2014 was a remarkable year for the Abbeville Institute.
1. Our well attended Twelfth Annual Summer School focused on the War for Southern Independence. Southerners fought the bloodiest war of the 19th century against overwhelming odds for national independence. About a quarter of Confederate generals were born in the North or in Europe. Why were so many Northerners who had been in the South for any length of time loyal to the Confederacy? What was there about this society that generated loyalty and sacrifice in minorities such as Catholics, Jews, and American Indians. Jews, and especially Catholics, were not well received in the North. Lectures can be downloaded for free here. Consider attending our next Summer School in 2015. Scholarships will be available.
2. Our Twelfth Annual Scholars Conference at Liberty University focused on the topic “The Fracturing of American National Identity and the Southern Tradition.” In Who Are We? Challenges to America’s National Identity, Harvard’s Samuel Huntington argued that our ruling elites have followed policies over the past fifty years that are leading to the disintegration of America’s national identity. The differences that divide Americans today moral, political and constitutional are greater in number and more profound than those that led in 1861 to the collapse of a common American identity into two warring countries. Yet one rarely finds a public forum in which the crisis can be explored and understood much less a discussion of what, if anything, can be done about it. Instead the language of a common American national identity continues to be employed, masking deep and even incommensurable identities.
3. Carey Roberts and Donald Livingston were speakers at a conference sponsored by the Liberty and Ethics Center at Lindenwood University, St. Charles Missouri. The topic was “Is Government the Problem? A Seminar in Economic Federalism,” March 21-23. The Director of the Liberty and Ethics Center is Rachel Douchant who, as a doctoral student, attended the first Abbeville Summer School in 2002.
4. Robert Peters and Greg Womack sponsored a JEFFERSON SEMINAR on the topic “Frontier Louisiana: The Culture and History of Northwest Louisiana.” Poet David Middleton reflected on his own work in “Readings and Musings of a Southern Poet From Northwest Louisiana.” Ann Bowie spoke on “Burke, Calhoun, and the American Founding: The Metaphysical Significance of Society Before Government.” And Roger Busbice spoke on Louisiana’s “Leonidas Polk: Bishop, General, and Scholar.”
Jefferson Seminars are gatherings sponsored by a local host who invites an Abbeville scholar (or scholars) to present on a topic chosen by the host. They can vary in size and format from a seminar with twelve participants to a conference with a hundred. Consider hosting a Jefferson Seminar in your locality. Please contact us via the website for more details.
5. Howard White and Clyde Wilson established The Society of Independent Southern Historians which explores the Southern tradition from its own point of view. The Society posts a helpful listing of essays, books, movies, and discussions on all aspects of the Southern tradition and its people from the 17th century to 1940. See the website.
6. Donald Livingston, Carey Roberts, and Bill Wilson presented a series of lectures on the Jefferson tradition to the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society at the University of Virginia. The lectures were broadcast on C-Span.
7. The Institute launched a Speakers Bureau. Consider one of our scholars for your event. More details can be found here.
8. The Institute has established its own press. It will publish academically peer reviewed works that illuminate the Southern tradition and the principles and ideals embedded in it. Our first book is a collection of essays, edited and with an Introduction by Jonathan White, Northern Opposition to Mr. Lincoln’s War. Some 60 percent of Americans did not support Lincoln for president. It is misleading to describe the War as a war between North and South. Northerners were greatly divided on the War and Lincoln’s conduct of it. The Lincoln administration often acted as an embattled minority, ruthlessly suppressing dissent. General Sherman told Congress that two million troops were fighting in the South and a million in the North against those disposed against the War. Support the Institute by purchasing this book on Amazon. We get a small cut. An ideal gift for students. Purchase a copy here.
9. We redesigned and relaunched the Institute website on April 7, 2014. Since that time we have had over 3 million hits by 186,000 different people from all corners of the globe. Our over 240 articles (and counting) on Southern culture, music, food, politics, philosophy, religion, humor, literature, fiction, and history have filled a void on the Internet. Consider an article submission. Guidelines are here.
The top ten posts for the year are:
1. Monsters of Virtuous Pretension by David Aiken
2. Lies My Teacher Told Me by Clyde Wilson
3. In All the Ancient Circles by Jack Trotter
4. Why Do They Hate the South and Its Symbols by Paul Gottfried
5. The Terrible Swift Sword by Carl Jones
6. States Rights Did Not Cause the War by James Ronald Kennedy
7. Cheesehead Secessionists by Brion McClanahan
8. What Every Southern Man Should Be Able to Do by Tom Daniel
9. Bellamy’s Pledge by James Rutledge Roesch
10. Righteous Cause Mythology by Philip Leigh
10. We added a Recommended section containing a list of books for the essential Southern library and have begun the process of adding both music and movies to the list. Check it out.
11. You can also contribute to the Institute via Amazon Smile. Details are available here.
2015 promises to be even better. We will be adding a new series on the website, the James McClellan Library, within the first month of the year, and individuals will be able to subscribe to the website and receive a free goodie. Check back for more details. Of course we will continue to publish new material almost daily and we will have other events and activities beginning in January. Check our Events section for more details.
As always, please consider a donation. It not only helps keep the lights on but allows us to present top notch educational material. Happy New Year!