En Erindrings Fødsel: Fra Borgerkrig til Verdenskrig: En undersøgelse af United Daughters of the Confederacys kollektive erindring om den amerikanske borgerkrig

Bjarke Trebbien Nielsen, Mathias Jørgensen & Kristian Græse Edelbo

Studenteropgave: Bachelorprojekt


This paper examines the collective memory of the American organization United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) about the American civil war 1861-1865, and how they sought to establish their interpretation of the past in the period 1909-1919. The organization, which was established in 1894, was a self-proclaimed non-political and benevolent group, whose goal was to care for the descendants of the veterans of the former Confederate States of America. However, the organization also wanted to preserve and collect history pertaining to the antebellum South and the Confederacy. The reason that we are examining the period of 1909-1919, is that the organizations historical work, which was done by historians in the organization through The Historical Department, especially escalated in 1909, and had a preliminary culmination in 1919. By escalation of historical work, we are referring to the beginning of what UDC called Historical and Literary Evenings, where essays about the Confederacy and the American civil war were read, and songs from and about the Confederacy were sung. The Preliminary culmination of their work was a manifesto called A Measuring Rod to Test Text Books and Reference Books in Schools, Colleges and Libraries, a pamphlet containing rules about which kinds of history books were acceptable teaching materials about the American civil war.
Our set of theoretical terms are based on the work of Maurice Halbwachs, Anette Warring and Barbara Misztal. Halbwachs is famous for being the first to describe memory as a social construct and coining the term Collective Memory. Warring expanded upon Halbwachs definition and united it with the term Lieu de Mémoire (site of memory) coined by Pierre Nora. We employ the use of Misztals definition of the term Commemorative action. As our set of sources, we have chosen to work with two primary groups of sources: The Minutes of The Annual Conventions of The United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the magazine The Confederate Veteran. In these groups of sources, we have chosen to focus on texts concerning the Historical Department of the UDC specifically.

The conclusion of our analysis is, that UDC not only had a specific collective memory of the American civil war, but the Confederacy as well. They neglected the role that slavery as an institution played as a primary cause of the civil war, and instead focused on the right of states to secede from the Union. This way of viewing the American civil war, is tightly connected to, and inspired by, what is known as The Myth of the Lost Cause. The historical department of UDC also used the first world war as a way to make their memory of the Confederacy and the American civil war relevant, by referring to soldiers from former Confederate states fighting in the world war as confederate soldiers. Sites of memory also played important roles in establishing their collective memory. This was done through sites of memory, such as The Confederate States of America, important battles in the American civil war, such as Magruders New Years Gift to Texas, and important leaders and generals in the Confederacy, such as Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Ways in which these sites of memory were established, included use of commemorative actions, such as songs about and from the confederacy, sung at every Historical and Literary evening, and competitions in The Confederate Veteran, which were questions about key topics concerning the American civil war and the Confederacy with chosen literature. These commemorative actions were a way to construct a new coherent history about the Confederacy, replacing what was for UDC a shameful past. UDC also had specific methods of preserving their historical work across generations. This was done through the construction of an official library of southern history, and the creation of the suborganization Children of the Confederacy. The function of the library was to preserve what they saw as the true history of the south, where Children of the Confederacy, was a way to pass on the traditions and values of UDC from one generation to the next.

UddannelserHistorie, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato27 maj 2019
Antal sider63
VejledereAnne Brædder


  • United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • UDC
  • Confederacy
  • Konføderation
  • kollektiv erindring
  • The American Civil War
  • den amerikanske borgerkrig
  • erindringssteder
  • erindringspolitik
  • Anette Warring
  • Maurice Halbwachs
  • Robert Edward Lee
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Mildred Lewis Rutherford
  • Mary B. Poppenheim
  • The Lost Cause