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Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America$
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Thomas J. Brown

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653747

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653747.001.0001

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The Emergence of the Soldier Monument

The Emergence of the Soldier Monument

(p.13) 1 The Emergence of the Soldier Monument
Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America

Thomas J. Brown

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter connects the proliferation of public monuments after the Civil War to the number and circumstances of wartime deaths. Because the remains of many fallen soldiers did not return home, monuments served as cenotaphs, especially in Memorial Day rituals. Some communities and institutions chose to commission memorial halls rather than monuments. These buildings, often schools or public libraries, strengthened educational institutions that situated voluntary military service within a broader ideal of engaged and informed citizenship. The soldier statue nevertheless became the dominant memorial form. Many soldier statues reflected a sentimental culture that mourned private, familial losses rather than honoring public service, though some monuments instead illustrated the hardening of the class order in the Gilded Age.

Keywords:   cenotaphs, fallen soldiers, Memorial Day, memorial halls, public libraries, sentimental culture

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