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 Posted: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006 11:28 pm
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Doc C
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Just wanted to start a dialogue.  Would like to know what a lost cause individual is?  Is the equivalent “what if”?  Thought it would be interesting seeing the responses.

 

Doc C



 Posted: Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 12:38 am
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ole
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Good question, Doc. I'll be watching for responses with you.

Ole

Last edited on Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 12:38 am by ole



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 02:20 pm
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David White
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Someone who believes the South only lost because they were outmanned, that Lee was nohing short of God on earth and the only reason he didn't suceed is subordinate X, Y or Z failed him at some critical moment.  That Jackson's death was the critical blow to the south, that southerners were all good and noble and had the right cause and should have won on their nobility and moral fortitute but somehow didn't despite Grant being a butcher. 

There are other symptoms of being a lost causer but that's a good start for the discussion. 



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 02:49 pm
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Widow
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Hello, David of the large ATM card,

Your description of the Lost Cause is the clearest I've ever read.  Like Doc, I've been mystified by it ever since I "enlisted" in the Civil War last year.

I can understand why the losers consoled themselves that way.  They had suffered and lost so much, far more than God should have allowed.  They had to rationalize their humiliating defeat somehow.  "It wasn't us, it was them.  We were the good guys."  Same concept as wanting to go down in a blaze of glory rather than compromise a political principle.

Longstreet was accused of losing the Battle of Gettysburg singlehandedly.  His defense: "I thought the Yankees had something to do with it."

It must be hard to give up one's basic beliefs, especially when a hated enemy hammers on everything you hold dear.  The Civil War was not just a case of one king raiding another's territory.  It was one culture against another, and the winning culture ended up practically obliterating the other side's social structure.

I've never been in the South except visits to Miami and a weekend at Chickamauga, so I don't really know what I'm talking about.  Moreover, I don't really know what they're talking about.  Do people still believe in the Lost Cause?  After all this time?

Doc, thanks for opening this topic.  And Mr. ATM, thanks for starting us off in a good direction.

Patty



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 05:16 pm
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Doc C
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Do Lost Causers encompass 2 periods, 1) - individuals who actually participated in the civil war, i.e. Early, while the other 2) 20th/21st century individuals? How do the these 2 groups differ in respect to their interpretation of the outcome, goals, etc.? Food for thought. Widow, never heard aggies called ATM cards. Will have to add that to my list. Also, i'm by no means a lost causer, but would like a further explanation of the term humilating defeat.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 06:34 pm
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David White
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I would say there is not much difference between the groups other than group 1 tended to ignore/avoid slavery as a cause of the war and group 2 tends to deny slavery's role in the start of the war, i.e. "it wasn't about slavery, it was about states rights."



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 06:40 pm
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Widow
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Doc, by humiliating defeat, I can illustrate it best this way.

Think of a basketball team with the strongest players and finest coaches.  They're poor kids, but they've done really well all season, and have good reason to be proud.  Besides, their loyal fans expect them to defend the state title.  Then a team of rich kids comes along.  They have fancy uniforms. fly in a charter jet, but they don't play very well and you think they cheat.  The visiting bad team beats the good home team in the championship game.

You know you're good, and you're beaten by inferiors.  Would you feel humiliated?

To top it off, after the Civil War the losers had to take the ironclad oath.  Meaning, "I swear never to take up arms against the government.  And also that I never supported or particpated in the late rebellion."  You had to swear in order to vote and regain other civil rights.  If you lied, you could be denounced by your neighbors.  Without the right to vote, you had no say in who governed you or how high your taxes would be.  That's humiliating for people who had always run the show.  Wno had always believed they had the right and duty to run the show because of their natural superiority.

Another cause of humiliation was that the freedmen were elevated to an equal social level, were allowed to own land, vote, run for office, testify in court, all the things the whites weren't allowed to do.  For people who believed blacks were their social inferiors, that must have been terribly galling.

Hey, I'm just parroting what I've read in books.  I've never talked to anybody face to face about this most fascinating topic.

Aggies?  As in Texas A&M?  Is that what ATM means?  Well, for pete's sake, they put the letters in the wrong order.  You'd think they'd have noticed by now.

