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Anyone could argue either side. To say that one side is better than the other is irresponsible. As historians, we have to look at the evidence that is presented to us through primary documents and not opinionated pieces written in the hand of an avide social instigator. The world will never know what was truly in the heart of the men and boys who laid their lives down for a cause that they thought was just and noble in every way. We can’t take the Civil War out of cultural context, to place our values on the people who lived during the Civil War is wrong, because there are things that are wrong now that were perfectly socially acceptable in the late 1800s, but there are also things that would not even phase us today that would be completely unacceptable in Civil War times. Racism is a social phenomenon that has evolved over time, an ever changing animal that is blamed for almost every social ill in modern society. The South after the Civil War was ravaged and war torn in the worst way possible, thousands were dead and the land was burned, the government was completely being overturned and remodeled. The complete overhaul of the Southern way of life was bound to cause racial strife, but to blame all the problems facing a reemerging southern society on the theory of ‘The Lost Cause’ is leaving a lot unsaid and unexplained. The racial issues that the country faced after the union was restored were caused by the immediate restructuring of a society that everyone living in the United States up to this point had known their whole lives, however they felt about it, good or bad, North or South, the shock was most likely felt in all corners of live and of course some handled it badly and or fought the change, as was witnessed in Reconstruction and the push back that is felt even today. If we are trying to convince ourselves that Civil War was only about state rights then we are naive, but it was not all about slavery either, as in most cases, the Civil War was very complicated and we shouldn’t pass judgements on those so closely affected by the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. The Civil War made almost everyone in the South poor, black and white, making the crushing defeat and upheaval of government even worse in the long run, because it helped to exacerbate the already high tensions. Now, if the ‘Lost Cause’ caused these tensions or not is completely up to interpretation, but I believe that the ‘Lost Cause’ was only a tiny part of the overall effect of the Civil War and becomes the focus of society now, because of our social atmosphere. The ‘Lost Cause’ is a very real theory, but it can’t explain all the ups and downs of the societal reaction to the Civil War.

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