in their backyards and the immediate loss of personal property and livelihood. As a result, many Southern women were affected more strongly in the Civil War than in the Revolutionary War.

Term Paper on Women's History the Passing of Assignment

Black women were affected far differently by the Civil War than by the Revolutionary War. After the Revolutionary War, working and living conditions for slaves worsened. The boom in the cotton industry and subsequent industrialization meant that southern slave-owning plantations thrived. Slaveholders pushed African men and women harder and punishments for runaways and disobedience were cruel or fatal. The Civil War had a far greater impact on the lives of African women than did the Revolutionary War because of abolition and the 13th Amendment, especially southern black women.

On the other hand, the Civil War did not significantly improve the lives of African women. Although the 14th Amendment granted African men the right to vote, women of African descent, like their white counterparts, had no political power. Moreover, sharecropping was in many cases as hard as slavery. African women who fled to the north and to urban centers to find work were disappointed to find that racial discrimination prevented them from working in factories or from earning a decent living. Therefore, many women lived in abject poverty after the Civil War.

'During Reconstruction, ideas about American women would indeed undergo many modifications, but not drastic ones," (242). Women were still thought to inhabit separate spheres: their place was "in the home." However, women did make huge progress in education after the Civil War and increasing numbers of women became teachers. Therefore, these two wars did impact women differently: the Civil War marked potential new… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Women's History the Passing.  (2004, December 11).  Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/women-history-passing/19423

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"Women's History the Passing."  11 December 2004.  Web.  26 January 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/women-history-passing/19423>.

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"Women's History the Passing."  Essaytown.com.  December 11, 2004.  Accessed January 26, 2021.