Monthly Archives

August 2021


What Makes This Musician Great?–Robert Johnson

The sixth Southern musician to be examined in this series of What Makes This Musician Great will be a bluesman that was so good he became a ghost story – Robert Johnson. The Blues is probably the most significant musical form created anywhere in the world in the 20th century, and it absolutely came straight out of the Mississippi Delta,…
Tom Daniel
August 31, 2021

The Carolina Couch Controversy

Originally published in the March 1998 issue of Reason magazine. Local busybodies target the front porch. In the small-town American South porch sitting was once a nearly universal pastime. As a place for sipping tea or Co’ Cola, smoking or dipping, telling stories, courting, and watching lightning bugs, the front porch was unsurpassed. Southern porches have been celebrated in song…
John Shelton Reed
August 30, 2021

Podcast Episode 276

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Aug 23-27, 2021 Topics: Southern tradition, Southern music, Jefferson Davis. Slavery, Southern religion, the War.
Brion McClanahan
August 28, 2021

The Last Address

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, The Last Words, The Farewell Addresses of Union and Confederate Commanders to Their Men at the End of the War Between the States (Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2021) by Michael R. Bradley and is published here by permission. The Farewell Address of Nathan Bedford Forrest to Forrest's Cavalry Corps, May 9, 1865…
Michael R. Bradley
August 27, 2021

Jefferson Davis on Slavery in the Territories

The modern academic narrative says that the South’s purpose in secession and war was to “preserve and extend slavery.” Any other purpose is labeled a post-war “Lost Cause Myth.” In a speech on the floor of the Senate, February 13, 1850, Senator Jefferson Davis argued against Sen. Henry Clay’s call for banning slavery in the territories. The speech is a polemic against the reason…
Rod O'Barr
August 26, 2021

What Makes This Musician Great?–Carl Perkins

In this fifth installment of the series “What Makes This Musician Great,” we will travel back to the cultural hurricane in the early days of Rockabilly music, and celebrate the innovative musical giant known as Carl Perkins. As our society moves further beyond those explosive, tumultuous days of the mid-1950’s, it’s becoming easier to lose focus on everything that was…
Tom Daniel
August 25, 2021
Review Posts

Our Comfort in Dying

A review of Our Comfort in Dying (Sola Fide Publications, 2021), R. L. Dabney and Jonathan W. Peters, ed. Dabney “was fearless and faithful in the discharge of every duty. . . . was a Chaplain worth having.”  --Col. Robert E. Withers, Commander, 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment, 1861 In the current American dystopia, the life and ministry of an Old…
Forrest L. Marion
August 24, 2021

Staying Home

Americans have a weird relationship with their roots. Most folk want to be from somewhere, but they often don’t want to be in that somewhere. As someone who has unusually old roots in Northern Virginia — perhaps one of the most transient parts of the country — I think I might witness this more than most. Few people who live…
Casey Chalk
August 23, 2021

Podcast Episode 275

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute Aug 16-20, 2021 Topics: Southern tradition, Southern music, the War, Southern poetry  
Brion McClanahan
August 21, 2021

American Aurelius

Esteem you for your genius? Just a little— But most of all your people loved the peace That stood behind your fury. In the middle Of your much-troubled heart, there dwelt surcease From trouble’s weight and unrestrained increase, From victory’s excess, defeat’s despair. The calm philosophers of Ancient Greece Had nothing on you, Old Marse Robert, there. Oh, sure, you…
Thomas Riley
August 20, 2021

So, it was a Civil War after all…

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. . .” Abraham Lincoln ~ First Inaugural Address I have always believed—reasonably, I think—that Lincoln used this term before ever a shot was fired in order to apportion an equal part of the blame for the war he was prepared to initiate to…
Valerie Protopapas
August 19, 2021

What Makes This Musician Great?–Maybelle Carter

When I was a kid, we had a bully in school who delighted in picking on the girls, for some reason.  No matter what they accomplished, this moron always chimed in with something like, “Not bad for a girl.”  It was definitely not intended as a compliment.  The obvious implication was that no matter what the females think they’ve achieved,…
Tom Daniel
August 18, 2021

You Lost. Get Over It

The opponents of Southern heritage often repeat the trope: “You lost, get over it.” One of them told me that it was “ironic” that we honor both the US and CS flags. But of course, the postbellum states of the CSA were annexed into the reunited USA. They were forced back into the Union. Therefore, thirteen of the stars on…
Rev. Larry Beane
August 17, 2021

Can the South Rise Again?

