Gender and the wars of nation-building and nation-keeping in the Americas, 1830s-1870s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The middle decades of the nineteenth century in the Americas were marked by dramatic warfare in the name of nationalism. The two most important conflicts were the US-Mexican War and the American Civil War. Both participants and observers interpreted the causes and outcomes of these most important conflicts as crucial to gender relations. As this chapter demonstrates, war and martial masculinity were often mutually reinforcing during wartime, while more restrained practices of manhood gained precedence after war’s end. Practices of womanhood were also shaped by the demands of war, leading in many cases to short-term increases in female autonomy and authority. In the long term, however, women rarely benefitted from the larger equation that citizenship was grounded in military sacrifice. Female subservience was ensured by a widespread division between public and private that granted authority and the right to privacy to male heads of households within their domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Gender, War, and the Western World since 1600
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780199948710
StatePublished - Nov 10 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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