The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Aug 29- Sep 2, 2016.
Topics: Secession, Slavery, Southern Politics, the War for Southern Independence
Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017), 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her (Regnery History, 2016), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012).
He received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student. He lives in Alabama with his wife and three daughters.
Time and again we allow ourselves to fall “prey” to “conventional wisdom” by belaboring the Slave issue in the dichotomies existing even today in our government, politics, and social demeanor. I wish to God we could all put this “issue” (or as I would contend “non-issue”) behind us and “get on” with the business of ethics, progress, and compatibility in government and in our communities. My point is this: Slavery by Southerners should by know be recognizable “minutia”. We are seeing the “blossoming” of these patterns today in some very negatie ways. The “miracle” of The South and The Confederacy in particular is the cultural pertuation of some very important premises of Democracy which have remained dormant in everyone’s mind due to the traumas endured together (and at opposing poles) in the Past. It behooves me to recognize that the contentions could permanently be dissolved if we stand back for a moment and put these polemics in it’s rightful place historically. Today (so many years “down the road”) why don’t we recognize that these “issues” (and as Southerners you should welcome the observation that in all honesty Southerners on the very mention of Slavery were understood to stand accused of “heinous crimes”) since never resolved as to the official juridical opinions should be termed more fairly as PHEONOMENA, and CONTROVERSIAL PHENOMENA at that. So we put all the insinuations on Slavery behind us and recognize that The “War” may be just one of those “growing pains” of Democracy which was sorely needed at the time. Today, in putting that “controversial phenomenon” behind us momentarily what is The Confederacy actually stand for in retrospect. Well, quite simply I think it the most obvious conclusion that Southerners were demanding merely # 1 Human Decency, #2 Keeping economic policy ( in particular) “The Peculiar Institution” within it’s proper ACADEMIC importance first before we allow sentimentality and (self)righteousness take hold and “force our hands” #3 in case of “wrong doing” as was the OBVIOUS “tacit” understanding by The North allow for “due process” and SPECIFIC and RELEVANT charges (as opposed to the ambiguities of the day leading atrocious and “jaw-dropping” blanket statements) which could be addressed by competent authorities. #4 Let us not lose sight that we are all mere mortals, and only capable of what is humanly possible. That said we MUST understand that our “bi-partisan” committments in government make it imperative that there is a “right and a wrong” to every issue no matter how insensed this may make us feel. Politics above all else should be the deterrant and incentive to promote COMMUNICATION over aesthetics of sentimentality. This was Lincoln’s even admitted fatal flaw. He called for sentiment when he should have called for affection and that is above all Love of God, Love of our Neighbor and possible Love of our Enemies. This should have mitigated all intellectual renderings and possibly eliminated any potential of rash judgment and precocious actions.