The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History

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The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History

The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History

  • Author : Gary W. Gallagher,Alan T. Nolan
  • ISBN :
  • Category : History
  • Publisher : Indiana University Press
  • Pages : 240
  • Release Date : 2000-11-22

A “well-reasoned and timely” (Booklist) essay collection interrogates the Lost Cause myth in Civil War historiography. Was the Confederacy doomed from the start in its struggle against the superior might of the Union? Did its forces fight heroically against all odds for the cause of states’ rights? In reality, these suggestions are an elaborate and intentional effort on the part of Southerners to rationalize the secession and the war itself. Unfortunately, skillful propagandists have been so successful in promoting this romanticized view that the Lost Cause has assumed a life of its own. Misrepresenting the war’s true origins and its actual course, the myth of the Lost Cause distorts our national memory. In The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History, nine historians describe and analyze the Lost Cause, identifying ways in which it falsifies history—creating a volume that makes a significant contribution to Civil War historiography. “The Lost Cause . . . is a tangible and influential phenomenon in American culture and this book provides an excellent source for anyone seeking to explore its various dimensions.” —Southern Historian

A book to challenge the status quo, spark a debate, and get people talking about the issues and questions we face as a country!

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At the end of the Civil War, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman was surprisingly more popular in the newly defeated South than he was in the North. Yet, only thirty years later, his name was synonymous with evil and destruction in the South, particularly as the creator and enactor of the “total war” policy. In Demon of the Lost Cause, Wesley Moody examines these perplexing contradictions and how they and others function in past and present myths about Sherman. Throughout this fascinating study of Sherman’s reputation, from his first public servant role as the major general for the state of California until his death in 1891, Moody explores why Sherman remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. Using contemporary newspaper accounts, Sherman’s letters and memoirs, as well as biographies of Sherman and histories of his times, Moody reveals that Sherman’s shifting reputation was formed by whoever controlled the message, whether it was the Lost Cause historians of the South, Sherman’s enemies in the North, or Sherman himself. With his famous “March to the Sea” in Georgia, the general became known for inventing a brutal warfare where the conflict is brought to the civilian population. In fact, many of Sherman’s actions were official tactics to be employed when dealing with guerrilla forces, yet Sherman never put an end to the talk of his innovative tactics and even added to the stories himself. Sherman knew he had enemies in the Union army and within the Republican elite who could and would jeopardize his position for their own gain. In fact, these were the same people who spread the word that Sherman was a Southern sympathizer following the war, helping to place the general in the South’s good graces. That all changed, however, when the Lost Cause historians began formulating revisions to the Civil War, as Sherman’s actions were the perfect explanation for why the South had lost. Demon of the Lost Cause reveals the machinations behind the Sherman myth and the reasons behind the acceptance of such myths, no matter who invented them. In the case of Sherman’s own mythmaking, Moody postulates that his motivation was to secure a military position to support his wife and children. For the other Sherman mythmakers, personal or political gain was typically the rationale behind the stories they told and believed. In tracing Sherman’s ever-changing reputation, Moody sheds light on current and past understanding of the Civil War through the lens of one of its most controversial figures.

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After Lee and Grant met at Appomatox Court House in 1865 to sign the document ending the long and bloody Civil War, the South at last had to face defeat as the dream of a Confederate nation melted into the Lost Cause. Through an examination of memoirs, personal papers, and postwar Confederate rituals such as memorial day observances, monument unveilings, and veterans' reunions, Ghosts of the Confederacy probes into how white southerners adjusted to and interpreted their defeat and explores the cultural implications of a central event in American history. Foster argues that, contrary to southern folklore, southerners actually accepted their loss, rapidly embraced both reunion and a New South, and helped to foster sectional reconciliation and an emerging social order. He traces southerners' fascination with the Lost Cause--showing that it was rooted as much in social tensions resulting from rapid change as it was in the legacy of defeat--and demonstrates that the public celebration of the war helped to make the South a deferential and conservative society. Although the ghosts of the Confederacy still haunted the New South, Foster concludes that they did little to shape behavior in it--white southerners, in celebrating the war, ultimately trivialized its memory, reduced its cultural power, and failed to derive any special wisdom from defeat.

