March 4, 2024

The Birth of Jaffa and the Death of History

There have been a lot of things spoken of Goldwater, from lunatic to nationalist and everything in between. While most historians, on both the right and the left, tend to focus on these well placed propagandist terms, the few points that get perpetually overlooked by any analyst are the significant points of who he was, his own personal platform, how…
March 1, 2024

How to Roast a Possum

There are few kinds of critters that roam the countryside where I live that I haven’t eaten at least once. Deer, squirrels, armadillos, raccoons, wild hogs and the like. I haven’t always liked them, but sometimes it was all we had. In the late 80’s, my folks lost their jobs at the mill due to a strike and if we…
February 29, 2024

The Gaslighting Commission and American History

This month marks 160 years since a relatively unrecognized, but noteworthy, battle between Union and Confederate forces in which black soldiers participated in relatively large numbers. The noteworthiness was not in terms of strategic significance, consequential results, exceptional leadership, or recognized valor. Rather, Olustee was the battle in which a relatively recent phenomenon – black U.S. soldier regiments – probably…
February 28, 2024

The Use and Misuse of History

“I am heir to  the greatest civilization the world has ever known. I’d like to defend it but I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” --Alice Teller “By 2050—earlier probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared.  The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed….shall exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually…
February 27, 2024

Jefferson on the Pleasure of Pleasure Gardening

Thomas Jefferson, like others of his day, was a patron and admirer of the fine arts, which were “fine” because they were autotelic—viz., enjoyed as ends in themselves. The number of the Fine Arts was a matter of debate in his day. To granddaughter Ellen Wayles Randolph (10 July 1805), President Jefferson writes: I must observe that neither the number…
February 26, 2024

I am the South

I AM THE SOUTH (After Padraig Pearse, Mise Eire) I am the South: I am older than Helena's dead. Great my glory: I that bore Jackson and Lee. Great now my shame: My children that bartered a mother. Great now my sorrow: My true sons betrayed. I am the South: I am lonelier than Helena's dead.
February 23, 2024

Why the North Wanted to Preserve the Union

One of the reasons for forming the United States in 1789 was to permit the thirteen states to trade among themselves with minimal interference. One example of interference occurred two years earlier when New York state unilaterally increased customs fees and assessed heavy clearance fees on vessels arriving from—or bound to—New Jersey and Connecticut. Similar disputes affected others among the…
February 22, 2024

Forgotten Southern Wisdom

Over the years I  have occasionally encountered references to Edward P. Lawton’s book The South and the Nation. I was never able to find it until recently when  I was able to get a copy from  a company in India called Skilled Books.  This reprint is nicely printed and bound without any date or copyright  information. Lawton was from Savannah,…
February 21, 2024

Self-Evident Truths

Armies sometimes crush liberty, but they cannot conquer ideas. Jabez L. M. Curry (Lieutenant colonel, CSA, 1861-1865) From the African continent to the shores of America, the people coercively enslaved were victims of government action, inaction, or a combination of the two. Whether the government is led by a tribal chieftain or a so-called representative government, all governments are political…
February 20, 2024

Thomas Jefferson’s “Holy War”

In a singular letter late in life to John Wayles Eppes (6 Nov. 1813), Thomas Jefferson describes the American Revolution as a “holy war.” He writes, “If ever there was a holy war, it was that which saved our liberties and gave us independance.” The letter rather mundanely concerns Jefferson’s abhorrence of banks and paper money. The letter I consider…
February 19, 2024

The Closed Book of Southern Literature

Until the publication of Jay B. Hubbell’s great The South in American Literature 1607-1900 (Duke University 1954), nobody remembered many of the South’s great writers, apart from Edgar Allan Poe and, if only by deprecation, maybe Joel Chandler Harris.  Now nobody remembers Jay B. Hubbell. Hubbell’s work extends beyond scholarship through antiquarianism practically to archaeology.  The chief reason why modern…
February 16, 2024

Remembering an American President

From Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: A Memoir (1890) Mr. Davis’s apparent feebleness had been accompanied by enough increase in weight to encourage my hopes of his health improving. He never stooped, but retained his fine soldierly carriage, and always walked with a light, firm step, and with apparent ease; his voice was sweet and sonorous as ever. A slight deafness…
February 15, 2024

Immigration, Race, and Poverty in the North

Mass immigration played a large role in the War for Southern Independence in some obvious ways. It provided a workforce for large scale industrialization, it populated the Midwest and created a large population and economic advantage when war did come, it brought large Catholic and Lutheran populations to the north threatening Yankee cultural purity, and it brought the neo-Marxists 48’ers…
February 14, 2024

Lincoln Sells His Slaves

“The literature on Abraham Lincoln is vast, but it isn’t very good.”  You have to love a book with a first sentence like that!  The book is Kevin Orlin Johnson’s The Lincolns in the White House. While he has some interesting history of the Executive Mansion (the White House) the author is not limited to that one place and  short…
February 13, 2024

Lincoln on Stilts

Thomas DiLorenzo, the President of the Mises Institute, has already reviewed Paul C. Graham’s Nonsense on Stilts: The Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Imaginary Nation (Shotwell Publishing 2024) in characteristically excellent fashion, but the book is so insightful that some further comments are warranted. It is clear that Graham has a philosophical turn of mind and is a master of linguistic…
February 12, 2024

Rowan Oak, June 1998

High circling hawk was clue: This is your home My kinsman true. Allspice bush in cedared yard Gave evidences too Green would and blue, The red-tail, far too far to hear Its brittle cry (But at my hone outside the window high, Persimmon perched, we're eye to eye-- Same hawk, same cry.) I leave the hawk behind And walk the…
February 8, 2024

How Northern Stupidity and Plundering Saved a Southern City

Lynchburg, Virginia, today displays many markers of its Civil War history. There are several signs in and around the city that indicate where Confederate forces were placed in defense of the city. There is a statue of a Confederate infantryman at the top of Monument Terrace. In Riverside Park, what is left of the hull of Marshall, which carried the…
February 7, 2024

New York v. Tennessee

You’ve probably already seen the video of a mob beating up two New York City police officers. The incident happened about 10 days ago in broad daylight in Times Square, one of the most prominent public places and tourist attractions in New York. The video shows two officers apprehending a suspect who resists arrest and is wrestled to the pavement,…
February 6, 2024

Monument Desecration in the U.S.: “If It’s Not Love….”

What do pro-Israel Jewish Americans, Italian Americans, and American Southerners have in common?  First and most obviously, they have proud traditions based on Judeo-Christian ethics.  Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism, the predominant religions in the groups, share belief in God though there are many and complex variations in their beliefs and practices.  Second, another important thing they have in common is…
February 5, 2024

Democrats Did Not Keep Lincoln Off the Ballot

Democrat activists in Colorado and Maine dictatorially kicked Trump off the primary ballot in those states.  Historically ignorant Neocons had a field day, labeling the Left as “Neo-Confederates.” Fox News Jesse Watters ranted, “Democrats booted Lincoln off the ballot in 10 states.” Declaring that “history always has a way of repeating itself,” he continued, “Just like Southern Democrats did to…
February 2, 2024

Mr. H

When I was in school, many of my teachers were from North Carolina, one of them Miss M., a large and rather loud woman with steel-grey hair.  We liked her much better than her predecessor, the Chicagoan with the prominent nose who mocked our country speech.  We also liked our North Carolinian physical education teacher, a right pleasant person.  And…
February 1, 2024

Will Southern Literature Survive?

A few weeks ago, a man in our town was hospitalized because he was beaten upside the head with a horseshoe by his ex-wife. As I understand it, she showed up to her ex-husband’s family reunion as the “Plus One” of his second cousin. The incident occurred when the assailant found out that her ex, who hadn’t paid child support…
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January 31, 2024

Stewards of History

Caryl Johnston is a contemporary Southern writer who has so far not received as much recognition as she merits.  That lack was partly corrected in 2021 when the Abbeville Press published her Stewards of History: Land and Time in the Story of a Southern Family. Then last year her fourth volume of verse, Storyteller in Times Square, appeared. Stewards of…
January 30, 2024

Red Warren and Grandpa

A few days ago, I attended the annual Robert E. Lee Banquet in Virginia. I felt so at home and surrounded by Southern comrades who shared my values. We all had a grand time. In these trying days, it is very difficult to stand up for traditional Southern values. I often think of my mentor Cleanth Brooks--whose grandfather was a…
January 29, 2024

God Bless Texas

On Friday, 26 January, Slate magazine ran a piece entitled “GOP Governors Invoke the Confederate Theory of Secession to Justify Border Violations.” Slate has an interesting definition of “border violations.” A sensible, normal person would think that meant crossing the border illegally. Slate uses the phrase to refer to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has taken steps to guard his…
January 27, 2024

Ep. 8: Remembering “Stonewall”

The Essential Southern Podcast is back for 2024. Our first episode of the year, "Remembering Stonewall" is out now on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Subscribe, like, comment, and leave a review where you can. In 1895, "Stonewall" Jackson's widow, Mary Anna Jackson, penned her "Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson" as a tribute her her late husband. This selection is a…
January 25, 2024

A Misunderstood Southern Hero

We Southerners  have our heroes, Lee, Jackson, Hampton, Longstreet, Hood, Pettigrew, and the list goes on. But few of us look to the likes of William Quantrill as hero material, most likely due to his fighting  tactics not being in line with with “gentlemanly” warfare. He is generally denigrated for his planning and execution of the raid on Lawrence, Kansas. …
January 24, 2024

Remembering John Taylor of Caroline

Prophet of Encroaching Tyranny John Taylor of Caroline was a man of the American Revolution. During the fight for independence, he served in the Continental Army and Virginia militia. He left the latter at the end of the war with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Military life molded his character as it did for so many other men, but the enduring…
January 23, 2024

Jefferson’s Use of Grids and Octagons was Racist?

