Discuss the changes the Civil War brought to civilian society.Discuss the changes the Civil War brought to civilian society.

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Most of these answers discuss changes during the war. It should be noted that once the slaves were freed, this was a huge change in society. The entire social structure of the South changed. The people had to adjust to not thinking of African Americans as chattel.
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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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2% of the US population died in that disaster of a war.  This would be the equivalent of over 6 million Americans today.  So a large percentage of families had to deal with loss of a loved one, women had to take larger roles on farms and in businesses while their husband was away.  Some states, such as Virginia and Georgia, had such widespread devastation that civilians were commonly refugees, forced to start over with nothing somewhere else.

I think it's safe to say the population of the South got used to doing without as the blockade and war effort took hold, and civilans overall had a much more jaded and realistic view of life and death than we do today.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Perhaps the biggest change brought on by the Civil War was the deprivation that the South experienced.  The South was not as well off as the North to begin with and the war made things worse.

For example, there was really bad inflation in the South during the war.  For example, the Confederate dollar dropped from being worth a dollar at the start of the war to being worth 1.6 cents by the end (Source: The American Pageant 11th Edition, p. 457).  This made it very difficult for people in the South to maintain any sort of wealth.

Another major problem was a lack of supplies.  As seen in the link below, there were major problems with lack of food in the South.  Things got so bad that there were bread riots in the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, and in other cities.

This lack of material goods and the inflation that came with it were major changes that the war brought to civilian society.

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