Beyond the Brothers’ War

Gender and the American Civil War

Authored by: Carole Emberton

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315697185.ch4

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Abstract

It has become axiomatic among scholars of the American Civil War to think of that conflict as precipitating a “crisis in gender.” Early on, much of the new gender scholarship explored the expanding roles and increased public authority for women that resulted from wartime mobilization. More recently, however, historians have widened their focus to consider how gender shaped not only why war broke out in 1861, but also how the war was waged on the battlefield, in the halls of Congress, and in private homes north and south. As a result, investigations into the gendered dimensions of warfare have pushed the boundaries of military history, from what was once a narrowly defined field focused on commanders and engagements to more expansive and imaginative studies of the dynamics of military households, life in camp, and guerrilla warfare. The last two decades of historical scholarship on Reconstruction have also greatly enhanced our understanding of the intersections of race and gender in post-war struggles to democratize the former Confederacy and protect the civil and political rights of freedpeople. In sum, Civil War historians no longer assume a single crisis in gender but multiple, often overlapping crises that transformed the war and its meaning. 1

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