Women on the Warpath

Cavalry Charger

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#1
The Confederate Government responded to rioutous women by seeking to make their needs a budgetary priority and meet their demands via Government policy. I find the last line of the following extract very interesting:

'Like all the riots that hit the CSA that spring the one in Richmond was violent. But the response was everywhere the same: immediate public acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the women’s position and demands. In Atlanta The Intelligencer covered news of the riot under the headline “Relieve the Distressed.” For the first time, securing subsistence for soldiers’ wives and families emerged as a Confederate policy and budgetary priority. In coming months, government authorities— local, state and federal—moved to build a public welfare system that would dwarf anything undertaken in the Union.'

I find it interesting not only that they had the ability to do that, but also wonder how it was done.
Does anyone know any more about this subject and how women were impacted after the war when the period of Reconstruction began?

http://www.historynet.com/women-on-the-warpath.htm
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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#2
Ah The Bread Riots- we have a few threads here! :angel: It's a little erroneous of the article to state the government was responsive? NC stayed the course and sneered a bit at states which did not. Please no one become defensive-the Federal government failed too, albeit different reasons. Southern speculators sat on stocks of food and made an awful lot of money from shortage prices.

Hang on, will find threads. Remember Davis's famous speech to quell the riot, implying the women were not patriotic? Like taking one for the team?

It's a long kind of subject but am baffled by any claim soldiers' wives and families were taken care of. Program started for it but the government stopped it- except NC.
 

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#3
It's a long kind of subject but am baffled by any claim soldiers' wives and families were taken care of. Program started for it but the government stopped it- except NC.
Yes, that's what I was wondering about JPK. It says they 'moved to build' a system, so it's quite possible they weren't able to sustain it, or it was never instituted in the first place. It certainly sounds ambitious in that it would 'dwarf anything undertaken in the Union'.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#5
Yes, that's what I was wondering about JPK. It says they 'moved to build' a system, so it's quite possible they weren't able to sustain it, or it was never instituted in the first place. It certainly sounds ambitious in that it would 'dwarf anything undertaken in the Union'.

Rats, can't find the articles posted in a thread- ( you knew there would be articles! ). They're from Southern papers because of course a Northern paper would be snarky- like I said, Northern women lost homes and starved, too. Will dig!

There was a system, then someone stopped funding? You get the idea civilians came to the rescue when possible but no one had anything to give.
 

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Here is something on relief efforts by the government:

'Governments at the local, state, and federal level responded with unprecedented efforts to control prices, supply provisions, and ease suffering, and yet neither the Confederate government nor the Virginia state government found a way to take effective action against inflation, speculation, or extortion. Direct relief, free markets, city-sponsored stores, and other innovative measures came into being. Nevertheless, these efforts proved inadequate, and the very idea of being dependent on charity was unsatisfactory to the yeoman class. Consequently, the problems of poverty seriously undermined the war effort in Virginia and throughout the Confederacy.

Governments responded to poverty in unprecedented ways. As early as 1861 local governments encouraged donations for the poor and appropriated modest stipends to help those in need. Augusta County, for example, gave widows and children of soldiers $1 or 50 cents per week, respectively. Some localities issued small notes to increase the amount of money in circulation, a practice that the state legislature banned in 1863. These efforts expanded as the problem grew. By 1863 the state legislature supported local governments' efforts to help the poor by authorizing them to borrow up to $10,000 per one thousand white residents for poor relief.

Urban areas tried to alleviate hunger by expanding the supply of provisions. After the food riot, Richmond's leaders established a free store where poorer residents could exchange special tickets for needed goods. Other cities or towns included salt and fuel among the goods that they made available to the poor. In 1863 Lynchburg set up a public store that sold necessities to the poor at cost; customers could purchase one month's supply at a time. Lynchburg also offered a four-month's supply of salt to its taxpayers at below-market prices. The town of Staunton doubled its taxes in order to purchase meat, flour, and wood for the families of soldiers. In Charlottesville and Lynchburg, officials appropriated money that poor residents, faced with becoming homeless, could use to help pay their rent. Charity drives in these cities raised substantial sums to aid the poor.

By 1863 the Virginia legislature felt compelled to do more for poor relief. First it required railroad lines to give high priority to shipments of food and took action to limit the distilling of grain into alcohol. To aid families of soldiers, it also empowered local governments to use the tax-in-kind and local impressment to obtain food, with farmers being paid at price levels established by the Confederate government. Counties compiled lists of the indigent, and by the autumn of 1864 Campbell County was distributing each month twenty-five pounds of meat and twenty pounds of flour to its poor. In 1864 a new law appropriated $1 million to help families of soldiers in occupied areas, where local governments were not able to help. Another bill suspended state taxes.