Irene Cheng's "The Racial Geometry of the Nation: Thomas Jefferson's Grids and Octagons" is indicative of the wokeist/Postmodernist plight of academic scholarship today vis-à-vis Thomas Jefferson. There is a smoothness to the essay and a structure, and there are sprinkled in several “technical” terms to give the essay quasi-intellectual feel. Yet that is on the level of “feel.” Careful critical…
January 22, 2024

Remembering “Stonewall”

From Mary Anna Jackson, Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson (1895) in honor of "Stonewall" Jackson's birthday. My own heart almost stood still under the weight of horror and apprehension which then oppressed me. This ghastly spectacle was a most unfitting preparation for my entrance into the presence of my stricken husband; but when I was soon afterwards summoned to his chamber,…
January 19, 2024

Lee in Darkness

Lee, “a public nuisance” “Not marble nor the gilded monuments . . .” Shakespeare, Sonnet 55 “It is history that teaches us to hope.” Robert E. Lee A century and more he stood alone Atop his column, elevated, grave, Arms folded, in full military dress, Looking hard north from where “those people” came. Now workers come, in bulletproof vests and…
January 18, 2024

Ol’ Fred

FRED CHAPPELL was America's greatest living writer. Of that I have no doubt, not that the modern miasma of contemporary letters offered him much serious competition.  (His only rivals for the epithet were Cormac McCarthy, now passed, and Wendell Berry, nearing ninety.) He was a master of most every major literary genre - poetry, fiction, criticism, et al. His scope…
January 17, 2024

Southerners Built Panama

Colonel William Crawford Gorgas, son of Confederate general Josiah Gorgas, Jefferson Davis’ chief of ordnance, was already a world renowned doctor before he ever set foot in Panama. In the final days of the Spanish–American War, Gorgas was Chief Sanitary Officer in Havana, where he eradicated yellow fever and malaria by identifying its transmitter: the Aedes mosquito. (Previously, people had…
January 16, 2024

Blaming the Tool

There is an old maxim from a better time: “It is a poor workman who blames his tools.” The idea is, of course, that some people who fail at an effort in which they engage are more than likely to blame “circumstances” rather than themselves. I have found this maxim helpful in matters far more esoteric than mere physical labor…
January 15, 2024

King Day and the Abolition of America

For the past eight years, each January for the Federal holiday celebrating Martin Luther King (whose birth date is January 15), I send out a cautionary essay that I first began researching back in 2016. What I have been attempting to do, with increasing urgency, was remind readers, specifically so-called “conservatives,” that King and his holiday are emblematic of the…
January 12, 2024

Deep South, High Art

Growing up in rural southern Arkansas, I believed that art was as foreign to our people as a goose egg is to the North Pole. My part of the Arkansas Delta was nothing but cotton fields and pine trees that stretched so far one could be forgiven for thinking there was nothing at all on the other side, that the…
January 11, 2024

Lincoln’s Prisoners

Within two months of taking office, in the midst of what he termed a “rebellion” and an “insurrection” against the national authority, the President of the United States took an extraordinary action. Sending a letter to the army’s commanding general about the deteriorating situation, the commander-in-chief authorized the suspension of habeas corpus, a legal safeguard that requires a detained citizen…
January 10, 2024

Baron Munchausen Redux

Editor's note: John Marquardt published his farewell recently, but he thought this needed to be discussed and as such is his postscript. As I wrote in my 2015 Abbeville article, a century prior to the War of Secession, Rudolf Rase, a German pseudo-scientist and notorious swindler, wrote a book entitled "Baron Munchausen’s Narratives of His Marvelous Travels and Campaigns in…
January 9, 2024

The Kingdom of Callaway

Any casual student of history will be familiar with the two primary antagonists of the War for Southern Independence: the Confederate States of America and the United States of America rump state.  There was one additional participant, however, of which few are aware: Callaway County, Missouri.  On October 27, 1861, Federal officers representing the United States of America and Colonel…
January 8, 2024

Setting Aside Historical Accuracy

The recent video, “The Fall of Minneapolis,” by journalist Liz Collin and Dr. J.C. Chaix, is chillingly eye-opening. The documentary, following the book, “They’re Lying: The Media, The Left, and the Death of George Floyd, is painstakingly researched. It shows convincingly that the four officers, who were involved in the arrest of George Floyd on the day of his passing,…
January 5, 2024

Robert E. Lee and the DOD

Every once in a while, I read a book that is so flawed, biased and outright wrong that I can hardly finish it. Such is the case with “Robert E. Lee and Me” by Tyrus Seidule. I have always sought to give those who disagree me a fair hearing. Occasionally I may even learn something. But in Mr. Seidule’s case,…
January 4, 2024

The Confederate Gold, FOUND!

A review of The Rebel and the Rose: James A. Semple, Julia Gardiner Tyler, and the Lost Confederate Gold, by Wesley Millett and Gerald White, ‎Cumberland House Publishing, August 24, 2007. Millett and White have written a terrific “three-‘fer”: A wartime romance, a history of the flight from Richmond, and an economic reckoning of the Southern Treasury. They have succeeded,…
January 3, 2024

Go South, Young Man

There is a venerable American tradition — at least as old as Alexis de Tocqueville — to contrast the energy, ingenuity, and virtue of the North with the slow, backward, hypocrisy of the South. In Tocquevile’s influential work Democracy in America, published in 1831, we read: “The banks of the Ohio River provided the final demonstration… time and again, in…
January 2, 2024

Blame Republicans

In February 2000, Republican presidential candidate John McCain told “Face the Nation” that he considered the Confederate Battle Flag to be “offensive” and a “symbols of racism and slavery.” Candidate George W. Bush remarked that while he considered the display of the flag to be a state issue, he refused to allow Confederate symbolism at the Texas statehouse and had…
December 27, 2023

Christmas in Dixie

Editor's Note: This is our final post of 2023. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We will be back January 2, 2024. Until we meet again.... The older that I get, it seems the less I enjoy the Christmas season. So much is now packed into the month of December, that it is hard to…
December 26, 2023

Christmas Reflections

As Christmas 2023 rapidly approaches I am put in mind of a short poem, “The Broad Winter,” written some seventy years ago by English poet, Jack Clemo. It may seem a bit odd to cite this work during the Christmas Season, but I will explain. Here it is: “The darkness comes as you foretold. You hear the fretful moan, The…
December 25, 2023

Dear Santa

When I came home from the grocery store yesterday I found an envelope taped to my front door. It was blank but sealed. I assumed it was a bill left by my landlord, so I laid it on the coffee table and went to work cooking supper. But about the time the beans came to a simmer curiosity got the…
December 22, 2023

A Southern Christmas Carol

During the Advent, or Christmas, season, I enjoy hearing and singing Advent hymns, or Christmas carols, which celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I always look forward to this every year. One which I enjoy hearing and singing was written in Northern Virginia, where I am from and where I live. The Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary…
December 21, 2023

The Need to Be Whole

I recently finished reading The Need To Be Whole by Wendell Berry, and it has inspired me to write to you in protest of the imminent—if not actually underway as you read these very words—removal of the Arlington National Cemetery Confederate Monument. I am certain that you have already encountered many arguments in favour of the monument. You have heard…
December 20, 2023

A Confederate Lady at Castle Pinckney and Battery Wagner in Charleston Harbor

Since I became a member of the Charleston Chapter 4 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I have had the honor of working as a volunteer at our museum in historic Charleston, South Carolina. One aspect of that work involved an inventory of the museum’s rich, remarkable treasure trove of manuscripts and printed material. Having authored a book some…
December 19, 2023

South Carolina Debates the Union

Editor's Note: This 1830 speech from Whitemarsh B. Seabrook shows that South Carolina's commitment to the original Constitution was not solely based on arguments against slavery. Mr. Chairman—I am not aware that I ever attempted to address you with feelings like those which now influence me. The momentous character of the controversy between this state and the federal government, the…
December 18, 2023

O. Henry: The Short Story Writer of America

Editor's Note: O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" is one of the most popular Christmas short stories, but most modern Americans know little about the author or his Southern background. O.Henry posted caricatures of the local carpetbagger in the drugstore window. He also said that when he heard “Dixie” he did not celebrate but only wished that Longstreet had…This…
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December 15, 2023

Who is the Real Thomas Jefferson?

Who is the real Thomas Jefferson? Historians have attempted to answer this question since "Sage of Monticello" died in 1826. Jefferson has been the symbol of nearly every political movement in America, even if he would have disagreed with their positions. He has been described as a radical, a progressive, a liberal, an agrarian, a populist, a libertarian, a conservative,…
December 14, 2023

VMI and the American Empire

The instances are innumerable, their details vast. To exist outside and apart is to be a threat, a West Berlin just visible over the parapet. All distinction must submit. There is no more dialogue as once offered to Melos, there is no longer even the illusion of choice: your old god must be displaced, your plinth must be empty, and…
December 13, 2023

Sally Hemings’ Bedroom

“Historians have made a discovery just in time for the July 4th holiday” (2018), writes Natalie Dreier of the National/World News. “They have found the living quarters for Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who bore six children to one of the country’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson.” Where at Monticello is this bedroom? Michael Cottman of NBC News says that Hemings’ bedroom was…
December 12, 2023

The Fall of Minnesota

Anyone who wants to judge how far into corruption our present U.S. regime has sunk needs to view the documentary “The Fall of Minneapolis” which covers the George Floyd case and the official reaction to it. Before the evidence was even finalised, the President of the United States, the Vice-President of the United States, the then Speaker of the U.S.…
December 11, 2023

What Was the War About?

