The Epilogue focuses on the time after the Civil War. It specifically examines how the issues of the war were explored in cultural products of the time, and how those processes led to a new kind of American society. The dominant mode of Civil War rememberance was reconciliation. Newspaper editors felt confident that if this was emphasized, Americans on all sides would think of the Civil War as a "triumph or brotherhood" more than a conflict. This sentiment was keenly felt at the semicentennial reunion of the war. The author says this is because American culture succeeded in keeping distance between "those who stirred and those who doused the embers of conflict".
Blight says that reconciliation must be understood within the context of its historical time. However, he says that the white supremacist memory combined with reconciliation to dominate how most Americans viewed the war. He notes that Black newspapers were wary and even resentful of the celebrations of the war that came in the early 20th century. This may have laid the ground for a segregated society instead of one that treated all races fairly.
This led to a period of looking both forward and backward in American culture. Folks wanted to move past the terrible war. However, they also needed some way to make sense of the violence that had just finished plaguing the country. This process often became explicitly racist, as depicted through and in the movies The Clansmen and Birth of a Nation. All of this laid the ground for the segregated, Jim Crow-era society that Americans re-organized themselves under in the early 20th century.