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Most Americans hold basic misconceptions about the Confederacy, the Civil War, and the actions of subsequent neo-Confederates. For example, two thirds of Americans—including most history teachers—think the Confederate States seceded for “states’ rights.” This error persists because most have never read the key documents about the Confederacy. These documents have always been there. When South Carolina seceded, it published “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” The document actually opposes states’ rights. Its authors argue that Northern states were ignoring the rights of slave owners as identified by Congress and in the Constitution. Similarly, Mississippi’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes …” says, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world.” Later documents in this collection show how neo-Confederates obfuscated this truth, starting around 1890. The evidence also points to the centrality of race in neo-Confederate thought even today and to the continuing importance of neo-Confederate ideas in American political life. The 150th anniversary of secession and civil war provides a moment for all Americans to read these documents, properly set in context by award-winning sociologist and historian James W. Loewen and co-editor, Edward H. Sebesta, to put in perspective the mythology of the Old South.

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Winner of the Stowe Prize Winner of the NBCC Prize for Nonfiction This compelling #1 New York Times bestseller examines the legacy of slavery in America—and how both history and activism continue to shape our everyday lives. Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation's collective history, and ourselves. It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers. A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country's most essential stories are hidden in plain view—whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted. Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith's debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be.

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Charles Dew’s Apostles of Disunion has established itself as a modern classic and an indispensable account of the Southern states’ secession from the Union. Addressing topics still hotly debated among historians and the public at large more than a century and a half after the Civil War, the book offers a compelling and clearly substantiated argument that slavery and race were at the heart of our great national crisis. The fifteen years since the original publication of Apostles of Disunion have seen an intensification of debates surrounding the Confederate flag and Civil War monuments. In a powerful new afterword to this anniversary edition, Dew situates the book in relation to these recent controversies and factors in the role of vast financial interests tied to the internal slave trade in pushing Virginia and other upper South states toward secession and war.

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After the Civil War, someone asked General Pickett why the Battle of Gettysburg had been lost: Was it Lee's error in taking the offensive, the tardiness of Ewell and Early, or Longstreet's hesitation in attacking? Pickett scratched his head and replied, "I've always thought the Yankees had something to do with it." This simple fact, writes James McPherson, has escaped a generation of historians who have looked to faulty morale, population, economics, and dissent as the causes of Confederate failure. These were all factors, he writes, but the Civil War was still a war--won by the Union army through key victories at key moments. With this brilliant review of how historians have explained the Southern defeat, McPherson opens a fascinating account by several leading historians of how the Union broke the Confederate rebellion. In every chapter, the military struggle takes center stage, as the authors reveal how battlefield decisions shaped the very forces that many scholars (putting the cart before the horse) claim determined the outcome of the war. Archer Jones examines the strategy of the two sides, showing how each had to match its military planning to political necessity. Lee raided north of the Potomac with one eye on European recognition and the other on Northern public opinion--but his inevitable retreats looked like failure to the Southern public. The North, however, developed a strategy of deep raids that was extremely effective because it served a valuable political as well as military purpose, shattering Southern morale by tearing up the interior. Gary Gallagher takes a hard look at the role of generals, narrowing his focus to the crucial triumvirate of Lee, Grant, and Sherman, who towered above the others. Lee's aggressiveness may have been costly, but he well knew the political impact of his spectacular victories; Grant and Sherman, meanwhile, were the first Union generals to fully harness Northern resources and carry out coordinated campaigns. Reid Mitchell shows how the Union's advantage in numbers was enhanced by a dedication and perseverance of federal troops that was not matched by the Confederates after their home front began to collapse. And Joseph Glatthaar examines black troops, whose role is entering the realm of national myth. In 1960, there appeared a collection of essays by major historians, entitled Why the North Won the Civil War, edited by David Donald; it is now in its twenty-sixth printing, having sold well over 100,000 copies. Why the Confederacy Lost provides a parallel volume, written by today's leading authorities. Provocatively argued and engagingly written, this work reminds us that the hard-won triumph of the North was far from inevitable.

