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Brion McClanahan

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Happy Birthday Senator Sam

Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina was arguably one of the most important political figures of the twentieth century. His commitment to the Constitution and willingness to stare down executive power during the 1973 Watergate hearings place him among the great conservative voices in Senate history. Ervin was first and foremost a Tar Heel. He considered his election to the…
Brion McClanahan
September 27, 2022
BlogMedia Posts

The Southern Constitutional Tradition

Brion McClanahan discusses the Southern constitutional tradition, from the 2022 Abbeville Institute Summer School at Seabrook Island, SC, July 5-8, 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TCufOUlq_4 Note: The views expressed on abbevilleinstitute.org are not necessarily those of the Abbeville Institute.
Abbeville Institute
September 20, 2022
Blog

Calhoun and the 21st Century

In 1957, Senator John F. Kennedy issued a report on the five most important Senators in United States history. He included John C. Calhoun, and while he understood the historical controversy it might create, Kennedy insisted that Calhoun's "masterful" defense "of the rights of a political minority against the dangers of an unchecked majority" and "his profoundly penetrating and original…
Brion McClanahan
September 8, 2022
BlogReview Posts

The 200 Most Important Confederate Books

In 1978, Georgia native Richard Harwell--older brother of the famous baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell--published In Tall Cotton, a list of the 200 most important Confederate books. He asked fellow Georgian E. Merton Coulter to write the introduction knowing that this list would provide a valuable resource to those seeking to understand both Southern history and the Confederacy. Modern establishment historians…
Brion McClanahan
August 31, 2022
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Did the Confederacy Oppose the Rule of Law?

Today is Confederate Memorial Day in Alabama. Most Americans believe the War and Southern history are synonymous, so much so that to many, the War has come to define the South. If you are reading this post and have followed the Abbeville Institute for any length of time, you know that our mission to "explore what is true and valuable…
Brion McClanahan
April 25, 2022
Blog

The Real First Thanksgiving

On Saturday, November 20, MSNBC aired a segment by activist Gyasi Ross comparing Thanksgiving to genocide. "But I'm still trying to find out what indigenous people received of value. Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence…” he said. Ross’s ignorance and searing rhetoric contradicts the historical record but nevertheless has been fueled by an educational…
Brion McClanahan
November 24, 2021
Blog

Facebook and Old Glory

Facebook canceled the Abbeville Institute. I was notified on June 10 that the Abbeville Institute Facebook page had been unpublished due to “repeated community standards violations.” Our offenses? We used the image of the Confederate Battle Flag for one post in July 2020 which earned the Institute our first strike. A purely American image that had been the recognized symbol…
Brion McClanahan
June 28, 2021
Blog

The Professor and the Proposition

As the “Exceptional Nation” totters and pratfalls further toward perdition, some on what is commonly, if not entirely accurately, known as the “Right” are calling for the various factions to unite beneath a single banner – a band of brothers, as it were – to battle shoulder-to-shoulder against the Bolshevik plague-beast. Several such tocsins have resounded from the San Bernardino…
Enoch Cade
May 17, 2021
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Conservative as “Defender of Liberty”

In 1960, the great Southern political philosopher Richard Weaver penned an essay titled “Conservatism and Libertarianism: The Common Ground.” Most people considered Weaver to be a “conservative,” and he accepted the term, but he also thought American conservatives and libertarians had much in common and should work together for a common goal: liberty. The current internal warfare in both conservative…
Brion McClanahan
May 7, 2021
Blog

Twitter Historians Distort History, Again.

Marjorie Taylor Greene forced the political left into an apoplectic rage two weeks ago when they discovered she intended to form an “America First Caucus” based on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” Clearly, this showed that Representative Greene intended to force “white supremacy” on the rest of the United States. After all, she openly displayed her racism by using the term “Anglo-Saxon.”…
Brion McClanahan
April 29, 2021
Blog

John C. Calhoun: American

No American is more vilified than John C. Calhoun. A recent biography has labeled him the American "heretic," and it has become fashionable to blame every political problem in American on this long deceased statesman. Is this true or fair? Calhoun was well respected during his lifetime and served in almost every important position in the United States government. He…
Brion McClanahan
March 30, 2021
Blog

The Gettysburg Fairy Tale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zksz7mOggqI&feature=youtu.be The Gettysburg Address is perhaps the most iconic speech in American history. Students are required to memorize it, and it has become as important to American political culture as the United States Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. This is unfortunate, because in this speech, Abraham Lincoln invented history and by doing so intellectually nuked the original federal republic.…
Brion McClanahan
December 3, 2020
Blog

A Fool and His Money are Soon Elected

Will Rogers had a quip for just about any situation, but he loved to talk politics. Rogers was born on a Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma. His father was a Confederate veteran and political leader in the Cherokee nation. At the height of his career, Will Rogers had the number one radio program in America and was the highest paid actor…
Brion McClanahan
November 3, 2020
Review Posts

Words of Wisdom

A review of Southern Scribblings (Red Mill Publishing, 2020) by Brion McClanahan In an age in which error, falsehood, and perversion are regaled by the politically correct, neo-Marxist as being America’s new normal, Brion McClanahan’s new book, Southern Scribblings, provides Southerners with a compass pointing them back to the tradition of virtue, honor, and the American principles of constitutionally limited…
James Ronald Kennedy
August 4, 2020
Blog

Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Charlie Daniels Edition

Charlie Daniels is dead. Just a shade over three years ago, I wrote this piece in honor of his birthday. The South has lost one of its greatest bards, and Dixie is worse for it. Daniels recorded arguably his best album, Fire on the Mountain, at Capricorn studios, the Peach State's famous recording studio in Macon. Unlike FAME or Muscle…
Brion McClanahan
July 7, 2020
Blog

Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Dixie Version

The Orwellian nightmare known as 2020 continues. Not only are Confederate monuments and symbols under attack, seemingly benign references to anything Southern are now considered "racist." Real estate listings that use the term "master bedroom" are being changed because the term is a reference to slavery, as does the word "plantation." The State of Rhode Island is considering changing its…
Brion McClanahan
July 3, 2020
Blog

American Girondins

Who should Americans blame for the iconoclasm on display during the "protests" in virtually every American city this past weekend? Not the Left. They are the easy targets, and not without culpability. The washed up hippies teaching in American classrooms at every level have certainly been a major component of the cultural Marxism that now saturates American society. But they…
Brion McClanahan
June 3, 2020
Blog

Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Part VII

Ramblin’ Man - Allman Bros https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1xjl00sbao This was the biggest hit for the Allman Brothers and it led Lynyrd Skynyrd to Sweet Home Alabama. Every Southern rock outfit wanted to recreate the magic of Ramblin’ Man. The tune was written by Dickey Betts and was one of the last AB songs to feature Berry Oakley on bass. Homesick – Atlanta…
Brion McClanahan
May 29, 2020
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Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Part V

A series by Brion McClanahan, Tom Daniel, and Jeff Rogers Loan Me a Dime - Boz Scaggs Boz Scaggs rose to prominence after teaming with Steve Miller in the late 1960s on his first two albums. That led to a record contract and a date with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm section in Florence, Alabama in 1969. He knew where to…
Brion McClanahan
May 8, 2020
Blog

Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Part IV

A list compiled by Brion McClanahan, Tom Daniel, and Jeff Rogers Good Time Feelin' - Dickey Betts Betts’s solo projects were as good (if not better) than most Allman Brothers albums post Duane Allman. “Good Time Feelin’” is a blistering blues rock tune, and this live version is better than any studio recording of Betts and Great Southern. “I can’t…
Brion McClanahan
May 1, 2020
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Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Part III

A list compiled by Brion McClanahan, Tom Daniel, and Jeff Rogers Goin' Down Slow - Duane Allman When Duane Allman died in 1971, the world lost one of the best slide guitar players in the history of recorded music. By this point, Allman had become famous as part of his Allman Brother Band, but his influence on American music began…
Brion McClanahan
April 24, 2020
Blog

Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Part II

A list compiled by Brion McClanahan, Tom Daniel, and Jeff Rogers Blood in the Water - The Jompson Brothers Before Chris Stapleton became Grammy Award winner Chris Stapleton, he was a singer/songwriter from Kentucky who wrote several hits for other musicians and kicked around Nashville as a part of other bands, including the bluegrass outfit The Steeldrivers, a nod to…
Brion McClanahan
April 17, 2020
Blog

Southern Rock for the Apocalypse, Part I

A list compiled by Brion McClanahan, Tom Daniel, and Jeff Rogers Almost everyone in the United States is quarantined, and while many are working from home, it seems that most people have a bit more time on their hands. What should you be listening to during the COVID apocalypse? Southern music, of course, and if you are a rock fan,…
Brion McClanahan
April 10, 2020
Blog

Can the Southern Tradition Save America?