But the greatest capacity for dealing with the crisis lay with the Confederate government. From time to time Virginians petitioned the Confederate administration to exempt hard-hit regions from conscription or to support transportation of food on the rails. Many individual requests were granted. Another possible step, which attracted great interest among the public, was price control. Confederate general John Winder attempted to control prices in Richmond under martial law in 1862. Although his efforts failed and were rescinded, the idea of price control was very popular, and a considerable public clamor for state action arose in 1863. Ultimately, the proposed step failed.

Potentially more important was the use of the tax-in-kind. After the national legislature passed this measure in the spring of 1863, the Confederacy began to take possession of large quantities of food. Local officials soon began to request that they be allowed to buy back some of the tax-in-kind at the below-market prices established under the impressment law. Because the Confederate government controlled the most food, it had the greatest ability to relieve suffering, and, although records are fragmentary, it is clear that the Confederacy provided some aid, at least for a time. But feeding the armies was always a higher priority. The commissary general of subsistence reported that "we have to elect between the army and the people doing without." As the crisis deepened, the War Department cut back on aid to civilians.

That meant that other measures by the Confederacy were palliatives, rather than solutions. When Congress revised the exemption for overseers, it required that the exempted planters supply specified amounts of meat or grain, at attractive prices, to selected civilians in their neighborhood. Other farmers were exempted on an individual basis, often with the condition that they supply food to those in need.'

https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Poverty_and_Poor_Relief_During_the_Civil_War#start_entry
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Thanks @JPK Huson 1863 . I was thinking there wouldn't be much to give, so what is stated in the article could add up to a kneejerk reaction by the Government, making it overly ambitious and therefore unsustainable. I will take a look at the threads.

You'll see the womens' point- so MUCH in warehouses, and much money made while they gave up their husbands to the war. Must have been infuriating. Guessing even the government couldn't touch the uber wealthy You'll love NC's approach. State's ' We eat or starve together, ladies ' perspective beats anything, North or South.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Well, part of the problem was ( get this! ) women were frequently not allowed to pay for goods in Confederate money- crazy. One riot ( maybe one of Richmond's ), included women carting away goods and stating they'd be happy to pay for it in Confederate money, and at a fair price. This information is from civilians in Southern papers, writing to complain soldiers' wives were in poverty.
 

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#10
women were frequently not allowed to pay for goods in Confederate money- crazy.
Maybe something to do with those selling the goods, realizing Northern money was more valuable in the uncertain economic climate.
Confederate general John Winder attempted to control prices in Richmond under martial law in 1862. Although his efforts failed and were rescinded, the idea of price control was very popular, and a considerable public clamor for state action arose in 1863. Ultimately, the proposed step failed.
I wonder why this proposed step failed? Big business wins out again?

I remember reading about defective uniforms being sold to the Union army as manufacturers tried to cut corners in order to garner a larger profit margin.

Things like these can be hard to fathom when you know the suffering that will likely ensue. Crazy indeed, JPK.
 

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The Confederate Government responded to rioutous women by seeking to make their needs a budgetary priority and meet their demands via Government policy. I find the last line of the following extract very interesting:

'Like all the riots that hit the CSA that spring the one in Richmond was violent. But the response was everywhere the same: immediate public acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the women’s position and demands. In Atlanta The Intelligencer covered news of the riot under the headline “Relieve the Distressed.” For the first time, securing subsistence for soldiers’ wives and families emerged as a Confederate policy and budgetary priority. In coming months, government authorities— local, state and federal—moved to build a public welfare system that would dwarf anything undertaken in the Union.'

I find it interesting not only that they had the ability to do that, but also wonder how it was done.
Does anyone know any more about this subject and how women were impacted after the war when the period of Reconstruction began?

http://www.historynet.com/women-on-the-warpath.htm
A couple of tidbits before the more informed drop in. The 'riots' were organized. It was a response to starvation conditions in a male organized society. The authorities were baffled because, like slaves, women were not members of the political society. The CSA is considered by some historians to be the largest and most intrusive government in North American until the 1930s. The conscription of white men at very high rates meant that poor farmers were impacted more than slave owners who could depend on the slaves to grow food. Also instead of food, the slave owner tended to grow cotton so there were food shortages.

