Bennett H. Young and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation

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Virginia Tech


Serving twice as Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans, and then holding the title of Honorary Commander-in-Chief for Life until his death in 1919, Bennett H. Young was an instrumental figure in expanding the Lost Cause memorialization movement by actively supporting monument projects, attending dedication events, and giving countless orations. Throughout these activities, Young's leadership and visibility vested him with a great deal of authority when it came to shaping the minds of ex-Confederates on issues related to the Lost Cause and white reconciliation. While these two ideals were, and remain today, fundamentally at odds with each other, Young often intertwined them in his speeches, at once exhorting his audiences to revere the cause of the South but to also put to rest old prejudices for the sake of working toward a modern era of peace and prosperity. This paper examines his position as a leader of the Lost Cause movement, with a particular focus on his address delivered at the unveiling of the Confederate Soldiers' Monument at Arlington National Cemetery in 1914.



Bennett H. Young, United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Arlington National Cemetery, Confederate Soldiers' Monument, Lost Cause, Reconciliation, ViS, Veterans in Society, Race and/or Reconciliation, the Third Conference on Veterans in Society