Names tell a lot, and that conflict had many names. The one that seems to have stuck is “The Civil War.” But is this an accurate description? Civil wars by definition are wars waged between two or more factions within a country struggling for control of the government (1). But Robert E. Lee was not fighting to take over the…
December 8, 2023

A Southern Memoir

Dr. Virginia Abernethy, retired from the Psychiatry Department of Vanderbilt University, is still going strong at age 90, as evidenced by her lively memoir, Born Abroad:  A Patriot’s Tale of Choice and Chance (Arktos: 2023). From a family of Virginian origins, she was, due to her father’s work, born in Havana and spent her childhood in Buenos Aires.  She still…
December 7, 2023

Prayerful Warrior

In the years following the defeat of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee emerged as the face of the Lost Cause. In many respects, Lee embodied a defeated South: strong, stubborn, but simply outmanned. However, this interpretation of defeat as a matter of mere numbers and arms did not rest well with many Southerners. To them, the war was a battle…
December 6, 2023

Abraham Lincoln–War Criminal

We frequently read today about war crimes, such as bombing hospitals. In World War II Britain bombed civilians in Dresden and dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In war, we are told, “anything goes.” Abraham Lincoln followed this barbaric policy, and those who treat him as a “hero” have much to answer for. In his definitive book War Crimes…
December 5, 2023

An Affectionate Farewell

This is a footnote to my most recent offering at the Abbeville Institute regarding the sayonara being given to far too much of Southern culture, heritage and history that is now being swept away by the ever-growing tsunami of mindless social justice rage. You might well ask what could possibly have led a person who was born and largely bred…
December 4, 2023

Willmoore Kendall’s Battle Lines

Few men would confuse the late Willmoore Kendall for a Southern gentleman. The son of a blind Oklahoma Southern Methodist preacher, the conservative political philosopher married three times, and carried on numerous affairs. A regular contributor to National Review, Kendall was once caught with a copy girl in the office of a colleague in NR spaces. He was an alcoholic,…
December 1, 2023

Bronze is the Mirror of Form

With the Thanksgiving of 2023 in the rearview mirror, I am still thankful for the over 9000 Americans who submitted comments around the removal of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington Cemetery. Only 10% of the comments supported the decision to remove the memorial. Over eight thousand Americans wrote in defense of the Confederate Memorial, and over 364 people mentioned grave…
November 30, 2023

The Great Awakening in Wilson County, Tennessee

It is often said that “a watched pot doesn’t boil”.  Today I’d like to alter that saying to “A watched pot doesn’t boil over.”And I’d like to add that “A watched pressure cooker doesn’t blow up.” The idea here is to prevent a situation from getting out of hand and making a mess in the environment.  This article is to…
November 28, 2023

What is the Future of the Southern Tradition?

What is the future of the Southern tradition? This question presents a pressing problem for Americans in the twenty-first century. To those who reduce the Southern tradition to treason and slavery, the answer would be simple: it must be eradicated. Unfortunately, these people dominate the academic and political classes in American society. The near decade long pogrom on Southern symbols…
November 27, 2023

Lincoln’s Quest for Empire

Many Americans cherish the image of Honest Abe Lincoln: a lad born in humble circumstances who succeeded by hard, sleeves-rolled-up work; became President, fulfilling his lifelong goal of freeing the slaves, meanwhile saving government of, by and for the people; and was martyred and wafted to Heaven by angels. This image is folklore, no more related to the facts of…
November 22, 2023


I believe that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be a potluck. The Saints will come from afar, bearing covered dishes, and reclining at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But there will be no tofu, for it will have its part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. The course of my life can be charted…
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November 21, 2023

Outside the Gates of Eden

William Faulkner once said of his own work that he was just “a failed poet.” Of course, Faulkner is at the lasting peak of American culture in his portrayal of mankind’s striving and endurance and cannot be any kind of failure. The only thing I have in common with Faulkner is that we both write in prose—me being a very…
November 20, 2023

Profiteering from Farcicality

In August 2019, The New York Times, prompted by a notion of Nikole Hannah-Jones, began its 1619 Project—an attempt to rewrite completely America’s history by considering the year 1619 as the real birth of the American nation. In the words of New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief, Jay Silverstein: 1619 is not a year that most Americans know as a notable…
November 17, 2023

The South in the Interpretation of the Constitution

Editor's Note: This chapter is republished from The South in the Building of the Nation series (1909). In the making of the American Nation, the Southern states have played a conspicuous part-a part which has not received proper recognition at the hands of historians at home or abroad. This neglect of the South is largely the result of the views…
November 16, 2023

“I die in the service and defense of my country!”

I just finished John Headly's book "Confederate Operations in Canada and New York."  It's a good read and provides great insight into Confederate operations in New York and other northern states. I highly recommend it. But this piece isn't about Headly. It's about John Yates Beall, acting master in the Confederate States Navy. In this book, Headly poignantly describes the…
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November 15, 2023

African Founders and Albion’s Seed

I've often been asked a variation of the same question: "If you had to choose one American history book to recommend, what would it be?" The answer is simple: David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed. I don't make this suggestion lightly. There are other fascinating and important works to consider, but Fischer presents a compelling tale of early American culture that…
November 14, 2023

What Would Jefferson Do?

One of the most difficult tasks of any historian is to show how knowing history is today relevant—that is, to show that history is heterotelic, that it is not its own end. The “Father of History,” the Greek Herodotus, who chronicled the events of the Persian War (490–479 B.C.) and aimed to cover both Greek and Persian motives, writes (my…
November 13, 2023

No to War

Editor's Note: On 5 April 1917, Representative Claude Kitchin of North Carolina rose and delivered a manly speech in opposition to Woodrow Wilson's call for a declaration of war against Germany. He was one of five Southern members of Congress who opposed the war resolution. Kitchin prophetically predicted that if she became involved in the war, America would be forced…
November 9, 2023

The Peanut Gallery

I never want another dog. As I made the 30 mile trek home from the veterinarian’s office with the stiff body of my 14 year old cur dog, Katie, beside me, I remember muttering those words through hot tears. “They’re a damned inconvenience is what they are,” I argued to myself. Making an oral list of reasons in case I…
November 8, 2023

An Educator’s View on Preserving the Arlington Confederate Monument

Despite being a young, developing discipline in America, historic preservation, as it continues to grow, is of vital importance to the very fabric of this nation. Historic lands, buildings, and monuments do not just represent a window into time that best exemplifies the quality of life and happenstance of the past but also offers a teaching opportunity for future generations.…
November 7, 2023

From Mayberry to Nashville

What do a popular country group and the Vanderbilt Agrarians have in common? West Virginian Arlos Smith penned the song Mayberry for the pop-country group Rascal Flatts. There are striking similarities between the Agrarian manifesto I’ll Take My Stand (ITMS) and the song Mayberry, but I couldn’t find any evidence that the work of the Agrarians had any influence on…
November 6, 2023

“A Southside View of Slavery”

Within the purview of post-1950’s modern historiography, anything proclaimed in defense of the South is labeled “Lost Cause Myth” - a product of the “Lost Cause School” of thought. The term “Lost Cause” originates from the title of an 1866 book written in defense of the South but is now applied pejoratively to an entire category of Southern apologetics. Today,…
November 3, 2023

Standing Against the Totalitarian Horde, At Home and Abroad

A few weeks ago a close acquaintance of mine wrote an impassioned letter intended for publication in a South Carolina newspaper. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, his letter was not printed by any media source in the state….Not because it was crude or appeared to incite violence; not because he employed foul language or insulting attacks against opponents. Indeed, the letter…
November 2, 2023

The Truth About the Secession Documents

If the lie did not begin with Ty Seidule, he popularized it in his 2015 Prager U. video: “The secession documents of every single Southern state made clear, crystal clear, that they were leaving the Union in order to protect their peculiar institution of slavery.” This falsehood is repeated regularly by the ignorant and informed alike. Seidule was the head…
November 1, 2023

Is the American Experience Conservative?

Delivered as a lecture at the Heritage Foundation, October, 1986. Having recently urged upon my fellow conservatives the necessity for attaching a priority to distinctions and definitions, having in the Intercollegiate Review insisted that such exercises are properly antecedent to all questions of policy, I was obliged to attempt a reflection on this theme when Mr. Hart proposed it to…
October 31, 2023

Postbellum Black Suffrage

Presently, the dominant Reconstruction Era narrative portrays the Republican Party’s support for black suffrage as a moral impulse. The likelihood that it would also increase the number of Republican-loyal voters is dismissed as a convenient by product of “doing the right thing.” Today’s experienced voters, however, realize that political parties seek to increase or maintain their political power by default.…
October 30, 2023

Swords Into Plowshares

Last week, activists destroyed the Charlottesville, Virginia Robert E. Lee monument in secret. They said it was to prevent violence, but not their own. The Washington Post attended the event and documented the final moments for Lee's face. The iconoclasts fashioned it into a "death mask" and then melted it down, creating a haunting image captured by the Post's photographer. You…
October 26, 2023

What Led to Stonewall Jackson’s Unusual Quirks?

