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…
BlogMedia Posts
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…
March 21, 2023

[Southern] History Matters

Granted that there is a longstanding tradition of promoting the pro-life cause precisely by appealing to Equality and Human Rights.  At the same time, it is worth remembering that the actual battles of abortion have had at least as much to do with far less fashionable principles such as federalism, constitutional limits, and states' rights.  Through Roe v. Wade, the…
March 20, 2023

Hollywood Lies

World War II was a large factor in my early childhood. I lived with my grandmother. My father and his two brothers were in harm’s way (as were the uncles on my mother’s side of the family). We followed the newspapers and radio every day. Every day I took a 3-foot metal pipe, which was my rifle, into the adjacent…
March 18, 2023

Podcast Episode 348

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Mar 13-17, 2023 Topics: John C. Calhoun, The Confederate Constitution
March 17, 2023

Irish Confederates

Seemingly everything possible has already been written about the climactic battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—three nightmarish days of intense combat in early July 1863—that determined America’s destiny. Consequently, for people craving something new beyond the standard narrative so often repeated throughout the past, they were sorely disappointed by the new Gettysburg titles released for the 150th anniversary. In fact, this unfortunate…
March 16, 2023

The Last Words

A review of The Last Words: The Farewell Addresses of Union and Confederate Commanders to Their Men at the End of the War Between the States by Michael R. Bradley (Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2022) The idea for this book came when Mrs. Susan Harris asked Dr. Michael Bradley, “Is there a book about what officers said to their men when…
March 15, 2023

The University of Virginia

Circumstantially Southern, Scientifically American (A Story Told in the Present Tense) When Thomas Jefferson retires from the presidency after his second term and following the example of George Washington, he cannot merely withdraw to his residence at Monticello and oversee his plantation. Retirement and withdrawal are not in his DNA, as it were. He does what he can do, while…
March 14, 2023

The Confederate Constitution of 1861, Part I

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School You know, you should ask yourself, “Why is the Confederacy so important?” Not only from a historical perspective, but also prospectively, what is it about the Confederacy and the leaders of that time that should encourage not only us people with Southern sympathies, but all people who are interested in good government generally,…
March 13, 2023

The South in a Revolutionary Time

How should a Southerner face existence in a degenerating American regime in which the traditions of our identity as a  people are a prime target for destruction?  The persistence of current attacks would seem to guarantee that the South before long will be as if it never existed. There is no short and clear answer to this dilemma, but it…
March 11, 2023

Podcast Episode 347

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, March 6-10, 2023 Topics: the War, Reconciliation, Reconstruction
BlogMedia Posts
March 10, 2023

Loving a Home

Carey Roberts on "Loving Home" and the Southern Tradition from the 2022 Abbeville Institute Summer School, July 5-8, 2022, Seabrook Island, SC
March 9, 2023

Friday Lights Out

I still remember my first fight. Though raised in a God-fearing home that took the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth seriously, my folks were convinced of the “two cheeks” rule. That is, after having been smitten on the one, the Christian may oblige an assailant to double up on the second, but after that it’s our turn to commence smiting…
March 8, 2023

Memorials to a Lie

Reconcile: verb – 1st definition: restore friendly relations between; cause to coexist in harmony. Reconciliation: noun –1st definition: the restoration of friendly relations. For years, many beautiful Confederate monuments and sculptures have come under attack and been dismantled and possibly even destroyed. The one presently in the WOKE culture’s cross-hairs is a monument erected in our “national cemetery” – otherwise known as the purloined property of…
March 7, 2023

Washington and Lee’s Prescient Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe was one of the most insightful writers and novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. He was also a Washington & Lee graduate who sometimes championed politically incorrect viewpoints, a context in which he was ahead of his time. Today’s W & L faculty and administrators would do well to take note. In 1970, he published…
March 6, 2023

Was Randolph Jefferson Just a “Muddy Boots Farmer”?

