Rhetorical analysis of the myth of the lost cause as embodied in Robert E. Lee

Mead, George Frederick, Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies, University of Virginia
Davis, Janet B., University of Virginia
Prosser, Michael H., University of Virginia

This thesis will focus on a rhetorical analysis of the Lost Cause as embodied by Robert E. Lee. The Lost Cause was a cultural attitude, with a marble reification in the monuments that proliferated throughout the South after 1875 (Wilson 1980, 19). Most of the existing research on Lee and Civil War history ignores a very important post-war development: the general's role as a symbol of a cohesive Southern people with a separate cultural identity. This thesis takes the position that the Lee myth served Southern needs; it helped the region respond to the exigencies of post-war life. This study aims to shed light on the myth.

[Excerpt from the Introduction]

MA (Master of Arts)
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