The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Did people on the home front know there was a war going on?

Everyone—from the president to his coach driver, and from the most recent immigrant to a person who claimed Mayflower descent—knew there was a war going on. There was simply no avoiding the fact. Of course some people were able to live relatively normal lives, but many did not.

The reason that the war intruded on so many lives is that Americans were avid readers of newspapers and magazines. Literacy, in the highest sense of the word, may have been stronger in some parts of the United States in 1861 than it is in our world today. Lacking the distractions of television, computer, and radio, Americans were keen to know the news, and those who read three newspapers probably related their contents to two other persons.


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