In 2011, Bernard Mayo edited the collection of letters between Thomas Jefferson and younger brother Randolph in Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother Randolph. In the short book, Mayo proffers a four-page introduction to the thin correspondence. The letters exchanged, says Mayo, “are primarily interesting because they reveal Thomas Jefferson’s solicitousness: his “affection, patient kindness, and desire to help a…
March 4, 2023

Podcast Episode 346

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute Feb 27 - Mar 3, 2023 Topics: Secession, Federalism, Decentralization, United States Constitution
March 3, 2023

Southern Artist and Historian

African American Gregory Newson, a talented artist, was raised in New York but now lives and does his work in South Carolina.  He has made contributions, both in art and writing, to Confederate history that deserve to be better recognised. In 2016 he published Get Forrest, a beautifully illustrated biography. One could not ask for a more fair and interesting…
March 2, 2023

The No-So-Enlightened Patriarch of Monticello

A Review of Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf’s Most Blessed of the Patriarchs (Liveright, 2016) by M. Andrew Holowchak While Pete Onuf’s somewhat incoherent 2007 book on Jefferson, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson—it is mere a rag-tag collection of his thoughts on various topics related to Jefferson—betrays unsubtly a bitter, even angry, Onuf, intent in belittling Jefferson, his 2016 collaboration…
March 1, 2023

Defining American Sovereignty

I. Introduction The debate over secession and states' rights has been a contentious issue in American history, dating back to the colonial period. From the earliest days of the Republic, some states argued that they had the right to nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional and even to secede from the Union if the federal government became too oppressive. This…
February 28, 2023

The Evil of Unmitigated Rights

What happens when there is no clear “right answer?” What happens when one can be “sort of” right (or wrong)? What is the redress demanded when a strongly declared viewpoint is not nearly as correct as first believed? In other words, what does one do when reality is not so “cut and dried” as one first believed and one has…
February 27, 2023

The University of the Southern Cause

The Confederacy and Naples Some years ago (summer 1974) when I was completing a doctorate in history and political science in Europe, I made a journey south from Rome to the Italian city of Naples. Earlier, before traveling to Europe on a Richard Weaver Fellowship, I had managed to read two engrossing volumes on the Bourbon monarchy of the Kingdom…
February 25, 2023

Podcast Episode 345

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute February 20-24, 2023 Topics: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Southern Conservatism, Reconstruction, the War, Southern Culture
February 24, 2023

The Same Old Faux Cons

We already can see the faux conservative movement seepage oozing from the political sewers. The ilk of presidential wannabees begin to whistle and flash their sexy thoughts reminding us of some fictitious “founding” of a “nation.” And how they love the flag and “our troops” and the rest of their usual bovine excreted piles of patties. They wouldn’t understand the…
February 23, 2023

The Destruction of Washington Street Methodist as a Metaphor

As Northern victory drew near in 1865, on the night of February 17/18 troops under General William T. Sherman set fire to the Washington Street Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Legend has it – highly plausible – that the soldiers intended to burn down the First Baptist Church. But when approached and queried by Union soldiers as to the…
February 22, 2023

It’s Washington’s Birthday, Not President’s Day

Cindy L. Arbelbide, a historian of holidays, has written, “Historic dates, like stepping stones, create a footpath through our heritage. Experienced by one generation and recalled by those to come, it is through these annual recollections that our heritage is honored.” The celebration of the birthday of George Washington began during his lifetime and continued after his death. He was…
February 21, 2023

Southern Quakers?

If we want a better understanding of the United States Civil War, we need a comprehensive overview of the southern culture which existed before the four years of the civil war.  This article is written for the purpose of connecting us to a few more variables that influenced elements of southern culture in the United States, starting with the following…
February 20, 2023

Lincoln and Marx

In today’s fast-paced society, much communication has been truncated into a few hundred ”tweets.” Far too many words have been needlessly abbreviated. All manner of proper names reduced to acronyms and newscasts have become little more than a cacophony of biased sound bites. Even the concept of history has fallen victim to this maddening trend, with the complexities of major…
February 18, 2023

Podcast Episode 344

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Feb 13-17, 2023 Topics: Republican Party, War Crimes, Southern Tradition, Emancipation
February 17, 2023

The Gift

On the day of Her Late Majesty’s Funeral, I rose a great while before daylight in order to tune in to the broadcast. Since I still had half an hour or so before the service started, I decided to go ahead and say morning prayer. After looking all over the house for my prayer book, I remembered that I had…
February 16, 2023

Getting the Truth “Out There”

The fictitious “history” of the great conflict between the two sections of the (formerly) “united” States has been ongoing for a long, long time. The present narrative, however, has been changed greatly in the last decade or so. Older folks such as myself remember that the whole conflict was “summed up” in what became known as The Grand Bargain, a…
February 15, 2023

“What Shall Be Done With The Blacks?”

