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The Civil War and the Southern Belle
New York Times, by Karen Abbott

Original Article

Posted By:StormCnter, 8/19/2014 5:21:47 AM

In the beginning of the war, Southern women wanted their men to leave — in droves, and as quickly as possible. They were the Confederate Army’s most persuasive and effective recruitment officers, shaming anyone who shirked his duty to fight. A young English immigrant in Arkansas enlisted after being accosted at a recruitment meeting. “If every man did not hasten to battle, they vowed they would themselves rush out and meet the Yankee vandals,” he wrote of Southern women. “In a land where women are worshipped by men, such language made them war-mad.” Newspapers printed gender-bending cartoons that drove the point

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: DaddyO, 8/19/2014 6:04:23 AM     (No. 9971392)

I read a diary from a widowed plantation owner in south carolina during the early days of the war. She disliked slavery but hated Lincoln, ´that devil´. She was also perplexed that after all the good she had done her slaves, some of them still hated her.

She was not a war monger, she thought nothing good could come of the war. Either the south would be defeated or the country that she loved would be permanently split in two.


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Reply 2 - Posted by: Country Boy, 8/19/2014 6:44:18 AM     (No. 9971409)

FTA "The Northern press ran a widely reprinted cartoon called “sowing” and “reaping,” chiding Southern women for “hounding their men on to Rebellion” and then complaining about its effects."

Hadn´t heard of that, maybe true.

As far as non-enlisted men being shunned by the local women, same was true in WWII. My FIL (1917-1997) had a draft deferment, a highly skilled machinist, ran an assembly line which manufactured tank shells. Forty or so women worked for him. Was never drafted, but enlisted anyway.

In his later years he always explained "At home, nobody to go drinking with. Had to sign up." But it was really because he was being shunned.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: bubby, 8/19/2014 7:40:52 AM     (No. 9971453)

#2 my Dad had the same experience. He went and enlisted in the US Air Force at the beginning of WWII wanting to be a pilot. But when the Air Force found out he was a Metallurgical Engineer and knew how to make steel and speciality steel then his enlistment was denied to his great shame. He spent the war making steel while all his friends went off to war. It bothered him all his life.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: MattMusson, 8/19/2014 8:12:33 AM     (No. 9971484)

If they had only known their homes would be burned - their silver and the family bible would be stolen and shipped back to Pennsyvania, that their cattle would be killed and crops destroyed - they may not have been so quick to advocate for war.

But - war is hell. Women get raped. Civilians are shot and deliberately starved to death. And, that Bast#rd Sherman gets a statue on the Capital steps.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: PoliticalJunky, 8/19/2014 8:35:38 AM     (No. 9971508)

Sherman has been much maligned. Grant sent him on a mission that ended the war. Would McClelland have done better? He loved his troops so much he could not bear to use them. At one point Lincoln asked him if he could borrow the army since he was not going to use it.

Of course, I am a Yankee woman and on encountering the Southern belle after I moved South I did not care for her. Since I helped my husband dig a pit for our septic tank she did not care for me either.

During WWII I left my office job and spent two and a half years running a Pratt & Whitney tooth grinding machine making gears for use as test gears and master gears to be used in the production department. I have the deafness to prove it. The constant roar did not deafen me me for many years but fnally caught up with me. I do not regret it.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: thelmalou, 8/19/2014 8:43:12 AM     (No. 9971520)

There was, of course, a third option that some women took: the unspeakable faux pas of marrying a Yankee.

hahahaa It still is a faux pas. Kinda. Not really, but... hahahaaa


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Reply 7 - Posted by: StormCnter, 8/19/2014 9:01:15 AM     (No. 9971548)

#5, I love you, but I wish you would not generalize. All us southern belles are not the same. I´m sorry your experience was a bad one.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: bezalel, 8/19/2014 9:59:06 AM     (No. 9971648)

How nice. Another revision of Southern ´history´ brought to you by the ever-truthful New York Times bestseller crowd. Just the thing for those wishing to have their bodice-ripping fantasies populated by ´empowered´ women who ´broke rules´ to find their ´perfect man´. The stuff of ´Boston marriages´, indeed!

Not to be completely negative, the authoress does display an authentic rip-worthy bodice, which I´m sure adds to her NYT marketability, if not her academic credibility.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: Carolina Kat, 8/19/2014 10:44:09 AM     (No. 9971730)

This Southern Belle just loves it when the NYT authoritatively writes about something it not only despises with the cold hatred of thriving bigotry, but with purchase on myth that would make an ancient Greek blush.

Dixie Carter took this on in "Designing Women" three decades ago, when the NYT published an article saying Southerners ´liked to eat dirt´. People who buy it are looking for the gratification that comes from feeling superior to someone else.

#5 - my mother-in-law describes a similar experience, and I´m sorry for you both that you allowed it to harden into a prejudice, albeit readily reinforced by complicit media like the NYT and Hollywood.

"In a land where women are worshipped by men" - eye roll - "war-mad" - I´m dumber from having read that.


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Reply 10 - Posted by: EnsignOToole, 8/19/2014 10:53:34 AM     (No. 9971749)

I was once a proud Northerner - born and raised in Indiana. My grandfather, who was born in 1858 and died in 1950 when I was nine years old, always seemed a big mystery to me. He was in his late 80´s and early 90´s when I remember him, and he never held a conversation with me - he was simply old.

Fortunately, my father told me stories about his dad so that I had a sense of history. When Grandpa was seven years old, his father (my great grandfather) took grandpa to see Abe Lincoln as his train made a stop in Logansport, Indiana. Lincoln spoke from the back of his train as was his custom. My guess is this was probably Lincoln´s last trip just before he was assassinated.

Once I learned this little nugget of family history, I was "hooked" on American history.

Until recent years, I had been a staunch Yankee; however, having lived most of my married life on the Eastern side of Michigan I don´t feel so "staunch" any more. The progress in American business and manufacturing is due in large part to farsighted inventors who happened to reside in the Wolverine state, and I am grateful and proud of them.

Unfortunately, the labor unions overshadowed the inventors, business, and industry. Unions were initially helpful to middle class Americans but have now set back much of the North. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York all are worse off because of labor unions, which may have led to the corruption in those states, IMHO.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623, 8/19/2014 11:41:52 PM     (No. 9972888)

Well, la de da. That´s just special coming from the Yankee Times.

Coming from a burned out county, I´m not so forgiving.

I read a northern soldier´s diary for hours one Saturday. One, he got his pay in three days and things haven´t improved all that much. Second, he liked his ´man servant´ from Savannah so much that he was taking him home to NY when the poor man was shot.
Yeah huh. You can call servants whatever you like.



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