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Civil War, Gender History, Class History, Race History, Richmond Bread Riot of 1863, Southern Food Riots of 1863


History of Gender | Social History | United States History | Women's History


“Bread or Blood” became a common battle-cry in the Spring of 1863, but not by the Confederate soldiers who were fighting in the United States Civil War; rather, this was a call to action by these very same soldiers’ wives, mothers, and sisters. From March 1863 to April 1863, the Confederacy was rocked by a series of at least nine organized demonstrations led by poor and working-class white women who demanded lowered food prices. This thesis works to decentralize Richmond and place it as one protest amongst many. The terminology of “riot” is also examined and shifted to “demonstration” and “protest,” as these events were planned and executed to make a specific political statement. Yet, they are written off as spontaneous, disconnected riots fueled by angry women. While the series of demonstrations were focused on gaining more affordable food prices, there were causes under the surface that lead to tension and unrest. By using articles, poetry, and images from newspapers in the Union, Confederacy, and the United Kingdom, this thesis examines how race, class, gender, and rage intersect within the Confederacy during the Spring of 1863, which lead to poor and working-class white women protesting the social and political changes created by the Civil War.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.


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