Army of

Army of "cripples": Northern Civil War Amputees, Disability, and Manhood in Victorian America

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Two themes run through this dissertation: the desire of Union amputees to be seen as independent and their concerns about looking manly in the public arena. While many disabled veterans made a successful postwar transition to paid work, they often had to rely on the federal government for financial assistance and on female family members for help with daily tasks. They frequently called on their war experience to differentiate themselves from other nineteenth-century qcripples.q As able-bodied men paid increasing attention to their appearance in public, particularly bodily symmetry and muscular strength, Union amputees expressed concerns about matching up to the ideal. They often claimed to wear their empty sleeves and pant legs as badges of honor, but privately wished they had the strong, athletic bodies they had taken to war. Prosthetics manufacturers designed and advertised substitute limbs, but few amputees used them consistently. By placing disabled Union amputees at the center of analysis, my work illuminates the Civil War's enduring legacy of disability that continued to shape the daily lives of maimed veterans, the nature of public policy, and the cultural perception of disabled bodies.Interestingly, both the heroes and the cripples peppered their left-handed essays with patriotic language. All were competing for financial rewards, so they may have been telling the judges what they wanted to hear. William Bourne had urgedanbsp;...

Title:Army of "cripples": Northern Civil War Amputees, Disability, and Manhood in Victorian America
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007


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