Summary Of Dixie's Daughters

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In Dixie’s Daughters Karen Cox describes the role the elite women in the UDC played in saving the “Old South” and vindicating the Confederacy. The Daughters, as they are better known, had to decide what their rightful role in society and the organization were, what type of non-traditional actions they were willing to take, and how they were able to reconcile the two opposing styles to achieve their goals. Cox describes throughout Dixie’s Daughters how the Daughters were extremely backward looking but also progressive in their actions, and how by embracing both sides the Daughters were able to be extremely successful in all of their endeavors. Southern women’s goal after the Civil War was a simple one: preserve the Old South. This preservation …show more content…

One of the main reasons the Daughters were able to accomplish such progressive thing was because of their power. Their work for the “lost cause” made them influential public figures, and when an organization is comprised of thousands of these people, it has immense power to do as it pleases. For example, when the Daughters built things such as the Robert E. Lee monument and the Missouri home, they had control over the projects because they had earned the money for it. The Daughters were also not afraid to remind people that because they had done the work to earn the money they had the power. Such was the case for the Arlington monument when it was only supposed to be handed over to the Daughters with the condition of a committee of men to oversee the project. However, the UDC came back and accepted the Arlington monument “without conditions” essentially giving women complete power over a major project, something very progressive for the time. This power translated into the political sphere, another very new and progressive thing for women right at the turn of the 20th century. Their political power was so great that presidents Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson all met with presidents of the UDC to discuss how the federal government could help their cause. This political power was used often to accomplish the goals …show more content…

For instance, the Daughters were able to be in charge of the monuments they built because it was considered “an extension of women’s domestic role as caretakers.” Additionally, event though the Daughters claimed they didn’t have a political agenda, the often became involved in politics if it was for a cause they believed in such as when the Daughters lobbied to preserve the Mississippi Old Capitol. Further, even though “Confederate motherhood” seemed to be strictly a social form from the past, it was actually rather progressive and political because women would have to meet with and persuade people such as state superintendents. The Daughters were successful because they were able to claim that their progressive action was to support their “Old South” values. This allowed members to use their skills to do as they wished “without fear of being criticized as ‘unfeminine.’” As Cox describes, “The UDC allowed Southern women to expand their own traditional sphere as they took an active, and very public, role on behalf of their Confederate ancestors.” By reconciling their traditional roles with their non-traditional activities, the Daughters were able to use their image as Southern ladies to accomplish what could only be done with progressive

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