The primary source record is clear. A main reason 19th century Southerners were forced to defend slavery as a practical matter was the absolute unwillingness of the North to allow dispersion and integration of the freed people across the Union and its territories. A chronic Northern racism was intent on keeping all blacks bottled up in the South if freed.…
February 14, 2023

A Jefferson Styled Love Letter

Thomas Jefferson was never comfortable in allowing direct expression of his emotions. When he did, the results were general catastrophic—e.g., his tongue-tied attempts at expressing his love as a youth to Rebecca Burwell and his seeming inability emotionally to recover himself after the passing of his wife Martha on September 6, 1782. Jefferson eventually accepted a post as delegate to…
February 13, 2023

America’s Real Peculiar Institution

From the 2005 Abbeville Institute Summer School. When John C. Calhoun spoke of slavery as “the peculiar institution,” he didn't mean to say that there was anything peculiar about slavery, as it has been interpreted since. He only meant to say that slavery was peculiar to the Southern States in the same sense that whaling fleets were peculiar to New…
February 11, 2023

Podcast Episode 343

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute Feb 6-10, 2023 Topics: the War, Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, Southern History, Southern Culture, Republican Party
February 10, 2023

Front Porch Sittin’

I have an obsession with old pictures. I have inherited and hoarded many of them in my travels. Amongst these pictures, I often find a common backdrop of a beautiful, simple white-sided Ozark home with white roof supports. One of these pictures was taken in the mid-1990s or so and shows four generations of my Holt family (myself included) perched…
February 9, 2023

The Republican Reign of Terror

From the 2005 Abbeville Institute Summer School. My subject is the Northern Reign of Terror in the Summer of 1861. But before we get to the actual atrocities, I have to set up why they happened by getting into the mind, not of the whole North, but of the Republican North. There is much evidence that Republicans conceived the War,…
February 8, 2023

Lincoln and Coincidence?

Oct 12, 1861, Confederate ambassadors James Mason and John Slidell set sail for England, Mason to be Minister to England and Slidell Minister to France. They were bound for England via Cuba where they boarded a British packet ship the HMS Trent. Was it mere coincidence that a Union warship, the San Jacinto, was notified by the US Consul in…
BlogReview Posts
February 7, 2023

Can Jefferson’s America Return?

A review of Chaining down Leviathan: The American Dream of Self-Government, 1776–1865 (Abbeville Institute Press, 2021) by Luigi Marco Bassani Bassani begins his book with a sockdolager. “This book is not part of the 1619 project. It is an intellectual history that barely mentions the problem of slavery. If you believe that American history is nothing but a cover up…
February 6, 2023

The Wrong Question

An article appeared on January 20th, 2023, touching upon the assault on the “Reconciliation” monument in Arlington National Cemetery. The monument has been labeled as “Confederate” and therefore resides in the cross-hairs of the present Woke Nation. Author Allen Brownfeld entitled the piece: Removing the Confederate Memorial From Arlington: What Would Lincoln or Grant Think? Of course, the contretemps about…
February 4, 2023

Podcast Episode 342

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute Jan 30 - Feb 3, 2023 Topics: History, Southern History, the War, Cancel Culture, Thomas Jefferson
February 3, 2023

The Power of Place: True South

If you watch college football, there’s a good chance you’ve seen, or seen an ad for, TrueSouth, a television series on the SEC Network. The show is hosted by John T. Edge, author and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. If, for some reason, you don’t like college football, you should still turn to the SEC Network for this show.…
February 2, 2023

“The Thinking Power Called an Idea”

As the duties of the various members of a president’s cabinet in Jefferson’s day were much less fixed than they are now, Jefferson was often asked by President Washington to do many tasks that that would seem strange for today’s Secretary of State to do. One such task was to oversee an office directing the granting of patents for new…
February 1, 2023

The 518

The names, below, are a few of the 375,000 Confederate soldiers about whom Union soldier and president of the United States, William McKinley, said: . . . every soldier's grave made during our unfortunate civil war is a tribute to American valor . . . And the time has now come . . . when in the spirit of fraternity…
January 31, 2023