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In Tearing Down the Lost Cause: The Removal of New Orleans's Confederate Statues James Gill and Howard Hunter examine New Orleans’s complicated relationship with the history of the Confederacy pre– and post–Civil War. The authors open and close their manuscript with the dramatic removal of the city’s Confederate statues. On the eve of the Civil War, New Orleans was far more cosmopolitan than Southern, with its sizable population of immigrants, Northern-born businessmen, and white and Black Creoles. Ambivalent about secession and war, the city bore divided loyalties between the Confederacy and the Union. However, by 1880 New Orleans rivaled Richmond as a bastion of the Lost Cause. After Appomattox, a significant number of Confederate veterans moved into the city giving elites the backing to form a Confederate civic culture. While it’s fair to say that the three Confederate monuments and the white supremacist Liberty Monument all came out of this dangerous nostalgia, the authors argue that each monument embodies its own story and mirrors the city and the times. The Lee monument expressed the bereavement of veterans and a desire to reconcile with the North, though strictly on their own terms. The Davis monument articulated the will of the Ladies Confederate Memorial Association to solidify the Lost Cause and Southern patriotism. The Beauregard Monument honored a local hero, but also symbolized the waning of French New Orleans and rising Americanization. The Liberty Monument, throughout its history, represented white supremacy and the cruel hypocrisy of celebrating a past that never existed. While the book is a narrative of the rise and fall of the four monuments, it is also about a city engaging history. Gill and Hunter contextualize these statues rather than polarize, interviewing people who are on both sides including citizens, academics, public intellectuals, and former mayor Mitch Landrieu. Using the statues as a lens, the authors construct a compelling narrative that provides a larger cultural history of the city.

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“An extremely good writer, [Ayers] is well worth reading . . . on the South and Southern history.”—Stephen Sears, Boston Globe The Southern past has proven to be fertile ground for great works of history. Peculiarities of tragic proportions—a system of slavery flourishing in a land of freedom, secession and Civil War tearing at a federal Union, deep poverty persisting in a nation of fast-paced development—have fed the imaginations of some of our most accomplished historians. Foremost in their ranks today is Edward L. Ayers, author of the award-winning and ongoing study of the Civil War in the heart of America, the Valley of the Shadow Project. In wide-ranging essays on the Civil War, the New South, and the twentieth-century South, Ayers turns over the rich soil of Southern life to explore the sources of the nation's and his own history. The title essay, original here, distills his vast research and offers a fresh perspective on the nation's central historical event.

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No historical event has left as deep an imprint on America's collective memory as the Civil War. In the war's aftermath, Americans had to embrace and cast off a traumatic past. David Blight explores the perilous path of remembering and forgetting, and reveals its tragic costs to race relations and America's national reunion.

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"An extraordinarily powerful journey that is both political and personal...An important book for everyone in America to read." --Walter Isaacson,#1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo Da Vinci and Steve Jobs The New Orleans mayor who removed the Confederate statues confronts the racism that shapes us and argues for white America to reckon with its past. A passionate, personal, urgent book from the man who sparked a national debate. "There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it." When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in May 2017 about his decision to take down four Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee, he struck a nerve nationally, and his speech has now been heard or seen by millions across the country. In his first book, Mayor Landrieu discusses his personal journey on race as well as the path he took to making the decision to remove the monuments, tackles the broader history of slavery, race and institutional inequities that still bedevil America, and traces his personal relationship to this history. His father, as state legislator and mayor, was a huge force in the integration of New Orleans in the 1960s and 19070s. Landrieu grew up with a progressive education in one of the nation's most racially divided cities, but even he had to relearn Southern history as it really happened. Equal parts unblinking memoir, history, and prescription for finally confronting America's most painful legacy, In the Shadow of Statues will contribute strongly to the national conversation about race in the age of Donald Trump, at a time when racism is resurgent with seemingly tacit approval from the highest levels of government and when too many Americans have a misplaced nostalgia for a time and place that never existed.

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Michel Paradis’s Last Mission to Tokyo, a “superb” (The Wall Street Journal) and “engrossing...richly researched” (The New York Times Book Review) account of a key but underreported moment in World War II: The Doolittle Raids and the international war crimes trial in 1945 that defined the Japanese-American relations and changed legal history. In 1942, freshly humiliated from the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was in search of a plan. President Roosevelt, determined to show the world that our nation would not be intimidated or defeated by enemy powers, demanded recommendations for a show of strength. Jimmy Doolittle, a stunt pilot with a doctorate from MIT, came forward and led eighty young men, gathered together from the far-flung corners of Depression-era America, on a seemingly impossible mission across the Pacific. Sixteen planes in all, they only had enough fuel for a one-way trip. Together, the Raiders, as they were called, did what no one had successfully done for more than a thousand years. They struck the mainland of Japan and permanently turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Almost immediately, The Doolittle Raid captured the public imagination, and has remained a seminal moment in World War II history, but the heroism and bravery of the mission is only half the story. In Last Mission to Tokyo, Michel Paradis reveals the dramatic aftermath of the mission, which involved two lost crews captured, tried, and tortured at the hands of the Japanese, a dramatic rescue of the survivors in the last weeks of World War II, and an international manhunt and trial led by two dynamic and opposing young lawyers—in which both the United States and Japan accused the other of war crimes—that would change the face of our legal and military history. Perfect for fans of Lucky 666 and Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, Last Mission to Tokyo is an unforgettable war story-meets-courtroom-drama that “captures the reader with the first sentence and never lets go” (John Grisham).

