Warm Southern Breeze

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Giving Honor To Whom Honor Is Not Due

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Where are statues to Adolph Hitler Hermann Göring, Josef Mengele, or the Third Reich ?

There are over 1,747 public symbols to honor the Confederacy.

Statues, monuments, schools, buildings, parks, courthouse & government office grounds, counties/municipalities, roads, holidays, flags, scholarships, songs, and other things have all been named to dignify, commemorate, and honor traitorous loser Confederates.

It’s past time for the South – and the rest of the nation – to bury the myth of the Lost Cause once and for all.¹ ² ³ ⁴

In order to more fully understand the artwork, it must be placed in a proper context to be better interpreted. Further, it provides opportunity for preservation and care.

We see that in the many National Parks and on-site museums at Civil War battlefield sites. So placing such statuary in a museum, or other area -and- given a much more full explanation of the artist, the era, and the events commemorated, we can more fully understand the thing which is being interpreted. Andrew Jackson’s homeplace “The Hermitage” is such an example, and I have visited the site which is a park, museum, and interpretive center, along with other Civil War battlefield sites which also have museums and interpretive centers.

To simply place a thing in the public square with a plaque is a disservice to the art, and the artist, and to those who would interpret it – the viewers.

“Confederate markers do not provide a comprehensive look at the Civil War but rather focus narrowly on the Confederate war effort. In 2008, the Georgia Historical Society conducted a review of the more than 900 Civil War markers in the state. It found that “over 90 percent of the existing markers dealt strictly with military topics, leaving vast segments of the Civil War story untold — with almost no markers describing the war’s impact on civilians, politics, industry, the home front, African Americans, or women.””

Cold Harbor, Va. African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle. Photographed by John Reekie, April 1865. Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2018666599/ Title: [Cold Harbor, Va. African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle] Creator(s): Reekie, John, photographer Date Created/Published: 1865 April. Medium: 1 negative : glass, wet collodion. Summary: Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Grant’s Wilderness Campaign, May-June 1864. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-cwpb-04324 (digital file from original neg.) LC-B8171-7926 (b&w film neg.) Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. For information, see “Civil war photographs, 1861-1865,”(http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/120_cwar.html) Call Number: LC-B817- 7926 [P&P] LOT 4167-B (corresponding photographic print) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

The term Lost Cause first appeared in the title of an 1866 book by the historian Edward A. Pollard, The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates. However, it was the articles written for the Southern Historical Society by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early in the 1870s that established the Lost Cause as a long-lasting literary and cultural phenomenon.

Early’s original inspiration for his views may have come from General Robert E. Lee.  In his farewell order to the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee spoke of the “overwhelming resources and numbers” that the Confederate army fought against.

The Lost Cause theme was taken up by memorial associations such as the United Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Lost Cause helped Southerners to cope with the social, political, and economic changes after the Civil War especially in the oppressive Reconstruction era.

Some of the main tenets of the Lost Cause movement were that:

  • Confederate generals such as Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson represented the virtues of Southern nobility. This nobility was contrast most significantly in comparisons between U.S. Grant and Lee. The Northern generals, were characterized as men with low moral standards who engaged in vicious campaigns against Southern civilians such as Sherman’s March to the Sea and Philip Sheridan’s burning of the Shenandoah Valley in the Valley Campaigns of 1864.
  • Losses on the battlefield were inevitable and were blamed on Northern superiority in resources and manpower.
  • Losses were also the result of betrayal and incompetence on the part of certain subordinates of General Lee, such as General James Longstreet.  Longstreet was the object of blame because of his association with Grant, conversion to the Republican Party, and other actions during Reconstruction.
  • While states’ rights was not emphasized in the declarations of secession, the Lost Cause focused on the defense of states’ rights, rather than preservation of slavery as the primary cause that led eleven Southern states to secede.
  • Secession was seen as a justifiable constitutional response to Northern cultural and economic aggressions against the Southern way of life.
  • Slavery was fictionally presented as a benign institution, and the slaves were treated well and cared for and loyal and faithful to their benevolent masters.

The Lost Cause view of the Civil War also influenced the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and the 1939 film of the same name.

