Chapter

Honor, Dishonor, and Issues of Reputation

in Digging Up the Dead

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226423296
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226423326 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226423326.003.0004
Honor, Dishonor, and Issues of Reputation

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During the nineteenth century, Americans were quite often inclined to be more than sentimental about death, despite its prevalence, especially among young people. Survivors of the Civil War could not let this tragic event elapse from memory despite increasing calls toward the close of the century for sectional reconciliation, giving rise to pride of place and the growing significance of sectionalism and regionalism during much of the period. Reinterments became common because political and military leaders who died were buried either far from home or too far from the site where they became historically significant. By the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, however, nationalism began taking over sectionalism as the primary motive for exhumations and reburials. To compensate for death in the wrong locale, pride of place emerged as the shared motif or common theme for American heroes. Bestowing honor upon the deceased meant achieving symbolic laurels for America as a whole.

Keywords: honor; sectionalism; nationalism; Civil War; pride of place; reinterments; heroes

Chapter.  13544 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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