How Southern socialites rewrote Civil War history


Listen to how this textbook describes slavery. “The master often had a barbecue or a picnic
for his slaves. Then they had a great frolic. Even while working in the cotton fields they
sang songs. The beat of the music and the richness of
their voices made work seem light.” Yikes. That’s from History of Georgia, a textbook
published in 1954 that was taught across junior high schools in Georgia for decades. That sort of language is part of an intellectual
movement called the “Lost Cause” — a distorted version of American Civil War history
that’s been prevalent in the South for a long time. It took shape soon after the defeat of the
Confederate States in the war, when Southern historians like Edward Pollard and former
Confederate Gen. Jubal Early started preserving the South’s perspective through their writings. They framed the Confederate cause as a heroic
defense of the Southern way of life against the overwhelming forces in the North. That narrative has a few basic tenets: the
glorification of Confederate soldiers who died for a cause they believed in, the belief
that slavery was a benevolent institution, and, maybe most importantly, that slavery
was not the root cause of the war. The Lost Cause is one of the most notoriously
effective efforts to rewrite history, and it was done by the losing side. So how did it become so deeply rooted in Southern
memory? Blame the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC was founded in Nashville in 1894 to
preserve Confederate culture for generations to come. The women who made up the group descended
from elite antebellum families and they used their social and political clout to spread
the pro-Southern version of the war as “real history.” You’ve probably seen their efforts to honor
the Confederacy, but maybe you didn’t know it was the UDC. They’re the ones who covered the Southern
landscape with memorials for Confederate leaders and soldiers. They used their fundraising and lobbying skills
to pressure local governments into erecting monuments in prominent public spaces like
courthouses and state capitols. Installed here next to the state Capitol by
the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The United Daughters of the Confederacy donated
this memorial to the city back in the ’30s. They put them along roadsides and in parks. Any place that was remotely relevant to the
Confederacy was memorialized. By the early 20th century, the UDC had 100,000
members in chapters spread all over the country, but mostly in former Confederate states. And there’s a reason they grew so quickly
during that time. So we’re talking about roughly three decades
after the end of the war, and the Confederate veterans themselves are beginning to die off. So there is this push to find ways to commemorate
it. Because the big challenge by 1900 was there’s
a new generation of white Southerners being born and they never experienced the war years. That push is visible. Most of the Confederate monuments were erected
during the UDC’s height of influence. There’s a rhetoric around monuments — that
we want to get this thing built before all of that generation has died off. And Dr. Karen Cox wrote the book on the UDC, and
I asked her if it was fair to say the group established the Lost Cause as historical fact
in the South. Oh, my God, yeah! They were the leaders of the Lost Cause into
the 20th century, and they made it a movement about vindication. Just to give you an idea of how effective
they were: They successfully lobbied for a Confederate Memorial in Arlington National
Cemetery, which US President Woodrow Wilson proudly unveiled to a cheering crowd. Now that’s influence, right? Monuments are the least of what they did. I mean they are the most visible and tangible,
but the work with children was far more influential. It turns out, a central UDC objective is shaping
how children think about the war and their Southern heritage. One of their most powerful tools? Textbooks. Take a look at this pamphlet, called “A
Measuring Rod for Text-Books.” It was written by “the illustrious Southern
Historian Miss Mildred Rutherford” an educator, orator, and an author of Southern history
textbooks. She was also very pro-slavery. The pamphlet announced the formation of a
textbook review committee featuring prominent Southerners, like five former Confederate
generals. This group was committed to spreading the
“truths of Confederate history” so they instructed school boards to reject any textbooks
that did not “accord full justice to the South.” And they urged libraries to deface every book
in their collection that didn’t measure up by writing the words “Unjust to the South”
clearly on its cover. This pamphlet was shared widely with school
boards throughout the South, and UDC-backed committees closely monitored history books
to make sure “Northern influence” never reached classrooms. So the core language of an approved textbook
aligned precisely with that of the Lost Cause. You know, stuff like “The Confederacy lost
in the War between the States. But Georgia never forgot to honor her Confederate
soldiers…” History of Georgia was on the UDC’s approved
list. It was also written by E. Merton Coulter,
a self-described “Southern historian” and historian-described white supremacist. They understand that how you educate — who
wins the writing game, who wins the battle over history — ultimately wins the war. That’s the big fight for the UDC. But their work with children went further
than the classrooms. The UDC formed an auxiliary group called the
Children of the Confederacy, which was designed to get kids born in former Confederate states
to actively participate in their version of history. Group leaders had kids recite call-and-response
“truths” from something called the “Confederate Catechism.” Children, up to the age of 18, would compete
and be rewarded for memorizing long passages of Lost Cause rhetoric. So it would be like an after-school thing,
you know, like that was your club. You would go after school to the meeting of
the Children of the Confederacy and your leader might teach you songs of the South like “Dixie”
or other songs that were considered Southern patriotic songs. They would have them write essays, go visit
the veterans, and learn this catechism. Children were also the centerpiece of their
community’s monument unveilings, like this “living flag” at the dedication of the
Stonewall Jackson monument in Richmond. Yes, those are schoolchildren. The UDC’s efforts shaped the identities of
children who grew up with the Lost Cause. They made history personal, and that made
their story last longer. Generations of generations of children learning
that narrative in a variety of ways grow up to be, you know, segregationists in the ’50s
and ’60s. Because that’s been drilled into them since
they were children. After World War I, the UDC started losing
steam. But the damage was done. The monuments were in place and the textbooks
they wrote remained in Southern classrooms until the late ’70s. And the women’s group did it all without
the right to vote or participate in politics. You can still get glimmers of this Lost Cause
memory of the war And I think the UDC, to a great extent was
— that was their goal. So the next time someone says the Confederate
monuments are about just know that that’s exactly what the United
Daughters of the Confederacy wants you to think.