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Thomas Dixon was a lawyer, North Carolina state legislator, Baptist minister, lecturer, and novelist. This novel, an abridgement by Cary Wintz was originally published in 1905. It reflects turn-of-the-century attitudes most southerners had about Republican rule during Reconstruction.

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A duty to my countrymen; to the memory of those who died in defense of a cause consecrated by inheritance, as well as sustained by conviction; and to those who, perhaps less fortunate, staked all, and lost all, save life and honor, in its behalf, has impelled me to attempt the vindication of their cause and conduct. For this purpose I have decided to present an historical sketch of the events which preceded and attended the struggle of the Southern States to maintain their existence and their rights as sovereign communities--the creators, not the creatures, of the General Government. The social problem of maintaining the just relation between constitution, government, and people, has been found so difficult, that human history is a record of unsuccessful efforts to establish it. A government, to afford the needful protection and exercise proper care for the welfare of a people, must have homogeneity in its constituents. It is this necessity which has divided the human race into separate nations, and finally has defeated the grandest efforts which conquerors have made to give unlimited extent to their domain. When our fathers dissolved their connection with Great Britain, by declaring themselves free and independent States, they constituted thirteen separate communities, and were careful to assert and preserve, each for itself, its sovereignty and jurisdiction. At a time when the minds of men are straying far from the lessons our fathers taught, it seems proper and well to recur to the original principles on which the system of government they devised was founded. The eternal truths which they announced, the rights which they declared "unalienable," are the foundation-stones on which rests the vindication of the Confederate cause. He must have been a careless reader of our political history who has not observed that, whether under the style of "United Colonies" or "United States," which was adopted after the Declaration of Independence, whether under the articles of Confederation or the compact of Union, there everywhere appears the distinct assertion of State sovereignty, and nowhere the slightest suggestion of any purpose on the part of the States to consolidate themselves into one body. Will any candid, well-informed man assert that, at any time between 1776 and 1790, a proposition to surrender the sovereignty of the States and merge them in a central government would have had the least possible chance of adoption? Can any historical fact be more demonstrable than that the States did, both in the Confederation and in the Union, retain their sovereignty and independence as distinct communities, voluntarily consenting to federation, but never becoming the fractional parts of a nation? That such opinions should find adherents in our day, may be attributable to the natural law of aggregation; surely not to a conscientious regard for the terms of the compact for union by the States.

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This is the definitive concise military history of the Revolutionary War and the fourth volume in the West Point History of Warfare series is packed with essential images, exclusive tactical maps, and expert analysis commissioned by The United States Military Academy at West Point to teach the art of war to West Point cadets. The United States Military Academy at West Point is the gold standard for military history and the operational art of war, and has created military history texts for its cadets since 1836. Now, for the first time in more than forty years, the Academy has authorized a new series on the subject that will bear the name West Point. The first three volumes of the West Point History of Warfare released to the public have received rave reviews (and an Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award) for their “superbly written” texts and their extraordinary maps, images, and data visualizations. The West Point History of the American Revolution is the last volume in this series of definitive concise military histories. Before it was a military academy, West Point was the most important fortress of the American Revolutionary War. Cadets at the Academy learn about the War of Independence in their “History of the Military Art” course, and now this text is available to the public so everyone can understand the birth of the United States Army, the military leadership of Generals George Washington and Nathanael Greene, and the failed British strategies that shaped the conflict. Award-winning military historians Samuel J. Watson, Edward Lengel, and Stephen Conway explain the military and political background to the war and its immediate causes, conduct, and consequences. Concise narrative and lucid analysis are complemented by an impressive array of artworks, contemporary cartoons, excerpts from participants’ letters and memoirs, and dozens of full-color maps prepared under the direction of West Point military historians. Authoritative, illuminating, and beautiful, The West Point History of the American Revolution belongs in the library of every serious student of the American Revolution.

