Hello! I am Danielle Vallee. I am a junior at Keene State College, and I am a double major in Secondary Education and U.S History. I have the intent of teaching in a middle school, and participating in outdoor education for teenagers. For me, history is more than what happened and more about the effects it had on people, and that is why I have chosen to research prostitution and venereal diseases in the American Civil War.
Prostitution in the American Civil War is not a common topic when discussing the war. The topics most commonly discussed are soldiers and their lives, women’s roles changing because of so many men going off to war, medical pitfalls and advancements, and the shift in how many viewed religion; what is so fascinating about prostitution is that while researching it you will find all of those topics brought together to explain a bigger picture. My Civil War research project will be examining how all of those factors contributed to the growth of prostitution and the effects it had on men, women, and cities.
I am using the word prostitution as an umbrella term because in my research I plan to look at the lives of soldiers and what they were enduring that led many men to partake in prostitution in camps or red-light districts. I will be looking at how women’s roles changed because of the war and how the war required many women to be economically independent, and how some chose prostitution to make their living. I plan to research the changing of moral values and how that could have allowed once Christian men and women to make the decision to partake in prostitution, but I am unsure if I will be able to find much information on the topic. I will be looking at where prostitution commonly took place, and how cities handled the situation. I will be researching the effects of venereal diseases on men and women and how the medical technology and medicine of the time handled the diseases. I am going to try to find information on what came after the war for women who took part in prostitution, but I am not confident that I will find research on it.