NOTE: I’m directing a four-day seminar on the Civil War and Reconstruction from June 28 through July 1. If you know anyone who is a middle or secondary school teacher (or a graduate student in education or history), please have them contact me to register for the program.
James Loewen and Ed Sebesta are co-editors of “The Confederate and
Neo-Confederate Reader: The ‘Great Truth’ About the ‘Lost Cause.'” The
“Great Truth” is a phrase from Confederate Vice-President Alexander H.
Stephen’s speech where he explains the great trught that the Confederacy
is founded upon is white supremacy. The “Lost Cause” is the mythology of
the Civil War, slavery and the Confederacy promoted by neo-Confederates
after the Civil War.
We have primary documents from the Constitutional Convention to the 21st
century documenting that the Confederacy was about white supremacy and
slavery and neo-Confederacy is about white supremacy.
The University Press of Mississippi doesn’t have it on its web page but
it is available at www.amazon.com and other book seller websites for
Additionally, we have a website www.confederatepastpresent.org in which
we are adding additional material that we didn’t have room for in the
book. It is in progress.
From the University Press of Mississippi catalog, page 4.
“Most Americans hold basic misconceptions about the Confederacy, the
Civil War, and the actions of subsequent neo-Confederates. For example,
two-thirds of Americans – including most history teachers – think the
Confederate States seceded for “states’ rights.” This error persists
because most have never read the key documents about the Confederacy.
The 150th anniversary of secession and civil war provides a moment for
all Americans to read these documents, properly set in context by
award-winning sociologist and historian James W. Loewen and coeditor
Edward H. Sebesta, to put in perspective the mythology of the Old South.
When South Carolina seceded, it published “Declaration of the Immediate
Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the
Federal Union.” The document actually opposes states’ rights. Its
authors argue that Northern states were ignoring the rights of slave
owners as identified by Congress and in the Constitution. Similarly,
Mississippi’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes …” says, “Our
positon is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the
greatest material interest of the world.”
Later documents in this collection show how neo-Confederates obfuscated
this truth, starting around 1890. The evidence also points to the
centrality of race in neo-Confederate thought even today and to the
continuing importance of neo-Confederate ideas in American political life.”