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Pulitzer Prize Finalist Winner of the Frederick Douglass Prize Winner of the Merle Curti Prize “Perhaps the highest praise one can offer McCurry’s work is to say that once we look through her eyes, it will become almost impossible to believe that we ever saw or thought otherwise.”—Drew Gilpin Faust, The New Republic The story of the Confederate States of America, the proslavery, antidemocratic nation created by white Southern slaveholders to protect their property, has been told many times in heroic and martial narratives. Now, however, Stephanie McCurry tells a very different tale of the Confederate experience. When the grandiosity of Southerners’ national ambitions met the harsh realities of wartime crises, unintended consequences ensued. Although Southern statesmen and generals had built the most powerful slave regime in the Western world, they had excluded the majority of their own people—white women and slaves—and thereby sowed the seeds of their demise. Wartime scarcity of food, labor, and soldiers tested the Confederate vision at every point and created domestic crises to match those found on the battlefields. Women and slaves became critical political actors as they contested government enlistment and tax and welfare policies, and struggled for their freedom. The attempt to repress a majority of its own population backfired on the Confederate States of America as the disenfranchised demanded to be counted and considered in the great struggle over slavery, emancipation, democracy, and nationhood. That Confederate struggle played out in a highly charged international arena. The political project of the Confederacy was tried by its own people and failed. The government was forced to become accountable to women and slaves, provoking an astounding transformation of the slaveholders’ state. Confederate Reckoning is the startling story of this epic political battle in which women and slaves helped to decide the fate of the Confederacy and the outcome of the Civil War.

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Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner recounts the thrilling life of Jesse James, Frank James, the Younger brothers, and the most famous bank robbery of all time. Follow the Wild West’s most celebrated gang of outlaws as they step inside Northfield’s First National Bank and back out on the streets to square off with heroic citizens who risked their lives to defend justice in Minnesota. With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed—the near misses, the fateful mistakes, and the bloody final shootout on the Watonwan River, Shot All to Hell is a galloping true tale of frontier justice from the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Mark Lee Gardner.

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The Great Lie of the Civil War If you think the Civil War was fought to end slavery, you’ve been duped. In fact, as distinguished military historian Samuel Mitcham argues in his provocative new book, It Wasn’t About Slavery, no political party advocated freeing the slaves in the presidential election of 1860. The Republican Party platform opposed the expansion of slavery to the western states, but it did not embrace abolition. The real cause of the war was a dispute over money and self-determination. Before the Civil War, the South financed most of the federal government—because the federal government was funded by tariffs, which were paid disproportionately by the agricultural South that imported manufactured goods. Yet, most federal government spending and subsidies benefited the North. The South wanted a more limited federal government and lower tariffs—the ideals of Thomas Jefferson—and when the South could not get that, it opted for independence. Lincoln was unprepared when the Southern states seceded, and force was the only way to bring them—and their tariff money—back. That was the real cause of the war. A well-documented and compelling read by a master historian, It Wasn’t About Slavery will change the way you think about Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the cause and legacy of America’s momentous Civil War.

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"Ty Seidule scorches us with the truth and rivets us with his fierce sense of moral urgency." --Ron Chernow In a forceful but humane narrative, former soldier and head of the West Point history department Ty Seidule's Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the myths and lies of the Confederate legacy—and explores why some of this country’s oldest wounds have never healed. Ty Seidule grew up revering Robert E. Lee. From his southern childhood to his service in the U.S. Army, every part of his life reinforced the Lost Cause myth: that Lee was the greatest man who ever lived, and that the Confederates were underdogs who lost the Civil War with honor. Now, as a retired brigadier general and Professor Emeritus of History at West Point, his view has radically changed. From a soldier, a scholar, and a southerner, Ty Seidule believes that American history demands a reckoning. In a unique blend of history and reflection, Seidule deconstructs the truth about the Confederacy—that its undisputed primary goal was the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans—and directly challenges the idea of honoring those who labored to preserve that system and committed treason in their failed attempt to achieve it. Through the arc of Seidule’s own life, as well as the culture that formed him, he seeks a path to understanding why the facts of the Civil War have remained buried beneath layers of myth and even outright lies—and how they embody a cultural gulf that separates millions of Americans to this day. Part history lecture, part meditation on the Civil War and its fallout, and part memoir, Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the deeply-held legends and myths of the Confederacy—and provides a surprising interpretation of essential truths that our country still has a difficult time articulating and accepting.

