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Countering the Myth of the Lost Cause: Truths About the Past

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2279
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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The Lost Cause ideology includes fallacies about the relationships between slaves and their masters

For generations the Myth of the Lost Cause cast a long shadow over the Civil War, America’s watershed event. The persistence of that narrative, created by ex-Confederates as a social and cultural movement to define the Confederacy’s value and justify the just-concluded conflict, remains part of contemporary America.

For example, when recent controversies over the appropriateness of displaying the Confederate flag erupted, many supporters claimed that it was a symbol of their regional heritage as well as states’ rights—not of the era of slavery.

Historian Stephen D. Engle rejects that notion and challenges the enduring Southern reverence for the Confederacy. The heart of his analysis focuses on how slavery gave rise to the Republican party that elected Abraham Lincoln, which incited secession and the Confederacy's creation. Drawing on decades of research, Engle examines issues central to the myth over generations by targeting its origins during Reconstruction, its cultural endurance through the 1920s and the Great Depression, its challenges to the Civil Rights era, and even its symbolism in rallying patriotism today.

Engle is a prize-winning author of numerous books and articles on the Civil War and has taught at Florida Atlantic University for more than 30 years.

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