Sons of Confederate Veterans Today: Impact on the Lost Cause 150 years later?

In reading Dixie’s Daughters by Karen Cox I became interested in not only the United Daughters of the Confederacy but of other Lost Cause driven organizations and their use of media to promote the Lost Cause. The Lost Cause has had more history written about it than any other aspect of the Civil War. While thinking about this, I simply used Google to see if some of the organizations are still around today and what they stand for.

If you Google the Sons of Confederate Veterans, it takes you to a website that automatically plays a message from a Confederate soldier (or so he claims) and states that too many today people today are spreading lies of reasons why the soldiers of the south went to war, states that the Confederacy went to war to fight for its future generations, and asks to help promote the heritage that southerners feel by joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans. If you are a descendant of a southern who served in the military and can prove it (the website has convenient links to help you find the proof they need), you’re in. On the about section of the webpage, you find that if you are a member, you get a subscription to the magazine Confederate Veteran and are eligible to receive scholarships and grants for post-secondary education.[1] There is a research section of the website, which can take you to the SCV’s education papers, written and published by the SCV. One such document describes African-Americans service on both sides of the war, but pays particular attention to blacks that served in the Confederacy.[2] I have added a link to the document here, so you can judge for yourself if it is self-promoting propaganda or not.

The SCV has a Facebook page, and has nearly nine thousand followers and a Twitter, which has nearly 450 followers. On the other side of the coin, if you Google the SCV’s northern counterpart, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and it would appear that there are similarities between both the SCV and the SUVCW, they both grant scholarships. Though it would appear that this membership is not as great as that of the SCV (I was unable to locate numbers of members for both organizations) but if we are to judge off of Facebook and twitter, as we did earlier, the numbers are easy to compare. Fewer than two thousand people like their Facebook page, and they do not have a twitter page and no one is talking about the organization, unlike its southern counterpart. They also do not have as strict guidelines for becoming a member, and no perks like receiving a bi-monthly magazine.[3]

The differences of these two groups are amazing. They both set out to do the same thing, commemorate their fathers and grandfathers of the War, but it seems the SCV is still going strong, while the SUVCW has fallen off the wayside. What, if anything, does this say about the Lost Cause and its teachings about the Civil War even 150 years after the war ended?


[1] The Sons of Confederate Veterans, “What is the Sons of Confederate Veterans,” http://www.scv.org/whatis.php [accessed on June 21,2012].

[2] The Sons of Confederate Veterans Education Committee, “Black History Month:  Black Confederate Heritage,” Sons of Confederate Veterans. http://www.scv.org/documents/edpapers/blackhistory.pdf [accessed on June 21,2012].

[3] The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, “Membership Eligibility and Application,” http://suvcw.org/member.htm [accessed on June 21, 2012].

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3 comments
  1. magaliq said:

    I wonder how many people are drawn to this site for other reasons? Could it be that many are looking for racist sites and are drawn in because of the Confederate flag? Also, if these organizations are granting scholarships, I wonder if they still have to have a certain lineage? (Leaves a few people out)

    • catymark said:

      In order to get the scholarships, at least from the SCV, you need to be a member of the organization, which is limited based on lineage, but I am not sure if the same is true for the SUVCW scholarships.

  2. Sons of Confederate Veterans Today: Impact on the Lost Cause 150 years later?

    Interesting feedback about the Confederate movement and their strategic use of technology to spread the Lost Cause agenda. Frankly, I am not surprised to hear about how engaged the movement is to reach the masses, especially after reading and writing about the book Dixie’s Daughters. Karen Cox spared no detail describing the good works and influential strategies the United Daughters of the Confederacy used to spread their Confederate message (as they are still today). Cox also showcased how much the UDC had accomplished in their efforts; such as dictating and monitoring what history books should teach their white children in public schools. An impressive characteristic of the UDC is their relentless pursuit to never (with a capital N), forget their forefathers’ contribution and sacrifice for the Confederacy. I am beginning to understand and see why the Confederate movement continues its thrust for vindication of their Confederate forefathers and the measures they are willing to take. This activism that has not let up even after 150 years and could very will be their strong conviction and passion for the Lost Cause that perhaps southerners are known for. Last but not least, the one notion I am in complete opposition to the Lost Cause movement is the white supremacy ideology. I must include the fact that the South is known as the “Bible Belt” of America, and what I find most ironic is that although the KKK considers themselves to be Christians; it is difficult to except their concept about people of color or any other minority, for that matter. I am completely puzzled how the “white supremacist” philosophy came into being? Where did this mindset come from?

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