The Rise Of Confederate Memorial Sites In The American South

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By the early 20th century, military commemoration and historical sites were growing in popularity in the United States. Federal and state governments, as well as private enterprises, were purchasing large amounts of land to serve as cemeteries, reunion grounds and historical parks for the purposes of celebration and remembrance. This was especially true in the American South, where a push for Confederate memorial grounds and commemorative sites sprung up in considerable numbers after the end of the Civil War and the cooling of Reconstruction. However, the rise of commemorative sites in the South often exacerbated local political tensions and reinforced segregation problems. While this did not at first seem to be the explicit intent of Southern …show more content…
This was aided by the involvement of President Woodrow Wilson, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Wilson – whose politically lineage was drawn from ardent objectors of Reconstruction -- frequently spoke of pro-segregation before and during his presidency, and established a long tradition of the White House sending a wreath to the Confederate section of Arlington National Cemetery. He accepted a monument for fallen Confederates donated by the Daughters of Confederate Veterans into the Cemetery as well, and used the opportunity to contend as an example that the nation had at last been “reunited”. Nevertheless, he vocally supported segregation and the Ku Klux Klan, referring to it as a “veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.” Wilson’s rigidly racialized views of southern blacks permeated Southern government, and gave further political and financial credence to Southern heritage organizations, now emboldened with national support to press …show more content…
They operated much in the way of other political machines of the early 20th century in the United States, lending favor to locals and earning political capital through a fierce devotion to the problems of their region and their constituency. While the Sons of Confederate Veterans worked to protect and “perpetuate the hallowed memories of brave men”, the Daughters of Confederate Veterans took on literacy and historical initiatives. Through these items Confederate heritage could be safely carried on into proceeding generations, and more importantly, the protection of the white, social elite in the South could remain intact, unobstructed by the inconveniences and contradictions of an otherwise sordid

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