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The Popularity Of The Lost Cause

1011 words - 5 pages

The bitter loss of the Civil War forced many southerners to ask why the South lost the war, this paved the way for the Lost Cause to gain prominence. The celebrity gained by the Lost Cause came about through a variety of factors. The first factor being the need for it, with the loss of the war the South was hurting and people needed a reason to believe in the southern way of life again. The next factor were groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, United Confederate Veterans, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. These groups actively campaigned for Lost Cause ideas seeking to gain political and social influence. They successfully did so by producing and manipulating literature, ...view middle of the document...

The social problems the South faced were much more harmful to the overall psyche of the people, this damage needed to be attended to. The direct result of this loss of self-importance was the rise of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. This myth arose for a need to give some sense of reason to why the South lost the war and these six tenets are considered to be the main core of the myth.
“1. Secession, not slavery, caused the Civil War. 2. African Americans were “faithful slaves,” loyal to their masters and the Confederate cause and unprepared for the responsibilities of freedom. 3. The Confederacy was defeated militarily only because of the Union’s overwhelming advantages in men and resources. 4. Confederate soldiers were heroic and saintly. 5. The most heroic and saintly of all Confederates, perhaps all Americans, was Robert E. Lee 6. Southern women were loyal to the Confederate cause and sanctified by the sacrifice of their loved ones.”
These tenets played the role in making the South a victim of the brutal US Federal government. Lincoln and the Republican Party were doing something that was not only a violation of the Constitution but in the eyes of what the country was founded on. White southerners maintained that there fight was like that of the American Revolution. Shifting the blame from southern leaders made these leaders into heroes who fought heroically for the South, and those who actively defected from the Confederacy were seen as villains. Slavery was also addressed as not an issue the war was fought over, but more that the southern states felt they had the right to govern themselves, and in turn keep slaves. As a whole the South needed to explain away losing the war and the Lost Cause myth was the result.
After the Civil War ended many southerners were devastated, families lost fathers and sons, farms were destroyed, and the pride of the...

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