“Where you gonna be when half of California riots? Where you gonna run to when the lights go out? I won’t be hangin’ out in California, I won’t try it. Buddy I’ll be up and headed South.” Jamey Johnson The Wuhan virus has sparked a renewed interest in the Southern tradition. No one is saying that, but it’s true. Donald…
Brion McClanahan
March 23, 2020
Review Posts

A Mass for the Resurrection

A review of Who Owns America? A New Declaration of Independence (ISI Books, 1999) edited by Herbert Agar and Allen Tate In graduate school, I was assigned by the resident “New South” historian I’ll Take My Stand by Twelve Southerners as my final paper.  I eagerly accepted the project.  This was in my back-yard, so to speak.  I had read…
Brion McClanahan
March 3, 2020
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Reconsidering William Henry Harrison

Who was the greatest president in American history? Ask this question to a group of people who are cynical of the imperial presidency and at least one person will answer William Henry Harrison, the man who died one month after taking office. Who could be better than a president who impacted the office in such a minimal way and who…
Brion McClanahan
February 17, 2020
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If You Can’t Blame the Confederacy, Secede!

American political theater has become the most entertaining show in town. Trump refuses to shake hands and Pelosi rips up his script. This is red meat for the duly indoctrinated in the mainstream political parties, but in case you thought that Trump's impeachment and subsequent acquittal would calm the waters and draw the final curtain on a five-month Greek comedy,…
Brion McClanahan
February 6, 2020
Review Posts

Two Lees

A review of Robert E. Lee at War: Hope Arises from Despair (Legion of Honor Publishing, 2017) by Scott Bowden and The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won (Regnery History, 2015) by Edward H. Bonekemper III. Did Robert E. Lee lose the War for the South? If you believe…
Brion McClanahan
January 21, 2020
Blog

The Steel Woods

There’s a Southern accentWhere I come from.The young un’s call it country,And the Yankees call it dumb.                      Tom Petty, "Southern Accents" (Covered by The Steel Woods) Southern rock and "outlaw country" are experiencing a renaissance of late. Undoubtedly influenced by the rash of bubble gum pop country from Nashville, this darker and more authentic working class music speaks to Americans…
Brion McClanahan
December 11, 2019
Blog

Battle for the Old Dominion

With the recent triumph of the Democrat Party in the 2019 statewide elections in Virginia, it will only be a matter of time before an effort is made to rewrite Virginia law concerning "memorials for war veterans." Progressive efforts to topple these monuments have been thwarted by legal obstacles, and now, with a majority in both houses of the Virginia…
Brion McClanahan
November 18, 2019
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Taylor and Jefferson on Secession

One of the most enduring myths of American history centers on the “compact theory” of the Constitution. According to the standard interpretation, Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Republicans invented the “theory” to challenge Federalist control of the general government in the 1790s. This implies that Jefferson and the other Republicans acted in bad faith by playing fast and loose with…
Brion McClanahan
November 6, 2019
Blog

A Love of Place

Southerners love home. This is true of many people throughout history, but place has, in part, defined the South. The earliest settlers to what became the South championed its Utopian physical qualities: warm weather, a long growing season, bountiful plant and animal life. Bad weather, disease carrying insects, and dangerous wildlife were annoyances to be tolerated if not overcome. Southern…
Brion McClanahan
September 20, 2019
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Guelzo’s Reconstruction Gaffe

Professor Allen Guelzo has a new video at Prager U “explaining” the “good, bad, and ugly” of Reconstruction. Anyone that has watched a Prager U video knows where this is headed. I laughed through the entire six minutes. Guelzo has a history of South hating rhetoric, and he is a Lincolnian’s Lincolnian. This guy never met a war he didn’t…
Brion McClanahan
September 12, 2019
Review Posts

Grant’s Failed Presidency

A review of U.S. Grant's Failed Presidency (Shotwell Publishing, 2019) by Philip Leigh There was a time in recent memory when thoughtful people consistently ranked U.S. Grant's presidency as one of the worst in history. The scandals, military Reconstruction, the mistreatment of the Plains Indian tribes, and the poor economy during the 1870s wrecked his reputation. That all began to…
Brion McClanahan
August 20, 2019
Blog

Colonial Slavery

In 1715, Colonial Governor Charles Craven remarked that his front line troops in the fight against a hostile American Indian tribe comprised "two hundred stout negro men." Just five years prior, Indian agent Thomas Nairne wrote that the colonial militia in this same colony possessed "a considerable Number of active, able, Negro Slaves; and the Law gives everyone of those…
Brion McClanahan
July 31, 2019
Blog

God Bless America

Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were only the beginning. For anyone that believed American iconoclasm would stop once Confederate statues were removed or "contextualized," they were rudely awakened last week after the Philadelphia Flyers decided to remove the Kate Smith statue in front of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia due to her "racist" recording history. They first bagged…
Brion McClanahan
May 2, 2019
Blog

John C. Calhoun: American

Of all the American vice-presidents, none is more vilified than John C. Calhoun. Calhoun is known as the “defender of slavery,” the “cast iron man,” the “man who started the civil war.” His monument in Charleston has been vandalized, his name removed from Calhoun College at Yale, his Alma Mater, and now his home, Clemson University, is debating whether to…
Brion McClanahan
April 18, 2019
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Reconstruction and Recreation

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of U.S. Grant’s inauguration as President of the United States. It also has sparked a renewed interest in Reconstruction, particularly the notion that America failed to capitalize on an “unfinished revolution” as the communist historian Eric Foner describes the period. This general description of the 1860s has been used by both radical leftists like Foner…
Brion McClanahan
April 8, 2019
Review Posts

The First Congress

A review of The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government (Simon and Schuster, 2016) by Fergus Bordewich Amateur historians usually write excellent histories. Left unshackled by the latest groupthink of the academy, these historians tend to be independent thinkers and more importantly better writers than their professional counterparts. Shelby Foote…
Brion McClanahan
April 2, 2019
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The Challenge of the Southern Tradition

In 1966, Senator Jim Eastland of Mississippi walked into the Senate Judiciary Committee and asked, “Feel hot in heah?” A staffer replied: “Well Senator, the thermostat is set at 72 degrees, but we can make it colder.” Eastland, puzzled by the response, doubled down, “I said, Feel Hot in heah?” The staffer now was perplexed and fearing that he might…
Brion McClanahan
March 25, 2019
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A Crisis of Confidence

Pat Caddell died on February 16. Several major news outlets ran stories about his influence in both the Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump campaigns. Everyone understood Caddell's role as the voice of the "outsider." A colleague at the College of Charleston, where Caddell served in the Political Science department for the last couple of years, said that Caddell hated everything…
Brion McClanahan
February 25, 2019
Review Posts

Recarving Rushmore

A review of Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty (The Independent Institute, 2014) by Ivan Eland The annual veneration of American monarchy--"Presidents Day"--has passed again. While still officially called "Washington's Birthday" by the general government, the American public has embraced the idea of honoring the executive branch by shopping for furniture, jewelry, or cars. George W.…
Brion McClanahan
February 19, 2019
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A Cautionary Tale on Monument Protection Laws

When Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo issued a ruling on the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act just minutes before his term expired last week, he upended the entire understanding and meaning of the original Constitution and the relationship between the States, the cities, and the general government. More importantly, though Graffeo's decision will probably--not definitely--be overturned, the ruling provides a…
Brion McClanahan
January 24, 2019
Blog

What Are Symbols For?

In 1875, Rev. Moses Drury Hoge stood before 40,000 people in Richmond, Virginia, at the foot of the newly dedicated statue of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, and delivered what one historian called the "noblest oration of his later life." He believed that in the future, the path to that statue would be "trodden" by the feet of travelers from "the…
Brion McClanahan
December 21, 2018
Review Posts

The Man Who Made the Supreme Court

A review of John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court (Basic Books, 2018) by Richard Brookhiser John Marshall presents a curious problem for Southern history. How can a man, born and bred in the same State, who breathed the same air and shared the same blood with Thomas Jefferson, have been such an ardent nationalist? The same question…
Brion McClanahan
December 4, 2018
Blog

The Southern Political Tradition is Winning

Nationalist Jeff Sessions gets canned and a nullifier takes his job. This is actually an odd twist of fate. A friend of mine knows Sessions personally, and he continually expressed disappointment at Sessions's actions as AG. Jeff Sessions is from Alabama and is named after two famous Confederate heroes, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard.  His replacement, Matthew Whitaker, hails from…
Brion McClanahan
November 14, 2018
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Progressive Neo-Confederates?