The Naming Commission Comes for West Point

Created by the fiscal 2021 national defense authorization act, the Naming Commission’s duties included recommending procedures for renaming Department of Defense assets “to prevent commemoration of the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily” with them. While nine U.S. Army posts named for Confederates have received the most attention, the commission’s “remit” extends much further. In fact,…
January 30, 2023

A Morsel of Genuine History

“A Morsel of genuine History, a thing so rare as to be always valuable.” ---Thomas Jefferson Recently a young professor wrote that Confederates had slandered and “dehumanised” Northern soldiers by giving them an unfavourable image.  Dehumanisation.  How awful and unfair! Those righteous Northern soldiers having their feelings hurt by mean old Southerners. A relevant fact is that the Yankees had…
January 28, 2023

Podcast Episode 341

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute Jan 23-27, 2023 Topics: Robert E. Lee, Confederate Monuments, Cancel Culture, Southern History, the War  
January 27, 2023

The Death of Bully

Oh to be here. Alabama College in the middle of January with the Christmas dances rested up from and the Valentine’s dance at Mississippi State yet to come. A joy. The girls down the hall bragging about their dates but a better one to shut them down. Charles. Tall, dark, and handsome even if he is not six foot three.…
January 26, 2023

A Modern Black Man’s Confederate Journey

A review of Robert E. Lee's Orderly, A Modern Black Man's Confederate Journey by Al Arnold (Newson Publishing, 2015) I think it is safe to say that there isn’t a man alive who loves the South, particularly Mississippi, more than Al Arnold.  Over the Christmas season, I had the pleasure of making his acquaintance through a live Facebook interview conducted…
January 25, 2023

Why Lee Still Matters

In Richmond, there’s a movement afoot to rename the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge. At Charlottesville, a statue to the Confederate general was removed last year. In Abilene, Texas, Lee Park, named after the general, has been changed to that of a local football coach. The list could go on and on, as we’ve all seen. But let’s step back…
January 24, 2023

The Echoes

The echoes are still there, for those who will listen. I’ve often spoke of my home and how I was blessed to be raised in a closed society of family and friends. The world was the Big Creek Valley, and Vendor, Arkansas was home. The people I learned from were all well known to me, even if they passed long…
January 23, 2023

Our Hate Confederates Moment

The Confederacy makes up a sizable and interesting chunk of American history. Not only interesting but often regarded as admirable.  Admiration for the Confederacy’s brave struggle against great odds and its noble leaders has lasted for generations and is worldwide. Its admirers have even included some of the best of the men who fought against it. Wiping the Confederacy from…
January 21, 2023

Podcast Episode 340

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute Jan 16-20, 2023 Topics: Robert E. Lee, Martin Luther King, Southern Conservatism, Stonewall Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, Southern Politics, Southern Tradition
January 20, 2023

An Englishman Meets General Jackson

Henry Wemyss Feilden, born in England in 1838, was the younger son of Sir William Feilden, a baronet. Young Henry entered the British Army, and after serving in India and China for a number of years, he decided to resign his commission and volunteer for service in the army of the Confederate States of America. On a winter night in…
January 19, 2023

Robert E. Lee, Arlington, and the Ministry of Truth

It is difficult to monitor the level of awareness of the effort to destroy the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate Veteran, who created this work of art, is buried below the monument along with three other veterans. This hate-filled and apparently anti-Semitic agenda, pushed by Ty Seidule, is not unique in American history. The…
January 18, 2023

A Sleepy Night in Georgia

History begins with, "In the beginning…." for many of us.  Modern analysis of history begins, today it seems, with T.V. historians (most of them aren't really) who seem to perceive only that the American South which they consider an evil section not just of the United States but of the world globe has attempted to destroy any measure of the…
January 17, 2023

Did Thomas Jefferson Have a Sexual Relationship with Bob Hemings?

