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It was a very hard time for people, most did not have enough food to last the whole winter because they did not have any money for it. Most women, since the men where signing up for the army, planted crops, vegetables, and fruits. They would then store them for later use during the year like in the winter. For the people that had a lot of money it was not a hard time but it was harder,for everybody else, they were probably scrapping the barrel to get money for food and to find food.

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15y ago
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11y ago

Most people in the North, particularly those in New England and the Midwest, were scarcely affected by the Civil War. Business was booming, but so was inflation, since Lincoln's government was printing "greenbacks" (paper money) to pay for all the new indebtedness. The average man or woman was reminded of the war only when thumbing through the newspaper. (The people who put out the newspapers had to be careful, though: the Lincoln government loved to shut down newspapers and lock up journalists if they didn't seem sufficiently "loyal.")

In most of the South, after 1862 there was a shortage of almost all foodstuffs and other commodities. Ironically luxury items were often easier to get than food and clothing or war materiel. This was because blockade runners made more money shipping caviar and champagne than nails and toilet paper. Everything became very expensive. Inflation was four or five times as bad as it was in the North. Most of the American export capital had come from cotton before the war, so the Confederate government naturally assumed there would be lots of cotton money after secession. But then the Yankees moved into the Mississippi valley beginning in 1862. They seized all the cotton they could get--it was more valuable than ever, like fluffy white gold--and sold it to finance the war. The South found it increasingly hard to ship their own cotton abroad because of the tightening Union blockade. More than anything else, economic and commercial hardship was what killed the Confederacy. One thing they did have was freedom of the press--you could write whatever you wanted about Jefferson Davis and you wouldn't be arrested. Unfortunately free speech didn't fill empty bellies or Enfield rifles.

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15y ago

It depends on which side you are talking about. For the Northern women, their husbands and sons were off fighting battles during the war so many women had to take on factory work to manufacture supplies for their husbands. Since the North had more factories, northern women had to work there.

For the Southern women, it was worse than that. Only the rich Southerns owned slaves, and the families who did not own slaves so the women and children worked on the farms themselves, doing all of the jobs the men did. They also experienced shortages of food and necessary things like that. The worst things that could happen to the civilians of the South was during Sherman's March to the Sea. During this time, William T. Sherman tried to crush the South one last time. He and his group of men marched (and rode) through the South, burning everything in their path and taking valuables and supplies off of the Southern civilians. He was basically living off of them.

On both sides, they were doing their husband/son's work and life must have been very difficult for them. But in my opinion, I believe the Southern civilians had the worst end of the war.

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12y ago

It varied according to a person's station in life. Generally speaking, being a slave is always bad, whereas being a rich landowner is usually good. There are other stations in life, as well.

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11y ago

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Q: What was life like for Northerners during the Civil War?
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