Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level





Williams, Patrick

Committee Member/Reader

Stanley, Matthew

Committee Member/Second Reader

Davis, John

Committee Member/Third Reader

Reeber, Joy


When the Confederacy first formed, its governmental symbolism and ideology mirrored that of the northern United States. The two Constitutions were incredibly similar – minus the South’s adjustments to further enhance the rights of states and slaveowners – with the Confederate government installing a Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch, and a Judicial Branch. In addition to this Constitutional similarity, the Confederacy also created a flag that looked similar to the United States’ that Confederate troops had trouble differentiating the two in combat. Following a chaotic Battle of Bull Run in July of 1861, General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard pushed for the creation of a new national flag, and when that was rejected, a battle flag. In September of the same year, Beauregard finalized the “Southern Cross” design of the Confederate Battle Flag. Though this exact flag was never installed as the official Confederate national flag, it has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the Confederate States of America and all it represents following the Civil War.

It is that key phrase – “all it represents” – that serves as the foundation for this thesis. The battle flag and the Confederate States of America have become intertwined in meaning and symbolism, as you cannot have one without the other. With that in mind, I intend to analyze how the icon of one of the most shameful periods and practices in the United States’ history has persisted and been defended for much longer than the Confederacy lasted itself. Further, this thesis will study the effect of that persistence – and the broader Confederate memorialization it represents – on race relations in the postwar United States.


Civil War, Confederate flag, US History, Civil Rights, Racism in America, Memorials.