North & South grown apart – different labor systems, economies, social & political values;

Northern abolitionists increased criticism of slavery, South defended it with increased vigor;

1860 Abraham Lincoln president – vowed not to let slavery expand into new states;

South felt politically vulnerable – worried violent slave uprisings.

independent nation, Confederate States of America;

War April 1861. 

Claims more than 600,000 lives, white & black;


Black women & children abandoned - fled to Union army camps;


North & south women formed thousands of aid societies – get clothes, food, medical supplies to troops; 

North collected $15 million worth, raising money door to door, selling needlework, holding concerts;


women ran farms & businesses;

U.S. Treasury Dept hires women to replace male clerks;

Lincoln approved of hiring war widows;

Criticism of their morals, worried about women as distraction – fired at war’s end;


South women new public visibility;

New Orleans mainly female population;

sewing bees to make rebel banners, taught schoolchildren rebel songs, 

pinned Confederate flags to dress,

spit at Union soldiers;


3,200 women nurses:

example of British Florence Nightingale;

Doubts about whether proper for “refined modest ladies” to care for “strange men and crude soldiers from all walks of life.” 




Union Army appointed Dorothea Dix superintendent of female nurses;

1840s Dix teacher who visited Mass. Jail – horrified that mentally ill thrown in with criminals;

establishment of 32 mental hospitals;

war nurses experience as administrators; great risk;


women as spies; soldiers disguised as men;

cooking & laundry;

Union General Joe Hooker;


1863 Stanton & Anthony - National Women’s Loyal League (NY) Stanton: “woman is vitally interested and responsible with men for the final settlement of this problem of self-government.”

Openly political –  criticized Pres. Lincoln for not acting boldly enough;

Jan 1, 1863 Lincoln - Emancipation Proclamation – freed only slaves in states under Confederate rule – not “border states” like Maryland;

women urged passage of 13th Amendment to Constitution to abolish slavery;

NWLL 5,000 members, met weekly.  Speaking tours, collected almost 400,000 names on petition for 13th Amendment.

Anthony called for League to demand women’s suffrage as their “birth right of freedom”  - resolution passed, but scared away many members;


Post Civil-War society

Southern “black codes”; race riots in Memphis, New Orleans; Ku Klux Klan;


- 1870 15th amendment: "The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude".


National Association of Colored Women