As we saw during the Revolutionary War, war often changes the gender roles of women in American Society. During the Civil War, American women expanded their roles of “Angels of the Battlefield” to establish the American nursing. Other women participated in the war as spies or disguised themselves as soldiers. This week as you read your textbook and examine the images provided, think about how the war impacted societies image of “true womanhood” and gender roles. Look for similarities and differences between gender roles and gender images in between the North and the South. How did the war impact those attitudes?
Steps to complete the Assignment:
- Read “Visual Sources: Women on the Civil War Battlefields” in your textbook (pages 265-278).
- View a video segment from the PBS documentary: Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War.
- Write a 400-600 word essay that responds to the following questions - be sure to use examples to support your answers and demonstrate your understanding of the readings.
- What are the similarities in the images of women who served as Civil War nurses? What attitudes toward women help explain these similarities?
- Male soldiers are issued official uniforms to designate their rank and military affiliation. What similarities do you notice in Divers’s and Tubman’s outfits? How might this clothing have constituted a kind of informal uniform for women on the battlefield?
- The Civil War was fought between two cultures as much as between two economic and political systems. Do you detect patterns in the images and from the video of northern versus southern women? What do these differences tell you about the gender dimensions of the North-South divide?
- Taken as a group, do the images from the textbook and video indicate that the women who participated directly in the war did more to maintain or to undermine standard gender roles?
Submission: Post your essay to the discussion forum titled "Activity 5.4 - Women on the Civil War Battlefields."