We Were There Too! Women Soldiers in the American Civil War: How Three Brave Women Defied the Social Norm and Joined the Army
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SubjectUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women; Women in war
My paper examines the role of women soldiers in the American Civil War. More specifically, I will highlight the history of three women and the brave roles they played fighting for their causes during the Civil War. History overlooks a branch of women who served their country just as bravely as men. Sarah Edmonds, Loreta Velazquez, and Sarah Wakeman. They defied the social norm at the time by disguising themselves as men to serve as soldiers. Indeed, women served just as bravely as men in battle, so bravely in fact that their fellow comrades did not think twice that it was a woman they were serving with. They went above and beyond the call of duty, often times taking on dangerous jobs that men did not want to do, such as spy work. These women had an unwavering loyalty and patriotism to "the cause" and proved that they could do a man's job, therefore proving that they were equal to men on the battlefield. This paper will investigate why women chose soldiering and or spy work over more traditional roles and how they challenged traditional forms of work, pay, and the definition of a what it meant to be a woman in the 19th century which what defined and dictated by the Cult of True Womanhood. For Edmonds, Wakeman, and Valzquez different circumstances drove them to join. Mostly it was for adventure, to make a better life for themselves economically, or as a means to escape something; such as an arranged marriage, a dull life, or the death of one's entire family.