Civil War Talk Radio: April 3, 2009

by Brett Schulte on April 3, 2009 · 1 comment

Air Date: 040309
Subject: The Opposite Sexes in the Civil War
Book:  Gender and the Sectional Conflict
Guest: Dr. Nina Silber

Summary: Professor Nina Silber discusses the sexes and their differing roles and experiences in the Civil War.

Brett’s Summary: Dr. Silber teaches at Boston University.  She mostly teaches on the Civil War era and American Women’s history.  She wanted to learn more about why soldiers fought, and she found that gender played a significant part in this topic.  The rest of the first segment discussed the differing roles of the two sexes.

Northern men tended to place saving the Union even above their own families, whereas Confederate soldiers tended to keep family at the top of their priority list.  The Southerners were defending their homes, whereas Northern soldiers were typically in the South far away from their homes.  As the war began, the North was fighting for an abstraction, while the South was fighting for their very tangible homes.

Gerry asked what Dr. Silber meant by saying women’s patriotism is a contradiction in terms.  She asks, “How can women have an allegiance to the country when their first allegiance was to their families and homes.”  Interestingly, there is no evidence of marriages failing due to differences in opinion on the war.

In the third segment, Gerry asked about the tendency of soldiers to desert the closer they were fighting to home.  As Northern armies reached Southern soldiers’ homes, they tended to lose hope and give up the fight, because they were first and foremost fighting for their homes.  Silber believes Union soldiers, due to their war aim of fighting for Union, were better able to resist the pleas of their wives to give up the fight and come home.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

Check out more summaries of Civil War Talk Radio at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patrick Whalen April 17, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I have been a regular listener to CWTR for several years and have enjoyed every single show! Gerry is a great host and asks all the right questions.

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