House of the Lost Cause
Find your place in Civil War memory.
How we remember the Civil War has shaped the United States. Frequent eruptions of cultural politics regarding the War hint at deep divisions.
This historical memory has always been contested, and it has always evolved.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than with the Lost Cause.
What was the Lost Cause?
The Lost Cause by Edward A. Pollard, is the title of a post-Civil War book that provided an historical explanation of the Confederate experience.
Enshrined as doctrine by Confederate sympathizers in the 20th century, the phrase "Lost Cause" became synonymous with segments of the population whose historical memories glorified the southern way of life in the Civil War Era.
The Lost Cause had a narrow vision.
It only saw…
The courage of soldiers.
The saintliness of Confederate leaders.
The purity of Confederate women.
The loyalty of Black people.
The goodness of slavery and the mistake of emancipation...
The Lost Cause was not just about the past.
It set expectations for the present and future of the former Confederacy. It went hand-in-hand with the white Southern worldview that revered the past, deferred to elite rule, enforced conservative social values, exalted rural life, and oppressed Black people.