Confederate Leaders in the New South

Confederate Leaders in the New South

Confederate Leaders in the New South

Confederate Leaders in the New South

Excerpt

Northern propaganda in the Civil War pictured the leaders of the Southern Confederacy as members of a planter class living on their remote plantations surrounded by their colored menials and engaged in a slaveholders' conspiracy with a "diabolic" unity of purpose. Actually, as the internal history of the Confederacy bore ample evidence, the South's leaders, both military and civil, came from varied backgrounds and were united neither on secession, the conduct of the war, nor the purposes of the Confederacy. Conflicting ideas and personal rivalries harassed the brief existence of the Confederate States of America.

Military defeat and the collapse of the Confederate government did not bring an end to the confusion of counsel. While the Northern victors experimented with various devices to "reconstruct" the South, the former leaders of the Confederacy, faced with the political, economic, and social collapse of their system, made varying adjustments to new conditions. Some fled in terror of a conqueror's vengeance; some, with eager subservience, welcomed the victor.

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