Comments
  1. I'm biracial, and I know that the war was not about slavery. People that push that lie, should be banned from the country forever, citizen of not.

  2. If people from that time could observe the world today and what it's turned into do you think anybody would have fought for the North I don't think so

  3. In at least a dozen videos, Vox has claimed that History is written by the winning side, and therefore the record wasn't necessarily true. Now, in this video, the history books are written by the losers, and therefore are clearly not true.
    Logical consistency is important if you're going to pose as having standards. Any standards. Especially journalistic standards. The Vox presentation has improved over the years, but clearly not their fact-checking skills.

  4. So Vox and other liberal groups are pretending to be whistleblowers exposing rewritten history? Please tell me this is a joke lol!!

  5. -The South is much stronger today than it was in 1860. This bash-the-South You Tube video is something the New York Times or The Washington Post would create. We are a strong people and tend to be very Christian (hence we are called the Bible Belt). Much industry is flowing to the South. You northerners are just jealous of us in general. We put Trump in office in 2016 and will do so again in 2020. You wanted us back in the Union and now we are leading the nation. Don't worry you still have Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to lead you. America is all one happy family now. What would you do if you didn't have the South to put down ?

  6. I just bought a used book which I have already read 3 times and I am reading it again, "The Real Lincoln". I tells just how badly the south was abused by the north, not just during and after the war, but before it. But to get a true understanding of the war you need to learn to read Mandarin Chinese, go to China and read what THEIR HISTORY BOOKS say about our civil war. Unfortunately most people will never do that, but word has gotten around.

  7. Articles such as yours are modern properganda . To rewrite, and redefine the causes of civil war. The main cause for secession was massive unfaire taxes. So in essence spinning a narrative for your particular liberal agenda.

  8. Well the Confederate were a bunch of Democrats trying to rewrite history and spread lies. Sounds like the modern Democrats still! Lol either way history should be preserved and confederates were American troops and should be remembered through monuments

  9. SO THE ANSWER IS TO REMOVE MONUMENT'S???? I believe in freedom of speech..let the monuments stay and let history BECOME the way it is…I would rather have a child walk by and know the history THAN KNOW NOTHING…..

  10. "without the right to vote" By 1919 18 US states had acknowledged women's suffrage. In the former confederacy, none. But you miss the point that the UDoC wanted to return to an antebellum way of life. They certainly had no interest in giving voting rights to poor women. They had all the power and influence that they ever needed without the 19th amendment diffusing power to the lower classes.

  11. Useless, submissive, mentally disturbed women. Now we have to deal with their useless, mentally disturbed racist offspring.

  12. So let me get this straight…we are sticking with the idea that the war was about slavery? I'm sorry but it just doesnt make any sense. The first states that seceded from the Union did so when Lincoln won the election, before he even took office. Lincoln stated on more than one occasion that he was not concerned with slavery. He did, however propose heavy tariffs on the southern cash crops. The south had just effectively paid off the revolution thru taxes and didn't like the idea of being taxed at a higher rate than the north for what was suppose to be free enterprise. It makes more sense to me that the war was about the almighty dollar. BTW…I'm from the north. I've just done some homework

  13. "People who are not honest with their own History will never create History". I am not an American so please don't flame me.

