A different view of “his” story: women in the civil war


Traditionally, scholars and historians have overlooked the role of women during the Civil War. Randy Neilson/UVU Review

A case to attend Sibler’s lecture

On Wednesday, Dr. Nina Sibler is coming from Boston University to speak on the role which gender played in the Civil War.

For most people, this isn’t an attention-grabbing topic, but it is an opportunity to glimpse a mostly ignored part of history.

Mainstream ideas and views are, by definition, widely accepted. They tend to be so universal that we accept them as fact, regardless of their origins or truthfulness.

We often can’t see around that idea unless someone comes along with a different outlook. When we get that rare chance, we need to embrace it.

When we think of active roles of women in past wars, one of the first images that comes to mind is of Rosie the Riveter from World War II.

If you happen to study history, maybe the widow Mrs. Bixby becomes the face of women in the Civil War. Bixby was a mother who made the sacrifice of sending five sons to war, and received a letter of condolence after their loss.

The image we have of women in the Civil War is of a passive mother. They are present, but overshadowed by the names of Grant, Lee, Meade, Jackson and Lincoln.

In high school history we study the generals and leaders from both sides. We know what the male role of the war was in detail, but very little of the women’s can be found in most textbooks.

Prior to World War II, history generally doesn’t make much of the role of women in war. Men fought, commanded and planned, while women stayed home tending to matters there.

Dr. Sibler argues that women play an important part in creating the ideology that helped determine the war’s outcome.

Women in the Civil War laid the groundwork for future generations to build on. They created the sense of patriotism and nationalism that welded the states together. They ultimately paved the way for our current society, even if their part was upstaged at the time.

Having Dr. Sibler speak here is a rare opportunity to correct our assumptions about the unimportance of women in the Civil War.

Dispelling an ignorant misconception is worth more than the time to attend the lecture this Wednesday.

Student Lecture
Sept. 22
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Sorensen SC 206C

Public Lecture
Sept. 22
7:00 p.m.
UVU Lecture Hall
LI 120W

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