The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Women’s Roles

Why are so many of the names associated with the war male names? Did women play any significant roles?

In the 1860s, and for perhaps a few decades after, America was very much a man’s country. Women were allowed to play roles behind the scenes, but practically all of the big decisions—at least those made in public—were decided on by men.

This was not unusual in the world of that time. Whether one traveled to China, to Australia, or toured Western Europe, he or she would usually see societies that practiced the same type of male domination in public matters. In answer to the second part of the question, women certainly played significant roles during the Civil War. It can be argued, in fact, that the war effort on both sides would have collapsed long before 1865 if not for the heroic actions of millions of women.


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