Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

K. Stephen Prince, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John M. Belohlavek, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia K. Irwin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.


Civil War, Reconstruction, Memory, South


While numerous historians have studied and written about the lives and deeds of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis, fewer have conducted analyses of these three individuals’ popular memories. This study considers how the memory of these three Confederate leaders formed the foundation of the Lost Cause. From 1863 through the 1940s, white southerners held each of these three men in high esteem, proclaiming them as heroes to the dead Confederate ideology. Orators and writers who built the Lost Cause in South consistently utilized their memories to argue in favor of the righteousness of the Confederate cause and the legality of secession. Jefferson Davis himself spoke out strongly in favor of these ideals in the 1870s and 1880s. Robert E. Lee also played a large role in the creation of his perfect memory. While Stonewall Jackson did not actively contribute to his own popular memory, his prowess on the battlefield and his martyrdom during the war provided plenty of fodder for memorialization. These three men became the ultimate representations of the Confederacy and the white South. The adulation felt towards them culminated in the massive, stone relief at Stone Mountain, Georgia. This study examines how the popular memories of each man were shaped by them and those around them in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.