Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920

Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920
Language: 
ISBN10: 
0820306819
ISBN13: 
9780820306810
Pages: 
264
Published: 
August 1st 1983 by University of Georgia Press
Rating: 
3.82

Charles Reagan Wilson documents that for over half a century there existed not one, but two civil religions in the United States, the second not dedicated to honoring the American nation. Extensively researched in primary sources, Baptized in Blood is a significant and well-written study of the South’s civil religion, one of two public faiths in America. In his comparison, Wilson finds the Lost Cause offered defeated Southerners a sense of meaning and purpose and special identity as a precarious but distinct culture. Southerners may have abandoned their dream of a separate political nation after Appomattox, but they preserved their cultural identity by blending Christian rhetoric and symbols with the rhetoric and imagery of Confederate tradition.“Civil religion” has been defined as the religious dimension of a people that enables them to understand a historical experience in transcendent terms. In this light, Wilson explores the role of religion in postbellum southern culture and argues that the profound dislocations of Confederate defeat caused southerners to think in religious terms about the meaning of their unique and tragic experience. The defeat in a war deemed by some as religious in nature threw into question the South’s relationship to God; it was interpreted in part as a God-given trial, whereby suffering and pain would lead Southerners to greater virtue and strength and even prepare them for future crusades. From this reflection upon history emerged the civil religion of the Lost Cause.

While recent work in southern religious history has focused on the Old South period, Wilson’s timely study adds to our developing understanding of the South after the Civil War. The Lost Cause movement was an organized effort to preserve the memory of the Confederacy. Historians have examined its political, literary, and social aspects, but Wilson uses the concepts of anthropology, sociology, and historiography to unveil the Lost Cause as an authentic expression of religion. The Lost Cause was celebrated and perpetuated with its own rituals, mythology, and theology; as key celebrants of the religion of the Lost Cause, Southern ministers forged it into a religious movement closely related to their own churches.

In examining the role of civil religion in the cult of the military, in the New South ideology, and in the spirit of the Lost Cause colleges, as well as in other aspects, Wilson demonstrates effectively how the religion of the Lost Cause became the institutional embodiment of the South’s tragic experience.

SUBURB IN THE CITY: CHESTNUT HILL, PHILDELPHIA, 1850-1990

SUBURB IN THE CITY: CHESTNUT HILL, PHILDELPHIA, 1850-1990

In Suburb in the City, David Contosta tells the story of how Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, once a small milling and farming town, evolved to become both a suburban enclave for wealthy...
The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists

The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists

Beginning with overviews of the Second Great Awakening and Transcendentalism, Hankins details the wider impact these spiritual revolutions had on antebellum America's social, political, racial,...
Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed: The Struggle for the Powder River Country in 1866 and the Making of the Fetterman Myth

Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed: The Struggle for the Powder River Country in 1866 and the Making of the Fetterman Myth

The Powder River country of what is now north central Wyoming was one of...
The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson

The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson

Hoover's book was meant as a tribute to his former chief, but is ti easy to suspect that anger and hurt might underlie a portrayal that presents the worst as well as the best in one of our greatest statesmen. What makes Hoover's memoir...
Thomas Jefferson: Statesman of Science

Thomas Jefferson: Statesman of Science

Inventor, botanist, geographer, archaeologist, architect, tireless recorder of the natural world--Bedini gives us the Jefferson that not only forged the politics of America, but made scientific progress synonymous with...
Where The Domino Fell: America and Vietnam 1945-2006 (Fifth Edition)

Where The Domino Fell: America and Vietnam 1945-2006 (Fifth Edition)

Where the Domino Fell recounts the history of American involvement in Vietnam from the end of World War II, clarifying the political aims, military strategy, and...
Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia

Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia

An Intimate Illustrated Tour of America’s Most Iconic Colonial City

From its beginning as a haven for English Quakers in the colony William Penn founded in 1681, the city of Philadelphia...