More here
 

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jgoodguy

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Maybe something to do with those selling the goods, realizing Northern money was more valuable in the uncertain economic climate.

I wonder why this proposed step failed? Big business wins out again?

I remember reading about defective uniforms being sold to the Union army as manufacturers tried to cut corners in order to garner a larger profit margin.

Things like these can be hard to fathom when you know the suffering that will likely ensue. Crazy indeed, JPK.
In defense of the CSA, it was being eaten alive by the war. Simply not enough resources were available. The Slave labor ideology was anti-big government, needed bureaucrats were being drafted, resources not available, slave owners did their own thing and no one did it before. In the North, there were sufficient food and other resources so it was not as bad. Union widows were paid. The social fabric of the South was family oriented while the north was more organization oriented.
 
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In defense of the CSA, it was being eaten alive by the war. Simply not enough resources were available. The Slave labor ideology was anti-big government, needed bureaucrats were being drafted, resources not available, slave owners did their own thing and no one did it before. In the North, there were sufficient food and other resources so it was not as bad. Union widows were paid. The social fabric of the South was family oriented while the north was more organization oriented.
Well stated!
 

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#15
McCurry looks at the background to Secession, the arguments of both Unionists and Secessionists and the vision of leaders like Jefferson Davis and Thomas R. R. Cobb in articulation of a vision for their new pro-slavery state. In contrast to the idea we're often offered that slavery was in decline and would soon end, McCurry finds that Secessionists saw a new beginning for slavery as a "social system uniquely adapted for the conditions of the modern world." She quotes South Carolina historian William Henry Prescott, writing in 1859:

Slavery-our institution of it at least, is scarcely a half century old. It is just beginning its career,
Stephanie McCurry. Confederate Reckoning (Kindle Locations 149-150). Kindle Edition.
She points out that Jefferson Davis viewed political rights as something possessed only by white men and not by either slaves or women, a view confirmed by Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision. That view would perhaps explain Davis's later befuddlement in the Food Riots of Richmond, where he was unable to address the crowd of women rioters who had come to define themselves as a political force of Soldiers Wives. McCurry details the differences in the view of women in both North and South prior to the ACW:

In the North by i86o, agitation for the woman citizen's natural right of suffrage had, in conjunction with antislavery, already made serious political inroads. Increasingly women's continued exclusion had to be dignified by an argument. But nowhere in the nineteenth-century United States did any women's rights, not to mention demands for the vote, emerge outside of the context of antislavery politics. So in the South, where a proslavery agenda set the tone in politics and where politicians regularly dragooned marriage into the work of legitimizing slavery (as just another desirable form of domestic dependence suitable to the weak), women's status as citizens hardly mattered. There, politicians were habituated to thinking of women as existing at a remove from the body politic, as part of the family or the household, and not of the people and the citizens.

Stephanie McCurry. Confederate Reckoning (Kindle Locations 301-303). Kindle Edition.

View attachment 142425

 
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#16
A couple of tidbits before the more informed drop in. The 'riots' were organized. It was a response to starvation conditions in a male organized society. The authorities were baffled because, like slaves, women were not members of the political society. The CSA is considered by some historians to be the largest and most intrusive government in North American until the 1930s. The conscription of white men at very high rates meant that poor farmers were impacted more than slave owners who could depend on the slaves to grow food. Also instead of food, the slave owner tended to grow cotton so there were food shortages.

More here
Unfortunately for many Southern women and indeed for many Northern women they had to turn to " man's oldest profession" to feed their children.
One estimate was 1,500 prostitutes in Memphis alone.
Google prostitution in the Civil War and many articles pop up. No doubt we have past threads on this issue.
Leftyhunter
 

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#18
Region: Piedmont
civil-war-womens-riot.jpg


Year Erected: 2011

Marker Text: On April 11, 1863, during the American Civil War, sixty-five Columbus women armed with knives and pistols rallied at this site and marched down Broad Street raiding the stores of speculators before police could restore order. During the war many planters ignored the Confederate government’s plea to grow food crops and continued to focus on cotton production instead, which was much more profitable but resulted in a food shortage that hit southern urban women particularly hard. Hoarding food and other commodities by speculating merchants made problems even worse. Women responded by staging riots all across the South, including in every major city in Georgia.

Erected for the Civil War 150 commemoration by the Georgia Historical Society and the Georgia Department of Economic Development in 2010. https://georgiahistory.com/ghmi_marker_updated/civil-war-womens-riot/
 



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