God and General Longstreet: The Lost Cause and the Southern Mind

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Thomas L. Connelly and Barbara L. Bellows's God and General Longstreet: The Lost Cause And The Southern Mind effectively examines numerous characteristics within the mental process of southerners and their leaders before, during, and particularly after the Civil War. This text successfully investigates the ideas of southern politicians, generals, novelists, and journalists who all in the face of defeat combined to form a Lost Cause generation who attempted to justify and explain the Confederate experience. Connelly and Bellows offer the reader a unique perspective regarding two different definitions of this lost cause phenomenon; The Inner Lost Cause and the National Lost Cause as they both respectively originated to capture the opinions of a defeated Confederacy and to interpret the situation of the south within the nation. Essentially, this particular text clearly stresses an appreciation and understanding of the influence that these Lost Cause opinions had on the former defeated Confederacy and modern day southern society. Connelly and Bellows explain that southerners of the Inner Lost Cause such as Jefferson Davis and Jubal Early possessed a harsh anger and created a one- dimensional approach in dealing with such a heavy defeat. Regarding some of the initial writings after the war, Connelly and Belows explain that, "Confederates of the Inner Lost Cause wrote more to appease their own frustrations and fears than to convert a national audience" (p.8). Moreover, some light is shed on the idea that many former rebels didn't care about northern opinions of their efforts but valued how the rest of the world viewed the Confederate cause of 1861. As vindication and redemption were both key aspects in the mindset of the extreme inn... ... middle of paper ... ...h, and then four years later, his same devotion to principle focused on mending the torn Union. It is here that Connolly and Burrows identify the key irony of the Lost Cause as they exclaim, " The Vindication of the Confederacy rested heavily upon its supreme hero, and in the process, Robert E. Lee was robbed of much of his southernism"(95). Connelly and Burrows provide a valuable perspective which highlights the paradox and irony which essentially defined the southern mindset before, during, and after the Civil War. This text offers the reader with an in depth look into the mindset of southerners throughout the Civil War and beyond, which enables one to better understand the actions of these rebels within such a decisive period in our Nation's history. Bibliograghpy Connelly and Bellows. "God and General Longstreet: The Lost Cause and the Southern Mind". 1955

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