This free curriculum unit from the New-York Historical Society delves into the ways women participated in all aspects of the Civil War and on both sides of the conflict, from the early debate over the expansion of slavery through the end of federal Reconstruction. Materials examine this pivotal moment in American history through the experiences of diverse women and consider how the war and then Reconstruction policies shaped their lives.
This short video presents Dolley Madison as a typical member of the antebellum slaveholding gentry. Dolley, like her southern contemporaries, saw slaves as property. Professor Catherine Allgor notes that when Dolley Madison began selling her slaves in the 1840’s, she was strongly criticized by the abolitionist press.