The Origins of the American Civil War | Debunking Lost Cause Narratives

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3m Jun 6, 2021

In this episode Historian Kevin M. Levin the author of Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth takes us into a fascinating discussion of the roots and causes of the American Civil War, the decline and collapse of the Confederacy and more importantly the origins, development and manifestation of the Confederate Lost Cause Movement.

At the beginning he talks about what he thinks about when pondering the American Civil War before moving on into the very heart of the episode.

He begins by setting a foundation and exploring core issues and events preceding the eventual secession and war from talking about the American expansion into new territories, the question of "New States" and slavery, Bleeding Kansas and naturally the Compromise of 1850 and the collapse of the Whig Party and the beginning of the Republican Party.

But then we come to the end of the Confederacy and the origins, birth and manifestation of the Lost Cause movement and its mythical and fictional narratives that became a cancer within American historiography and the role it plays in miseducating and misinforming the public today.

He discusses slavery and the "states rights" debate while debunking many of the myths put forward in Lost Cause narratives that are still defended today by Neo Confederates such as Black Confederates a term that attempts to explain away "camp slaves" which is narrative that Neo Confederates cling to today while avoiding the truth, horror and reality of American slavery.

We discuss confederate monuments, the monument debate and the role that groups have played such as the Daughters of the Confederacy from memorial services to the very monuments that spark debates today.

From modern Americans who struggle with their Confederate ancestors to the internet and its role in misinformation and the safe space it gives "fake history" this episode truly encompasses the very heart and soul of American history and the battle that still rages involving the origins of the American Civil War and the movements that came after.

We end by asking why Americans have a fascination and almost romanticized view of Civil War and why the USA continues to struggle with its past.

Topics debunked:

That slavery wasn't the fundamental cause of secession and the eventual outbreak of war.

The myth of unlimited Northern resources over Confederate bad generalship.

The States rights narrative.

Black Confederates.

The loyal slave narrative.

The myth of Northern Aggression.

The myth of Confederate Unity.

The myth of the "morally" superior South.

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