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Free «Strong Women During the Civil War» Essay Sample

The Civil War was caused by economic, political and moral factors. The Northern manufacturers needed a high tariff, skilled labor, internal improvements, and a national bank. The Southern planters needed low tariffs, slave labor, state banks, and opposed internal improvements. Northerners opposed the extension of slavery to new states because they wanted political control of Congress, which made laws. Most Southerners favored the extension of slavery, because they, too, wanted to control Congress. Many Northerners believed the Constitution had created a Union – “one nation, indivisible” – that could not be dissolved. Southerners believed the states made the Union could unmake and secede. Abolitionists and others felt that slavery was an evil and must be eliminated. The South defended slavery by claiming it was established by God and quoted Bible passages to prove it.

With Lincoln’s election, seven states (South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia) seceded from the Union. They created The confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as president. Their constitution stated that: There would be Supreme Court. Sates would have more rights than the central government. Slavery was lawful. Lincoln refused to accept the dissolution of the Union and stated that war or peace as in the hands of the South. On April 12, 1861, Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The federal fort had been built years before to guard the harbor and was occupied by federal troops. Lincoln was determined to hold onto federal property in the seceded states and would not acknowledge the secession. Civil war therefore began. Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina seceded and joined the Confederacy.



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The Importance of Land

The results of the Civil war included the growth of Northern Business and Industry during the war and replaced Southern agriculture as the principal activity of the United States. The Homestead Act of 1862 provided free land in the West for those who settled on it and developed it. The South had not supported such legislation before war. Prior to the war southern routes for a transcontinental railroad were considered. The route approved after secession went from St. Louis to San Francisco. It would tie the industry of the East to raw materials and farm products of the West. The acts granted rights of way and land to the builders, thus providing government subsidies for the road’s construction. The federal government was proven more powerful than any state government. No state could secede from the Union. Three amendments to the Constitution ended slavery and gave equal protection of the laws and the vote to all males. Based on slavery, Southern Plantation Economy was destroyed forever. It was replaced by sharecropping. The Supreme Court in ex parte Milligan upheld the Constitutional rights of a civilian during wartime. The case established civilian rule as primary over military government even in times of war.

Scarlett, the protagonist in Gone with the Wind, even killed a man who tried to steal cotton from their land. Land is tantamount to wealth during their time. Scarlett even sacrificed her future by marrying someone for financial reasons just to be able to keep their land. Women during their time are considered to be meek and feminine but Scarlett was an exception. She did not mind taking care of the land just like what farmers do in order to help with the farming chores.

In Jubilee, Margaret Walker talked about Vyry, an African woman who struggled due to slavery. Jubilee discussed the African Americans labor under slavery for hundreds of years. Hetta was forced to marry John as a form of “gift” to be used in any way the man pleased. She was made a concubine and was sexually exploited by John who later on made her a baby-maker. While giving birth to her fifteenth child, Hetta passed away.

The Intelligence and Capabilities of Women

Women’s organizations date back to the antislavery societies in pre-Civil War America. The first generation of feminists – Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone and Susan Anthony – learned to organize, hold public meetings, and conduct petition campaigns as abolitionists. After the Civil War, women were successful in changing many state laws that abridged the rights of married women and otherwise, treated them as a “chattel” property of their husbands. Women were also prominent in the Anti-Saloon League, which succeeded in outlawing prostitution and gambling in every state except Nevada and provided a major source of support for the Eighteenth amendment (Prohibition). In the early century, the feminist movement concentrated on obtaining the vote (suffrage) for women. Today, the League of Women Voters – a broad based organization that provides information to voters-backs registration and get-out-the-vote drives and generally supports measures seeking to ensure honesty and integrity in government.

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Following the Civil War, many of the women who had been active in the abolitionist movement to end slavery turned their attention to the condition of women in the United States. As abolitionists, they had learned to organize, conduct petition campaigns, and parade and demonstrate. Now they sought to improve the legal and political rights of women. In 1869 the Wyoming territory adopted women’s suffrage; later, several other western states followed suit. But it was not until the Nineteenth amendment was added to the US Constitution in 1920 that women’s right to vote in all elections was constitutionally guaranteed.

The historical context of the Fourteenth Amendment implies its intent to guarantee equality for newly freed slaves but the wording of its Equal Protection Clause applies to ‘any person”. Thus the text of the Fourteenth Amendment could be interpreted to bar any gender differences in the law, in the fashion of the once proposed yet never ratified Equal Rights Amendment. But the Supreme Court has not interpreted the Equal Protection Clause to give the same level of protection to gender equality as to racial equality. Indeed, in 1873 the Supreme Court specifically rejected arguments that this clause applied to women. The Court once upheld a state law banning women from practicing law, arguing that “The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother.”

