Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Reader/Committee Chair

Keating, Ryan


When past wars are discussed or taught in a mainstream setting, the focus is often on the soldiers, the battles, and the generals that led them. The topic of the people who passively lived through them is rarely included in the narrative and when it is, it usually pertains to the people on the winning side. During the Civil War, the Southern women made tremendous contributions on the home front. Although social construction of southern honor paved the way for patriotic expressions, as the war went on many women found themselves discarding these honorable gestures in favor of self-preservation. The ideology of Southern honor set social expectations for behavior. For men, honor was linked to the patriotic act of volunteering for military service and sacrificing one’s life for the cause. Women expressed honor in a variety of ways on the home front and, specifically for this study, took on domestic duties that they were unaccustomed to as a result of their class. The intention of my research is to demonstrate how women from various classes of the American Civil War South reacted to the war through the lens of a woman’s perceived societal duty as it pertained to the concept of southern honor. External sources such as peer pressure, government officials and media served to remind these women of what was expected of them. In turn, I will explore how women deviated from these social values as the war progressed.