Teaching the Confederacy: Textbooks in the Civil War South
Kopp, Laura Elizabeth
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During the Civil War, at least 136 textbooks appeared in the states that made up the Confederacy, more than half of them in 1863 and 1864. The production of so many textbooks under difficult wartime circumstances suggests their significance in the promotion of Confederate values and ideologies. This thesis examines the Confederate textbook campaign, including the motives of authors and publishers, and analyzes the content of the textbooks themselves, including such themes as patriotism, gender roles, war, and death. While similar to antebellum textbooks in many respects, Confederate textbooks portrayed slavery as central to Southern society and offered explicit defenses of the institution. They also sought to promote Confederate nationalism among the new nation's youngest citizens and instructed children to honor and memorialize the Confederacy. The pages of Confederate textbooks constituted vital terrain for the shaping of the hearts and minds of Southern children.