Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Adam Dean
Dr. Beth Savage
Dr. Scott Amos
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 burdens of defeat for many. Contextualizing their loss within a broader historical framework, which stressed different features depending on the group’s political objectives, some Scots utilized Jacobite memory as a potent 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 values. Generally, romanticization colored Jacobite-inspired art more than its Lost Cause counterparts, yet it often kept an inherent flexibility that allowed many disparate Scottish groups to use it.
In white southern culture, the Lost Cause soothed disgruntled southerners by defending idyllic and often flawed views of antebellum society, the cause, and Confederate martial prowess. 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, heroism, and “inevitable” defeat, this art carried political overtones that white southerners could utilize for their agendas. Unfortunately, white supremacy often lurked just underneath the surface of these agendas and artworks. Ultimately, the visual representation of the Lost Cause and Jacobite memories has left an enduring legacy on post-war memory and politics.
Through examining recurring themes in “lost cause” art, specifically battles and the home front, and the themes’ contribution to the ideological positions of its manipulators, this paper will elucidate parallels between these memories and their use of art to affect political realities.
Tharp, William, "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" (2019). Undergraduate Theses and Capstone Projects. 118.