By Cokie Roberts

ISBN-10: 0062199285

ISBN-13: 9780062199287

During this engrossing and informative significant other to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil conflict via supplying a riveting examine Washington, D.C. and the studies, effect, and contributions of its girls in this momentous interval of yank history.

With the outbreak of the Civil struggle, the small, social Southern city of Washington, D.C. chanced on itself stuck among warring aspects in a four-year conflict that may be certain the way forward for the United States.

After the statement of secession, many desirable Southern ladies left the town, leaving their friends—such as Adele Cutts Douglas and Elizabeth Blair Lee—to grapple with issues of safety and sanitation because the capital was once remodeled into a massive Union military camp and later a sanatorium. With their husbands, brothers, and fathers marching off to battle, both at the battlefield or within the halls of Congress, the ladies of Washington joined the reason in addition. And extra ladies went to the Capital urban to enlist as nurses, provide organizers, reduction employees, and newshounds. Many risked their lives making munitions in a hugely flammable arsenal, toiled on the Treasury division printing dollars to finance the struggle, and plied their needlework abilities on the army Yard—once the only real province of men—to stitch canvas gunpowder baggage for the troops.

Cokie Roberts chronicles those women's expanding independence, their political empowerment, their crucial position in maintaining the Union unified throughout the battle, and in supporting heal it as soon as the scuffling with used to be performed. She concludes that the conflict not just replaced Washington, it additionally without end replaced where of women.

Sifting via newspaper articles, govt documents, and personal letters and diaries—many by no means prior to published—Roberts brings the war-torn capital into concentration during the lives of its bold girls.

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Additional info for Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868

Sample text

Often out of economic necessity, new women replaced traditional family roles of wife, mother, or spinster aunt with improvised careers in new fields. The availability of higher education for thousands of young women, representing nearly 37 percent of college students by the turn of the century, led to lifelong careers for many women, not just temporary jobs designed to fill the time between school and marriage. 1 The new woman who, like Edith Guerrier, chose to remain single also created a new kind of family unconnected by ties of kinship.

Almost as soon as her father gave up the struggle of trying to make a home for her, she took on the task of trying to make a home for him, which became increasingly difficult as he declined in health and spirits. Her search for home finally ended in 1915 with the building of the Paul Revere Pottery on Nottingham Hill. " Both young women of native stock who migrated to the city from declining farms and young women immigrants from Nova Scotia and Europe found themselves on their own. They could not depend on families with limited incomes to support them, nor did they always see marriage as a viable economic solution.

69). It was her example as a new woman not dependent on anyone else for economic support that she presented to be emulated. Undoubtedly Edith Guerrier's unusual childhood kept her from trying to exercise social control over the young Jewish and Italian women of the North End by limiting their aspirations to practical goals. Instead, she wanted each woman to experience high culture. Guerrier's childhood and youth were filled with so many discontinuities in location, social class, and economic level that the only conclusion she could have reached was that achieving quality of life was up to her and, by extension, that any young woman's future lay in her own hands.

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Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts

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