The children of Elizabeth “Betty” Hemings—a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson’s father-in-law, John Wayles, a white English sea captain—occupied a special place at Jefferson’s Monticello. That might be because six of Betty’s 10 children—Robert, James, Thenia, Critta, Peter, and Sally—were said to be fathered by John Wayles. Yet we do not know about paternity in either case. Much depends on…
January 16, 2023

MLK, Russell Kirk, and the Ignominy of Modern Conservatism

For the past forty years (officially since 1986) the third Monday in January has been celebrated as a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Day. Federal and state offices and many businesses either close or go on limited schedules. We are awash with public observances, parades, prayer breakfasts, stepped-up school projects for our unwary and intellectually-abused children, and gobs and gobs…
January 14, 2023

Podcast Episode 339

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 9-13, 2023 Topics: The War, Southern Culture, Southern Music, Southern Tradition, Southern Art
BlogMedia Posts
January 13, 2023

The Birth of Southern Music in Cavalier Virginia

Tom Daniel discusses the origins of both Southern and American music at the 2022 Abbeville Institute Summer School, July 5-8, 2022 at Seabrook Island, SC
January 12, 2023

A Better Light

Once, a mother watching her child searching diligently for something and seeing that she was having no success in her search, asked the tot where she had lost the missing item. The child replied, “I lost it over there,” pointing to the other side of the room. Somewhat confused, the mother said, “But if you lost it over there, why…
January 11, 2023

Stonewall Jackson and Institutional Antisemitism?

Recently, David Bernstein, the author of Woke Antisemitism: How a Progressive Ideology Harms Jews, remarked: “When you have an ideology that pretends to know exactly who the oppressors are and who are the oppressed, and you have an ideology that conflates success with oppression . . . then Jews who do, on average, better than the mean, are going to…
January 10, 2023

The Soul of the South

My wife is from Atlanta, so we visit Georgia frequently. In addition to downtown Hotlanta with its nauseating CNN Studio Tours and “World of Coca-Cola,” I’ve become acquainted with beautiful old towns in Marietta, Alpharetta, Roswell, and Dahlonega. I’ve explored the Chattahoochee, Stone Mountain, and various historic houses, plantations, and churches across North Georgia. I’ve seen the Braves, the Yellowjackets,…
January 9, 2023

The Glory Days of the Kanawha Canal

Southern essayist and former Lynchburger Dr. George W. Bagby (1828–1883) described departure of one of the bateaux on a trip from Richmond to Lynchburg on the Kanawha Canal, while he was then a lad, in a short piece titled “Canal Reminiscences”: At last we were off, slowly pushed along under the bridge on Seventh Street; then the horses were hitched…
January 7, 2023

Podcast Episode 338

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 2-6, 2023 Topics: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln Myth, Southern Tradition, Southern Literature, Southern Music
January 6, 2023

The Lincoln Myth and Civil Religion

From the 2005 Abbeville Institute Summer School. My topic for this morning is the “Lincoln Myth and Civil Religion,” and my intention is to try to understand this very loose term “civil religion” in order to see how it is that a man such as Abraham Lincoln could become not only the primary voice beckoning America to accept and remain…
January 5, 2023

The Backcountry Wisdom of Lester Flatt

Oh, I can't tell the boys from the girls And friends it's really messing up my world They all wear long hair and bouncy curls And I can't tell the boys from the girls You might be inclined to think the above might originate from some clever conservative podcaster such as Matt Walsh or Michael Knowles, reflecting on the confusing…
January 4, 2023

Boy Meets Girl

I grew up in a family that couldn’t seem to sire any offspring that wasn’t a manchild. So apart from the matrons of the clan, we boys had little exposure to the strange ways of womenfolk. As it stood, I knew next to nothing about reading moods. Or even that moods were the sort of thing that needed interpretation. This…
January 3, 2023

Another Eyewitness to Union War Crimes

Dr. Daniel H. Trezevant, The Burning of Columbia, S.C., edited by Karen Stokes. Shotwell Publishing, 2022. Dr. Trezevant was a respected Columbia physician who experienced fully the Yankee robbing and burning of South Carolina’s capital by Sherman’s army in February 1865.  He wrote a series of newspaper articles just after, which became a pamphlet. Although there was a facsimile edition…
January 2, 2023

Thomas Jefferson and the Proper End of a Good Life

After giving a talk on Jefferson's conceptions of reason and the moral sense at UVa (11 Apr. 2015), a gentleman brought up the issue of slavery and mentioned how he found unpalatable Jefferson’s repeated claim, especially later in life, that he refused to do more to eliminate the heinous institution because the time was not yet right. The gentleman, of…
December 17, 2022

