Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This study examines the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and the reasons for the defeat of the Confederate States of America. The Confederate States of America was created with propaganda, lofty ideals and unbridled optimism. With the outcome of the American Civil War known, this study seeks to answer the question, was the South's defeat predetermined, or was it a victim of its own leadership? On the surface the Confederacy seemed unprepared for war with the North in 1861. The Confederate leadership suffered from unreasonable and delusional expectations without any realistic plan for success. The South was partially a victim of its own propaganda and the propaganda was also misused and ill timed. The cause of the Confederacy was in many ways a comedy of errors. The dreams of success and independence held by the Confederacy were unlikely to be realized given the lack of manpower, infrastructure, economic diversity, industry, political strength, political alliances, and unity. In addition to the tangible deficits of the South, the Confederacy was also engaged in a struggle to create a nation while simultaneously waging war against an established nation. Each of these tasks was daunting by itself, but to tackle all together was an incredibly difficult undertaking. Such an undertaking would only be possible if the entire Confederate nation was united in ideology and purpose, however, it was not.
Vigneri, Thomas, "The Lost Cause: An Examination of the Defeat of the Confederate States of America" (2009). History Master's Theses. 7.