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Note - Violence in the Name of the Confederacy: America's Failure to Defeat the Lost Cause


Since the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War, the United States has been plagued with its violent consequences.Following the Civil War, there was a rise of neo-Confederate hate groups who preached the “Lost Cause” ideology. To this day, these groups continue to plague the United States. The failure to invalidate the Lost Cause ideology, which drained the American Civil War of all historical context, has led to increased racial violence and a general inability to control the neo-Confederate hate groups that have gained traction and gall in recent years. Without swift action to counteract the violence perpetrated in the name of the Confederacy, the next storming of the Capitol could turn into the next civil war. Congress should enact legislation as Germany did in response to Nazi violence after World War II to curb the perpetuation of neo-Confederate and other hate-group-related violence in the United States.

This Note utilizes a novel approach to the unique issue that Confederate imagery poses to the American public. It adds to the current literature a roadmap to aid in dismantling white supremacy in the United States. This Note also builds on the work of philosopher Susan Neiman and her book, Learning from the Germans, by calling on Congress to take action, switching the perspective to view the issue through a legal lens, and mimicking the structure of laws passed in post-War Germany.