Greetings fellow neo-Confederates. You have been right all along. How do I know this? Hillary Clinton said so, and if the smartest woman in the world said it, then it has to be true. Of course, she did not directly call herself a "neo-Confederate," but the progressives have rediscovered federalism and by default have vindicated every evil "neo-Confederate" in America.…
Brion McClanahan
October 29, 2018
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What if We Listened to the Southern Founders?

Mel Bradford's outstanding tome A Better Guide Than Reason lifted that phrase from a speech John Dickinson made during the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. Dickinson worried that the delegates to what we now call the "Constitutional Convention" were insistent on crafting a document that would reinvent the government of the United States, something James Madison proposed with his now famous…
Brion McClanahan
October 10, 2018
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Robert E. Lee vs. Twitter Historians

In June 2017, The Atlantic published a hit-piece on Robert E. Lee titled "The Myth of the Kindly General Lee." The article made the rounds on Leftist echo chamber social media accounts and quickly found favor with the popular Leftist Twitter historians, a collection of "distinguished professors," some without a substantial publication record, who like to trumpet their status as "actual…
Brion McClanahan
August 29, 2018
Blog

The Last republican President

Jimmy Carter may have been the last Jeffersonian to be president. A recent article in the Washington Post labeled him the "Un-Celebrity President." In either case, Carter is a reflection of a people and a place. He is the most authentic man elected president since Calvin Coolidge, and like Coolidge a true Christian gentleman. At the very minimum, Carter represented the…
Brion McClanahan
August 20, 2018
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Anything Is Nice If It Come From Dixieland

In October 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dine at the executive mansion. This was an unprecedented move. No African-American had ever been asked to dine with the president, and while neither Roosevelt or his staff said much of the event, it was surely done in the spirit of reconciliation and Roosevelt's desire to be "the people's…
Brion McClanahan
August 15, 2018
Blog

Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee was a patriot, Anti-Federalist, and statesman from his “country,” Virginia.  He led the charge for independence in 1776 and was a powerful figure in Virginia political life.  He served one term as president of the Continental Congress and was elected a United States Senator from Virginia immediately after the ratification of the Constitution.  His role in the…
Brion McClanahan
July 2, 2018
Review Posts

Is Secession Treason?

A review of With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era by William A. Blair (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) and Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis by Cynthia Nicoletti (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Was the act of secession in 1860-61 treason? This is one of the more important and lasting questions…
Brion McClanahan
June 12, 2018
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Confederate Dead

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK9z0zwThtw The Confederate Dead (1867) By Latienne From the broad and calm Potomac, To the Rio Grande's waves, Have the brave and noble fallen — And the earth is strewn with graves, In the vale and on the hill-side, Through the wood and by the stream, Has the martial pageant faded, Like the vision of a dream. Where the reveille…
Brion McClanahan
May 7, 2018
Review Posts

Two Against Lincoln

A review of Two Against Lincoln: Reverdy Johnson and Horatio Seymour, Champions of the Loyal Opposition (University Press of Kansas, 2017) by William C. Harris In a speech before the Senate in 1863, James A. Bayard of Delaware stated that “The truth will out, ultimately…though they may be voted down by the majority of the hour, though they may not…
Brion McClanahan
March 13, 2018
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Gator McKlusky

Everyone wanted to be Southern in the 1970s. The rejuvenated interest in Southern music from bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlies Daniels, and the Allman Brothers (and the unknown Southern influence in the "Motown" sound) was just one component of a larger pro-Southern, working class, populist movement. Southerners had been made consciously Southern again after over a decade of national attention,…
Brion McClanahan
February 9, 2018
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The Extreme Northern Position

If you listen to the modern historical profession, Southern secession in 1861 represented "treason." David Blight, Professor History at Yale University, has made this belief the part of the core of his attack on Confederate symbols. If we should not take them down because they represent "white supremacy," then they should be removed because Southerners were "traitors." Traitors to whom…
Brion McClanahan
November 16, 2017
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The Winds of Change

This isn’t 1990. The Winds of Change have stopped blowing.  When the Soviets present a more docile response to self determination than a “western democracy,” the situation is bad. How painful is it to pine for the days of passive Soviet resistance to secession? Images and videos of the jack-booted thugs bulldozing their way through crowds of peaceful voters (including firemen…
Brion McClanahan
October 4, 2017
Review Posts

Southern Reconstruction

A review of Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh (Westholme, 2017). Confronting the establishment narrative about any historical topic can be a perilous endeavor. There are several that present such large minefields that most historians dare not attempt to cross, among them the “Civil War,” Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights movement. Bucking the accepted version of events in any of those…
Brion McClanahan
September 26, 2017
Review Posts

How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America

A review of How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America by Brion McClanahan, Regnery History, 2017. A thinking American must choose between Hamilton and Jefferson, whose contrary visions of the future were contested in the first days of the Constitution. If you are happy with big government, big banks, big business, big military, and judicial dictatorship, then you have Alexander Hamilton…
Clyde Wilson
September 19, 2017
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AHA Revisionism

On 28 August 2017, the American Historical Association (AHA) issued a “Statement on Confederate Monuments” that presumed to speak for the entire American historical profession on the issue of whether these monuments should remain or if they should be removed from public spaces. Unfortunately this “statement” is little more than historical establishment claptrap disguised as highbrow intellectual discourse—par for the…
Brion McClanahan
September 6, 2017
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Lyon Gardiner Tyler and Southern History

Delivered at the 2017 Abbeville Institute Summer School. The attack on the so-called “lost cause” myth in American history is nothing new. Beginning in the 1950s and 60s, historians like Kenneth Stampp began a concerted effort to undermine the dominant historical interpretation of the War, namely that the War and Reconstruction had been stains on American history, that the War…
Brion McClanahan
August 18, 2017
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Calhoun the Marxist?

Neo-conservatives can’t seem to make up their mind about the Confederacy. They all agree that the Confederacy represented everything evil about early America (which places them squarely in league with their intellectual brothers on the Left) but why they hate it presents the real conundrum. It borders on schizophrenia. Neo-conservative historian Victor Davis Hanson, for example, often rails against the…
Brion McClanahan
August 10, 2017
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Red States for California Secession

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has given the green light for CalExit proponents to begin collecting signatures for a California secession ballot initiative in the 2018 general election. This is good news. California is the logical place to begin having a conversation about secession, and every red state American should be actively supporting the proposal. As California goes, so goes…
Brion McClanahan
August 3, 2017
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New South Voices of the Southern Tradition

Presented at the 2017 Abbeville Institute Summer School. As scholars dedicated to exploring what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition, we are most often drawn to the antebellum South and the early federal period, the days when Jeffersonian federalism and political economy reigned supreme and Southern statesmen were regarded as the best in the land. We still fight…
Brion McClanahan
July 28, 2017
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Reconsidering Richard B. Russell

There was a time both before and after the War when the South dominated the United States Congress. In the antebellum period, James Madison, John C. Calhoun, John Randolph of Roanoke, and Henry Clay placed their mark on congressional debates, and several other Southerners ranked among the best statesmen of the era. But most Americans, even those in the South, don't realize that by the mid-twentieth century, Southerners…
Brion McClanahan
July 12, 2017
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The Confederate Origins of Memorial Day

Many Americans will pause today to honor the men and women who have given their lives in the United States armed forces. What most probably don't know is that this holiday originated in the South after the War for Southern Independence. It was originally called "Decoration Day." Don't tell the social justice warriors. The monuments that these modern day Leninists believe…
Brion McClanahan
May 29, 2017
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Why the Southern Tradition is Winning

The title of this piece may seem odd in light of recent events in New Orleans and the mass hysteria over all things Confederate since June 2015. Monuments have come down, flags have been furled, and streets have been renamed. While these are certainly loses, they are mere skirmishes in a wider cultural war that the Left is losing. They…
Brion McClanahan
May 10, 2017
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The Latest 18th Century Fake News

The "fake news" pejorative has become commonplace in modern public discourse, so much so that social media outlets have taken it upon themselves to "police" so-called "fake news" stories and warn people about their dangers. This was largely due to the supposed impact "fake news" had on Trump supporters in 2016. To these self-appointed gatekeepers of truth, honesty, and the…
Brion McClanahan
April 27, 2017
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The Hard Hand of War

A Review of Joseph W. Danielson, War's Desolating Scourage: The Union's Occupation of North Alabama, University Press of Kansas, 2012; Charles A. Misulia, Columbus Georgia 1865: The Last True Battle of the Civil War, The University of Alabama Press, 2010. On Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865, Union forces under the command of General James Harrison Wilson attacked, captured, and sacked…
Brion McClanahan
April 14, 2017
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Yankee Foreign Policy and the Cold War

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is rattling his sabers and threatening war against the United States. He blew up an American aircraft carrier in one propaganda video and has goaded the Trump administration in several other statements, ostensibly to create the image of manly firmness to his people. Obviously, high profile assassinations and executions along with staged videos showing Jong-un…
Brion McClanahan
March 30, 2017
Review Posts

A Deep Devotion to the Constitution

According to the modern historical establishment, John C. Calhoun is the ultimate American villain. These esteemed historians think lofty assessments from previous decades failed to account for his glaring inconsistencies in regard to federal power, his advocacy for American imperialism, or his well-known defense of slavery and racism. Historians may have been critical of Calhoun's advancement of the "positive good"…
Brion McClanahan
March 14, 2017
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Let the Bear Flag Go

A large portion of California wants to secede. That’s a good thing. American conservatives should not only applaud the move, they should be doing everything possible to help them find the door. Image a world without Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Diane Feinstein, or Kamala Harris; where Democrats would not start the presidential election cycle with nearly one quarter of the…
Brion McClanahan
February 27, 2017
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Washington vs. Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington stare silently at one another across the reflecting pool on the National Mall in Washington D.C., their paths inextricably linked by the historians who consider both to be the greatest presidents in American history. One is a monument, a testament to the man and his influence on American history, the other a memorial to the…
Brion McClanahan
February 22, 2017
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Ashley Judd Gets Nasty

  “Treat a woman like a lady, And your lady like a queen….” Charlie Daniels Ashley Judd’s recitation of “I’m a Nasty Woman” at the “women’s” march on Washington D.C. splashed across every media outlet in America. Judd proudly proclaimed to be a feminist and then launched into a verbal diatribe against “racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault,…
Brion McClanahan
January 23, 2017
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Robert E. Lee: American Hero

Several years ago, leftist blowhard Richard Cohen at the Washington Post wrote that Robert E. Lee “deserves no honor — no college, no highway, no high school. In the awful war (620,000 dead) that began 150 years ago this month, he fought on the wrong side for the wrong cause. It’s time for Virginia and the South to honor the…
Brion McClanahan
January 19, 2017
Blog

Things as They Are

William S. Belko, Philip Pendleton Barbour in Jacksonian America: An Old Republican in King Andrew’s Court (The University of Alabama Press, 2016). Sometimes a professional historian gets it right. William Belko has produced a quality tome that both expands and enhances our understanding of American history. While most academics write about the same subjects and regurgitate fashionable theories with “new”…
Brion McClanahan
January 6, 2017
Blog

The Year in Review

Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina told a friend in 1980 that, "I'm bound to confess that President Carter has instilled some foreboding in prospect to the outcome of the election....As I interpret his campaign sermon, President Carter said states' rights had become as obscene as any four-letter word, and Ronald Reagan had proved his unfitness for the presidency by telling…
Brion McClanahan
December 30, 2016
Blog

Southern Culture: Food

Food is one of the more tangible and recognizable elements of Southern culture and one that is worth exploring. It serves as a bridge between the tables of the Old South and the New. It was once said that Virginians dined, Yankees just ate. This was due in large part to the old Cavalier practice of multi-course meals that could…
Brion McClanahan
December 13, 2016
Blog

“Rational People” Now Want Secession

 According to Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, secession is now being advocated by "rational people, not the fringe."This is an insult to all rational people.Rational people for generations have supported secession, including every scholar at the Abbeville Institute. But now that idiot Leftists in California, Oregon, and Washington are for it, somehow secession has become "rational."I think George Washington, Thomas…
Brion McClanahan
December 7, 2016
Blog

#Calexit

Donald Trump won and California wants to secede. Mises Institute President Jeff Deist tweeted during the election: "look for the Dems to discover the virtues of secession, nullification, and states rights." It didn't take long for leftists to realize the value of secession. Within hours of Trump's stunning victory (a victory yours truly predicted as early as February this year),…
Brion McClanahan
November 10, 2016
Blog

Charlie Daniels and the CDB

Charlie Daniels turns 80 today. He is still producing top quality music and is still an iconic symbol of the South and the Southern musical tradition. Most people are familiar with his hits--"The South's Gonna Do It Again," "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," and "Long Haired Country Boy"--but these tunes are a conspicuous though minimal part of a career that spans five…
Brion McClanahan
October 28, 2016
Review Posts

The Stupid Empire

Reprinted from brionmcclanahan.com As the first leg of the American invasion force rolled through Iraq in 2003, Sergeant Brad Colbert of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps leaned out the window of his Humvee and urged the Iraqi people to “vote Republican.” This moment was captured by the embedded reporter, Evan Wright, and made famous in…
Brion McClanahan
September 27, 2016
Blog

Washington’s Rye

Every student of history knows at least a brief sketch of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, but most people don't realize that Alexander Hamilton's excise tax on distilled spirits hit George Washington in the wallet as well, albeit years after the rebellion. He owned the largest distillery in Northern Virginia from 1797-1799 and shipped hundreds of gallons of moonshine to Alexandria during the…
Brion McClanahan
September 23, 2016
Blog

Deep Down in the South

The late 1970s represented the heyday of popular Southern music. Southern rock and "outlaw country" dominated the airwaves. It was chic to say "ya'll," even in Boston, and with the election of Jimmy Carter, it really seemed the "South was gonna' do it again." It wouldn't last. During an interview at Capricorn Studios in Macon, GA one afternoon, Charlie Daniels spit into his cup and…
Brion McClanahan
September 16, 2016
Blog

Decentralization For Humanity’s Sake

The Roman historian Titus Livius once called Rome “the greatest nation in the world.”  He wrote those words in a time of moral and political decline, and Livy was hoping by outlining the greatness of the once proud republic, the Roman people would arrest the decline and embrace the principles that had made Rome great.  Livy argued that without understanding…
Brion McClanahan
September 9, 2016
Blog

Slavery in Pennsylvania

Indentured servitude is one of the more neglected elements of American labor history. Most historians gloss over the subject in route to African slavery. This is largely due to the impact of long standing issues of race in America, but Southerners understood Northern complicity in the institution of African slavery and often pointed to Northern hypocrisy in regard to the…
Brion McClanahan
August 29, 2016
Blog

The Vanishing Republic of Our Fathers

The New South is one of the more misunderstood periods in American history. The contemporary narrative generally describes the period and its leaders as dense political hacks riding the coattails of Northern business elites. They were "wannabe" statesmen whose political ideology was singularly tied to race. This perspective is clouded by present conditions and our own short-sighted infatuation with racial politics. Historians…
Brion McClanahan
August 11, 2016
Blog

The Compact Fact

Mainstream historians are both an incestuous and snarky bunch. They latch on to trends--fads really--and pull those trends like mules lugging a heavy cart to market (where they hope to sell books to their tens of fans). In time, the mules give out, but unlike the mule, these historians never realize they are whipped.  They hire more mules like them…
Brion McClanahan
August 4, 2016
Blog

Silent Cal and the War

Calvin Coolidge is one of the more maligned presidents in American history. I rank him as one of the best in my 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America.  Coolidge should be commended for his executive restraint and homespun honesty, two character traits that have escaped the modern American executive.  He was a throwback to the nineteenth century when the president…
Brion McClanahan
June 13, 2016
Blog

Southern Family

What makes the South, the South?  Most modern Americans would say football and grits sprinkled with a bit of country music and NASCAR. These clichés hold true for many Southerners today, but what made the South before the commercialization of the American economy was a commitment to land, family, and God.  It was both a temporal and a spiritual understanding…
Brion McClanahan
May 23, 2016
Blog

McWhirter Tries to Strike Back

My recent piece on James Ryder Randall, "At Arlington", touched a nerve, at least with Christian McWhirter.  I spent some time in "At Arlington" discussing his March Time magazine piece, and thus he was compelled to reply. McWhirter begins by wondering when the "neo-Confederate crowd" would respond to his article.  It only took him one sentence to use the tired pejorative "neo-Confederate"…
Brion McClanahan
April 12, 2016
Blog

Interpreting Southern Art

For several weeks my local art museum displayed a traveling exhibit from the Johnson Collection of art permanently located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.   The prevailing consensus among historians is that the antebellum South did not produce much in the way of art, that its literature was substandard, and that its only contribution to American history was slavery and militaristic oligarchy.  Those who read this blog understand this position to…
Brion McClanahan
April 1, 2016
Blog

A Rural Southern Easter

Benjamin Franklin White, born 1800 in South Carolina, was a Southern music pioneer. His collection of hymns titled The Sacred Harp, published in 1844, was based on shape note singing and became the standard hymnal in the South. Shape note music first appeared in 1801 and quickly spread through the rural Southern congregationalist communities. The music is performed a cappella…
Brion McClanahan
March 25, 2016
Review Posts

Charles Carroll of Carrollton: The Southern Irish Catholic Planter

A slightly different version of this essay is Chapter Eleven in Brion McClanahan, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers (Regnery, 2009).  This essay is offered as a Southern celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Charles Carroll of Carrollton has one of the more interesting stories of the Founding generation. He was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies…
Brion McClanahan
March 17, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 15

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, February 22-26, 2016. Topics: George Washington, Agrarianism, the Southern tradition, Antonin Scalia, Abraham Lincoln, Southern heroes. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-15
Brion McClanahan
February 27, 2016
Blog

Rethinkin’ Lincoln

The most frequent question I have received during promotion of my new book, 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her, has been, “How can you say that Lincoln screwed up America?” After all, he is the man who saved the Union and who put slavery on the path to extinction. There should be a…
Brion McClanahan
February 26, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 14

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, February 15-19, 2016. Topic: Abraham Lincoln https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-14
Brion McClanahan
February 21, 2016
Blog

The Nationalist Myth

Dave Benner, Compact of the Republic: The League of the States and the Constitution (Life and Liberty Publishing, 2015). James Ronald Kennedy, Uncle Seth Fought the Yankees (Pelican Publishing, 2015). Jack Kerwick, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front (Stairway Press, 2015). One of the results of the Northern victory in 1865 was the codification of Lincolnian nationalism and its…
Brion McClanahan
February 19, 2016
Blog

“Dar’s nuttin’ lak de ol’-time ways”

Many people are familiar with the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers Project of the 1930s. While some historians reject them for what has been called gross inaccuracies due in large part to the many positive memories of the institution (the negative accounts are always used), they have become the standard source for firsthand information on the institution from the…
Brion McClanahan
February 5, 2016
Blog

January Top 10

Our top ten articles for January 2016: Black Slaveowners by Larry Koger Robert E. Lee: Gallant Soldier, True Patriot, Noble Christian by Mike Scruggs Did Black People Own Slaves? by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. A Southerner Repents by Fred Reed Stonewall Jackson by James I. Robertson, Jr. When the Yankees Come: Former South Carolina Slaves Remember the Invasion by Paul…
Brion McClanahan
February 2, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 10

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 18-22, 2016. Topics: Political Correctness, Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-10
Brion McClanahan
January 23, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 9

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 11-15, 2016.  Host Brion McClanahan discusses Harper Lee, Southern literature, Southern Jews, Reconstruction, and political correctness. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-9
Brion McClanahan
January 16, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 8

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 4-8, 2016, hosted by Brion McClanahan.  Topics include Black slaveonwers, Black Confederates, Revisionism, and Political Correctness. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-8
Brion McClanahan
January 9, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 7

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, December 28, 2015-January 1, 2016. Topics: Southern literature, the year in review, John C. Calhoun, slavery, the Confederate Flag, Southern film, California. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-7
Brion McClanahan
January 3, 2016
Blog

Top Ten

Our top ten for 2015: 1. Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True History of the War for Southern Independence by Clyde Wilson 2. Was the Civil War About Slavery? by Dave Benner 3. The Dark Side of Abraham Lincoln by Thomas Landess 4. What is a Southerner? by Clyde Wilson 5. Why Do They Hate the South and Its…
Brion McClanahan
January 2, 2016
Blog

2015 in Review

Sean Hannity begins his nationally syndicated radio talk show by welcoming listeners to “the revolution.”  This is a clever marketing ploy, but nothing Hannity discusses is truly revolutionary nor that inspiring.  Many thoughtful listeners are left searching for a voice that articulates their worldview, particularly in the South. Some of these people—not just Southerners—have ended up at the Abbeville Institute. …
Brion McClanahan
January 1, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 6

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, December 21-25, 2015 Topics: Christmas, Paris, Mt. Vernon, Arlington House, Nathaniel Macon https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-6
Brion McClanahan
December 28, 2015
Podcast

Podcast Episode 5

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, December 14-18, 2015 Host: Brion McClanahan Topics: The PC Attack on the South, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Southern politics, Northern opposition to Mr. Lincoln's War https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-5
Brion McClanahan
December 21, 2015
Podcast

Podcast Episode 4

The Week in Review, December 7-11, 2015, with your host, Brion McClanahan Topics: The origins of the Southern and American tradition, George Mason, Henry Timrod, Abraham Lincoln, and the PC attack on the South and Western Civilization https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-4
Brion McClanahan
December 12, 2015
Podcast

Podcast Episode 3

The Week in Review, November 30-December 4, 2015 with your host, Brion McClanahan. Topics: The Pilgrims, the Jeffersonian tradition, secession, and the original Constitution. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-3
Brion McClanahan
December 6, 2015
Podcast

Podcast Episode 2

The week in review at the Abbeville Institute--November 23-27, 2015--with your host, Brion McClanahan. Topics: Thanksgiving, the Southern Tradition, and the "Lost Cause." https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/ai-podcast-episode-2
Brion McClanahan
November 28, 2015
Blog

Stapleton

Chris Stapleton is now a household name.  This should have happened a long time ago.  After cleaning up at the Country Music Awards, Stapleton showcased his outstanding voice in a duet with Justin Timberlake.  He stole the show, both in hardware and in talent. In no time, his debut country music album, Traveller, rocketed up the charts.  As I write…
Brion McClanahan
November 27, 2015
Blog

Catalonia and the Southern Tradition

  Catalonia has voted to secede from Spain. This is a remarkable development in modern Western civilization, particularly in the age of the modern bureaucratic unitary imperial State. It signals that not all Europeans agree with the borderless European Union pushed by the political class and that culture and true nationalism still mean something. The shocking Paris attacks this past…
Brion McClanahan
November 16, 2015
Blog

Jefferson’s “Rightful Remedy”

This article was originally published at Townhall.com. Victor Davis Hanson has a strange and misguided infatuation with “Confederates.” In June, his widely read National Review piece on the Confederate Battle Flag equated the Confederacy to a “racist separatist group” like Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy, and just this week, Hanson suggested that so-called “sanctuary cities” are the new “Confederates.” Hanson’s overarching…
Brion McClanahan
October 22, 2015
Blog

Pope Francis and the Southern Tradition

Recent attempts made by the left and the right to make Pope Francis one of “their” own has sparked considerable debate among the political class and their voices in the mainstream media.  Pope Francis’s speech before Congress was nothing more than a continuation of themes he has publically endorsed throughout his time as pontiff, namely support for the environment and opposition…
Brion McClanahan
October 1, 2015
Blog

From the Saddle

John Rutledge of South Carolina is one of the most important men of the founding generation, but he has been lost to mainstream history. He is politically incorrect (most in the founding generation are) and his positions on the nature of federal power do not comport with modern nationalist interpretations of government. At 25, Rutledge was sent by South Carolina…
Brion McClanahan
September 17, 2015
Blog

Apostles of Racism

If the modern historical narrative is to be believed, then the antebellum North was the happy land of butterflies, flowers, rainbows, and racist free Americans who insisted on racial equality. Only in the South did anyone encounter “Apostles of Racism” as the historian Charles Dew labeled the 1861 Confederate commissioners to other Southern States. But was this so? Would antebellum Southerners…
Brion McClanahan
August 31, 2015
Blog

Secession For The North!

Two weeks ago, authorities combing through disgraced former IRS executive Lois Lerner's e-mails released a message she sent to a subordinate who had complained about a Texas Tea Party group. “Look my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best," she said.  "He should let the south go. We really do seem to have different mind sets.”  She…
Brion McClanahan
August 24, 2015
Blog

People Along the Way: Dan Smoot

Dan Smoot never considered himself to be a Southern conservative, though he was born and reared in Missouri and spent his early adult life in Texas.  He was one of the leading conservative voices in the 1960s and hosted a weekly television program titled "The Dan Smoot Report." There were once principled men who were willing to carry the conservative…
Brion McClanahan
August 20, 2015
Blog

The Southern Accent

https://youtu.be/XPfOL4wUuMU Thanks to Tom Daniel for shooting me this video.  This was made when the History Channel had real history in its program lineup.  Charlie Daniels narrates the segment.  For those looking to read more into this subject, please read David Hackett Fischer's seminal Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history) and Cleanth Brooks's The Language…
Brion McClanahan
July 27, 2015
Blog

June Top Ten

We had another record breaking month in June.  Thank you to all of those who support our efforts to explore what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition.  Here are the top ten articles for June.  "Lies My Teacher Told Me" is number one for the third straight month. 1. Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True History of…
Brion McClanahan
July 1, 2015
Blog

The Tuckers of Virginia

If any American today were to listen to the nationalists in charge of either the political class or American education at large, they would get the sense that it is settled science that the American Union is comprised of one people held together by a national government with uncontested sovereignty over all matters foreign and domestic.  Certainly, States and local…
Brion McClanahan
June 8, 2015
Blog

May Top Ten

1. Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True History of the War for Southern Independence by Clyde Wilson 2. The Sesquicentennial of the War for Southern Independence as Symbolic of the Fallen State of the South by William Cawthon 3. Why the South Fought by Sheldon Vanauken 4. Was the Fourteenth Amendment Constitutionally Adopted by Forrest McDonald 5. Yet Another…
Brion McClanahan
June 1, 2015
Blog

Jefferson Davis and The Lame Lion of Lynchburg

This piece was originally published June 3, 2014 at the Abbeville Blog. Senator John Warwick Daniel (1842-1910) of Lynchburg, Virginia was a gentleman's gentleman. Daniel served in the U.S. Senate from 1887 until his death in 1910 and was known as "The Lame Lion of Lynchburg" after being severely wounded in the War for Southern Independence. He was shot through…
Brion McClanahan
June 1, 2015
Blog

“Scientist of the Seas”

Few Americans know of the great American scientist Matthew Fontaine Maury, and those that do probably do not know of his steadfast devotion to the Confederate States during the War for Southern Independence or his firm commitment to the South and her people. Maury was a native Virginian and his father had once been a teacher to Thomas Jefferson. Maury…
Brion McClanahan
May 22, 2015
Blog

Lee in the Mountains, Part 2

Donald Davidson's (1893-1968) Lee in the Mountains was one of the first pieces we ran for the Abbeville Review when it was launched last April.  Davidson was one of the more important Southern intellectuals of the twentieth century.  His forays into both fiction and non-fiction helped establish the framework for what became known as the Southern agrarian movement.  His essay…
Brion McClanahan
May 11, 2015
Blog

April Top 10

The top ten for April 2015.  Thank you for a great one year anniversary for the new and improved Abbeville Institute website.  We exceeded our previous traffic for the entire year in April alone.  There is more to come in the near future, so please, like, share, and tweet our material, and if you are so inclined, please consider a tax deductible…
Brion McClanahan
May 2, 2015
Blog

We Are All Jeffersonians

Thomas Jefferson is perhaps the greatest enigma of the American age. He wrote and spoke on so many topics that he has become the symbol of virtually every strain of uniquely American political thought. Jefferson is the democrat, the agrarian, the federalist, the republican, the radical, the conservative, the statesman, the planter, the intellectual, the philosopher, the educator. Volumes have…
Brion McClanahan
April 13, 2015
Blog

The Antidote for Yankee Self-Righteous Delusional Disorder

The closing days of the sesquicentennial has offered media outlets the chance to reflect on the outcome of the War. The results were to be expected. Both “conservative” and “liberal” websites have lamented that the end of the War did not produce the sweeping political and social revolution that could have been, or in their minds should have been. Three…
Brion McClanahan
April 10, 2015
Blog

March Top 10

March was another great month at the Abbeville Institute. Thank you for your support, and please consider providing a tax deductible (to the full extent of the law) donation to help us explore what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition. Here are the top ten: 1. "United States 'History' as the Yankee Makes and Takes It," by Brion…
Brion McClanahan
April 1, 2015
Review Posts

True American Whiggery: John Tyler and Abel P. Upshur

This piece is taken from Brion McClanahan and Clyde Wilson Forgotten Conservatives in American History. Two dates changed the course of American political history. On 13 September 1841, the Whigs expelled President John Tyler from their Party, outraged over his “betrayal” of what they considered true Whig political and economic principles. Shorty over two years later, on 28 February 1844,…
Brion McClanahan
March 31, 2015
Blog

They Lived in the Age of Calhoun

If "history is the essence of innumerable biographies," as Thomas Carlyle wrote, then the historian has the advantage of witnessing past life from beginning to end.  This is a solemn task.  We see the spring and vigor of youth transform into the resolution and candor of manhood.  The winter of life comes quickly, often suddenly.  For some, the impending doom…
Brion McClanahan
March 20, 2015
Blog

“United States ‘History’ as the Yankee Makes and Takes It”

John Cussons had enough.  It was 1897, and for thirty-two years he had watched as "Northern friends of ours have been diligent in a systematic distortion of the leading facts of American history— inventing, suppressing, perverting, without scruple or shame—until our Southland stands to-day pilloried to the scorn of all the world and bearing on her front the brand of…
Brion McClanahan
March 13, 2015
Blog

February Top Ten

Thank you for making February the best month in the history of the Abbeville Institute!  Here are the top ten: 1. Do Confederate Veterans Count? by James Rutledge Roesch 2. All Hail Abe! by Brion McClanahan 3. What Every Southern Boy Should Know by Carl Jones 4. When the Yankees Come: Former South Carolina Slaves Remember the Invasion by Paul…
Brion McClanahan
March 2, 2015
Blog

All Hail Abe!

Today we celebrate the birthday of the log cabin born, rough-hewn, rail-splitting, bare-knuckled, “pock-faced, stoop-shouldered, slab-sided assistant storekeeper,” lewd, vulgar, uninspiring, “ordinary Western man” from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s life and image is a series of irreconcilable dichotomies: He had no military experience worth noting—he waged war on wild onion fields during the Black Hawk War and cleaned up the…
Brion McClanahan
February 12, 2015
Blog

January Top Ten

Thank you for making January one of the most visited months in the history of the Institute.  Don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter.  Here are the top ten articles from last month: 1. The Martin Luther King Congressional Cover Up: The Railroading of James Earl Ray by Marshall DeRosa 2. Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True…
Brion McClanahan
February 3, 2015
Blog

“Music means harmony, harmony means love, love means – God!”

Though his life was cut short by tuberculosis (he once wrote that his entire adult life, from Confederate soldier to ill scholar, had been spent trying to avoid death), Sidney Lanier left behind a full catalog of poetry for the soul.   His odes to nature, love, God, and the spirit of humanity should be better known among the American public,…
Brion McClanahan
February 3, 2015
Blog

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson

This essay is part of the chapter "Southerners" in Brion McClanahan's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes. The Northern essayist and Republican partisan E.L. Godkin wrote following the death of “Stonewall” Jackson in 1863 that Jackson was “the most extraordinary phenomenon of this extraordinary war. Pure, honest, simple-minded, unselfish, and brave, his death is a loss to the…
Brion McClanahan
January 21, 2015
Review Posts

Forgotten Founder George Mason

This essay is excerpted from Brion McClanahan's The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers and is presented here in honor of Mason's birthday, December 11. If a list were constructed of the most important Virginians in American history, George Mason would appear near the top. His influence on public policy, the Revolution, and the Constitution was far greater than…
Brion McClanahan
December 11, 2014
Blog

Please “Dump Dixie”

Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast believes “It’s Time to Dump Dixie.” Please do. He also thinks that there may be a point in the future when the South should have its independence. Hallelujah, but we tried that once and were forced to keep company with our “kind” neighbors to the North, those like Tomasky who call the South, “one…
Brion McClanahan
December 10, 2014
Blog

Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!

A modern student of American literature would be hard pressed to find anything written on or about Henry Timrod in a current anthology of American poetry. Bob Dylan and Langston Hughes will have text dedicated to their work, but not the Poet Laureate of the Confederacy, a man whose verse sparked men to action and whose sweet sorrow at the…
Brion McClanahan
December 8, 2014
Blog

November Top 10

The best of November, 2014. 1. Rehabbing Sherman, by James Rutledge Roesch 2. 20 Million Gone: The Southern Diaspora 1900-1970, by Clyde Wilson 3. What Would Lincoln Do?, by Brion McClanahan 4. Reconstruction: Violence and Dislocation, by Clyde Wilson 5. The Republican Charade: Lincoln and His Party, by Clyde Wilson 6. A Lonely Opposition, by Brion McClanahan 7. Painting the…
Brion McClanahan
December 1, 2014
Blog

A Lonely Opposition

This piece was originally published on November 16, 2012 on LewRockwell.com and is reprinted here by permission. On 20 March 1861, United States Senator James A. Bayard of Delaware began a three day speech on the prospects of war and the legality of secession. He began by offering a resolution in the hope of avoiding what he predicted would be…
Brion McClanahan
November 17, 2014
Blog

The Despot’s Song!

Southern history contains many fine examples of literary and artistic merit long ignored by contemporary scholars and forgotten by the American public at large, both North and South. Much of this is due to the impact that the War had on the perception of the Southern people. Students in American literature will get a cursory understanding of Southern literature, primarily…
Brion McClanahan
November 13, 2014
Blog

What Would Lincoln Do?

