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Social conditions of the civil war based on the books, March and Near Andersonville - Essay Example

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no. Date The prevailing social conditions during the civil war The civil war in America that lasted four years is one of the defining events in American history. Many analysts, however, tend to focus more on the political and economic aspects of the war, while paying little attention to social conditions during the war…
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Social conditions of the civil war based on the books, March and Near Andersonville
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Download file to see previous pages As the union side fought to liberate the slaves from the south, many men and women, according to Wood went to the south to offer literacy classes to the freed slaves, who had been denied access to education (23). This meant that families had to be separated as people enrolled in the Union army in order to offer whatever services they were qualified to give. For instance, according to Geraldine, March leaves his family to go to Oak Landing to offer literacy classes to the freed slaves. Similarly, Wood writes that Miss Kellogg also leaves home for South Carolina to work as a teacher to the freed slaves in that area (23). According to Wood, even Homer, the painter, enlists in the army to offer his artistic skills as evidenced by the letter he writes to his father stating how enthusiastic he is to join the army (18). For most of the people who took part in the war, the long absence from their families led to infidelity and family break-ups. A case in point is when March leaves his wife and four daughters to go participate in the war as a chaplain, hoping to make a difference. In the duration of the war, March falls in love with a young slave girl, Grace, during his time in the south. The living conditions during the war were also very deplorable, with basic commodities becoming increasingly scarce. Food for the common citizens, as well as the soldiers was scarce and housing was no where near luxurious. As Geraldine, states, when March goes to Oak Landing, he expects to find a well furnished house befitting of its previous owner, where he will be served good dinner. On the contrary, March finds a house devoid of a carpet, with a small table where the dinning table used to be, in addition to being served with greasy pork and watery sweet potato for dinner (95). Correspondingly, Wood writes about the condition of the George Washington estate, which is in a wreck, with vacant dark windows, and the trees in the compound are lifeless, as depicted by Homer’s painting (35). In addition, the conditions of the war did not favor the health of many people, as some returned home sick from the harsh climate or wounded by enemy soldiers. For example, Wood writes that Miss Kellogg had become very ill from tuberculosis and had to go back north, and it was obvious she was going to die soon (25). Indeed, Miss Kellogg does die as a result of the lung infection she contracts while working at South Carolina. As for those people who were unfortunately taken as prisoners of war by the confederates, they were imprisoned at Andersonville where the living conditions were horrific. As Wood states, diseases such as scurvy, smallpox, diarrhea, dysentery, among others broke out in the camp (32). Thousands died gruesome deaths and those who were able to withstand the condition came out very weak (ibid). During the war, some people enlisted in the army, not to fight for their side, but to fight the war based on personal ideologies. For instance, March, a native of New England, decides to join the Union Army as a chaplain eager to bring slavery to an end. He and his wife Marmee are strongly offended by the inhumane manner in which slaves are treated. As Geraldine writes, Marmee cannot stop weeping as she narrates to March how a slave had had been branded with a red-hot iron on his face (87). The rights of these slaves is what March believes in and in time, March joins the Underground ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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