Some people claim that the term “Lost Cause Myth” and “Lost Cause Historiography” are inventions devised by certain “anti-southern” folks who are also usually described as “left-wing academics.” One example of such a complaint can be found here.
And yet that very example suggests why there’s something to the understanding of the “Lost Cause Myth” as an exercise in avoidance and amnesia as practiced by certain people. Look, for example, as this quote from Grant’s Memoirs about his meeting with Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865:
Now let’s look at what Grant actually said:
What General Lee’s feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.
I wonder why that was omitted.
UPDATE: The blogger in question rather begrudgingly admitted his mistake in a non-apology apology. However, using his own standards for editing quotes, I’ve rendered his admission as follows: “So, yes, I did omit much of this particular quote…. I should have included an ellipsis to indicate this was not a complete quote. That was admittedly sloppy on my part.”