Lost Cause Movement

The first decade after the horrible War between the States brought little but misery and deprivation to the white Southerners. Ravaged by Union armies and occupied by federal troops, Southern whites could scarcely meet their basic needs, much less celebrate their valor in the recent war. The resources were too scarce and the wounds too fresh.

By the 1880s, however, the Confederate Celebration movement had begun. Veterans turned out by the thousands to reenact major battles, to participate in parades, and to fraternize with other units. The revelry became even sweeter by the turn of the century when the Spanish-American War unified the country against a common enemy. North and South reunited, and the Celebration expanded to include Northern veterans. Northern units even returned hundreds of captured battle flags in an effort to prove their new goodwill.

In the early 1900s, however, the participants in this grand Confederate Celebration began to dwindle in number. Old age whittled away at the even grayer Confederate ranks, and a new generation took over the commemoration of the Confederate cause. This new generation of Confederates, represented by groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans rather than the Veterans themselves, sought to memorialize, as well as celebrate, their Confederate heritage. Led by the UDC, this new generation memorialized in stone and bronze and recorded in history books what the Veterans had sung and bragged about. This second generation's emphasis on preserving their fading memories placed them at the vanguard of the new Lost Cause Movement, ending the Confederate Celebration.

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