  14. I knew this was going to be anti lost cause b.s. Jubal Early and John Hood were charged with keeping the records by the federal government. Slavery was no more a cause of the war to southerners as it was to some northerners. Memebers of the Massachusetts militia threatened to throw away their arms and lay till moss grew on their backs, rather than fight for the slaves. Anyone who thinks the civil war was a just cause to preserve the rights of blacks is a fool.

  15. So that's where the liberals learned how to do there school indoctrination today. Just handed down from one generation of Dems to the next.

  16. Let's see it was about slavery as well as states rights there always 2 sides to a story and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Atleast the south was and still in some ways is open about racism unlike you northerners in particular Boston Milwaukee and Chicago whom took a little longer to integrate your society.

  17. Slavery WAS NOT the main cause of the civil war..it was rights of the states to control their own destiny.that is fact.and i believe a real study of history will prove that.if slavery was the main issue of the war,why then in the 1860 census were there counted 451,021 slaves in the states that comprised the north?

  18. Wow, that other comment made was correct, this is by far the most disliked video I have watched. "y'all frum the south?"

  19. Text books? Try to find anyting about the Corwin Amendment in a state run School… It's kind of important but it paints Lincoln in a True Light

  20. NO different in school today I never saw a Republican president in a textbook the whole time I was in high school nothing but Democrats probably because the teachers union is the biggest Union in the country

  21. Tell the Yankees to switch out our federal text books we get at public schools. Jamestown, Virginia was the first English colony, not Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts! The union allowed these “ socialites” to get away with this, so blame them, VOX!

  22. Anyone that believes slavery was wrong, Look at Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago, Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans.

  23. It’s sad. No wonder they, the south, follow trump. They are used to lies and manipulation. What’s tragic, is that they believe this alternate reality and the merits of Trump because they were literally taught to do so. It clearly shows why there is an ideology struggle. It really is the educated and the free democrats versus this southern contagious nonsense of the mentally trapped.

  24. If you actually look in to it number 3 isn't wrong, the north made it about slavery but it had to do with southern economics, like for example idk……Implementing STUPIDLY high tariffs on European goods so high that the south was almost forced to by goods from the north (this was before civil war btw) and then made the south pay additional taxes that the north didn't have to, but because the south had slaves…ThE wAr WaS oNlY aBoUt SlAvErY

  25. From some foreign guy living in Kansas and try everyday to understand this country, it's own past seems same as their future.

  26. Doesn't explain why I see so many Confederate flags…in Pennsylvania, a northern state that fought for the Union. I'm not sure what effects the UDC had and/or has in the northern states as well.

  27. *History is history and cannot be disregarded whether we agree with it or not.
    Nobody can turn back the hands of "Father Time".
    We must continue to learn from passed ignorance and always strive move forward,
    for the positive things in life's lessons taught.

    I'm just saying~

  28. it's sad people lean history from one sided democrat people like you even Lincoln said the war was not about slavery in he did not want to use slavery ad an issue in till after he won at getteysburg the North was taxing the South and takeing over what industry they had yes slavery was an issue but there were a lot more issue on the table

  29. Uhhh slavery was not the root cause of the civil war , economic terrorism was , that's why slavery became an issue after 2 years Into the war ,

  30. Lincoln federalized the government and weakened the constitution. Where is that disputed in the textbooks? The sovereignty of the states, the constitution protected, was eaten alive by Lincoln. Now, the government is out of control and becoming more tyrannical by the day. (Thank God for President Trump!!)

  31. The "Southern Belle" archetype never looked so menacing.
    I also want to add that there was a great effort in the 1950s and 60s from the south regarding beauty contests, there were a lot of southern beauty queens and it was mostly used to support a pro segregationist platform.

  32. The loosing team wants monuments to stay up and New America, diverse America, inclusive America cultured America is slowly tearing all this BS thinking and bs monuments down. It's just a matter of time.

  33. We have been aware for a long time thatwe are born loving and HATE IS TAUGHT. Period. By influencing the trajectory of these children's developing minds they manage to enslave them in that state of intoleranceand hate.
    I hope some people understand now why the church loves children so much because what better way to ensure you are spreading your shameful ideals than to plant the seed of hatred within the next generation

  34. Interestingly Lee was against these monuments. He said they would perpetuate the divisions between North and South.

  35. As a Northerner from New England, 2nd generation American, I always regarded Abraham Lincoln as nothing short of a Saint. Imagine my surprise to hear someone (from the South) say otherwise!

  36. I remember a section in our textbooks having a title “ the war of northern aggression “ and that was in like 1983

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *