“A Southside View of Slavery”

Within the purview of post-1950’s modern historiography, anything proclaimed in defense of the South is labeled “Lost Cause Myth” - a product of the “Lost Cause School” of thought. The term “Lost Cause” originates from the title of an 1866 book written in defense of the South but is now applied pejoratively to an entire category of Southern apologetics. Today,…
Rod O'Barr
November 6, 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…
J.L.M. Curry
May 12, 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…
Rod O'Barr
February 8, 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…
Valerie Protopapas
January 12, 2023

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…
Diana Karter Appelbaum
November 22, 2022

The Ballad of Confederate Abolitionists

I am a descendant of a family of Confederate soldiers, and I have been told I should be embarrassed.  A liberal activist told me recently that all Confederates were racist degenerates who deserve nothing except desecration of their statues and memorials.  I usually avoid deep discussions of this topic on social media, because the predicted result is that people don’t…
Tom Daniel
July 25, 2022

Neo-Abolitionist Historiography

  From our 2008 Summer School, Northern Anti-Slavery Rhetoric In some respects, the title of this lecture, “Post 1960’s Neo-Abolitionist Historiography,” is a lie.  I’m actually going to start earlier than the 1960’s, but I promise you we’re not going to lengthen it out any more than that. A lot of this is going to be a cautionary tale for…
John Devanny
March 31, 2022

Slavery and Abolitionism as Viewed by a Georgia Slave

After 200 years of digesting Enlightenment ideals of natural rights, and reciting a pledge that concludes with “liberty and justice for all,“ it is hard for us to realize there are circumstances when slavery could be considered a “positive good.” John C. Calhoun has lately been excoriated for taking this position. Yet in 1861 an educated Georgia slave named Harrison…
Rod O'Barr
January 12, 2022

John Rock and Yankee Hypocrisy

John Rock was an American teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer and abolitionist. Rock was one of the first African-American men to earn a medical degree. In addition, he was the first black person to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. On January 23, 1863, John Rock made a speech at the annual meeting of…
Rod O'Barr
November 11, 2021

The Antebellum South in the Reformation Tradition

On October 31, while many parents whisk their little ones from house to house in the pursuit of temporal tasty treats, a large portion of Christendom will be observing the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a movement which arguably changed the very course of Western Civilization up through the present. Many Protestant denominations, seminaries, churches, and para-church organizations are…
Jonathan Harris
October 30, 2017
Review Posts

The Cause of Jackson is the Cause of Us All

Old Hickory has been chopped off the front of the twenty-dollar bill. Andrew Jackson will still appear on the back of the bill, but Harriet Tubman (freed slave, conductor on the mostly mythical Underground Railroad, and Union spy) will now appear on the front. Jackson was a famous war hero and a feared duelist, but he finally met his match…
James Rutledge Roesch
April 26, 2016

The Prophetic Sage of Roanoke

There is no more singular statesman or person in the history of American politics than John Randolph of Roanoke. Eccentric in the extreme, volatile, and often ill-tempered, this Saint Michael of the South, this scourge of corruption, was also capable of passionate attachments to his friends, his slaves, and his country, that is Virginia. The same man whose piercing gaze…
John Devanny
June 2, 2015
Review Posts

Understanding “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”: How Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe Influenced the Northern Mind

The most influential literary contribution to the politics of the northern States during the mid-to-late 1850’s — helping incite State Secession and a horrific four-year war that killed 360,000 Federals — was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1851-52, just before the onset of “Bleeding Kansas.” Likewise, that war’s most influential music/poetry contribution — morally justifying, in…
Howard Ray White
October 29, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Steady Habits and Chivalry

The burden of our endeavour in this conference is to examine the great morality play of Northern Good versus Southern Evil that is the conventional history of anti-slavery in the United States. This convention dominates not only our understanding of the sectional conflict of the 19th century but colours all of American history with a self-serving distortion that Robert Penn…
Clyde Wilson
August 25, 2014
Review Posts

Understanding “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

In the mid-1800’s women were not to be leaders in politics and religion, but Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe did just that. Of Harriet, daughter of Lyman Beecher and sister of Henry Ward Beecher, both influential Abolitionists/ministers/educators, Sinclair Lewis would write: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the first evidence to America that no hurricane can be so disastrous to…
Howard Ray White
July 18, 2014