Patriotic Toil: Northern Women and the American Civil War

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Cornell University Press, 1998 - History - 294 pages
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During the Civil War, the United States Sanitary Commission attempted to replace female charity networks and traditions of voluntarism with a centralized organization that would ensure women's support for the war effort served an elite, liberal vision of nationhood. Coming after years of debate over women's place in the democracy and status as citizens, soldier relief work offered women an occasion to demonstrate their patriotism and their rights to inclusion in the body politic. Exploring the economic and ideological conflicts that surrounded women's unpaid labors on behalf of the Union army, Jeanie Attie reveals the impact of the Civil War on the gender structure of nineteenth-century America. She illuminates how the war became a testing ground for the gendering of political rights and the ideological separation of men's and women's domains of work and influence. Attie draws on letters by hundreds of women in which they reflect on their political awakenings at the war's outbreak and their increasing skepticism of national policies as the conflict dragged on. Her book integrates the Civil War into the history of American gender relations and the development of feminism, providing a nuanced analysis of the relationship among gender construction, class development, and state formation in nineteenth-century America.
 

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Contents

Prologue
1
Seventh Reg1ment Marching Down Broadway April 16 1861
16
Tapping Female Patriotism
19
Design for a New Fancy Ball Character Suggested by the
28
Great Meeting of the Ladies of New York at The Cooper Institute
41
A Nationalist Elite
50
Henry Whitney Bellows
56
Dr Elizabeth Blackwell
85
Managers Canvassers
147
Womans Central Relief Association officers at Cooper Union
152
The USSC Confronts
170
Louisa Lee Schuyler
185
Branch Autonomy and Local Civic Pride
198
Grand Hall at the Metropolitan Fair
209
The USSC Retreats
220
Sanitary Commission wagons leaving Washington for the front
231

Organizing the Homefront
87
Making Havelocks for the Volunteers
97
Members of the Soldiers Aid Society Springfield Illinois
112
Homefront Charges of Corruption
122
Heroes and Heroines of the War
127
Appraising Female Warwork
248
Exterior of the Womans Central Relief Association office
265
Bibliography
277
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About the author (1998)

Attie is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University.

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