On a recent episode of the Flagrant podcast , comedian Shane Gillis went on a short rant about Stonewall Jackson. Gillis is a known history buff that frequently brings up history in his stand up comedy and talk show appearances. Even though this particular conversation covered various topics, the most interesting part was his take on Stonewall Jackson’s mental health:…
October 25, 2023

Confederate Patton

A review of Confederate Patton: Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign, 2nd (Expanded) Edition (Columbia, SC: Shotwell Publishing, 2023), by Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. It is hard to imagine that there is a more thorough or exciting book out there on the Red River Campaign, a/k/a Red River Expedition, that took place March to May, 1864, in the…
October 24, 2023

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Attraction of Policial Decency

Scholars are wont to paint antipodally Jefferson and Madison. Most depictions show, in effect, that by psychological disposition, Madison was better suited to be a Hamiltonian Federalist than a Jeffersonian Republican. I offer a few illustrations. Merrill D. Peterson, in his Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, states that Madison had a “more penetrating mind, sharp, probing, and persistent,” while…
October 23, 2023

The Passing of Zippy

When I first met Zippy he was a mature, chestnut-colored and very friendly male equine who had come to live with my neighbors. They had created an ample fenced-in, grassy pasture next to my property, plus a neat horse-shed where Zippy could both sleep or take safe refuge should the weather turn bad. Earlier this year Zippy reached the admirable…
October 20, 2023

You Mean You Don’t Know?

Sunday afternoons were once meant for visiting all across The South. Sometimes family and sometimes friends, but the lazy Sunday afternoon visits, after church and then dinner, were a very important part of the connectedness that we all shared. And, by the way, dinner is the meal you ate at mid-day and supper the evening meal… just to set that…
October 19, 2023

Coffee, Waffles, and Gunsmoke

This morning I struck up a conversation with an old man over breakfast at the local Huddle House. He was sitting by himself drinking a cup of coffee. He wasn’t looking for company but I had ordered a big omelet and that’s the sort of thing worth making conversation over. “Look at the size of that thing,” I said. “It’s…
October 18, 2023

The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down

Has Virgil Kane Been Reconstructed? In 1865 George Stoneman was a mediocre Union general leading cavalry behind Confederate lines in Virginia. 100 years later a Canadian rock band made him famous. It took Robbie Robertson more than six months to write the song. He spent time in libraries researching the end of the war. Many say it was an anti-war…
October 17, 2023

Sayonara Aunt Jemima

Over the past several decades, anything connected with the Confederacy, as well as much of Southern culture and heritage, have all been transformed from objects of American pride into nothing more than racist pariahs that must be blown away by the winds of woke social change and cancel culture. A prime example of such objects is Georgia-born writer Margaret Mitchell’s…
October 16, 2023

Secession: Where Does it Stop?

A review of  The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) by Victoria E. Bynum The film loosely derived from this book has already been reviewed here by historian Ryan Walters – ably so, since he grew up in Jones County, the “free state” in that title. But the key question raised by…
BlogReview Posts
October 13, 2023

Thomas Jefferson, Architect

A review of Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals (Yale, 2019) by Lloyd Dewitt, ed. Excluding the foreword and introduction, there are seven essays on Jefferson qua architect and a large number of plates at the book’s end. The book begins with Howard Burns’ “Thomas Jefferson, the Making of an Architect.” Burns aims at…
October 12, 2023

The Man Who Was George Washington

There is nothing more scholastically problematic than attempts to draw comparisons between and/or among the figures of history. Such an effort can be considered even vaguely accurate only if and when the people being juxtaposed are of the same time period. In that case, at least, the circumstances surrounding them may be fairly equitable! But even that is not always…
October 11, 2023

Donald Davidson and the Tennessean’s Book Page

“I can claim no ultimate wisdom in the matter. I can only say that I reviewed books in Tennessee for seven years, and during the same period persuaded a great many people to do likewise. The book page that I edited had a very modest beginning in 1924 in the Nashville Tennessean.” - Donald Davidson 1924 unfurled. The weather, customary…
October 10, 2023

Southern Memories

Much of my time growing up in the 60s South was spent with my paternal grandparents. These were some of the best times and are some of my fondest memories. My pawpaw was a mountain of a man standing nearly 6 foot 3 and weighing close to 230 pounds. He had a grip like an iron vise and with his…
October 9, 2023

Immigration and Naturalization: Are They the Same Thing?

On September 9th a federal court ordered Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to remove a 1,000-foot line of buoys from the Rio Grande. The buoys are part of Operation Lone Star—a Texas initiative to secure the state’s southern border, stop the smuggling of drugs and contraband, and interdict transnational criminal activity. Although the judge’s opinion was based on the obscure Rivers…
October 8, 2023

Ep. 6: The Meaning of Confederate Monuments

Why were Confederate monuments built? If you listen to modern establishment historians, the answer would be racism and to perpetuate the "myth of the Lost Cause." But is this true? Not if you actually read what these people said.
October 6, 2023

Farmers and Families and Football and Fools

I watched, sparingly (I was mostly playing chess against the computer) two football games recently (9-30-23) Ole Miss vs. L.S.U. and Miss State vs Alabama. The won-lost column for my Mississippi roots (which run deep and proud) was 1-1. Miss Southern lost to Texas State but they were not on the single channel that I, again sparingly, watched. I keep…
October 5, 2023

The Ride

In 1989, Papaw bought a brand new Ford pickup, white with a blue stripe. This was a gift to himself for surviving life for eighty years I suppose. That truck was the first new vehicle he had ever owned, his first ride being a two-horsepower convertible wagon with a split-rail oak seat. After leaving Murphy’s Ford dealership, his first stop…
October 4, 2023

Armageddon or Separation?

Increasingly it has become evident that the American nation, founded with such high hopes and aspirations in 1787, is expiring, dying a prolonged, painful but also virulently infectious death. Those words are very difficult to write, especially for someone whose American ancestry goes back to Virginia in 1646, and whose ancestors helped settle other Southern states, who served honorably in…
October 3, 2023

The Night of Replaced Glass

This week, new stained-glass windows at the National Cathedral of the United States were unveiled. Were these new windows a testament to the saving power of Jesus Christ? Did these windows proclaim peace? Did they show Elijah carried into the clouds, or John the Baptist in the river? Not at all. These four new windows proudly proclaim NO and FOUL…
October 2, 2023

Maxcy Gregg, Scientist, Sportsman, Soldier

We survivors sometimes forget the human cost of our failed War of Southern Independence.  The casualty rate for Confederate officers was about 25%.  For Union officers it was 10 percent, easily replaced by incoming foreigners. The loss of talented men---future outstanding leaders, writers, scientists, artists, scholars, builders, clergy, entrepreneurs--- was very near catastrophic for the future of the South.  The…
September 29, 2023

Master of the Metaphor

“Nietzschean nuggets and verbal furbelows” in Henry Wiencek’s Master of the Mountain Henry Wiencek in his introduction to Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves begins metaphorically, “Thomas Jefferson’s mansion stands atop his mountain like the Platonic ideal of a house: a perfect creation existing in an ethereal realm, literally above the clouds.” And the metaphors just keep…
September 28, 2023

Damnyankees and Old Southern Gentlemen

In the summer of 1863 Confederate soldiers began arriving at Point Lookout Prison, located at the southernmost tip of the Western Shore of Maryland.  Too many of these men were to perish there, the captives not of a nation in desperate economic straits, cut off from the rest of the world, but of a wealthy one with access to open…
September 27, 2023

Divorcing Ourselves from Akhil Reed Amar

Editor's note: This piece originally ran as a five part series at The Independent Institute. Just a month ago, National Review (the supposed Gray Lady of the Right) ran a piece by Yale’s Akhil Reed Amar entitled Declaring Independence from Thomas Jefferson. The piece is a paean to centralized power imbued with presentism as Amar virtue signals and plays the role of Pied Piper as…
September 26, 2023

The Truth About Tariffs

Most Civil War and Reconstruction Era historians dismiss Southern complaints about tariffs, both as a cause of the War and of postbellum Southern poverty. They contend that the only impact of the tariffs was to raise the price of domestic goods protected by such tariffs. The price inflation, they argue, affected all Americans, not just Southerners. Although most concede that the domestic…
September 25, 2023

Jefferson Davis on Trial

The Boston Daily Adviser, July 25, 1865, stated exactly what was on the line: “If Jefferson Davis is innocent, then it is the government of the United States which is guilty; if secession has not been rebellion, then the North in stifling it as such, has committed a crime.” That the question was even asked tells us that the legality…
September 22, 2023

My Dad was a Joker

My dad was a joker.  It was one of his favorite words.  He had lots of favorite words and phrases.  Some of them you will be introduced to in this story.  By a joker, I mean a funny joker.  He always had something running in the background...some program on autopilot and you couldn't tell if it was bothering him or…
September 21, 2023

Reassessing John Tyler

It’s pretty safe to assume that Mark Levin hates President John Tyler. Listening to Levin on his radio show, his television program, or in interviews, he routinely names Tyler as a failed President and one of the country’s worst, each and every time he gets a chance. In 2013, when asked by Neil Cavuto on Fox News where he thought…
September 20, 2023

Barber Wanted: Dead or Alive

“Did your barber die?” This is what my Grandmother said to me last week during Sunday dinner. Being one of those dear old things who thinks it undignified to be openly critical, she always comes sidling up to criticism through the back door. So between spooning mashed potatoes onto my plate and ladling brown gravy over them, she commenced telling…
BlogReview Posts
September 19, 2023

