12 June 2009

The "Lost Cause" In Brief

The "Lost Cause mythology" was but a part of an understanding reached by most Americans around the end of the 19th century. (I am aware this agreement excluded African-Americans, but that is another story. There was little North/South difference of opinion on that.) The understanding, which was deemed essential to the strength of the country, went something like this: The Civil War had been a terrible ordeal for Americans. But perhaps it had been the crucible necessary to create a new, strong nation out of the original Union. At any rate, most people on both sides were satisfied that in the end America was held together. Nearly all Southerners sincerely accepted this. They would ever after be staunch supporters of the United States, as they have proved many times over ever since in countless ways, including their persistent over-representation in the combat arms of the national forces. All they asked in return was an acknowledgment that, if they had been wrong in the pursuit of independence, they had not been dishonorable and that they had fought a good fight that could be appreciated as a part of the pride of all Americans. Until rather recently that little has been granted, but "America" is now in the process of reneging on its part of the bargain.~ Clyde Wilson Ph.D

That commentary from Dr. Wilson very succinctly describes, in my opinion, the historically correct view of the "Lost Cause" and puts it in the proper context. Unfortunately, criticism of the LC is now being used to drive an agenda. I'll post a recent example tomorrow.


James F. Epperson said...

I think many folks who are knowledgeable in this area would say that Prof. Wilson's quickie synopsis of "the Lost Cause" missed a few points. He's allowed to have his view, of course, but I suspect Gary Gallagher---hardly a South basher---would not agree.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I would recommend the whole piece to put everything into context James.


James F. Epperson said...

I read the whole piece, and I stand by my original comment.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I'm not surprised. Thanks James.