Confederate Patriotism

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During the Civil War, Confederates sought to prove the distinctiveness of the Southern people and to legitimate their desire for a separate national existence through the creation of a unique southern literature and culture. After the war, Southerners wanted their descendants to have pride in their heritage and understand that defeat had not destroyed the relevance of Southern identity. Key to their efforts was placing a great emphasis on the control of children’s education, especially in regard to “good history.” Educators hoped that by employing southern literature and textbooks, taught from a southern Lost Cause perspective, they could perpetuate Confederate patriotism and the Southern Way of Life in the face of defeat. This week’s readings explore the southern textbook movement and Lost Cause education. …show more content…
Educated Southerners, especially members of the planter class, combined classicism with romanticism to create a self-definition that distinguished them from Northerners and validated their social and economic institutions. Robert I. Curtis writes that antiquity, especially Greek culture, was seen as a parallel to southern society, based on the support of democratic free states in opposition to a centralized government. Attacks from northern abolitionists further created a sense of southern nationalism and self-reliance in which the desire for political, economic, and literary independence grew. Textbooks were high on their list requiring protection and purification. The war gave impetus to focus efforts on cleansing anti-Southern aspects from textbooks, and through it, southern classical curriculum grew in the late nineteenth century. Although beginning as a vehicle to produce Confederate textbooks, Curtis finds that the southern textbook movement initiated a profound opportunity for southern classical

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