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One month in 1865 witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond, a daring last-ditch Southern plan for guerrilla warfare, Lee's harrowing retreat, and then, Appomattox. It saw Lincoln's assassination just five days later and a near-successful plot to decapitate the Union government, followed by chaos and coup fears in the North, collapsed negotiations and continued bloodshed in the South, and finally, the start of national reconciliation. In the end, April 1865 emerged as not just the tale of the war's denouement, but the story of the making of our nation. Jay Winik offers a brilliant new look at the Civil War's final days that will forever change the way we see the war's end and the nation's new beginning. Uniquely set within the larger sweep of history and filled with rich profiles of outsize figures, fresh iconoclastic scholarship, and a gripping narrative, this is a masterful account of the thirty most pivotal days in the life of the United States.

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The Lost Cause ideology that emerged after the Civil War and flourished in the early twentieth century in essence sought to recast a struggle to perpetuate slavery as a heroic defense of the South. As Adam Domby reveals here, this was not only an insidious goal; it was founded on falsehoods. The False Cause focuses on North Carolina to examine the role of lies and exaggeration in the creation of the Lost Cause narrative. In the process the book shows how these lies have long obscured the past and been used to buttress white supremacy in ways that resonate to this day. Domby explores how fabricated narratives about the war’s cause, Reconstruction, and slavery—as expounded at monument dedications and political rallies—were crucial to Jim Crow. He questions the persistent myth of the Confederate army as one of history’s greatest, revealing a convenient disregard of deserters, dissent, and Unionism, and exposes how pension fraud facilitated a myth of unwavering support of the Confederacy among nearly all white Southerners. Domby shows how the dubious concept of "black Confederates" was spun from a small number of elderly and indigent African American North Carolinians who got pensions by presenting themselves as "loyal slaves." The book concludes with a penetrating examination of how the Lost Cause narrative and the lies on which it is based continue to haunt the country today and still work to maintain racial inequality.

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General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating "March to the Sea" in 1864 burned a swath through the cities and countryside of Georgia and into the history of the American Civil War. As they moved from Atlanta to Savannah—destroying homes, buildings, and crops; killing livestock; and consuming supplies—Sherman and the Union army ignited not only southern property, but also imaginations, in both the North and the South. By the time of the general's death in 1891, when one said "The March," no explanation was required. That remains true today. Legends and myths about Sherman began forming during the March itself, and took more definitive shape in the industrial age in the late-nineteenth century. Sherman's March in Myth and Memory examines the emergence of various myths surrounding one of the most enduring campaigns in the annals of military history. Edward Caudill and Paul Ashdown provide a brief overview of Sherman's life and his March, but their focus is on how these myths came about—such as one description of a "60-mile wide path of destruction"—and how legends about Sherman and his campaign have served a variety of interests. Caudill and Ashdown argue that these myths have been employed by groups as disparate as those endorsing the Old South aristocracy and its "Lost Cause," and by others who saw the March as evidence of the superiority of industrialism in modern America over a retreating agrarianism. Sherman's March in Myth and Memory looks at the general's treatment in the press, among historians, on stage and screen, and in literature, from the time of the March to the present day. The authors show us the many ways in which Sherman has been portrayed in the media and popular culture, and how his devastating March has been stamped into our collective memory.

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"Readers of this book who thought they knew a lot about the U.S. Civil War will discover that much of what they 'knew' is wrong. For readers whose previous knowledge is sketchy but whose desire to learn is strong, the separation of myth from reality is an important step toward mastering the subject. The essays will generate lively discussion and new insights." —James M. McPherson, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

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Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,0, Free University of Berlin (John-F.-Kennedy-Institut für Nordamerikastudien), language: English, abstract: The paper will briefly outline the origin and ensuing development of the Lost Cause, its content, and its impact on America's collective memory. Subsequently, I will analyze the blockbuster “Cold Mountain” (2003) in search of remnants of this presumed discarded ideology – a movie based on the bestselling novel by Charles Frazier of the same title (which I will not neglect entirely) that drew considerable numbers of moviegoers into the theaters. Although at first view a love movie and thus designed for a particular audience, the Civil War nonetheless serves as the story's setting. Therefore, it is interesting to speculate what lessons this and other audiences – in terms of Civil War history and remembrance – might draw from “Cold Mountain”. Over the previous decades, Civil War history came under scrutiny. Concurrently, revisionist historians and cultural scientists have hinted at the inherently problematic nature of the films in question and many more following over the first decades of the 20th century: These movies depict a blatantly distorted picture of that pivotal moment in American history; distorted by an incredibly tenacious and moreover distinctively racist Southern interpretation of the Civil War and its underlying reasons that emerged during the Reconstruction era and is commonly referred to as the Lost Cause.

