Monthly Archives

April 2023


Why The Confederacy Fell?

Of all people to go to when attempting to answer the question of why the Confederacy fell, there is probably no one more qualified than Jefferson Davis himself, the first and last president of the Confederate States of America. In an excerpt from his work, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, he writes, "The act of February 17,…
Cody Davis
April 28, 2023

Lincoln and Fort Sumter

From The Journal of Southern History Vol. 3, No. 3 (Aug., 1937), pp. 259-288 When the Confederate batteries around Charleston Harbor opened fire on Fort Sumter in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, they signaled the beginning of the most calamitous tragedy in the history of the American people. Because the Confederate authorities ordered the attack it is…
Charles W. Ramsdell
April 27, 2023

The Moral Underpinning of Jeffersonian Republicanism

Liberty for Jefferson is a concept readily grasped, but one, he learns throughout the decades, of great difficulty in application. It is easy to understand what it means for government to be only minimally involved in the affairs of its citizens—to be involved in directing its foreign affairs and in protecting citizens’ liberties—but difficult to put into praxis such thin…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 26, 2023

Alabama Weekend

In the summer of 2009, I was hired by a studio out of Mobile, AL to play piano on a couple country albums for these two brothers, Micky and Dickie as I recall. Though the booking was originally only supposed to be for one day, it ended up taking three due to those fella’s odd dietary habits. Apparently they were…
Brandon Meeks
April 25, 2023

We’re Still Here

It’s hard to believe, but John Shelton Reed’s classic sociological study The Enduring South was first published a half century ago. I long ago gave my copy to a student, but, as I remember, Reed’s findings pointed to a persistent identification of a great many people as Southerners by use of various opinion surveys. Persistent peculiar Southern aspects of behaviour…
Clyde Wilson
April 24, 2023

Faulkner Among the Puritans

Originally published in The Sewanee Review Vol. 72, No. 1 (Winter, 1964), pp. 146-150 William Faulkner wrote romances, not novels; of this those who study and write about Mr. Faulkner are now, it seems, agreed. Had our great-grandmothers read his fiction, they would have been astonished by this critical consensus. But "romance" is an elusive word, subject to periodic metamorphosis…
M.E. Bradford
April 21, 2023

What the South Has Done About Its History

From The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Feb., 1936), pp. 3-28. The South has often been referred to as a virgin field for the historian. Other sections of the country have written almost the minutest details of their history or suffered others to do it, even to magnifying the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s Ride into…
E. Merton Coulter
April 20, 2023

Why They Hate Thomas Jefferson

The essay is included in Writing on the Southern Front: Authentic Conservatism for Our Times (Taylor and Francis, 2018). Thomas Jefferson is America’s favorite whipping boy. Not among the public, which remains either ambivalent or blissfully ignorant of most history. But this certainly is the case among the jealous elites. Nowadays, Jefferson is even more despised than such longtime bogeys…
Joseph Scotchie
April 19, 2023

When Civil Rights Activism Runs Afoul

In recent years, Thomas Jefferson, father of University of Virginia and first citizen of Charlottesville, has been the target of vitriolic assaults from countless persons, scholars among them, and groups in America. What is most surprising is that many of the assaults today come from persons or groups in or around his hometown, Charlottesville, where, one might expect, the citizens…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 18, 2023

Marion and His Men

Editor's Note: This selection is from William Gilmore Simms's The Life of Francis Marion and is published in honor of his 217 birthday, April 17. Marion's career as a partisan, in the thickets and swamps of Carolina, is abundantly distinguished by the picturesque ; but it was while he held his camp at Snow's Island, that it received its highest…
William Gilmore Simms
April 17, 2023

A Southern Response to the Nashville School Shooting

‘One day Saint Polycarp saw the ruler sitting in his chair and watching as the blood of Christians flowed like water.’—From the life of Martyr Polycarp of Alexandria (+4th century) The murder of six innocent Christians at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, by a deranged young woman in the grips of the demonic ideology of transgenderism seems to have…
Walt Garlington
April 14, 2023

Burning Head of Coals

Last week during the public comments segment of a Zoom meeting with an Army subcommittee advising Arlington National Cemetery about the future of its Confederate (Reconciliation) Memorial designed by Moses Ezekiel, I learned that some other countries are more respectful of their former opponents than is the Army’s Renaming Commission that wants to remove the memorial. Theron Walker of Charleston,…
Philip Leigh
April 13, 2023

A Tale of Two Black Seamen

In early 1864 Brigadier-General Robert F. Hoke was tasked with liberating the enemy-occupied and fortified town of Plymouth on the Roanoke River in northeastern North Carolina. He began formulating his attack with the naval assistance of the still-incomplete ironclad ram CSS Albemarle, which was literally built in a cornfield well upriver from Plymouth. The unfinished ship had its steam up…
Bernard Thuersam
April 12, 2023

The Confederate State of Bermuda

A year before the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell’s Southern classic “Gone With the Wind” premiered at Loew’e Grand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, producer David O. Selznick and screenwriter Jo Swerling flew to the island of Bermuda aboard a Pan-American “Clipper.” There they spent the next two months working to finish the script for their epic film about the…
John Marquardt
April 11, 2023

The Confederate Constitution, Part II

From the 2005 Abbeville Institute Summer School. Continued from Part One. Over the course of the 20th Century, the States have been increasingly sidelined. Everything is considered through a national lens and said to have a national scope. Consider, for example, the Seventeenth Amendment, which gave us the direct election of senators. In a recent Supreme Court case, the State…
Marshall DeRosa
April 10, 2023

Podcast Episode 350

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute March 27 - April 7 Topics: Southern History, Southern Tradition, Southern Culture
Brion McClanahan
April 8, 2023

Vindicating the Dead

I rarely go to movies anymore for the obvious reason that there is little worth seeing these days.  However, Facebook seems to understand my tastes and has recently inserted into my feed ads for a movie called The Lost King.  The movie is about Philippa Langley’s passionate effort to find the remains of King Richard III and to determine his…
Julie Paine
April 7, 2023

Could Jefferson Have Done More to End Slavery?

It is today all too customarily asserted that anyone who owned slaves in the pageantry of American history was racist. The argument goes something like this: Slave-owning is a racist practice, so, anyone owning slaves is racist. There is, of course, much to unpack in the argument. First, it wrongly assumes that all slavery comprised Whites owning Blacks. Second, it…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 6, 2023

Judah P. Benjamin and Canadian States’ Rights

One of the most absurd claims heard today is that the South’s defense of “States Rights,” was only a defense of the ”right to own slaves.” This is a claim from extreme ignorance of the South’s Jeffersonian philosophical tradition. A philosophical tradition that prevailed at the founding where tension existed between those who wanted the Union to be a centralized…
Rod O'Barr
April 5, 2023

Why the Confederacy Could Not Succeed

Many books over the years have given me insights into history—insights that occasionally cause things to come together to produce a “Road to Damascus” moment. Recently the remembrance of one caused me to revisit my long-held belief that the attempt by the States of the South to establish a confederated republic upon the North American continent was doomed to failure…
Valerie Protopapas
April 4, 2023

The Tower on the Tyger

“Do fish swim in a whiskey barrel?” was the only logical response when Brandon Meeks, the Bard of Southern Arkansas, asked me to represent the new Southern journal Moonshine & Magnolias at the Upcountry Literary Festival held in Union, SC. You see, Dr. James Everett Kibler was set to receive the William “Singing Billy” Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in…
Chase Steely
April 3, 2023