Growing up in mostly-rural North Carolina, most of my friends and especially their parents could go on a bit about their family backgrounds, about their familial histories. Most of my friends—like me—had great-grandfathers or great-great-grandfathers who had served in Confederate ranks back in 1861-1865. Pride in family and in our ancestors was taken for granted, a devout appreciation we all…
Boyd Cathey
August 16, 2021

Podcast Episode 274

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Aug 9-13, 2021 Topics: The War, Secession, Southern Culture, Southern Music, Southern Monuments, Southern Tradition
Brion McClanahan
August 14, 2021

The Truth About Tariffs and the War

During the past thirty years most historians claim that slavery was the dominant cause of the Civil War. They increasingly insist that the South’s opposition to protective tariffs was a minimal factor, even though such tariffs were specifically outlawed in the Confederate constitution. Historian Marc-William Palen, for example, writes: One of the most egregious of the so-called Lost Cause narratives…
Philip Leigh
August 13, 2021

Historical Context Explains Secession

That Southern secession was ultimately about independence with or without slavery is easily determined by primary sources. Often I hear that the primary sources I quote in defense of Southern secession are “cherry picked” or “out of context.” Those making these charges will then point to the four Declarations of Causes or The Cornerstone Speech as proof of my lack…
Rod O'Barr
August 12, 2021

What Makes This Musician Great?–Ray Charles

In this third installment of the series “What Makes this Musician Great,” I will try my best to explain Ray Charles, but I may already be in over my head.  Previously, I have asserted that music is something that connects you directly to the mental state of the musician, and a vital part of that path involves forming a personal…
Tom Daniel
August 11, 2021
Review Posts

Chaining Down Leviathan

A review of Chaining Down Leviathan: The American Dream of Self-Government 1776-1865 (Abbeville Institute Press, 2021) by Marco Bassani How is it that America became a “strong but limited” government, and the world’s richest and most free country? That is the central question both considered and answered by Luigi Marco Bassani in his new work, Chaining Down Leviathan: The American…
Dave Benner
August 10, 2021

The South’s Monument Man

The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament (Exodus 20:2-17) are the creed of both Christians and Jews, but the Second Commandment posed a special dilemma for Jews in relation to the arts.  This admonition states in part that no one shall make for themselves any  . . . “carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above…
John Marquardt
August 9, 2021

Podcast Episode 273

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, August 2-6, 2021 Topics: Southern tradition, Southern culture, Southern literature, Southern music
Brion McClanahan
August 7, 2021

An ode to the Waccamaw

My heart bled along the Waccamaw, where ancient warriors reigned. I wonder if their spirits saw as I kneeled there, pained. Carolina! She beckoned me to rise, and her warm sun kissed my face. A glory came fore my eyes, which is this Southern place. Hail, you Carolinas of mine, you’ve dearly blessed your son. There’s naught I’d rather be…

The Old South and the New

This essay was originally published in the February 1936 issue of The American Review. Years ago, during the World War, I traveled from Chicago by way of Cincinnati to Montgomery, Alabama, in the company of a group of young ladies from the North who were visiting their men-folk encamped at Camp Sheridan. None of them had been South before, and…
Frank L. Owlsley
August 5, 2021

What Makes This Musician Great?–Hank Williams

This is the second installment of the series ‘What Makes this Musician Great,” and will focus on the man from Butler County, Alabama – Hank Williams.  In this ongoing series, I explain what makes Southern musicians and their music so great and worth remembering while using non-technical language that can hopefully be understood by non-musicians, and this is the perfect…
Tom Daniel
August 4, 2021

What It Means to be a Southerner

Editor's Note: In an effort to "explore what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition," we offer an explanation of what it "meant to be a Southerner" in 1958. This raises the questions of what has and has not changed in the South and if themes in this essay can still be applied to the twenty-first century Southerner. This…
Robert Y. Drake
August 3, 2021

The End of America?

I have a good friend who continually asks me what I think are the prospects for sensible, conservative—that is, normal—folks in these parlous times, what I think will happen to these United States, and particularly, what will happen to the South. In response to his questioning, I can’t give a satisfactory answer, at least one nicely tied-up and tidy like…
Boyd Cathey
August 2, 2021