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Southerners may have abandoned their dream of a political nation after Appomattox, but they preserved their cultural identity by blending Christian rhetoric and symbols with the rhetoric and imagery of Confederate tradition. Out of defeat emerged a civil religion that embodied the Lost Cause. As Charles Reagan Wilson writes in his new preface, "The Lost Cause version of the regional civil religion was a powerful expression, and recent scholarship affirms its continuing power in the minds of many white southerners."

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In the states of the former Confederacy, Reconstruction amounted to a second Civil War, one that white southerners were determined to win. An important chapter in that undeclared conflict played out in northeast Texas, in the Corners region where Grayson, Fannin, Hunt, and Collin Counties converged. Part of that violence came to be called the Lee-Peacock Feud, a struggle in which Unionists led by Lewis Peacock and former Confederates led by Bob Lee sought to even old scores, as well as to set the terms of the new South, especially regarding the status of freed slaves. Until recently, the Lee-Peacock violence has been placed squarely within the Lost Cause mythology. This account sets the record straight. For Bob Lee, a Confederate veteran, the new phase of the war began when he refused to release his slaves. When Federal officials came to his farm in July to enforce emancipation, he fought back and finally fled as a fugitive. In the relatively short time left to his life, he claimed personally to have killed at least forty people—civilian and military, Unionists and freedmen. Peacock, a dedicated leader of the Unionist efforts, became his primary target and chief foe. Both men eventually died at the hands of each other’s supporters. From previously untapped sources in the National Archives and other records, the authors have tracked down the details of the Corners violence and the larger issues it reflected, adding to the reinterpretation of Reconstruction history and rescuing from myth events that shaped the following century of Southern politics.

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Gale Researcher Guide for: The Lost Cause Mythology is selected from Gale's academic platform Gale Researcher. These study guides provide peer-reviewed articles that allow students early success in finding scholarly materials and to gain the confidence and vocabulary needed to pursue deeper research.

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Crucible of the Civil War offers an illuminating portrait of the state’s wartime economic, political, and social institutions. Weighing in on contentious issues within established scholarship while also breaking ground in areas long neglected by scholars, the contributors examine such concerns as the war’s effect on slavery in the state, the wartime intersection of race and religion, and the development of Confederate social networks. They also shed light on topics long disputed by historians, such as Virginia’s decision to secede from the Union, the development of Confederate nationalism, and how Virginians chose to remember the war after its close.

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This book provides readers with an overview of how Americans have commemorated and remembered the Civil War. • Presents events related to the commemoration of public memory of the Civil War chronologically, from 1865 to the present • Illustrated with photographs of monuments, individuals, and events related to commemoration activities, as well as selected political cartoons related to Civil War memory from popular publications • Bibliography includes both primary and secondary sources on the subject of Civil War memory

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C.1 GIFT BY NANCY MCLENDON, IN MEMORY OF ELIZAH COLEMAN GLOVER. 2-07-2008. $20.00.

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This book debunks popular myths and misconceptions about the American Civil War through primary source documents and shows how misinformation can become so widespread. • Provides readers with a clear understanding of how myths about the Civil War originated and propagated in American memory • Debunks popular myths with facts supported by primary sources • Provides students with the resources to conduct their own research into each topic area • Examines controversial myths that continue to have a large impact on American politics and society today, including popular misconceptions about the very origins of the Civil War

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This exciting and groundbreaking collection of essays looks at the lives and command decisions of eight Confederates who held the rank of full general and at the impact they had on the conduct, and ultimate outcome, of the Civil War. Old myths and familiar assumptions are cast aside as a group of leading Civil War historians offers new insight into the men of the South, on whose shoulders the weight of prosecuting the war would wall.