Patty  (p.s. I'm not from Texas.)



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 06:48 pm
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ole
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Aggies?  As in Texas A&M?  Is that what ATM means?  Well, for pete's sake, they put the letters in the wrong order.  You'd think they'd have noticed by now.:shock::P

Ole





 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 07:26 pm
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Doc C
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Patty, what a great analogy. Couldn't have done better if I tried. Indeed, you and Ole don't hail from the great lonestar state. (Not intended to be an insult, neither do I, Louisiana). Yep, that's A&M's logo. Been thinking they've been doing things backwards for quite some time, jk. David, you'd think Ole and Widow are teasips from their responces. On a more serious note, how does the "lost cause" mentality play into the philosophy of today's right wing groups. Do any of these groups have any idea of what their supposed to be espousing ? Do any of them really have a clue to the true events which they seem to be holding so dear, i.e. the "rebel flag",etc.? Have individuals such as this discussion group (myself included) who appear to have a true interest in the facts/truth in the civil war, been negligent in allowing them to raise their voices? Could past conflicts concerning the flying of CSA flags have been avoided if these fringe groups let their voices be heard? Several years ago, I had a discussion with one of friends who happened to be an afro-american ob-gyn in regard to the flying of the confederate flag over his home state capitol of South Carolina. His main objection was it not having been used during the civil war but that it was being used as a symbol for the KKK and other hate groups.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 10:11 pm
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Widow
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Doc, I can't address all of the questions you raised.  Heck, I'm just a private from Wyoming, what do I know about Lost Causes.

I'd like to comment on your questions about other people expressing their opinions.

Have individuals such as this discussion group (myself included) who appear to have a true interest in the facts/truth in the civil war, been negligent in allowing them to raise their voices? Could past conflicts concerning the flying of CSA flags have been avoided if these fringe groups let their voices be heard?

I wonder if perhaps you were thinking about "negligence" in the sense of failing to reply persuasively to those other voices.

In my opinion, no matter how much I disagree with another viewpoint, I have no right to allow or prohibit others from expressing it.  Of course, they don't have the right to suppress my view, either.  Jefferson said it best, something like "Sir, I disagree completely with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."  I'll bet a Yankee greenback that you feel that way too.

May I add that I have no monopoly on the truth here.  I can't possibly know all the truth, just fragments here and there mixed in with lots of opinions.  The Official Reports aren't exactly the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  A conscientious officer could report only what he knew and did, from his angle, and probably didn't know half of what went on elsewhere on the battlefield.  And many officers were quite willing to omit certain inconvenient details, or skip doing the research necessary to fill in the blanks.  "My regiment withdrew gallantly in perfect order."  Meaning we ran like hell.

I agree with you, though, that as far as I can tell, the members of this board are interested in the Civil War as history rather than as a political issue to argue about today.  Seems to me that those who argue about the CBF should consider we have other more pressing problems to solve in this country.

Interesting coincidence, your conversation with the black doctor who objected to the use of the CBF by the hate groups, but not to its use as a state emblem.  I had practically the same conversation with a black acquaintance who lives in Alabama; his opinion was the same as the doctor's.

I've lived in NoVa for 40 years and have seen lots of bumper stickers, tattoos, license plate frames, and you name it, all with the CBF.  I used to be disgusted and contemptuous, what's with these people?  Are they still fighting the war?  Are they all in the KKK?

Then I got interested in the war last year and have learned a lot.  So much that I've changed my opinion about the CBF and what it stood for.  Now I respect the men who fought under it, just as much as the men who fought under Old Glory.  And I no longer associate the CBF with hate groups like the Klan and neo-Nazis.  The way I see it, they distorted the meaning of the CBF and debased its treasured value for many people.  And that's a shame.

I've always liked the design of the CBF with the St. Andrew's cross and the 13 stars, it has an eye-pleasing symmetry.

One more comment about certain universities.  You know that UVa in Charlottesville claims to be "Mr. Jefferson's university" because he founded it and designed the first buildings.  OK, and Virginia Tech is in Blacksburg, some distance away (and I don't mean just in miles).  So at UVa they assert, loudly, that "all dirt roads lead to Virginia Tech."

