The Civil War: A Women’s Time to Shine

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The Civil War was a defining point for the United States. The people of America were forced to step back and reevaluate what defined the American Citizen: a person with the rights and privilege to cast a vote for what or who he believes in. The key word here is “he”. The Civil War brought freedom and rights to African Americans, yet it had no directly positive effect on women’s rights. While African Americans were seeing their lives and futures change, to many observers the women’s rights movement seemed barely impacted by the astounding transformations of the Civil War. This idea is not completely accurate. Women did not accomplish much on the legal front, but fundamentally they were able to make great achievements. By stepping out of the normal social expectations of women to support their side during warfare, they were able to change the perception people held of women and even the perception they held of themselves. Thus, although the Civil War appeared to have minimal impact on the woman’s right’s movement, it actually benefited women by transforming their role in society.

Many people believe that the Civil War did not advance or was even detrimental towards the women’s rights movement. After all, the Civil War, a fight to free the slaves, had little to no focus on women. The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified [in] 1870 after the close of the Civil War, stated: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude“(The Constitution).This final clause failed to include sex, as the government viewed African American rights and women’s rights to be two separate issues. Abraham Lincoln himself had even be...

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...ormally held by women, many people began to feel different about the rights women deserved. During the war, women were forced out of their typical roles and forced to look at themselves in a new light: as independent beings that deserved the rights of an American citizen.

Works Cited
Chang, Ina. Separate battle women and the Civil War. New York: Lodestar, 1991. Print.

"Hearts at Home: War Work." University of Virginia Library. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. .

Herstory: women who changed the world. New York: Viking, 1995. Print.

Sigerman, Harriet. Unfinished battle American women, 1848-1865. New York: Oxford UP, 1994. Print.

"Women's Suffrage - Women's History Month -" The History Channel - Home Page. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. .
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