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The Myth of the Lost Cause

Uploaded by roland50 on Mar 07, 2000

Following the defeat of the Confederacy and to lift the morale of a shattered people momentum gathered to enshrine the Myth of the Lost Cause which would transform the Southern soldier living and dead, into a veritable hero. In order to come to terms with defeat and a look of failure in the eyes of God, Southerners mentally transformed their memories of the antebellum South. It became a superior civilization of great purity which had been cruelly brought down by the materialistic Yankees. At the head of this revival was the memory of Stonewall Jackson, closely followed by Robert E. Lee (who would rise to the prominent position following his death in 1870). Other generals of the Confederacy who had died during the war followed, as did those who would pass on later. D.H. Hill, a friend of Longstreet published LAND WE LOVE, a magazine devoted to Literature, Military History and Agriculture. In 1869 Hill sold out to a Baltimore periodical, NEW ECLECTIC, which in the same year became the SOUTHERN MAGAZINE, official organ of the SOUTHERN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. In 1871 it changed its name to the SOUTHERN MAGAZINE and together with a later periodical, SOUTHERN BIVOUAC kept the memory of the War alive and fresh in the public mind. Filled with poems and stories of loyalty to the LOST CAUSE sent in by veterans. Hill was Stonewall Jackson’s brother in law and he filled the magazine with stories, anecdotes and poems of the now legendary general. Other Confederate heroes received their share of attention from a flood of material supplied by readers commemorating Southern dead and using religion to explain the defeat. Book – writing was prolific in the ‘70s & ‘80s mainly from veterans but much on the romanticism of the Cause from women. The most prominent of the writer of the period was John Esten Cooke, who was related by birth and marriage to virtually all the prominent families of Virginia he helped enshrine the Confederate dead into chivalric knights and symbols of the LOST CAUSE. Cooke’s impressive literary output polarized Southern perceptions of the War transforming the stigma of defeat into a badge of honour that Confederate veterans could wear proudly. His portrayal of the War as a wonderful adventure, in which participation was an honour. When Lee died on 12 Oct. 1870 he was one of a significant number of Confederate heroes running second to Jackson. Lee’s prominence changed quickly...

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Uploaded by:   roland50

Date:   03/07/2000

Category:   Civil War

Length:   6 pages (1,355 words)

Views:   2253

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