By the way, Doc, you live on the Eastern Shore.  That's see-cesh country.  Different universe from the western panhandle, like Sharpsburg and Hagerstown.

Patty



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 11:18 pm
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Doc C
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Again, agree wholeheartedly with your comments Patty. The truth/facts are always subject to opinion. Long time ago learned the definition of history is his story.

Freedom of speech no matter what the subject matter is the cornerstone of our country and one's opinion is sacred. However, seems that at times society allows "those people" to get by with their hateful dialogue without any reponse. You got it right when you said we have more pressing issues for today than the cbf.

Over the years my opinions on the cw have changed dramatically. Growing up in Louisiana thought only the south was brave, strong and right (in their belef of states rights, invasion but not slavery). Remember vividly my grandmothers' description of people from north of the mason-dixon line (initially not a boundary between north and south but a boundary survey circa 1800 between Md, Pa, Del) , as "them yankees". However, with time, hopefully maturity (you could get takers from my wife and kids) and research have learned that both sides had extremely brave individuals who fought for a cause which they were willing to risk their lives for. Also, discovering through my geneology research that I have more ancestors who fought for the union than the csa has also served to change my view. To paraphrase Shelby Foote in a cspan interview, we'll all be better off if the south realizes that it was probably best that the union be preserved and the north that the south fought bravely for a cause they trully beleved in.

Yep, the eastern shore surely was see-sech. Home of Franklin Buchanan, Lloyd Tilghman, Charles & John Winder. An interesting story is of Judge Carmichael who was arrested by union troops in Talbot Co. for his southern sympathies. Robert E. Lee had numerous family ties to this area. Also home of many smugglers supplying the western shore. Birthplace of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Dec 4th, 2006 11:21 pm
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Doc C
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Patty

Also forgot to mention that life over here on the eastern shore is soooooooo
slooooooooooooow compared to that on the other side of the bay.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2006 03:03 am
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Doc, our life here in Fairfax County is slow too.  The traffic, I mean.  You could probably walk to work faster than you could drive.  Well, not exactly, but you get the picture.

Booth found his conspirators in southern Maryland.  And there were plenty who were willing to keep their mouths shut, even if not actively involved in the plot.

Thanks again for opening this topic.  I hope others will give their opinions and enlighten us who are still groping in the dark.  It's helpful to read books, but more fun to chat with people.

Patty



 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2006 05:17 am
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ole
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Doc, Widow, Dave:

Thanks for getting the discussion moving. I've been cooling my heels. To me,  "lost causer" is fightin' words to be applied only to someone who's scholarship is limited to "discovering"  snippets of quotes that prove that the north intentionally started to war to subjugate the south so it could continue to grow rich off the planter's sweat.

That the Lost Cause was basically a 2-stage movement is mostly correct. It started with Early and his attept to depict Lee as a saint -- therefore, the loss must have been someone else's fault. That just naturally evolved into a festival of excuses usually centering around showing that the South was cruelly victimized. This was accomplished through the likes of Pollard, the organization started by Early to continue spreading the word (I want to say the Southern Historical Society, but I'm sure that's not it.), and several other notables joining the movement.

The movement gained quite a bit of scholastic support and continued until the 1920s and 30s with the help of such organizations as the UDC, at which time historians started getting into historical fact as opposed to feeding the children stories.

It is alive and well, although more and more posters are showing up looking for historical fact -- probably coinciding with the immense amount of information made accessible via this infernal machine. You can immediately identify the "Lost Causer" by his or her insistence that the peculiar institution had nothing to do with the late unpleasantness -- it was the tariffs, or state rights, or New England slave ships.

Ole



 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2006 05:27 am
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ole
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On another note: I've never run across a lost causer who makes any connection of the CBF or the Lost Cause with the hate groups. I've suspected it occasionally, but it's very difficult to say it outloud civilly.