Podcast Episode 337

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Dec 12-16, 2022 Topics: Southern Culture, Christmas, Thomas Jefferson, Southern History, the War, Cancel Culture
December 16, 2022

Christmas, A Southern Tradition

The ever-widening chasm that separates the North and the South today has a long history with many fissures, but one would hardly consider the celebration of Christmas to be one of them. However, in the years prior to the founding of America’s first English colonies in Virginia and Massachusetts, Christmas was a highly controversial subject in Great Britain, and that…
December 15, 2022

A Southern Christmas Sampler

If you're like my family, you probably start playing Christmas music as soon as the calendar hits November 1, and you keep it on rotation through the 12 Days of Christmas in January. The classics from the Big Band and post World War II era are staples, but most are written for a distinctively Northern audience. Traditional Christian hymns also…
December 14, 2022

Testimony on Northern War Crimes

In response to an article about the Southern holocaust that occurred during the so-called “Civil War,” I wish to bring forth testimony from a Southern hero who was shunned by the South—or most of it—after he went with Grant in 1872 and Hayes in 1876, finally becoming a member of the Republican Party in that year. Previously, Col. John Singleton…
December 13, 2022

Jefferson’s “Textured Republicanism”

Both parties, says Jefferson to Abigail Adams (11 Sept. 1804), agree that the proper object of governing is the public good, yet they disagree concerning how it is best to promote that good. One fears most the ignorance of the people; the other, the selfishness of rulers independent of them. Which is right, time and experience will prove. We think…
December 12, 2022

Sitting on a Gold Mine

My obsession with the South often has me wishing that I had been born there or that I could find at least one ancestor that served the Confederacy, but I have had to content myself with loving it from afar and luxuriating in its wealth through the usual channels available to outsiders.  My family is very accommodating of my passion…
December 10, 2022

Podcast Episode 336

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Dec 5-9, 2022 Topics: Southern tradition, the War, Yankees, Northern Studies, Southern Culture
December 9, 2022

Rev. William S. Plumer: Union Traitor or Faithful Preacher?

William S. Plumer, born in 1802 in Pennsylvania, was a renowned Presbyterian pastor and theologian. Though he was raised and spent many years in the North, he held the pulpit of several Southern churches before the war between the states broke out. It was during his time in the South that many people, including some within his own church, accused…
December 8, 2022


In North Carolina and South Carolina native observers have noticed a phenomenon frequent enough to have a label--Halfbacks. This does not refer to football.  It refers to well-to-do Northerners who have moved to Florida, become discontented, and moved halfway back. The coastal areas of the two States are full of gated communities of mini-mansions already occupied by Northerners who the…
December 7, 2022

My Southern Thanksgiving

I’ll Take My Stand contains a vivid description of rural Southern life by Andrew Lytle: “The Hind Tit,” which I always associate with my Thanksgiving memories, despite its not being specifically about Thanksgiving. (The title refers to the poor nourishment left to the “runt” Southern States by the American empire after the War Between the States.) The farm life that…
December 6, 2022

A “Cretinous” Construal of Jefferson’s “Diffusion Argument”

While attending a talk at Poplar Forest on Thomas Jefferson and the Missouri Crisis in the summer of 2019, the speaker, a historian at one of the local universities in Lynchburg, broached Jefferson’s letter to Congressman John Holmes (22 Apr. 1820) about eradication of the institution of slavery by diffusion. This historian called the argument, without further commentary, pure poppycock.…
December 5, 2022

Inglis Fletcher and the Art of Southern Writing

Inglis Clarke (20 October 1879 – 30 May 1969) grew up in Edwardsville, Illinois, a small town populated by many displaced Southerners. She had deep ancestral roots in northeastern North Carolina and, particularly, the Albemarle region. Young Inglis’ grandfather, who described the Tar Heel State as “that valley of Humiliation, between two mountains of Conceit,” sparked her interest in North…
December 3, 2022

Podcast Episode 335

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, November 28 - December 2, 2022 Topics: Southern women, Slavery, Southern History, Louisa McCord, Southern politics, Southern tradition
December 2, 2022

The Attack on Leviathan, Part V

XIII. The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals Originally published in The American Mercury, 1934 “The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals” Back when wild-eyed suffragettes were on the losing end of Oklahoma Drills with King George V’s horse, Vanderbilt and Sewanee were Southern football giants, and the Bull Moose Party was hawking the square new deal, Southern liberals—all hopped up on…
December 1, 2022

