Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in History


Arch Dalrymple III Department of History

First Advisor

John R. Neff

Second Advisor

Jodi Skipper

Third Advisor

April Holm

Relational Format



This project argues that Missouri’s singular position as a border state not only between the North and South, but also between the East and West shaped the state’s Civil War experience as well as its memory of the conflict. During the Civil War, Missouri was a slaveholding border state on the western frontier and home to a diverse and divided population. Neither wholly Union nor Confederate, Missouri’s Civil War was bitterly divisive. In its aftermath, Missourians struggled to come to terms with what it had been about. They found no place within the national narratives of Civil War commemoration emerging in the East, namely the Lost Cause, the Cause Victorious, and the Emancipation Cause. Missourians’ sense of marginalization from these narratives resulted in a distinctive brand of Civil War memory in the state, which found expression in the paintings of famed Missourian George Caleb Bingham, the work of Civil War veterans’ organizations, and the operation of the state’s homes for Confederate and Union veterans. By allowing us to analyze Civil War memory at the personal, collective, and institutional level, these examples serve to demonstrate Missourians’ deep investment in Civil War memory. Most importantly, however, they reveal how Missouri’s Western identity shaped that memory. Ultimately, by remaining sensitive to this nuance, this project adds a new dimension to our understanding of Civil War memory.

Included in

History Commons



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