Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

History, MA

Committee Chair

Mackey, Thomas C.


Buckner, Simon Bolivar, 1823-1914; Generals--Confederate States of America; Confederate States of America. Army--Biography; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Biography


Simon Bolivar Buckner (1823-1914) lived a long and distinguished life. He began his career as solider at West Point and fought for the Confederacy as lieutenant general during the Civil War. Buckner took the skills, influence, and connections gained from his early life and transformed them into a postbellum political career. In the late nineteenth-century, he earned supporters by becoming a symbol for Civil War memories, both in the Lost Cause and reunion movements. Buckner’s popularity led to his success as governor of Kentucky from 1887 to 1891. His roots to the past also presented difficulties as the nation’s economic and political demands changed as the masses fell on hard times. In 1896, he tried but failed to maintain the status quo by running for vice-president on a third party ticket for the Gold Democrats. Again in 1914, his death stirred up Civil War memories and brought his popularity to new heights, but over time historians forgot about this prominent Kentuckian. This thesis illuminates Buckner’s forgotten journey through the complex and complicated political landscape of the late nineteenth-century.

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