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Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age During the Civil War

Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age During the Civil War (Hardback)


£30.95
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Synopsis

Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age during the Civil War explores gender, age, and Confederate identity by examining the lives of teenage daughters of Southern slaveholding, secessionist families. Author Victoria E. Ott discusses how the loyalty of young Southern women to the fledgling nation, born out of a conservative movement to preserve the status quo, brought them into new areas of work, new types of civic activism, and new rituals of courtship during the Civil War.When differences between the North and South proved irreconcilable, Southern daughters demonstrated extraordinary agency in seeking to protect their futures as wives, mothers, and slaveholders. From a position of young womanhood and privilege, they threw their support behind the movement to create a Confederate identity, which was in turn shaped by their participation in the secession movement and the war effort."Confederate Daughters" reveals how these young women, in an effort to sustain their families throughout the war, took on new domestic duties and sought paid work outside their homes as a way of adjusting to the loss of slaves and to the financial strains of war.

Despite changing conditions on the home front, teenage daughters, Ott argues, continued to uphold marriage and motherhood as the pinnacle of Southern womanhood. Even as war threatened to disrupt this life course by creating a dearth of male suitors, they adjusted their courtship rituals and marital expectations to the wartime circumstances.Drawing on their personal and published recollections of the war, slavery, and the Old South, Ott argues that young women created a unique female identity different from that of older Southern women, the Confederate belle image. This transformative female identity was an important aspect of the Lost Cause mythology - the version of the conflict that focused on Southern nationalism - and bridged the cultural gap between the antebellum and postbellum periods.Augmented by twelve illustrations, this book offers a generational understanding of the transitional nature of wartime and its effects on women's self-perceptions. "Confederate Daughters" reveals how significant the experiences of teenage daughters were to the development of a new identity for women in the New South.

Victoria E. Ott is an assistant professor of history at Birmingham-Southern College. She has written numerous articles for various encyclopedias and contributed to The Great War in the Heart of Dixie: Alabama during World War I.

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