Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > The Re-construction of Memory and Loyalty in North Carolina, 1865-1880

This thesis aims to recast the story of how white Southern identity and political culture evolved during Reconstruction. It does so by taking seriously anti-Confederate or Unionist memories of the Civil War that do not fit the later Lost Cause consensus. More particularly, it examines the public narratives told by leading spokespersons in North Carolina. By telling narratives of Union loyalty and resistance to the Confederacy, the state's political aspirants tried to reckon with their wartime past, make sense of a postwar world, and present themselves favorably in it. During Reconstruction, Southern Unionist narratives flourished in competition with pro-Confederate ways of remembering that would only triumph by the end of the 1870s. As the context of state and national politics continued to shift, local elites responded by making one or another part of their reservoir of memory more salient, ultimately shaping the evolution of white Southern identity.