Brill, KC (2022) The Rhetoric of Enslavement in White Confederate Planter Women’s Civil War Diaries (1861-65). Women's Writing. ISSN 0969-9082

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Recent historiography has shown how slaveholding white women in the antebellum South United States often played active and eager roles in the administration of slavery and used violence against enslaved persons. Building on this recent historiography, this article will show how in the American Civil War (1861-65), such white middle and planter class women not only played central roles in slavery on antebellum plantations, but how this rhetoric of enslavement played a central role in how these women discussed their own experiences of war in the Confederate South. Particularly from 1862, when the ideology of secession and nationalism met the material circumstances of surviving on a wartime home front, middle and planter class white women resorted to the language of secular and non-secular enslavement to convey their own lived wartime experiences. As both enslaver and ‘enslaved’, these planter women framed their wartime identities in the same system of power, violence and degradation they had been instrumental in sustaining before the war.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender; slavery; American Civil War; diaries
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
E History America > E11 America (General)
E History America > E151 United States (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 10:24
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2022 13:55

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