Magazine article The American Prospect

In the Mississippi Mud. (Devil in the Details)

Magazine article The American Prospect

In the Mississippi Mud. (Devil in the Details)

Article excerpt

AND WHAT GIVES WITH Lott's hero worship of Jefferson Davis? In the aftermath of the Civil War--which in the South lasted for only about the first no years after Appomattox--the great heroes of the Lost Cause were the South's military leaders, not its political ones. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart--these were the mythical figures whom southern boys dreamed about. They were the ones who'd fought the battles and won them, and like as not lost their lives in them. They weren't about politics. Unlike the elected leaders of the Confederacy, they were even one step removed from an explicit defense of slavery, if and when that was convenient. Lee actually opposed slavery, though this fact was of use only to those southern boys who defended states' rights but grew queasy at discussions of what it was that the states wanted the right to defend.

Lee, in fact, squabbled with Davis all the time, and even before the war ended--and ever since--the cult of Robert E. …

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