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Cities of the DeadContesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914$
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William A. Blair

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780807828960

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807876237_blair

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Aging Politics Through Decoration Days, 1866–1869

Aging Politics Through Decoration Days, 1866–1869

(p.49) 3 Aging Politics Through Decoration Days, 1866–1869
Cities of the Dead

William A. Blair

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the politicization of Decoration Days. For over a decade, the dominant motivation behind Confederate commemorations was to maintain a sectional identity that defied complete assimilation within the Union. The celebrants of Decoration Days fell into patterns that reflected the political alliances of Reconstruction. Union Decoration Days became branded as Republican Party events by the opposition, who saw them as belonging to scalawags, carpetbaggers, and southern African Americans. Confederate Decoration Days, on the other hand, attracted former southern Democrats and Whigs who tried not only to keep alive the Confederate past but to use that memory as one of the bases for political unity.

Keywords:   commemoration, Confederates, Union, Reconstruction, Republican Party, Democrats, Whigs

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