A Revolution Too Far

A review of Southern Reconstruction (Yardley PA: Westholme, 2017) by Philip Leigh Today, when partisans of America’s two corrupt political parties throw simpleminded “history lessons” at one other, Philip Leigh has written something quite remarkable: a sober and measured account of Reconstruction. This is all the more noteworthy since Reconstruction has been a sacred cow for five or more decades.…
September 18, 2023

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Twenty years ago, for reasons lost to history, I ran across the story of General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, who was returning from fighting Indians in Michigan, but took ill and died in Erie, Pennsylvania. The leaders of Erie claimed him as their own and buried him with honors… and were none too happy when his son arrived, with plans to…
September 15, 2023

A Humane Element in Southern Secession

“You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer…
September 14, 2023

Don’t Become North Vietnam

Dear Pentagon EIS Committee, The removal of the Arlington Confederate Monument, a genuinely considered artistic masterpiece, created by Sir Moses Ezekiel, would not be an "environmental" improvement. It is a great historic monument which was dedicated to reconciliation between the North and the South following four bitter war years where nearly 800,000 Americans died, on both sides. There has never…
September 13, 2023

A “Proof” Gone Bad in the Jefferson Paternity Issue

After the 1998 DNA study in Nature indicted Thomas Jefferson apropos of the paternity of Eston Hemings and the rest of Sally Hemings’ children, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (hereafter, TJMF)—now merely the Thomas Jefferson Foundation—formed a committee to examine the DNA study and strands of historical evidence. In 2000, the foundation declared, “The DNA study, combined with multiple strands…
BlogReview Posts
September 12, 2023


A review of Firepower: An American Civil War Novel (Independent, 2023) by Philip Leigh It is all so simple, the establishment historian writes. The typical Southerner was an illiterate, tobacco-chewing hayseed. The South—led by a handful of West Point stalwarts—resisted for four long years because of stubbornness, bravo, and the fact that they were far too stupid to realize they…
September 11, 2023

Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Gloom of War

When New York City’s Central Post Office opened in 1914, it bore the inscription that was to become the United States Postal Service’s unofficial motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Those couriers began their official rounds in July of 1775 when the Second Continental…
September 8, 2023

Stephens’ Reflections on the “Cornerstone Speech”

Rod O’Barr’s recent blog “The So-Called ‘Cornerstone Speech’” The So-Called “Cornerstone Speech” – Abbeville Institute is really excellent. Over the years, the so-called “Cornerstone Speech” by Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens has been cited as proof positive that slavery was the cause of the Confederacy. Rod O’Barr did a good job of debunking that, but he omitted one other…
September 7, 2023

The Dog Days

It was 104 in the shade yesterday–at dusk. Even in the twilight I could see the wrinkled air above the asphalt on the road, trembling echoes still hot to the touch. I sat bare chested on the front  porch in a pool of saltwater my body had just made out of pork chops and potatoes. The evening sun, now only…
September 6, 2023

Randolph Visits Monticello, with Perks

The epistolary exchange between Thomas Jefferson and Randolph Jefferson, younger by 12 years and acknowledged by almost all historians to be cognitively challenged, is sparse. It begins during Jefferson’s last year in Paris, 1789. Thomas begins the letter thus, “The occurrences of this part of the globe are of a nature to interest you so little that I have never…
September 5, 2023

The So-Called “Cornerstone Speech”

The so-called “Cornerstone Speech “delivered March 3, 1861, is one of the go-to documents of purveyors of the “Pious Cause Myth” in modern academia. This choice of title reveals their own deep-seated bias for a fabricated fashionable narrative popular among today’s academics. That narrative claims the War Against Southern independence was “all about slavery.” If you do not believe there…
September 1, 2023

Gone But Not Forgotten

Five Classic Films that Southerners Should Explore It’s no secret that Hollywood over the past three decades has not been kind to the South or to the Confederacy. The last major films that have in any way been fair or which attempted to be objective about the Confederacy were, probably, “Gettysburg” (in 1993) and “Gods and Generals” (in 2003). But…
August 31, 2023

Old Men and Honor

Old men observe and imagine the fate of the "country" that was once a relatively free group of independent states of people living freely within tribal nests of local-style Jeffersonian parlors of home and family; people who loved the land and the God who provided it. Some old men have such observations. Now in time, much past, as the fortunes…
August 30, 2023

Send in the Alabamians

"In time of war, send me all the Alabamians you can get, but in time of peace, for Lord's sake, send them to somebody else,"- General Edward H. Plummer When we think of Alabama’s military history, we most often think of The Creek Indian War and the Civil War, we think of names like Andrew Jackson and William C. Oates…
August 29, 2023

The Southerner as Historian and Vice Versa

(*first published at First Principles Journal online, April 30, 2008) Publication of a second collection of essays by Southern historian Clyde N. Wilson -- Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture -- provides us with an occasion for surveying Wilson’s larger contributions to American and Southern history, and to the conservative movement. A native of North Carolina in the…
August 28, 2023

Where I Come From

I’m a prodigal son of sons of a mill town. When Dr. Gresham slapped my pink behind, my first ragged breath was filled with sawdust, cotton-lint, and the deep musky smell of the Georgia-Pacific paper company. Everybody I knew growing up planted row crops or cotton or picked and ginned it; cut timber or turned it into toilet tissue; or…
August 25, 2023

Deep Southern Summer Written at Midnight

Remember. This is a fought-for land There’s blood soaked in the soil. There’s tears within its waves And wails upon the shore Its tempests veil the shrieks Still heard from years of yore. There’s terror in its shades Dark places in its woods recall Much pain unthinkable. The pain must still remain It cannot sublimate so soon. The prayers of…
August 24, 2023

All the Biscuits in Georgia

The AfroTraditonalist has been interested in starting a regular fireside chat with interesting people from the various political & cultural “spheres” I interact with on the internet. Sam Burnham is a blogger and media personality from North Georgia with roots across the South, who’s purpose is “the celebration and preservation of Southern history, culture, and agrarian ideals.” He will be…
August 23, 2023

The Making of a Conservative

The student radicals and New Leftists of the 1960s and 1970s are now the ruling elite of the U.S.  They naturally celebrate themselves as the heroes of that period of American history.  But neither then or now are they representatives of the majority of the American people.  They are affluent spoiled brats who know  nothing of the life of  middle…
August 22, 2023

Sam and Cherry

They plowed the earth, they hauled heavy loads, they helped weave the fabric of their nation, Dixie.  They toiled in the hot, Southern sun, as their ancestors had, during the wars for independence, ‘76 and ‘61, during pioneer days, and as the patchwork of farms covered their native land.  They didn’t complain...much.  They worked tirelessly and for little reward.  They…
August 21, 2023

The Argument for Preserving Our Early American Symbols

Annie Gowan of The Washington Post writes of an incident a few years ago, June 2020, where a group of Portland, Oregon, protestors, gathered a high school and used bungee cords, wires, and human muscle to topple a statue of Thomas Jefferson off its pedestal and into the cement. Says 26-year-old removalist Triston Crowl, “When it came down, we could…
August 18, 2023

Look Away, Dixieland

Shortly after I returned from my first tour in Afghanistan, several friends invited me over to watch the 2008 war thriller The Hurt Locker, about an Explosives Ordnance Team serving in the Iraq War. I couldn’t make it halfway. I walked out, got in my car, and sat there, staring off into space and breathing heavily for a few minutes…
August 17, 2023

Rethinking Gettysburg

It is near universally assumed that the battle of Gettysburg determined the failure of the Southern War for Independence. But is that too facile and summary a judgment? The battle may be considered something of a turning point, especially coming at the same time that Vicksburg was starved into surrender after an eight-month attack by superior numbers aided by heavily…
August 16, 2023

The Tariff as a Motive For Secession

Pious Cause apologists often dispute the claim that the South generated most of the federal revenue in the antebellum period. Yet a prominent Northern paper certainly believed that the South generated more than half of the tariff revenue that funded the federal gov’t. If the South was allowed to secede, the Daily Chicago Times, December 10, 1860, lamented: “In one single…
August 15, 2023

How Rich Men North of Richmond Became the Cry of Middle America

Early last week hardly anyone had heard of Oliver Anthony. Now he has four of the top ten songs on Itunes. Three of his songs are being downloaded more than hits by Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift. No one in the music industry has ever risen so dramatically to prominence without radio play, corporate connections, or even a music studio.…
August 14, 2023

Victory Ruins

A Review of Victory Ruins (Amazon Digital Services, 2022) by Troop Brenegar. "Lee in the Mountains" by Donald Davidson culminates in the resonant utterance, “Unto all generations of the faithful heart.” These words also served as inspiration for the title of an elusive tome on Southern literature by M.E. Bradford. With a nod to this timeless phrase, Troop Brenegar’s Victory…
August 11, 2023

Cook That You May Conserve, Part 3

‘But what we really seek is a different kind of sustenance. We seek a cultural relic that points to an old style of “Southern-ness” that is quickly vanishing from modern American life. We seek crude essences of the frontier, unswerving backwoods mentalities, rural respect for tradition, insights into rural humor, and examples of the wild braggadocio that has created many…
August 10, 2023

The Coldest Winter

My grandfather often spoke about growing up on a poor mid-Missouri farm during the Great Depression and the period immediately following.  Thankfully, I’ve never had to experience the challenges that confronted those who lived during such trying times, so while I found the stories fascinating from a historical standpoint, I struggled to truly grasp the everyday fear, discomfort, and despair…
August 9, 2023

Black Ghosts in the White House

From the very onset of America’s European colonization, what would ultimately become the United States was never really a closely united nation. For over a century prior to their declaration of independence and secession from British rule, the American colonies in the South had numerous deep-seated disputes with their Northern counterparts over a number of issues. Many of these arguments…
August 8, 2023

