The Lost Cause and Modern Memory

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The Lost Cause is a historical ideology created by former Confederates during Reconstruction that characterized the Confederate experience and defined it for new generations. It became part of the national story of slavery and the Civil War during the Twentieth Century; it evolved through the century's most important events. It was a means by which southern aristocrats-maintained power in the postbellum period of Jim Crow. It has, for the most part, been discredited over last thirty-forty years, but it still has a hold on the public imagination. The Lost Cause has perpetuated myths about the Civil War and Reconstruction that persist, which obscure a complete understanding of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and thus the nation.

The following lecture is on the historical ideology of the Lost Cause. Its origins and significant to historiography the Civil War and Reconstruction. The lecture's purpose is to dispel the myths perpetuated by the Lost Cause and loosen the hold the it has on the popular imagination.

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