F. Effects of war on society
Inflation and public debt
In the South, runaway inflation plagued the Confederates, and overall, in the South
inflation went up to 9000%, as opposed to “just” 80% in the North.
A split U.S. brought up questions about the sharing of the national debt and the
allocation of federal territories.
Role of women
Women gained new advances in the war, taking the jobs left behind by men going
off to battle, and other women posed as men and became soldiers with their husbands.
Clara Barton and Dorothea Dix helped transform nursing from a lowly service to
a respected profession, and in the South, Sally Tompkinsran a Richmond infirmary for wounded
Confederate soldiers and was awarded the rank of Captain by Jefferson Davis.
Devastation of the South
The South was depending on foreign intervention to win the war, but didn’t get it.
While the European countries wanted the Union to be split (which would
strengthen their nation, relatively speaking), their people were pro-North and anti-slavery, and sensing
that this was could eliminate slavery once and for all, they would not allow any intervention by their
nations on behalf of the South. In the pre-war years, cotton production had been immense, and thus,
England and France had huge surpluses of cotton. As the North won Southern territory, it sent cotton
and food over to Europe. India and Egypt upped their cotton production to offset the hike in the price of
cotton. So, King Wheat and King Corn (of the North) beat King Cotton of the South, since Europe
needed the food much more than it needed the cotton.
Changing labor patterns
During Reconstruction, many small white farmers, thrown into poverty by the war,
entered into cotton production, a major change from prewar days when they concentrated on growing
food for their own families. Out of the conflicts on the plantations, new systems of labor slowly
emerged to take the place of slavery. Sharecropping dominated the cotton and tobacco South, while
wage labor was the rule on sugar plantations. Increasingly, both white and black farmers came to
depend on local merchants for credit. The postwar South remained overwhelmingly agricultural. As
under slavery, most rural blacks worked on land owned by whites. In early Reconstruction, many black
women, seeking to devote more time to their families, sought to withdraw from field labor, a decision