Reconstructing Loyalty: Love, Fear, and Power In the Postwar South
This chapter focuses on loyalty, which is identified as “a primary organizing principle” for the South. For too long, its meaning has been confined to Union patriotism. By contrast, Confederates invested much more in the term. Loyalty meant entering into special relationships of commitment, relationships that transcended the rights and contracts embedded in our legal commercial world. If loyalty meant treating some people specially, it meant treating those who were outside these special relationships quite differently. The loyal Southern community looked back to the Civil War as its defining moment. Rituals—whether in reminiscences published in the newspaper or in the virtually identical speeches given for decades on Confederate Memorial Day—recalled sacrifices and heroic past deeds. Such rituals were significant instruments by which the loyal Southern community marked who was included and who was excluded. Inclusion and exclusion was the dark side of loyalty and Southern distinctiveness.
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