Heroes, Heroines, and/or Villains

It was a perfect day to spend outside.  Tree leaves were riding the gentle currents of a fall breeze like giant snowflakes, reflecting the orange, red and gold of a warm autumn sun.  Being of African, Native American and European descent, I was attending a Civil War Re-enactment, the only place where I can enthusiastically share the history of my…
November 30, 2022

The Political Economy and Social Thought of Louisa S. McCord

From the 2011 Abbeville Institute Summer School. The name of the lady I'm introducing today, the Southern intellectual Louisa Susanna Cheves McCord, or as she's usually called, Louisa S. McCord, is generally not well known today. In the antebellum era she was the author of numerous essays on political economy and social issues. Her other writings included poetry, reviews, and…
November 29, 2022

Southern Humor in Congress

The halls of Congress today are seldom filled with the sound of laughter.  The humor that pervaded congressional proceedings over a century ago has now given way to only angry shouts and hateful partisan rhetoric engendered by a variety of ever-growing regional, political, racial and social differences.  Not that such divisions did not exist during the latter half of the…
November 28, 2022

Those Pesky Southern Women

Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah is frustrated by how poorly the Democrats performed in her native Texas. Attiah, who has a penchant for racially provocative punditry, notes in an 11 November column that besides white men, “there is another group that consistently supports the GOP’s anti-woman, do-nothing-about-dead-kids stance, and that is White women. Seriously, what gives?” White women, observes Attiah,…
November 23, 2022

Podcast Special: Yankee Thanksgiving

Our modern Thanksgiving holiday was born in New England. This may not be news, but the way it became a "national" holiday might surprise you, particularly when you know that the South resisted Thanksgiving precisely because it was a New England holiday created to oppose Christmas.
November 22, 2022

Thanksgiving: A Yankee Abolitionist Holiday

From the book, Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History (Facts on File, 1984). The long-standing practice of delivering political sermons on Thanksgiving Day, which made Thanksgiving both a revolutionary holiday and the occasion of Federalist era political contention, now made Thanksgiving the tool of free-soilers and abolitionists. Thanksgiving was, above all, a New England holiday, and New England was…
November 21, 2022

The Yankee Origins of Modern Thanksgiving

From the book, Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History (Facts on File, 1984). New England’s unique culture—featuring free schools for every child, a religious tradition in which ordinary folk wrestled with complex theological questions and two centuries of self-government—produced in the early nineteenth century a generation of young people uniquely well fitted to fill the demand for educated professionals…
November 19, 2022

Podcast Episode 334

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, November 14-18, 2022 Topics: Confederate Symbols, Southern History, Southern Tradition, Abraham Lincoln, United States Constitution
November 18, 2022

And So It Goes…

And so, the final blows fall around us, in our institutions and on our streets, and we can say as God Himself once said, “It is finished.” He said it of His great work of redemption, but we can now say it of the noblest experiment of government ever attempted by man—the “united” States of America. As in all things,…
November 17, 2022

The Bootlegger

When I talk about where and how I grew up, folks, even a bit older than me, assume that not only am I from another state, they imagine I must be from another century. Case in point. My home county is dry. I don’t mean that we get little rain, I mean that we have no legal alcohol. This is…
November 16, 2022

Left Libertarians, Dobbs, and the Ninth Amendment

Interest in the Ninth Amendment has been renewed with the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022), in which the Court held that the Constitution contains no fundamental right to abortion.  Many abortion proponents have turned to the Ninth Amendment in criticizing the decision.  For example, Damon Root at Reason described the decision as “an   …
November 15, 2022

A Jewish Perspective on the Arlington Confederate Monument

The Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery has recommended the removal of the 32-foot-tall memorial to Confederate veterans buried there on the grounds that it is “riddled with racist iconography” and perpetuates the Lost Cause narrative. The following letter was sent today to the Committee. — JAB On March 19, 1841, at the consecration of its new synagogue in Charleston,…
November 14, 2022

Suppression of Free Speech at Poplar Forest

On November 3, 2022, in response to an invitation of group of Thomas Jefferson mavens, I went to Jefferson’s get-away residence at Poplar Forest. I was asked to join their tour, to begin at 12:30 p.m., and to field questions after the tour. I was asked also to bring any books on Jefferson that I wished to sign and to…
November 12, 2022

