Student Author Information

William Robert TharpFollow

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2019

Department

History

Abstract

In the cultures of Scotland after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion and the American South after the Civil War, defeatist memories and art featured prominently in mythmaking and served as a focal point for many who wished to make political statements or critiques of current realities. In Scotland, romanticism revolving around “Bonnie Prince Charlie” and the Jacobites in 1745 lessened the burden of defeat for many. Contextualizing their loss within a broader historical framework, which stressed different features depending on the group’s purpose, some Scots utilized Jacobite memory as a potent political critique of Scotland’s place within Great Britain. Others, like Walter Scott, fabricated a romantic, fatalistic, and depoliticized memory to argue for the benefits of union and to criticize the perceived erosion of more traditional values.

In Southern culture, the Lost Cause soothed disgruntled southerners by defending idyllic and often flawed views of antebellum society and the cause. Since 1861, Lost Cause art has served as a dynamic and evolving vehicle for communicating tenets of this pseudo-historical construction. Emphasizing the South’s innocence, solidarity, and heroism, this art carried political overtones that white southerners could utilize for their political agendas. Unfortunately, white supremacy often lurked just underneath the surface of these agendas and artworks.

Through examining recurring themes in this “lost cause” art, specifically the battlefield and the home front, and its contribution to the ideological positions of its manipulators, this paper hopes to elucidate parallels between these two collective memories and their use of art to effect political realities.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Adam Dean; Dr. Beth Savage; Dr. Scott Amos

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Apr 10th, 4:15 PM

A Tale of Two Bonnies: Comparing “Lost Cause” Narratives and Post-War Memory from the American Civil War and the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion through Art

In the cultures of Scotland after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion and the American South after the Civil War, defeatist memories and art featured prominently in mythmaking and served as a focal point for many who wished to make political statements or critiques of current realities. In Scotland, romanticism revolving around “Bonnie Prince Charlie” and the Jacobites in 1745 lessened the burden of defeat for many. Contextualizing their loss within a broader historical framework, which stressed different features depending on the group’s purpose, some Scots utilized Jacobite memory as a potent political critique of Scotland’s place within Great Britain. Others, like Walter Scott, fabricated a romantic, fatalistic, and depoliticized memory to argue for the benefits of union and to criticize the perceived erosion of more traditional values.

In Southern culture, the Lost Cause soothed disgruntled southerners by defending idyllic and often flawed views of antebellum society and the cause. Since 1861, Lost Cause art has served as a dynamic and evolving vehicle for communicating tenets of this pseudo-historical construction. Emphasizing the South’s innocence, solidarity, and heroism, this art carried political overtones that white southerners could utilize for their political agendas. Unfortunately, white supremacy often lurked just underneath the surface of these agendas and artworks.

Through examining recurring themes in this “lost cause” art, specifically the battlefield and the home front, and its contribution to the ideological positions of its manipulators, this paper hopes to elucidate parallels between these two collective memories and their use of art to effect political realities.