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The Overcoming of Adversity and Willpower

ndeed, Gone with the Wind is the story of a woman of great strength overcoming all odds to care for her family and herself. Scarlett marries a man she does not love in order to get the money to save Tara, their plantation. Scarlett disregards public opinion, buying and running two sawmills in order to maintain her family's financial security. When her sister and the house servants complain, Scarlett even works in the fields of Tara herself to ensure a good harvest of cotton. Most shocking, though, is when Scarlett kills a Yankee who has come to steal from Tara.

Scarlett is not the only strong female character in the story. It is Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's mother, who is the picture of Southern gentility. Her voice is "never raised in command to a servant or reproof to a child" yet is "obeyed instantly." (3) Symbolically, Ellen dies along with the plantation after the Yankees come through Georgia. Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett's sister-in-law, is also representative of a kind of quiet, gentile strength. She possesses an otherworldly kindness, and is a paragon of maternalism.

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Scarlett and Ellen are two great examples of women who exemplified great strength and willpower in spite of the adversities that they faced during their time in the movie Gone with the Wind. Scarlett chose to marry someone she did not love just to be able to have enough funds to sustain their land and plantation. She faced a lot of rumors from the judgmental people around her but she did not mind their opinions for all she wanted to give her family a better life.

Many changes occurred during band after the Civil War. In the political realm, political parties and different electoral machineries frequently appeared, coupled with the development of bureaucracy. In education, there was an expansion of learning opportunities, increasing literacy, and development of the indigenous educated elite. Religion became less important in many areas of thought and behavior, as traditional beliefs and practices were undermined. The traditional rights and duties connected with kinship were altered, if not eliminated, especially with a distant kin concerned. Finally, where economic stratification was a factor, mobility increased as the ascribed status became less important and the achievements counted for more.

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Diverse cultures blend as cities grow, impersonal bureaucracy expands, and people from various backgrounds combine to encourage diverse beliefs and behavior. Social institutions are changing and the societal fabric is undergoing transformation. Ideas become the center of social life, superseding material things of the modern era. The underlying contention is that modernity has failed to meet human needs, yet it has elevated the way of living of the people all over the world.

The Civil War greatly affected different sectors of the society including women’s movements. The women’s movement encounters several challenges in terms of globalization from economic standpoint. Some of the challenges include the widespread removal of economic activities from the family-community setting; the altered structure of the family in the face of the changing labor market and the involvement of women in the paid-labor sector. The difficulty was that it all happened so fast that traditional societies were unable to adapt themselves to it gradually.

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The women’s movement encounters a challenge in the task of diversifying the workplace, which can directly or indirectly affect a nation’s economic strategy for workforce. Women’s participation in the paid labor force of the United States has been increasing steadily throughout the twentieth century. No longer is the adult woman associated solely with the role of homemaker. Instead, millions of women – married and single, with and without children – are working outside the home. Although a majority of women are now part of the paid labor force, there are still some challenges in terms of job options within the workplace for the patriarchal nature has not been completely wiped off in spite of the Civil War.

Yet, women entering the job market find their options restricted in important ways. Particularly damaging to female workers is the occupational segregation or confinement to sex-typed “women’s jobs”. Entering such a sex-typed occupation places women in the “service” roles, which parallel the traditional gender-role standard, under which housewives serve their husbands. Thus, women remain underrepresented in occupations historically defined as “men’s jobs” which often carry much greater financial rewards and prestige than women’s jobs do.

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Women’s movements seek to promote a workplace that is very diverse in nature. Gender, ethnicity, religion, economic status, and political affiliations are very diverse. A workplace should hire women for top management positions, since this is considered a management strategy to educate employees that leadership capabilities are valued more than gender. One of the women’s movement missions is to work closely with various businesses and stakeholders to establish best practices and build and strengthen relationships. This mission is centered around workforce, workplace and marketplace, with a laser focus on underrepresented groups in leadership roles that would benefit the firm in achieving its business goals. Another aim is to create an inclusive work environment founded on the principles of mutual respect for individual differences, where diversity of thought, mind and experiences is valued and where people are promoted on their merits. Ideally, the workplace must ensure management accountability by establishing standard reporting mechanisms which are reviewed rigorously. The strategy is to utilize our diverse workforce to help clients, customers, and suppliers achieve their business goals by recruiting the highest quality people that mirror their customers and clients, the communities they serve, and the marketplaces they operate in. 


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