In his book ‘Weirding the war’, Stephen Berry provides his reflections on the antebellum period from his experiences and those of the people around him. He focuses on the prevailing attitudes which dominated people’s thinking during this era…
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He also addresses other pertinent issues like analyzing whether the civil war played a part in destroying or reinforcing the cult of domesticity in America. Finally, a review of other author’s books is done to see whether they can gladly be explained by Stephen’s ‘weirding’ the war ideology (Berry, 2011). The definition of gender roles provides a description of these roles as being, the different duties assigned to an individual based on their gender. Gender is a socially constructed term used to refer to an individual’s social or legal status. Its ascription is on the basis of the biological dispositions which differentiate men from women. The antebellum attitudes affected the gender roles as seen in the three different articles. A general background appraisal of the attitudes which existed during this era clearly shows the disparities present in the gender roles assigned to different people. These disparities influenced the day-to-day interactions of different people. The formation of attitudes is as a result of influence from different factors such as, political alliances, economic status or race. For example, race influenced people’s attitudes in a tremendous way. ...
The formation of political alliances also played a great role in the formation of people’s attitudes. The Southern states possessed different political ideologies from the Northern states which created tension and culminated in the start of the Civil war. One of these ideologies was; the Northern states advocated for the abolishment of the slave trade whereas the Southern states seemed to be profiting from slavery. “The Tale of the Three Kates” by LeeAnn Whites illustrates the way economic status also influenced the formation of people’s attitudes especially in relation to gender roles. The antebellum society's influence was from the male culture which affected all sectors of society. Meaning, men had the authority to own property, unlike women. Therefore, the roles assigned to men included those that allowed them to acquire property. In addition, the economic status ascribed to women depended on the status ascribed to their fathers or husbands (Berry, 2011). All the books also attempt to analyze whether the cult of domesticity experienced some effects by the civil war. This begs the question, what did the phrase ‘cult of domesticity mean’ in the first place. It referred to the pre-existing culture of the people living in the antebellum period. It confined women to play a domesticated role which included running the households and nurturing their children. On the other hand, the men worked tirelessly striving to make a living to support their families. It was, therefore, unheard of to find women working with the men in the different industries. However, this soon changed when the war started. It destroyed the cult of domesticity by redefining the roles ascribed to people based on their gender. The women had to fill in the vacant
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