The Most Effective Way

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their own history.” – George Orwell, 1984. Who knew the Biden administration was using this dystopian novel as a guidebook? In 2022, the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person…
August 7, 2023

Gregg Jarrett Loathes the Christian South

The United States are often presented as ‘one nation’, but that is far from the reality.  One of the most exemplary of the Vanderbilt Agrarians, Donald Davidson, even spoke of a cultural ‘cold Civil War’ that began between the North and the South after WWI drew to a close (Southern Writers in the Modern World, U of Georgia Press, Athens,…
August 4, 2023

Cook That You May Conserve, Part 2

‘Barbeques were important not only because they were popular social gatherings—in fact, they were enormously popular—but also because with their accompanying dances, and games, and speeches, and storytelling, they also served to transmit traditional culture from one generation to the next; and of course they also played an important role in the democratisation of American politics.’ —Sean Busick, ‘Political Barbecues…
August 3, 2023

From Shiloh to Sapelo: Our Past Remains Unchanged

Every day, our modern culture erases more and more reminders from our Nation’s past, however the past remains unaltered. History can be rewritten, monuments and markers removed, and names on buildings, roads, bridges, schools, and even military bases and vessels replaced with different names, BUT the past remains unchanged. Only our interpretation of the past changes. Whether our Nation’s past…
August 2, 2023

Turner’s Diner, Tire, and Lube

It’s 7:43. Merle is on the radio making empty promises. “Someday when things are good I’m going to leave you,” he sings. But we know better. I am sitting in a corner booth, surrounded by the rising tufts of Marlboros, and still trying to wake up good. Coffee stouter than napalm is dripping, slow and thick, into a pot purchased…
August 1, 2023

The Southern Culture of the Lower Midwest

Many people tend to think of regions in these United States as homogenous or collectively very defined either by border, culture, or some other parameter. However, the truth is that regional boundaries are much more fluid and crossover exists between each region abutting each other. This can be seen across the country, but is very prevalent in what is called…
July 31, 2023

Lincoln vs. George III

Independence Day is supposed to be a celebration of the principles in the Declaration of Independence and our secession from the British Empire.  Yet every one of its main principles were repudiated by Lincoln with his words and, and more importantly, his actions.  Contrary to revisionist history, Lincoln was as guilty as King George III of committing atrocities against Americans. …
July 28, 2023

Cook That You May Conserve, Part 1

‘Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes. Let’s keep it that way.’ —John Shelton Reed ‘I’ve lived in North Carolina for 60 years, but I love Texas barbecue—in Texas. I love Memphis barbecue in Memphis, Kansas City barbecue in Kansas City, and even…
July 27, 2023

A Tribute to Mark Winchell

In memory of Mark Royden Winchell (1948-2008), author of biographies of Donald Davidson and Cleanth Brooks He sits amid the facts he’s gathered in From interviews, books, archives, scattered prose Mastered at last so recollection’s pen Can resurrect the dead by what he knows. He minds the many pitfalls of his art, Wary of how some storytellers err In idolizing,…
July 26, 2023

Why We Love Thomas Jefferson

“For ever this, the tribes of men lived on earth, remote and free from the ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring the Fates on men. … Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home under the rim of a great jar, and did not fly out the door; for ever that, the lid of the jar stopped…
July 25, 2023

The Kindness of Strangers, Southern Style

I currently live in the town of Cary, North Carolina, which is known, for one, as a bedroom community for our more famous neighbors in the Research Triangle: Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The Triangle is one of the premier high-tech centers of the country, but I contend that even so this part of North Carolina has not entirely lost…
July 24, 2023

Lee in the Closet and Dixie on the Piano

How did I meet Brigadier-General Gilbert Moxley Sorrel, you might ask?  It wasn’t easy.  As a lover of the South, I am constantly coming across new people, places, and events, but all in a most haphazard manner.  I often wish I had a guide who could start me at the logical beginning and show me how best to proceed in…
July 21, 2023

Assessing the Consilience Argument for Jefferson’s Paternity of Sally Hemings’ Children

It is too common today, vis-à-vis Jefferson’s avowed sexual involvement with Sally Hemings, to fall back on what I call the Consilience Argument: in effect, the argument everything (biological and historical evidence) argues for a relationship and nothing argues against it. That begins with the 2000 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation’s 2000 study of the DNA evidence and historical evidence. They…
July 20, 2023

Secession and Economics

The following are some interesting historical tidbits from primary sources (emphasis added): Gabriel Manigault (1809-1888) was a South Carolina lawyer, author, and planter. He was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, and he served in the South Carolina Ordnance Department with the rank of colonel. In a letter found in his family papers, Manigault writes urgently to Colonel James…
July 19, 2023

The Southern Remnant

In the summer of 2020, overwhelmed with sorrow and horror over the removal of our historical monuments, the renaming of our historical places, and the rewriting of our history, I wrote a trio, and then a duo, of essays titled ‘The Southern Remnant.’ Inspired by an anonymous writer who advised, ‘We must become living monuments,’ I exhorted others who felt…
July 18, 2023

How Does it Profit the South?

As a Southerner, I have always enjoyed the simple joy of driving down the backroads of Alabama. The black top two lanes that cut through the state are beautiful, flanked by old pecan orchards and cattle farms, where rustic tractors sit half visible behind tall grass, like monuments to our agrarian roots. Amongst the hand-painted signs and well-worn service stations…
July 17, 2023

Lincoln’s Path to War

In today’s parlance, the concept of secession not only connotes insurrection but even treason. However, in 1789, when the Constitution became the governing law of the United States, the right of secession was a hotly debated subject. Even during the two-year period of the document’s drafting and ratification, the seeds of secession were sown when some states demanded an amendment…
July 14, 2023

Cooking Lessons

Grandmother has always been the best cook in the room. From the time she was 10 years old, even if all she had to work with was a neckbone and some wild greens growing along the fence row, she has put braggable food on a plate. The baby of the clan, she started by helping her mamma feed their large,…
July 13, 2023

Jefferson and Moral Equality

In the prior section and independent of my argument on Jefferson’s first draft of his Declaration, I have shown that Jefferson observed there to be a rough sense of human equality while living in Colonial America, which did not have the social stratification of European countries. Yet the Colonists embraced the institution of slavery, where people, Whites and Blacks, were…
July 12, 2023

This “Jefferson Davis Document” is Fake

Did Jefferson Davis reply to the Emancipation Proclamation with a threat to enslave all blacks in America? That is what some historically challenged people on social media think. Their evidence is a broadside reportedly published in January 1863 by the Richmond Enquirer as "An Address to the People of the Free States by the President of the Southern Confederacy." In…
July 11, 2023

Southern Misadventures in Latin America

William Walker (1824-1860) was a man of many skills: physician, lawyer, journalist, mercenary, president. The Tennessee-born polymath completed his medical degree and legal studies before he turned twenty-five. After moving to California to work as a journalist, he concocted a plot to conquer parts of Latin America and create new slave states to join the Union. In October 1853, Walker…
July 10, 2023

A Confederate Bookshelf

Originally printed in The South to Posterity: An Introduction to the Writing of Confederate History (1951) The appended brief Reading List of books on Confederate history is designed for those who do not aspire to become specialists but wish to have a moderate familiarity with the literature. Those who make their first adventure in the field will do well to…
July 7, 2023

The Real Real Jefferson Davis

Following the suggestion of a fellow Alabama Gazette columnist, I read through “Let’s celebrate the real history of Jefferson Davis”, by Josh Moon. No surprise—it is just more “Righteous Cause” blather. The sub-title claims the South fought to “protect” slavery, yet the institution was constitutionally legal and Abe Lincoln and the Republicans stated ad nauseum that they had no intention…
July 6, 2023

The South in the Digital Age

In 2013, Edward Snowden gained international notoriety by exposing the vast spying capabilities and information network of the National Security Agency. Snowden was born in North Carolina, had a family history of civil service, and became a whistleblower when he realized that the government was using the guise of terrorism defense for “...economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.” (1)…
July 5, 2023

Jefferson and Equality

From "The disease of liberty": Thomas Jefferson on History and Liberty (Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press, 2023) “All men are created equal,” I aim to show, is the axial “self-evidence truth” that Thomas Jefferson expresses in his Declaration of Independence. What, then, is one to make of the curious, unobvious claim? That cannot be answered until one expiscates what Jefferson means…
July 4, 2023

July 4 is About History

The Hope is Southerners Will Recall. The Greater Hope is That Yankees Will Learn. Occasionally, if you tune your ears toward the radio or television with the constant chat and talk, you will pick up certain casual remarks such as just happened to be carried by David Webb the other day.  “We had a ‘Civil War’ and then moved on,”…
July 3, 2023

Agrarianism After Taylor

I was not here for Dr. Fleming’s talk, but I imagine he made the point he often likes to make: the term “agrarian” is problematic, because in European and general political terms “agrarian” suggests a group of wild-eyed radicals who want to seize and divide up other peoples’ property. Of course, this not what our Agrarians are about, but I…
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June 30, 2023

Will the Stone Builders Rejected Become the Cornerstone?