Podcast Episode 333

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute November 7-11, 2022 Topics: Confederate Symbols, Confederate Monuments, Southern Tradition, Southern Politics, Southern Culture
November 11, 2022

Hollywood Hates the South: Southern Accents Edition

Where can we hear the worst southern accent of all time? Is it Tom Hanks as the lovable but stupid Forrest Gump? Is it SNL alum Dan Akyroyd in Driving Miss Daisy? How about the mess present in Django? Often, British, Irish or Scottish actors will nail a southern accent before Hollywood even thinks of hiring a southerner (see Vivien…
November 10, 2022

Ropes and Swimming Holes

He was old and black...negro...colored he'd say and he had been for a good while.  "I know you."  He said.  "You watch me thru de windah."  I nodded as our first conversation concluded. He drove his old mule down the newly-paved asphalt roads, begrudgingly regal on an old scrap tire his plow rested...the point hidden inside the body of the…
BlogMedia Posts
November 9, 2022

The Arlington Confederate Monument

The Naming Commission has recommended the removal of the Arlington Confederate Monument. This would not only be a historical travesty and a barbaric leveling of art, it would lay waste to the very message the monument was intended to convey: fraternity, healing, and reconciliation. Tell your Representative you want to stop this heinous act of cultural destruction.
BlogMedia Posts
November 9, 2022

Preserving the Garden

John Devanny discusses the Southern tradition at the Abbeville Institute Summer School, July 5-8, 2022 at Seabrook Island, SC
November 8, 2022

Remember 1994

The problem now is the same as it was in 1994, the same as it was in 1980 (Reagan) and 2016 (Trump). The greatest Republican measure of conservatism that creates “waves” as opposed to pond-stills, e.g. Ford, Romney, McCain, Bush (any one of the New England preppies, carpetbagging Bush clan), is in the South. The real South. Not the South…
November 7, 2022

Southerners Riding the Red Wave

America’s talking heads on the right and left are predicting a conservative “red wave” in the 2022 midterm elections. They predict that “conservatives” will take control of both Houses of Congress. If, and that is a big if, it happens, what opportunities will it present to those of us who want to put an end to modern Reconstruction’s anti-South cancel…
November 6, 2022

Podcast Episode 332

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute October 31 - November 4, 2022 Topics: Southern Tradition, Southern Religion, Southern Literature, Southern Cooking, Southern Culture, Confederate Symbols, War for Southern Independence
November 4, 2022

Cook’s Cave

Introduction The Civil War served as the deadliest conflict in U.S. history. Most scholars agree there were around fifty to one hundred major battles. Outside of these major engagements were skirmishes ranging from the coast of Maine, to the desert of New Mexico, to the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. While the historical battles ultimately led to the Union winning…
November 3, 2022

Mary Randolph: The South’s First Celebrity Chef

My grandfather keeled over dead from a heart attack at the age of 54 after a long battle with arteriosclerosis. If you are not up on your medical jargon, that means the hardening of the arteries. I remember my parents’ telephone-the old black rotary dial type that weighed ten pounds and had a real metal bell-ringing obscenely early one Saturday…
November 2, 2022

James Henley Thornwell, R. L. Dabney, and the Shaping of Southern Theology

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School It's a privilege for me to be here. I've enjoyed the sessions very much so far. In fact, after the sessions yesterday I had to go and rewrite my conclusion just from things that I learned, especially about locality, localism, and patrimony. Just fascinating. Today I want to talk about James Henley Thornwell,…
November 1, 2022

Statesmen vs. Vandals

In the 20th century, there was no doubt that that section of the country most patriotic, most “American” and most “Christian” in its moral values was the South. Also called “The Bible Belt,” the states of the South had more flags, more patriotic displays and more pride in America and its institutions than any other region in the nation. Percentage-wise,…
October 31, 2022

The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe

Originally published in The Sewanee Review, Spring, 1968, Vol. 76, No. 2 (Spring, 1968), pp. 214-225 In 1948 T. S. Eliot, in a lecture “From Poe to Valery”, said in substance that Poe’s work, if it is to be judged fairly, must be seen as a whole, lest as the mere sum of its parts it seem inferior. There is…