By Patricia Richard

Targeting middle-class women's contributions to the northern Civil warfare attempt, Patricia Richard exhibits how ladies applied their energy as ethical brokers to form the way in which males survived the ravages of conflict. Busy fingers investigates the ways that white and African American girls used photographs of relations and family lifestyles of their reduction efforts to counter the results of prostitution, playing, profanity, and ingesting, threatening men's postwar civilian health. Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs of Civil warfare nurses, sanitary employees, squaddies, and the warriors' reduction societies, Richard develops a brand new standpoint on household effect at the battle, as girls sought to save lots of squaddies from the hazards of the army international.

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Extra info for Busy Hands: Images of the Family in the Northern Civil War Effort (The North's Civil War, Issue 26)

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Historian Katherine Kish Sklar explains that domestic expert Catharine Beecher took Child’s concerns about rebellious behavior a step further by investing women’s maternal duties with national importance. Beecher realized even more than Child that the family represented the model of behavior for citizens of a democracy. Women submitted to the will of their husbands, but mothers in turn wielded power over the management of their homes and their children, just as citizens submitted to the governments of their towns, their states, and their country.

Historians suggest that working-class men may have demanded that their wives work in the home so that they could use that factor as a bargaining chip to ask for a “family wage” from their employers. 19 The working classes did not stress female virtue as much as the middle classes did, but trade unionist William Sylvis made it clear that women had a special mission. ”20 Furthermore, the working classes believed in the sanctity of the home and yearned for home ownership, if for no other reason than as a place of autonomy and a place to reassert family and class obligations.

P. Smith predicted a similar outcome in a “Pastoral Letter” they presented at the meeting of the Massachusetts General Association of Congregationalist Churches in June 1864. They asked their audience to consider the moral outcome of the present conflict. ” Elisha Weaver, the editor of the African American weekly the Christian Recorder, also realized the impact that the soldiers’ condition would have on the Northern society. 10 CORRUPTION ABOUNDS 45 These men recognized the devastating results of the war’s corrupting influences on young men.

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