Don Livingston discusses the Southern political tradition at the 20th Anniversary Conference, April 2023. To purchase all of the lectures, visit
June 29, 2023

Anti-Commandeering in Practice

One effective way States can resist unconstitutional encroachments from the general government is through the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine. James Madison articulated this idea in Federalist Number 46. He said States could obstruct “unwarrantable measures” emanating from “the federal government” through “refusal to co-operate with the officers of the union.” In recent years States have successfully used this rationale to defend themselves…
June 28, 2023

Jefferson’s Platonic Republicanism

Jefferson was never shy about his execration of Plato. He told John Adams (5 July 1814) that reading Plato’s Republic—fraught with whimsies, puerilities, and unintelligible jargon—was “the heaviest task-work I ever went through.” It is not so astonishing that Jefferson would have had such an unsympathetic, even hostile, view of Plato and his Republic, as Jefferson was a practical man…
June 27, 2023

How Confederates Helped End Slavery in the United States

About two weeks after Texas Confederates surrendered on June 2, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to take command of the state’s occupation troops on June Nineteenth. On that day he ordered soldiers to post bulletins around town notifying the public that all persons held as slaves had been freed by virtue of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on…
June 26, 2023

Rethinking Fort Sumter

Many prevailing assumptions about the War to Prevent Southern Independence are questionable summary judgments more akin to propaganda than careful understanding. This is certainly true of the Confederate firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861.  It is assumed that “firing on the flag” was a justification for all patriots to rush to the defense of America and inaugurate a war…
June 24, 2023

Ep. 3: Carolina! Carolina!

Music and poetry have long been indicators of a robust culture and tradition. The South excelled at both. Henry Timrod's "Carolina!" served as the basis of the South Carolina State song, and it is a fine example of Southern tradition, honor, and heroism.
June 23, 2023

The Lord and His Mules

As a child, my grandfather inspired in me both a love and fear of two things: the Lord and mules.  Having been born into an old family in the “Little Dixie” part of Missouri, the importance of loving reverence for both the Lord and his mules (seemingly His agents on Earth) were exceedingly important, and, according to Grandpa, both played…
June 22, 2023

The Moral Superiority of the South

The South is morally superior. It always has been and, looks like, likely will be. It all started when the Yankees showed up in 1620 to be the second English-speaking people here. The pilgrims were absolutist, stiff-necked, uncompromising, dissenting Puritans. They were different from the start. They mostly came from East Anglia and the ancient Danelaw. The Puritan’s religion, ideas,…
June 21, 2023


The little hill behind my grandparent’s house is a piece of sacred earth to me. My grandmother planted a dogwood tree there when I was just a sapling myself. And beneath its blossoms I have planted three flying squirrels, a basset hound, and a kindly old cur dog. To rest in the shade until the Day dawns. I know how…
June 20, 2023

Some Interesting Northern Opinions on the War

The philosopher and labour advocate Orestes Brownson, a staunch Union supporter, had this to say shortly after the war: “Nothing was more striking during the late civil war than the very general absence of loyalty or feeling of duty, on the part of the adherents of the Union . . . . The administration never dared confide in the loyalty…
June 19, 2023

A Glaring Consistency

While other interests come and go, I believe the permanence of my obsession with Dixie is rooted in its manifestation of enduring principles, to which I am stubbornly loyal. Despite the Abbeville Institute’s dedication to the Southern tradition in its entirety, our study seems to hover around the Confederacy and the War for Southern Independence, and for good reason.  In…
June 17, 2023

Ep. 2: Jefferson Davis’s Farewell Address

Ep. 2: Even just a few years ago, Jefferson Davis's January 1861 Farewell Address to the United States Senate was considered to be one of the most important speeches in United States history. Those who heard it both wept and cheered as Davis led several other Senators out of the chamber. The speech is one of the "essential Southern" documents…
June 16, 2023

The Barbershop Gospel

As a young minister, my daily conversations tend to be around the Bible in some form or another. Everyone, and rightly so, expects a minister to talk about Jesus. Still, one could be amiss if a young barber started talking about Jesus, especially sin and forgiveness while clippin' a man’s hair. It was rather pleasant for a change to hear…
June 15, 2023

Thomas Jefferson as a “Southern Cosmopolitan”

Xenophon in his Memorabilia (II.i.21–34) cites Prodicus’ account of Herakles (L., Hercules), “passing from boyhood to youth’s estate,” at a crossroads. He went to a quiet place to consider his course of life, when he was visited by two goddesses—Hēdonē (Pleasure) and Aretē (Virtue). “The one was fair to see and of high bearing; and her limbs were adorned with…
June 14, 2023

More Unnoticed Facts About the War Between the States

William T. Sherman was a diagnosable manic-depressive. Such a man should not be in command of an army. Always with superior forces, he seldom won a battle. His famous “March” was almost entirely a terror campaign against undefended civilians. Republicans tried hard to get him to run for President which he refused with annoyance. His son became a Jesuit and…
June 13, 2023


Early Saturday morning, an unexpected item popped up on my laptop. Not an unusual phenomenon, but this one was different. It came from a New England travel site and featured an article titled, “The Tomato Sandwich-A New England Sumer Treat.” What the heck? Each word slapped me in the face, and I finally understood the definition of cultural appropriation. “No,…
June 12, 2023

A Birthday Salute to Clyde Wilson

On Sunday, June 11, 2023, my dear friend and a man who is rightly called “the Dean of Southern Historians,” Dr. Clyde N. Wilson, celebrated his 82nd birthday. For some fruitful fifty-five of those years he has been at the forefront of efforts to make the history of his native region better known, and, as events and severe challenges to…
June 9, 2023

Cowell to Judea

I pulled up to my great uncle's house around 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Our goal was to find mushrooms, but what it evolved into was so much better than any sackful of morels could ever be! We left his house and headed to Cowell, on Highway 7, and took the dirt road that winds back down the mountain. As…
June 8, 2023

The Putrid Sink of Today’s Jeffersonian Scholarship

Historians today with interest in historiography—what is often characterized simply and somewhat misleadingly as the history of history—seem to be in general agreement that the aims and methods of “historians” over millennia have changed. Study of history, as the argument goes, unquestionable shows that. There was yesterday’s history, there is today’s history, and there will be tomorrow’s history, and there…
June 7, 2023

Recognising the Southern Tradition

A review of Writing on the Southern Front: Authentic Conservatism for Our Times (Routledge, 2017), by Joseph Scotchie. Joseph Scotchie’s knowledge of Southern thought in the 20th century and beyond is both encyclopedic and insightful--a rare combination. He surveys a body of Southern writing that is a major unrecognised achievement of American culture. This collection of reviews, articles, and talks…
June 6, 2023

Mary Boykin Chesnut as Novelist

I’m going to talk about Mary Boykin Chesnut. I want to ask you, how many of you know her famous epic, sometimes called A Diary from Dixie, sometimes called Mary Chesnut’s Civil War? How many of you have heard those names? I’d like to see a show of hands. Well, less than half. I was expecting a few more. How…
June 5, 2023

Memorial Day, What it Means, and Why

Observing Memorial Day 2023, like millions of other Americans I recall the sacrifices of those who selflessly gave their lives in far off places like Guadalcanal or the Hurtgen Forest or Anzio beach. Some remain in neatly kept cemeteries in France or other countries. In many cases, those men did not understand fully “why” they were engaged in conflict, save…
June 2, 2023

James Dickey and Charlotte Holbrook

Families in the South connect in complicated ways.  James Dickey was the famous author of the 1970 novel, Deliverance, about 4 Atlanta men who take canoes down a north Georgia river and become violently entangle with the local mountain men.  James Dickey himself appears at the end of the movie version (1972) in the character of the Sheriff, with a…
June 1, 2023

George Washington and the Constitution, A Reflection

Things are seldom what they seem and therefore, beware “simple” or “easy” solutions to problems and questions that are themselves neither simple nor easy. In other words, when one is presented with what seems an obvious explanation of something that is itself anything but obvious, one should take care lest in grasping at “the answer,” one fails to understand the…
May 31, 2023

A Critique of the Modern Historiographical Method

Recent surveys clearly demonstrate why “Civil War” history is so skewed to support Leftist ideology. Leftist ideologues dominate the modern history discipline by a 33:1 margin. Gone is any semblance of balance so necessary to the free exchange of ideas. Gone is the opportunity for reasoned evaluation of all viewpoints regarding secession and war. Gone is the very opportunity for…
May 30, 2023

Jefferson’s Plan for “Healthy” Cities

In a prior essay, “Thomas Jefferson’s Prophetic Anti-City Sentiments” (Abbeville), I wrote about Jefferson’s dislike of cities—the larger, the worse. In this essay, I discuss his plan making cities healthy—viz., if there must be cities, Jefferson’s plan for what we can do keep corruptions from them. Yellow fever, in 1793, struck Philadelphia, then the capitol of the United States. There…
May 29, 2023

Unholy War

A review of Union Terror: Debunking the False Justifications for Union Terror Against Southern Civilians in the American Civil War (Shotwell Publishing, 2023), by Jeffrey Addicott. There have been a number of good books exposing the extent and brutal nature of the Union army’s war against  civilians in its invasion and conquest of the South. Karen Stokes, Walter Brian Cisco,…
May 28, 2023

Ep. 1: What is a Southerner?

Clyde Wilson defined a Southerner in the 1990s. This offered a great inaugural episode of The Essential Southern Podcast.
May 26, 2023

Salty Joe

Reaching back in my memory banks, there are many people whom I am forever indebted to. I’ve spoken of my uncle Lynn Carl, and his memory shall forever be with me, along with a host of other great folks who helped shape the man I was to become throughout my young life. I feel I should do an article on…
May 25, 2023

White Trash: Who Woulda Thought?