Originally published Nov. 8, 2014 on LewRockwell.com. The Republicans won. What’s next? In a November 5 opinion piece for the Washington Times, Charles Hurt postulates that this could be the “most dangerous two years in 150 years.” President Obama, Hurst fears, now has nothing to lose and will become more partisan as he moves farther to the Left. Hurst contends…
Brion McClanahan
November 10, 2014
Blog

Painting the Old South

As with literature, nineteenth-century American art is dominated by the North and Northern subjects. The Hudson River School, which incidentally found its greatest inspiration from the West, and most American artists of the Romantic period hailed from the Deep North. After the North won the War, the focus for the American mind shifted North and those who had carved a…
Brion McClanahan
November 7, 2014
Blog

October 2014 Top 10

Our top ten posts for October 2014. If you have not read any of these fine pieces, please do so and share with your friends. 1. “In All the Ancient Circles”: Tourism and the Decline of Charleston’s Elite Families by Jack Trotter 2. The Secessionist States of America by Brion McClanahan 3. Fortress Dixie by Ronnie Kennedy 4. Righteous Cause…
Brion McClanahan
November 3, 2014
Blog

Thomas F. Bayard, Sr.

Yesterday (October 29) was Thomas F. Bayard, Sr.'s birthday, the next to last member of the great Bayard congressional dynasty from Delaware. His great-grandfather, Richard Bassett, signed the Constitution. His grandfather, James A. Bayard, the elder, served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and cast the deciding vote for Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 election. His uncle,…
Brion McClanahan
October 30, 2014
Blog

The Secessionist States of America

This article originally appeared on LewRockwell.com. For years those who advocated even a scholarly examination of secession were labeled “crackpots” and “fringe radicals” by the establishment. Secession had gone out of fashion with hoopskirts and mint juleps and had been “settled” by the gun in 1865. That argument worked well while the American empire seemed to be the glorious land…
Brion McClanahan
October 17, 2014
Blog

We Need No Declaration of Independence

Many current Americans, indeed perhaps most, regard the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861 as a premeditated act of violence by South Carolina against the United States Government. They further assume that violence was both intended and desired by Southern leaders in the months leading to the War Between the States. After all, the South should have known that…
Brion McClanahan
October 8, 2014
Blog

The Constitution and Secession

The Scottish secession vote has led to a great number of pieces about the future of secession and its viability in the United States: 1. Ryan McMaken wrote about it at Mises Daily. 2. Business Insider featured a nice map on several secessionist movements in Europe. 3. Reuters wrote about a “shock” poll that showed one-quarter of Americans are open…
Brion McClanahan
September 26, 2014
Blog

Top “Unknown” Southern Rock Tunes, Part II

Part II in a two part series. Part I. 1. Elvin Bishop: Rock My Soul Most people only know Elvin Bishop from the Charlie Daniels tune "The South's Gonna Do It Again," but he had a pretty substantial hit in "Fooled Around and Fell in Love." This tune is everything Elvin Bishop was as a performer. "When you're feeling good,…
Brion McClanahan
September 23, 2014
Blog

Best “Unknown” Southern Rock Tunes

Part I of a Two Part Series A few months ago, Tommy Daniel and I posted two pieces on the Best Southern Rock Bands and the Best Southern Rock Albums. Most casual Southern music lovers have heard of the "big six" Southern rock bands--Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, and Molly…
Brion McClanahan
September 16, 2014
Blog

Stewart, the Judge, and the Tariff

In March, 2014, the Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart had Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News “debate” three “distinguished” Lincoln “scholars” in a game show format called, “The Weakest Lincoln.” The panel of scholars consisted of Lincoln apologist James Oaks, Manisha Sinha, whose works on American slavery and Southern history would make Charles Sumner blush for their for their…
Brion McClanahan
September 4, 2014
Blog

America

One of the oldest and most prestigious sporting events in modern Western Civilization, “The America’s Cup,” is set to begin next year, probably in San Diego. The sailing race has been held by challenge since 1851, the year the schooner America defeated the British (under the eye of Queen Victoria) and took the coveted trophy to New York where it…
Brion McClanahan
August 25, 2014
Review Posts

David Crockett

This essay is taken in part from the chapter "Frontiersman" in Brion McClanahan's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes (Politically Incorrect Guides) and is presented here in honor of Crockett's birthday, August 17. The modern actor Billy Bob Thornton once said David Crockett in the film The Alamo was his favorite role. John Wayne played him, too. Every…
Brion McClanahan
August 19, 2014
Blog

Fire-Cured Dark Leaf

Cotton and tobacco. For years those two agricultural products were as synonymous with the South as sweet tea and grits. Cotton still is, but tobacco has fallen out of favor, though Southerners still love it and use tobacco products in greater numbers per capita than any other people in America. Tobacco, not cotton, was king in Virginia throughout much of…
Brion McClanahan
August 15, 2014
Blog

The Abbeville Top Ten, April 1-Aug 12

Many readers are new to our blog and Review, so I thought it would be helpful to list the top ten viewed articles since we launched the new site April 7 (in order). If you have not read any of these fine pieces yet, please do so. 1. Lies My Teacher Told Me, by Clyde Wilson 2. Monsters of Virtuous…
Brion McClanahan
August 13, 2014
Blog

The Oldest South

It has become fashionable among contemporary historians to claim that the Southern identity was fabricated in the late antebellum period mostly as a result of the attack on slavery. Historians like Drew Gilpin Faust capitalized on this claim and used it as a springboard to land lucrative positions in history departments across the county, or in her case, to become…
Brion McClanahan
August 12, 2014
Blog

Nullification

I will be giving a talk to a large group of Oklahomans today (July 25) at the Reclaiming America for Christ Conference on nullification. This is a great event and will have thousands in attendance. In light of this, I wanted to republish a piece I wrote for LewRockwell.com in 2009 on the Tenth Amendment. Nullification and real federalism have…
Brion McClanahan
July 25, 2014
Review Posts

Is Davis A Traitor?

The introduction to Mike Church's edited volume of Albert Taylor Bledsoe's masterful work, Is Davis A Traitor? or Was Secession a Constitutional Right Previous to the War of 1861? The Congress of the Confederate States of America adopted “Deo Vindice” (God Will Vindicate) as the official motto of the Confederacy in 1864. Less than a year later, Robert E. Lee…
Brion McClanahan
July 23, 2014
Blog

The Fighting Gamecock

The University of South Carolina mascot is somewhat of a joke among SEC football fans. “Cocky” has won several awards for his die-hard performances, but it is the innuendo that often gets everyone excited or chuckling about the “Gamecocks.” Even before I decided to attend USC, I remember as an undergraduate (in Maryland) the running joke about Ball State playing…
Brion McClanahan
July 16, 2014
Blog

A Black Armband for Southern Education

Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in an effort to combat the “dark Federalist mills of the North” and keep Virginians home for their higher education. He was not alone in this endeavor. It had been customary for Southerners to travel north or to Europe for their advanced degrees, but by the middle of the nineteenth century, several institutions…
Brion McClanahan
July 11, 2014
Blog

Confederate Coca-Cola

Today (July 8) is Lt. Col. John Stith Pemberton's birthday. While not as important to the Confederacy as John C. Pemberton, John Stith Pemberton contributed more to American culture and to the image of the New South than virtually any man who donned the gray during the War for Southern Independence. Pemberton studied medicine at the Reform Medical College of…
Brion McClanahan
July 8, 2014
Blog

Rethinking the Declaration of Independence

The article originally was published by Townhall.com on July 4, 2010. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1825 that he intended the Declaration of Independence to be “an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.” Yet, he did not propose the Declaration should “find out new principles, or…
Brion McClanahan
July 4, 2014
Blog

The Republic of Alabama

The Republic of Alabama existed for a little less than a month in 1861. When the popularly elected Alabama Secession Convention of 1861 voted to secede from the Union, the State operated as a sovereign political community and freely joined the Confederate States of America as an independent State. The Confederate Constitution recognized the sovereignty of each State in its…
Brion McClanahan
June 24, 2014
Blog

When Good Men Do Nothing

On June 18, 1954, Albert Love Patterson, attorney general nominate for Alabama, was gunned down while getting into his car in a dark ally in Phenix City, Alabama. He had campaigned for months on a pledge to clean up corruption and organized crime in the State, but principally in Phenix City, a town once called the "wickedest city in America."…
Brion McClanahan
June 20, 2014
Blog

