The American Pantheon: The Competition for Civil War Era Memory in National Statuary Hall (thesis)
Mauer, Nicholas Bennett
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AbstractA history of memory in National Statuary Hall is therefore necessary to begin the process of transforming the collection from a site of memory into a site of better historical interpretation. Chapter One of this thesis will examine how white politicians attempted to forge a unionist consensus in National Statuary Hall and align American identity with support for the Union. . . . Chapter Two will analyze the presence of Confederate statues in National Statuary Hall, as well as the failed attempts from both Union veterans' groups and African American activists to keep certain statues out of the collection. . . . Both chapters will analyze the multitude of motivations of politicians and interest groups in supporting the placement of statues (reasons including but not limited to legitimizing their memories of the Civil War era and by extension their contemporary political positions, advancing an idea of American identity, boosting state pride, or promoting a niche political issue). Both chapters will reveal how monuments contained multiple meanings in and of themselves, impacted the meanings of monuments around them, and how National Statuary Hall contained meanings as a whole site. The thesis will conclude that if Americans ever aim to achieve a true, durable consensus on the Civil War era, they must embrace history over art and memory. [From Introduction]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE FOLLOWING A 5-YEAR EMBARGO]
Nicholas Bennett Mauer is a member of the Class of 2020 of Washington and Lee University.