I made the online “mistake” recently of speaking of the Bush bunch here in Texas as “carpetbagging with a white trash persona.” It was part of a reply on Facebook-- the Walmart of mental magic for clear-headed and erudite gray matter scrubbing --to someone who had pointed out how George Bush (the boy) and his gang of the dishonorable had…
May 24, 2023

Effie Lou

She was old all my life; 76 when I was born, 87 when I first met her. When she spoke, it sounded like a swarm of bees hovering over a thick patch of clover. She was blind and feeble and had to be led around by the arm. But there was rarely a Sunday that went by for a hundred…
May 23, 2023

Faulkner the Southerner

A review of Faulkner the Southerner (Abbeville Institute Press, 2023) by James E. Kibler What more can be said than what has already been said about the life and work of William Faulkner? For decades, scholars and lay enthusiasts alike have written a myriad of books (and even more articles) analyzing the techniques that formed, and the influences and beliefs…
May 22, 2023

Defending Dixie’s Land

It is a well-established truth that the South, despite being under the ban of righteous mainstream “America” for two centuries, has always attracted admirers from outside. Intelligent and earnest admirers from above the Potomac and Ohio and from across the sea. It is still happening even in these terrible times when the South has been banished to one dark little…
May 19, 2023

The Mystery of the Great Seal of the Confederacy

In my April account of the British territory of Bermuda and its intimate relationship with both the South and the Confederacy, I had omitted one important factor . . . Bermuda’s role concerning the great seal of the Confederate States of America. The unusual history of the seal was so complex that I certainly felt the story merited its own…
May 18, 2023

Thomas Jefferson’s Prophetic Anti-City Sentiments

Thomas Jefferson, it is well known to historians, had marked anticity sentiments. “I am not a friend to placing growing men in populous cities,” writes Jefferson to Dr. Caspar Wistar (21 June 1807), “because they acquire there habits; partialities which do not contribute to the happiness of their after life.” Years earlier (23 Sept. 1800), he says to Dr. Benjamin…
May 17, 2023

What Should Be Removed from Arlington National Cemetery?

The Naming Commission of the Department of Defense has made the ill-considered determination to remove Moses Ezekiel’s monument from Arlington National Cemetery. It leads one to wonder if they even know who he was. Moses Ezekiel was the first Jewish cadet to be admitted to the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). After his graduation, he went to Europe and became a…
May 16, 2023

Unnoticed Facts About the War Between the States

The great internal bloodletting of 1861—1865 is still a central event and great dividing line in American history. In our discourse today, both high and low, it is now pervasively declared that that great event was simply about suppressing “treason” and “slavery.” This is an abuse of history, using it as a weapon to enforce a party line rather than…
May 15, 2023

David Blight, Neo-Confederate

Editor's Note: On May 9, 2023, Art History Professor Erin Thompson published a piece at The Nation gleefully announcing that Arlington Cemetery will finally be rid of its "racist" Confederate monument. The piece is indicative of the current level of scholarship by modern mainstream academics. Most of it centers on Tweets that attacked her public joy--also through a Tweet--at the…
May 12, 2023

Legal Justification of the South in Secession

From Confederate Military History, Vol I, 1899. The Southern States have shared the fate of all conquered peoples. The conquerors write their history. Power in the ascendant not only makes laws, but controls public opinion. This precedent should make the late Confederates the more anxious to keep before the public the facts of their history, that impartial writers may weigh…
May 11, 2023

Three Run Creek

It was the best fishing hole on Three Run Creek for a half mile either way. The black folks that lived and worked on Papa’s place, and their kinfolks up and down the road, knew its whereabouts, but that’s about all. Not that it was a secret, it just happened to be almost inaccessibly deep in Three Run Swamp. The…
May 10, 2023

“I’d Gone with Mississippi”

In July I’m having my Southern Literature Club read Shelby Foote’s central chapter on the Gettysburg Campaign found in the second part of his literary masterpiece, The Civil War: A Narrative. When filmmaker Ken Burns began work on his greatest film, The Civil War documentary series, (which remains to this day PBS’s most watched presentation with 40 million viewers. I…
May 9, 2023

An Honorable Cause

America is now governed as an ever more centralised nation/state with an increasingly imperialist and left-authoritarian character.  But America as a society and a people is no longer coherent. A people, according to St, Augustine, are those “who hold loved things in common.”  By that reading Americans are not  a people. A recent poll indicates that 44% of Southern people…
May 8, 2023

Singing Billy Walker and Amazing Grace

We're here to talk about the man who's responsible for “Amazing Grace,” but I want to build a base first so you'll appreciate the song better, because the song's being attributed, I think, by people who are rewriting history, whether willfully or ignorantly (and I think it’s ignorantly, because we haven't done our work). We need to give the story…
May 5, 2023

A Righteous Cause at San Jacinto

The Battle of San Jacinto was brief (less than a half-hour) and decisive. Santa Anna and his Mexican army were decisively defeated a few miles east of what is now Houston, Texas. It became known as Sam Houston’s “retreat to victory.” It essentially cleared the way for Texas as an independent republic. The Texans had recently declared independence (March 2,…
May 4, 2023

The “Confederates Were Traitors” Argument is Ahistorical

Supporters of the Erasure & Destruction Commission, aka Renaming Commission, are fond of displaying their ignorance regarding the legal framework of the United States under the Constitution. Never is their misguided misapprehension more evident than when they declare that the Confederates were “traitors”. The charge is so unarguably counterfactual as to be absurd. While forgiveness (not forgetfulness) should be our…
May 3, 2023

Monticello as a Southern Pleasure Garden

(A selection from Thomas Jefferson and the Fine Arts) Jefferson did not consider husbandry to be a fine art, certainly because husbandry did not aim at beauty, but yield. Nonetheless, the gentleman farmer could make his entire estate a garden. As Philip Southcote, designer of an estate at Woburn in Surrey, England, said, “Why may not a whole estate be…
May 2, 2023

Voices of the Confederacy

A review of Voices of the Confederacy: True Civil War Stories from the Men and Women of the Old South (Knox Press, 2022) by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. All too often we approach our history looking at the grand sweep of events and personages.  Politicians, generals, battles and a few interesting tidbits thrown in for good measure.  We realize, of…
May 1, 2023

A Southern James Bond Goes to School

Southern fiction has a new  hero—Tom Ironsides makes his  appearance in book form in Perrin Lovett’s work The Substitute (Shotwell Publishing, 2023). Sequels and prequels are in the offing. Ironsides is a sort of James Bond, but a much better man.  He is a master of his former craft as a CIA operative, although he has progressively developed a realisation…
April 28, 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,…
April 27, 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…
April 26, 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…
April 25, 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…
April 24, 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…
April 21, 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…
April 20, 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…
April 19, 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…
April 18, 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…
April 17, 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…
April 14, 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…
April 13, 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,…
April 12, 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…
April 11, 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…
April 10, 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…
April 8, 2023

Podcast Episode 350

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute March 27 - April 7 Topics: Southern History, Southern Tradition, Southern Culture
April 7, 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…
April 6, 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…
April 5, 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…
April 4, 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…
April 3, 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…
March 31, 2023

Return to Red Rock

Seems like it was only yesterday. I was a teenager in high school at Mt. Judea (pronounced “Mount Judy”), Arkansas, and I was the one who had to call and get permission from a local good ol' boy and landowner who owned the summit of Red Rock mountain in Vendor. He never failed to give us the OK, and then…
March 30, 2023

The Establishment Love of “Racism” in Southern History

It is the task of historians to create what might be dubbed useful “fictions”—the “isms” of history, like colonialism, imperialism, liberalism, stadialism, and medialism. What is an ism? Philosopher and psychologist William James is noted for stating that an infant’s first experiences with the world are essentially “a blooming buzzing confusion.” As the infant matures and interacts with adults, he…
March 29, 2023

Thy Troy Has Fallen

In recent research, I accidentally happened upon this beautiful, touching story of a dying poet’s tribute to Robert E. Lee, and thought readers would find it interesting. Like Lord Acton, the English poet Philip Stanhope Worsley was an admirer of the Confederacy and General Robert E. Lee. According to the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Worsley was born in Greenwich…
March 28, 2023

Spin and Suppression

Dr. James McPherson is one of the leading historians of the post-60’s era. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963, with the Highest Distinction. He is Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University where he taught for 25 years, and a former president of the prestigious American Historical Association. His book “Battle Cry of Freedom”…
March 27, 2023

Pleasant Acres

Weddings and funerals are two events that seem impervious to meticulous planning. They almost never go off without a hitch, and yet the end result still obtains. Usually. This morning I woke up thinking about the time I almost got lynched at the Pleasant Acres Funeral Home. Caleb was a young man in our congregation who’d had a pretty rough…
March 24, 2023

Mark Twain Dismantles Teddy Roosevelt

For generations, both mainstream and armchair historians alike have perpetuated a variety of myths about Teddy Roosevelt. According to their interpretations, Roosevelt practically defeated the Spanish in 1898 by himself, dug the Panama Canal with his bare hands, and took on the evil, monopolistic corporations against all odds and in spite of his wealthy upbringing. However, not all of his…
March 23, 2023

Union Terror

A review of Jeffrey Addicot, Union Terror: Debunking the False Justifications for Union Terror Against Southern Civilians in the American Civil War (Shotwell Publishing, 2023). As an attorney and terrorism expert, Dr. Jeffrey Addicott’s new book, Union Terror, focuses on the legal standards of conduct by soldiers toward civilians applicable during the American Civil War. It cites incidents when Northern…
March 22, 2023

America’s Most Embattled Emblem

A review of John M. Coski, The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem. (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005). John M. Coski received his Ph.D. in history at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1987. He was a historian at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia from 1988 until it merged with…