War of Memory: The Civil War Continues in School Textbooks


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work


Center for Humanities - History


Bachelor's Degree

Citation of Original Publication


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Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States


The piece I submitted titled, “War of Memory: The Civil War Continues in School Textbooks,” examines four 1890s history textbooks in order to demonstrate the evolution of the Lost Cause and how it was created out of the political, economic, and social anxieties of its time periods. This fact is crucial as the Lost Cause organizations and proponents were so successful at spreading their message that it can still be seen today in many people’s certainty that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights not slavery. Understanding that this belief was purposefully manipulated into the national narrative is key to unraveling the confusion that surrounds our modern debate around the Civil War. It also looks at how the Lost Cause was challenged during its creation, but the dominance of the Lost Cause caused its challengers to sometimes reinforce what they were fighting against. Nevertheless, they built a foundation of which later civil rights activists built upon.