Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State

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Historian E. Merton Coulter famously said that Kentucky waited until after the war was over to secede from the Union. In this fresh study, Anne E. Marshall traces the development of a Confederate identity in Kentucky between 1865 and 1925 that belied the fact that Kentucky never left the Union and that more Kentuckians fought for the North than for the South. Following the Civil War, the people of Kentucky appeared to forget their Union loyalties, embracing the Democratic politics, racial violence, and Jim Crow laws associated with formerly Confederate states. Although, on the surface, white Confederate memory appeared to dominate the historical landscape of postwar Kentucky, Marshall's closer look reveals an active political and cultural dialogue that included white Unionists, Confederate Kentuckians, and the state's African Americans, who, from the last days of the war, drew on Union victory and their part in winning it to lay claim to the fruits of freedom and citizenship. Rather than focusing exclusively on postwar political and economic factors, Creating a Confederate Kentucky looks over the longer term at Kentuckians' activities--public memorial ceremonies, dedications of monuments, and veterans organizations' events--by which they commemorated the Civil War and fixed the state's remembrance of it for sixty years following the conflict. |Marshall traces the development of a Confederate identity in Kentucky between 1865 and 1925 that belied the fact that Kentucky never left the Union and that more Kentuckians fought for the North than for the South. Following the Civil War, the people of Kentucky appeared to forget their Union loyalties, embracing the Democratic politics, racial violence, and Jim Crow laws associated with formerly Confederate states.