The noted Civil War historian Allen Guelzo offers a nice working definition of the “Lost Cause” in a piece at The Gospel Coalition. He writes: “In its fullest flower, from 1865 to 1915, the Lost Cause emerged—from a legion of Southern war memoirists, politicians, and even novelists—and coalesced around five basic contentions.” They are:
- “Slavery was not the real issue of the Civil War; hence, the Union had no moral high ground to claim against the Confederacy
- “The South had created a culture of resistant to godless industrial capitalism, and it was protection of that culture against Northern envy that led Southerners to take up arms.”
- “The South was not defeated, but rather overwhelmed, as if the North had unfairly stacked the deck with its industrial might and immigrant numbers.”
- “The Southern soldier was heroic and noble, the defender of his homeland; while the Northerner was a destructive Yankee interloper who (like William Sherman in Georgia and Philip Sheridan in the Shenandoah) rejoiced in burning cities and laying waste homelands.
- Secession, above all, was lawful.
Read the entire piece here.