Post War Southern Mentality

Topics: Robert E. Lee, Confederate States of America, American Civil War Pages: 4 (1523 words) Published: October 28, 2007
HIST 4315
Book Review

Post War Southern Mentality

Thomas L. Connelly and Barbara L. Bellows's God and General Longstreet: The Lost Cause And The Southern Mind effectively examines numerous characteristics within the mental process of southerners and their leaders before, during, and particularly after the Civil War. This text successfully investigates the ideas of southern politicians, generals, novelists, and journalists who all in the face of defeat combined to form a Lost Cause generation who attempted to justify and explain the Confederate experience. Connelly and Bellows offer the reader a unique perspective regarding two different definitions of this lost cause phenomenon; The Inner Lost Cause and the National Lost Cause as they both respectively originated to capture the opinions of a defeated Confederacy and to interpret the situation of the south within the nation. Essentially, this particular text clearly stresses an appreciation and understanding of the influence that these Lost Cause opinions had on the former defeated Confederacy and modern day southern society.

Connelly and Bellows explain that southerners of the Inner Lost Cause such as Jefferson Davis and Jubal Early possessed a harsh anger and created a one- dimensional approach in dealing with such a heavy defeat. Regarding some of the initial writings after the war, Connelly and Belows explain that, "Confederates of the Inner Lost Cause wrote more to appease their own frustrations and fears than to convert a national audience" (p.8). Moreover, some light is shed on the idea that many former rebels didn't care about northern opinions of their efforts but valued how the rest of the world viewed the Confederate cause of 1861. As vindication and redemption were both key aspects in the mindset of the extreme inner lost cause artist, Connelly and Burrows explain that the organization of the Southern Historical Society in 1869, which sought to collect war records and publish...
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