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The South has been the standard focus of Reconstruction, but reconstruction following the Civil War was not a distinctly Southern experience. In the post–Civil War West, American Indians also experienced reconstruction through removal to reservations and assimilation to Christianity, and Latter-day Saints—Mormons—saw government actions to force the end of polygamy under threat of disestablishing the church. These efforts to bring nonconformist Mormons into the American mainstream figure in the more familiar scheme of the federal government’s reconstruction—aimed at rebellious white Southerners and uncontrolled American Indians. In this volume, more than a dozen contributors look anew at the scope of the reconstruction narrative and offer a unique perspective on the history of the Latter-day Saints. Marshaled by editors Clyde A. Milner II and Brian Q. Cannon, these writers explore why the federal government wanted to reconstruct Latter-day Saints, when such efforts began, and how the initiatives compare with what happened with white Southerners and American Indians. Other contributions examine the effect of the government’s policies on Mormon identity and sense of history. Why, for example, do Latter-day Saints not have a Lost Cause? Do they share a resentment with American Indians over the loss of sovereignty? And were nineteenth-century Mormons considered to be on the “wrong” side of a religious line, but not a “race line”? The authors consider these and other vital questions and topics here. Together, and in dialogue with one another, their work suggests a new way of understanding the regional, racial, and religious dynamics of reconstruction—and, within this framework, a new way of thinking about the creation of a Mormon historical identity.

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Standard narratives of early twentieth-century African American history credit the Great Migration of southern blacks to northern metropolises for the emergence of the New Negro, an educated, upwardly mobile sophisticate very different from his forebears. Yet this conventional history overlooks the cultural accomplishments of an earlier generation, in the black communities that flourished within southern cities immediately after Reconstruction. In this groundbreaking historical study, Gabriel A. Briggs makes the compelling case that the New Negro first emerged long before the Great Migration to the North. The New Negro in the Old South reconstructs the vibrant black community that developed in Nashville after the Civil War, demonstrating how it played a pivotal role in shaping the economic, intellectual, social, and political lives of African Americans in subsequent decades. Drawing from extensive archival research, Briggs investigates what made Nashville so unique and reveals how it served as a formative environment for major black intellectuals like Sutton Griggs and W.E.B. Du Bois. The New Negro in the Old South makes the past come alive as it vividly recounts little-remembered episodes in black history, from the migration of Colored Infantry veterans in the late 1860s to the Fisk University protests of 1925. Along the way, it gives readers a new appreciation for the sophistication, determination, and bravery of African Americans in the decades between the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance.

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Based largely on Civil War veterans' own words, this book documents how many of these men survived the extraordinary horrors and hardships of war with surprising resilience and went on to become productive members of their communities in their post-war lives. • Documents how Civil War veterans' combat experience changed them in ways that allowed them to become productive members of their communities and leaders in their sections—a largely overlooked "benefit" to the war • Identifies overarching trends among veterans' experiences while also underscoring how varied Civil War soldiers' experiences were, depending on which side they fought for, where they fought, and their socioeconomic status

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Eleven iconoclastic scholars take aim at many of the accepted interpretations of the Civil War North in this provocative new anthology

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear. ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The Christian Science Monitor • Southern Living Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women’s rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear—a struggle that continues even now. While the American story has not always—or even often—been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”—as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail. Praise for The Soul of America “Brilliant, fascinating, timely . . . With compelling narratives of past eras of strife and disenchantment, Meacham offers wisdom for our own time.”—Walter Isaacson “Gripping and inspiring, The Soul of America is Jon Meacham’s declaration of his faith in America.”—Newsday “Meacham gives readers a long-term perspective on American history and a reason to believe the soul of America is ultimately one of kindness and caring, not rancor and paranoia.”—USA Today

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In recent years, the debate over the future of Confederate monuments has taken center stage and caused bitter clashes in communities throughout the American South. At the heart of the debate is the question of what these monuments represent. The arguments and counterarguments are formulated around sets of assumptions grounded in Southern history, politics, culture, and race relations. Comprehending and evaluating accurately the associated claims and counterclaims calls for a careful examination of facts and legal considerations relevant to each side's assertations. In Monumental Harm, Roger C. Hartley offers a road map to addressing and resolving this acrimonious debate. Although history and popular memory play a vital role in the discussion, there have been distortions of both parts. Monumental Harm reviews the fact-based history of the initial raising of these monuments and distinguishes it from the popular memory held by many Confederate-monument supporters. Hartley also addresses concerns regarding the potential erasure of history and the harm these monuments have caused the African American community over the years, as well as the role they continue to play in politics and power. The recent rise in White nationalism and the video-recorded murders of Black citizens at the hands of White police officers have led to nationwide demonstrations and increased scrutiny of Confederate monuments on public land. As injustice is laid bare and tempers flare, the need for a peaceful resolution becomes ever-more necessary. Monumental Harm offers a way to break the rhetorical deadlock, urging that we evaluate the issue through the lens of the U.S. Constitution while employing the overarching democratic principle that no right is absolute. Through constructive discourse and good-faith compromise, a more perfect union is within reach.

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