Ole



 Posted: Tue Dec 5th, 2006 06:25 am
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Patty such a great posting.  I agree with most of what you wrote.  I have changed my attitude toward the CBF as I learn more about the Civil War.  Also as I learn about my family .  One side as I have said before supported the South, the other side the North.  I respect and honor both sets of ancestors. 

A friend and I were discussing some of these issues tonight over the phone.  I was telling her that one of the activities that the UDC ask of their members is to show the flag .  I  have joined both the UDC and the Union Daughters.   I was saying to her I might hang a bonnie blue flag or The first Confederate flag along with the American Flag at my house but I don't know if I could fly the Battle Flag.   The reason being I would not be able to individually explain to people what it meant .  I am in Southern California .  So far I have not hung any flags.  

It was interesting at a conference I attended last month at the Huntington Library one of the presenters  discussed the Lost Cause in most of the movies made about the Civil War starting with Birth of a Nation all the way to Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. 

I especially liked what you said about not our right to decide who can and can't express an opinion that disagrees with our own.  That has been my motto most of my life.  You have a right to your opinion and I have a right to mine.  But that doesn't stop us from being friends.  Amazes me when others disagree with that.  Oh well that is their right. 

Oh dear I think I am rambling .  I hope some of this made sense.  

On another note since you are from the West even with 40 years in Virginia Ed Bearss spoke at the other conference I went to recently.  He said He is neither a Southerner or a Yankee .  He is a Westerner. He was born in Montana.  I think that is true those of us from the West are neither one or the other we are the third option A Westerner. 

Susan



 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 07:21 pm
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I really liked reading through this one.  Until recently, I was the only member of my family born below the M-D Line, which made for some interesting dinner conversations.

I'd like to add my own personal two cents in if I can.  I'd always classified a Lost-Causer as one who believed firmly that Slavery had Nothing to do with the Civil War.  To go a little farther on this single point, I also think this attitude has developed, whether initially I don't know, but in the "modern" context largly in reaction to a common Northern view that the Civil War was ONLY about Slavery.  From my own readings of the history of the time, I came away feeling that there was a cascade of issues, none of which by themselves would have precipitated a major conflict, but taken together did.  Slavery seemed to me to be the "last straw" or "Line in the Sand" to steal a phrase from Pres. Bush the Elder.  Various economic developments had conspired to make it the cornerstone of the Southern economy, so it became the trigger.  The Lost-Causers I have run up against normally ignore the trigger, but hit a ton of (but usually not all) the irritants...or come up with a few of their own.  I went to school up in the North (I could pass as a Pennsylvanian then) and a lot of my friends had grown up learning all about Slavery as the sole cause of the war and were genuinely surprised to find out that a LOT of things were argued about before the shindig got going in '61. 

About the flags, personally, I wouldn't fly the Battle Flag.  It is not that I in any way associate it with the hate groups, or need to explain it to people.  IT is simply that to fly it along side "Old Glory" would be inappropriate.  It was a military flag, not a political flag.  The BB or any of the nationals would be better suited there.  Besides, it depends on where you are which one you would have seen.  Here in the Richmond (Va) area, I see a lot of Army of Tennessee pattern or Naval Jack flags.  Only in the museums or at a renactment do I usually see the ANV Patter flag.  I find that somewhat humerous.  I take that normally to mean that people really don't know what they are doing.:?



 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 09:25 pm
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Widow
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Doc, what in the heck is a teasip?  Is it an insult or a compliment?

double chin-grin ---> ((:  Patty



 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 10:22 pm
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Doc C
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No insult intended. A teasip signifies one's colegient alliance, i.e. a University of Texas individual. Teasip comes from the hook'em horns sign, use your imagination. Teasip is a term commonly used by the atm's, you alluded to in an earlier post, to describe people from UT. I'm doubly blessed or cursed, come from a atm card family and married to a teasip. Sports-wise, detest both schools, went to Baylor (Jerusalem on the Brazoos/Vanderbilt of the Big 12). For a great story ask David how UT's mascot, BEVO, got its name.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 10:29 pm
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Forgot to mention, UT and ATM individuals have a rather heated rivalry. In fact, in ATM's fight song they mention sawing off the longhorns horns. Almost make you think of the north vs south.

Doc



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