You Should Have Seen It In Color

For any historian, seeing or hearing the past, holding it in your hand, is almost euphoric. We trudge around cemeteries, carefully handle old letters, documents, and newspapers while every word drips like nectar from the pages, visit historic houses and museums to “hear” the artifacts talk—to feel the past—and pour over old photographs and paintings to understand the humanity of…
Brion McClanahan
June 17, 2014
Review Posts

Senator Sam

This essay is from Brion McClanahan and Clyde Wilson's Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012). In 1973, Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina was perhaps the most respected and popular member of the United States Congress. His role in the televised Watergate hearings as chairman of the Senate Select Committee led one member of Congress to remark that he…
Brion McClanahan
June 16, 2014
Blog

King Numbers

June 2 was John Randolph of Roanoke's (1773-1833) birthday. We at the Abbeville Institute missed it during our week dedicated to Jefferson Davis, but the two could have been celebrated in tandem. Davis's cause in 1861 was no less than what Randolph consistently championed during his long career in the United States Congress. The "American Burke" as he has been…
Brion McClanahan
June 10, 2014
Blog

Whistlin’ Dixie Loud Enough to Brag

Many music fans believe Southern rock died in 1977 when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in the Mississippi woods. Certainly, there were Southern bands that had some commercial success afterward—Molly Hatchet, .38 Special, Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams, Jr.—but the Southern sound quickly disappeared from mainstream rock music and was replaced by the pop-driven scene out of Los Angeles and New York.…
Brion McClanahan
May 30, 2014
Blog

Whistlin’ Dixie Loud Enough to Brag

Many music fans believe Southern rock died in 1977 when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in the Mississippi woods. Certainly, there were Southern bands that had some commercial success afterward—Molly Hatchet, .38 Special, Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams, Jr.—but the Southern sound quickly disappeared from mainstream rock music and was replaced by the pop-driven scene out of Los Angeles and New York.…
Brion McClanahan
May 30, 2014
Blog

“Liberty Ought to be the Direct End of Your Government”

One of the greatest American statesmen, Patrick Henry, was born on this day (May 29) in 1736. Jefferson once said that Henry single-handedly delivered Virginia to the cause of independence. He also said that Henry was the laziest reader he knew, and modern critics consider Henry to have been nothing more than a sliver-tongued, hayseed demagogue. Certainly, he did not…
Brion McClanahan
May 29, 2014
Blog

“Liberty Ought to be the Direct End of Your Government”

One of the greatest American statesmen, Patrick Henry, was born on this day (May 29) in 1736. Jefferson once said that Henry single-handedly delivered Virginia to the cause of independence. He also said that Henry was the laziest reader he knew, and modern critics consider Henry to have been nothing more than a sliver-tongued, hayseed demagogue. Certainly, he did not…
Brion McClanahan
May 29, 2014
Blog

Cheesehead Secessionists

In April, several members of the Wisconsin Republican Party inserted a resolution in the State Party platform expressly recognizing the right of their State to secede from the Union. It was voted down May 3, but the move received national press. The Daily Beast published an article on both the resolution and modern secession movements in Vermont and Alaska, and…
Brion McClanahan
May 22, 2014
Blog

Cheesehead Secessionists

In April, several members of the Wisconsin Republican Party inserted a resolution in the State Party platform expressly recognizing the right of their State to secede from the Union. It was voted down May 3, but the move received national press. The Daily Beast published an article on both the resolution and modern secession movements in Vermont and Alaska, and…
Brion McClanahan
May 22, 2014
Review Posts

Democracy, Liberty, Equality: Lincoln’s American Revolution

Several months ago, The American Conservative magazine reviewed Forgotten Conservatives in American History, a book I co-authored with Clyde Wilson, and one reader left an online comment about the book. Normally, I do not discuss responses to reviews, but this one caught my eye, in particular because the reader admits that they know little about conservatism yet think they are…
Brion McClanahan
May 12, 2014
Blog

St. Elmo

Most people who visit or live in Columbus, Georgia probably don't realize that one of the most famous houses in American literature sits on a back street near Lakebottom Park in the midtown section of the city. The impressive Greek revival home, first named El Dorado, was built by Colonel Seaborn Jones between 1828 and 1833. Jones' daughter married Hennry…
Brion McClanahan
May 9, 2014
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“I Make American Citizens and Run Cotton Mills to Pay the Expenses.”

The Callaway Gardens visitors center in Pine Mountain, Georgia shows a film explaining the history of the Callaway family, their conservation efforts, and the Gardens itself. At one point, the film directly refutes the conservation ethos made popular by Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt, namely that private individuals ruin land while governments protect and preserve it. The Gardens are hailed…
Brion McClanahan
May 5, 2014
Blog

The Art of Southern Manliness

What attributes make a man? More importantly, what made a Southern man? Two famous Southern men had much to say about this. George Washington and Lighthorse Harry Lee, Robert E. Lee's father, spilled ink on the subject, Washington in a short book titled Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation and Lee in letters to his eldest…
Brion McClanahan
April 30, 2014
Blog

James Monroe and the Principles of ’76

James Monroe was born today (April 28) in 1757. He is one of the more misunderstood and maligned Presidents of the United States. Historians typically rank him as no better than "average." This is unjust and an indictment of the historical profession. Monroe, they suggest, lacked leadership and energy in the executive office. He should have been more like Lincoln…
Brion McClanahan
April 28, 2014
Blog

Birds of America

The antebellum American South did not have any artists of note. This misconception has been perpetuated since the end of the War in 1865, perhaps even earlier. Sully, Trumbull, Stuart, West, and even the Peale family (though originally from Maryland) are all claimed by or hailed from the North. The Hudson River School dominated the American Romantic period, and none…
Brion McClanahan
April 26, 2014
Blog

Top Southern Rock Albums

In light of Tom Daniel's post "Top 11 Southern Rock Bands," I thought I would create a list of my top Southern rock albums. Many of these records are from the bands he mentions, but I included several others. How did I choose? I selected albums that have stood or will stand the test of time and that can be…
Brion McClanahan
April 16, 2014
Blog

Jefferson Davis and the Kenner Mission

A few months back, I had a student ask me about Don Livingston's characterization of Jefferson Davis in a paper he presented to the Mises Institute in 1995 titled "The Secession Tradition in America." The student wondered if Livingston's statement, "Jefferson Davis was an enlightened slave holder who said that once the Confederacy gained its independence, it would mean the…
Brion McClanahan
April 14, 2014
Blog

Daniel Boone Was A Man

Daniel Boone by John James Audubon "Daniel Boone was a man, yes a big man." So began the (now not so) famous Ballad of Daniel Boone by legendary Southern actor Fess Parker. Parker portrayed Boone from 1964-1970 on the television series of the same name. It would be impossible to produce that show today. Boone is the antithesis of the…
Brion McClanahan
April 11, 2014
Blog

BBQ and the Hillbilly Homeboy

February 2014 saw the passing of Maurice Bessinger and Tim Wilson, two Southerners who represented different elements of Southern culture: barbeque and comedy respectively. No one cooks like Southerners. This dates to the colonial period. It used to be said that Southerners dined, Yankees just ate. David Hackett Fischer noted in his significant work Albion's Seed that colonial Virginians enjoyed…
Brion McClanahan
April 10, 2014
Blog

Sunnyside and Sleepy Hollow

April 3 was Washington Irving's birthday. While not a Southerner, Irving would have supported the South in its fight for independence in 1861 had he been alive to see it. He at least would have been opposed to coercion. Many notable New Yorkers, and for that matter Canadians, too, believed the same. Two fine treatments on this issue are Clint…
Brion McClanahan
April 9, 2014
Blog

Sweet Home Alabama

Forty years ago today, Lynyrd Skynyrd released their second album titled Second Helping. The effort contained what has become the quintessential Southern rock anthem, Sweet Home Alabama. Skynyrd, along with Georgia's The Allman Brothers Band, Tennessee's Charlie Daniels Band, and South Carolina's Marshall Tucker Band, were part of a Southern music revival in the 1970s. Being Southern was chic. Everyone…
Brion McClanahan
April 7, 2014
Blog

Coming Home

Many black Southerners headed North in the early twentieth century in search of a better life. Most didn't find it. Now, many are coming home. The Christian Science Monitor recently made this trend a cover story. In the early twentieth century, black Americans constituted less than five percent of the total population of every Northern State. This was not by…
Brion McClanahan
April 3, 2014
Review Posts

Southern Conservatism and the “Gilded Age”

Russell Kirk called the early post-bellum period in American history the age of “Conservatism Frustrated.” He lamented that the leading members of the conservative mind from 1865-1918 flirted with the radicalism of their compeers both before and during the Civil War and now were left with the daunting task of closing Pandora’s Box, a Box they helped open: The New…
Brion McClanahan
April 3, 2014