Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Robert E. Lee is undeniably one of the most revered figures in American history, and yet despite the adoration awarded to the man over the years, surprisingly little scholarly research has dedicated itself to an inquiry into his nationalistic leanings during the four most important years of his life—the Civil War. In fact, Lee was a dedicated Confederate nationalist during his time in service to the Confederacy, and he remained so for the rest of his life, even after his surrender at Appomattox and the taking of an oath to regain his United States citizenship. Lee identified strongly with a Southern view of antebellum events, and his time in the Confederate army hardened him to the notion that the only practical reason for waging the Civil War was the establishment of an independent Southern nation. Through a close reading of the evidence Lee himself left behind, it becomes apparent that Lee was an ardent Confederate nationalist, and not the gentlemanly cavalier that only followed honor and duty in waging war against the Union.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Professor Glenn LaFantasie

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | History | United States History