Resurgence

Of course, the North won the war and began the process of Reconstruction to bring the South backinto the Union. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed and slavery was abolished.It was much easier for Northerners than Southerners to let go of their white supremacist notions in favor of feelings of moral rectitude when they werelooking for a unifying purpose for fighting such and awful war. But, in the South white supremacy remained strong. Confederatesbegan to realize that if they could appear loyal to the Union in front of Northerners, they would soon see the end ofReconstruction. In 1877 Reconstruction officially ended, and the South was back to ruling itself. Almost overnighta multitude of "Black Codes," or "Jim Crowe Laws," were enacted to keep the blacks in the role of second classcitizens. The South made a loyal showing in the Spanish-American war around the turn of the century, and regionalrelations seemed to be back in order. The South quietly went on with its segregated society (surprisingly, the photo at the right is a postbellum one), and people came to lookat the Civil War with a sportsman-like attitude. Both parties had fought bravely and the stronger army had prevailed.The Confederate flag became a reminder of this valiant effort by Confederates and a solemn memorial to the Confederate dead.

The flag was kept out of popular culture until the middle of the twentieth century. Southern soldiers waved Confederateflags in World War II, but they were merely seen as signs that the Southerners were in the war alongside Yankees and fighting loyally.The tone was different when in October of 1947 a group offraternity brothers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill brought Confederate flags and wavedthem at a football game. A month later U.Va. fans brought Confederate flags with them to a football game againstthe University of Pennsylvania. Soon the rebel flag became the rage at football games and social events across theSouth. With the coming of the Civil Rights movement came the beginnings of the controversy surrounding the flag which we know today. White Southerners believed that their exclusive culture was being threatened, andthe flag became a symbol against civil rights. The segregationist Dixiecrat party of 1948, who ran Strom Thurmond for president, took on the Confederate flag as its symbol. Anti-Civil Rights sentiment ran strongin the South, which was once again feeling imposed upon by a distant federal government. The conflict was on again.