Timeline depicting Civil Rights events and the creation of public displays honoring the Confederacy, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which shows that the exceeding majority of such public honoring of Confederates was placed between 1900-1920.

1. There are more than 1,700 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces.

2. There are 103 public K-12 schools and three colleges named after prominent Confederates.

3. There are nearly 800 Confederate monuments and statues on public property throughout the country, the vast majority in the South.

4. There were two major periods in which the dedication of Confederate monuments and other symbols spiked — the first two decades of the 20th century and during the civil rights movement.

5. The Confederate flag maintains a publicly supported presence in at least five Southern states.

6. Ten major U.S. military bases are named in honor of Confederate military leaders.

7. Eleven states have 23 Confederate holidays or observances in their state codes; nine of those were paid holidays in 2018.

8. More than 100 monuments and other Confederate symbols have been removed in 22 states, including the District of Columbia, since June 2015.

“Most of the 11 Southern states that seceded prior to and during the Civil War have Confederate monuments on or near the grounds of their Capitol buildings.”

Two groups – “the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) — have been particularly active in installing historical markers.

“Founded in 1894, the UDC grew out of numerous women’s associations that were formed during the Civil War to support the soldiers and afterward to fund memorials, monuments and cemeteries. The group has been responsible for erecting more than 700 monuments and other memorials to the Confederacy across the South, far more than any other group, according to The Washington Post. (This study, which identified 411 monuments and 423 total symbols sponsored by the UDC, counts only those found on public land, mostly at county courthouses and other conspicuous locations. It does not include monuments at cemeteries and battlefields.)

“The UDC has been accused by historians of promoting a false history and, by extension, white supremacy, particularly in its early years. After the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, the group issued a statement, now featured prominently on its website, saying it “totally denounces any individual or group that promotes racial divisiveness or white supremacy. And we call on these people to cease using Confederate symbols for their abhorrent and reprehensible purposes.””

Karen L. Cox, a Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who wrote “Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture” astutely observed that the UDC women stepped in because Southern men couldn’t go around building monuments to themselves when they lost the war, “so the narrative became changing the defeat into a sacred cause,” she said.

“The SCV, formed in 1896 from the remnants of the United Confederate Veterans, is far more overt in its defense of the Confederacy and the principles for which it stood. Its website says the group “is preserving the history and legacy of these [Confederate] heroes so that future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.” Featured on the website is a 1929 pamphlet called A Confederate Catechism, which denies that slavery or secession were causes of the Civil War. It also asserts that “[t]he negroes were the most spoiled domestics in the world.””


See also: https://www.al.com/news/2020/07/alabama-lawmaker-announces-bill-to-allow-relocation-of-monuments.html

See also: https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/2017/05/gov_kay_ivey_signs_bill_protec.html

See also: https://www.al.com/news/2020/06/where-are-alabamas-confederate-monuments-markers-many-at-courthouses-exist-across-alabama.html

¹ How I Learned About the “Cult of the Lost Cause”
The mayor of New Orleans offers his reading list for anyone looking to better understand the real history of Confederate monuments; By Mitch Landrieu, SmithsonianMag.com, March 12, 2018 – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-i-learned-about-cult-lost-cause-180968426/

² A brief history of the “Lost Cause”: Why this toxic myth still appeals to so many white Americans
Racist myth-making conquered American history — and white people’s minds — for far too long. Time to face the facts; by Bob Cesca, June 16, 2020 1:30PM (UTC) – https://www.salon.com/2020/06/16/a-brief-history-of-the-lost-cause-why-this-toxic-myth-still-appeals-to-so-many-white-americans/

³ search “Edward A. Pollard, The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates” on Internet Archive – https://archive.org/search.php?query=Edward%20A.%20Pollard%2C%20The%20Lost%20Cause%3A%20A%20New%20Southern%20History%20of%20the%20War%20of%20the%20Confederates

⁴ The Lost Cause, The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to a literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional Southern white society to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the Civil War.; by Civil War Journeys, an educational website dedicated to research and analysis of the American Civil War – https://civil-war-journeys.org/the_lost_cause.htm

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