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The "lost cause" is the idea that the Civil War was a valiant fight on the part of the South to preserve their distinctive way of life. It portrays the Southerners who fought in the war as people who stood up for their way of life and were defeated only because the enemy had overwhelming material advantages (even though the South was morally superior). This idea came about soon after the end of the Civil War. It was meant to help Southerners deal with the fact that they had been defeated in the war and that the slave system was gone forever.
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