Tag

Clyde Wilson

Clyde Wilson Library

Confederate Connections

A friend of mine, a scholar of international reputation and a Tar Heel by birth, was visiting professor at a very prestigious Northern university a few years ago. In idle conversation with some colleagues, he happened to mention that his mother was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. His…
Clyde Wilson
June 4, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Antebellum Southerners in Europe

I want to look at Southerners going back to Europe long after the roots were planted, especially in the period before the second War of Independence began in 1861. The reason for looking at this is what it tells us about Southerners. One of the things it tells us is that we Southerners were a people. Our relationship to Europe…
Clyde Wilson
May 20, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

The South and the West, Part 2

It seems my mission here is to bring to your attention unfamiliar and unfashionable truths about American history. Let me give you another one. The American West, the frontier, was NOT conquered and settled by a “Nation of Immigrants.” George Washington was already the fifth generation of his family in Virginia, as were most of his neighbours. There was a…
Clyde Wilson
May 13, 2015
Blog

New From Southern Pens, Part 2

Maryland Redeemed Everybody knows that our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was written by Francis Scott Key as he watched the British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812. Almost nobody knows the rest of the story. In 1861, Key’s grandson, Francis Key Howard, was locked up in Fort McHenry.   Howard wrote: “The flag which…
Clyde Wilson
May 8, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

The South and the West, Part 1

When our ever-wise leader set up a program on the American West, he obviously had in mind the geographic west of North America—the Great Plains, mountains, and Pacific coast beyond the Colorado, Red, Arkansas, and Missouri rivers. But when Americans emerged onto the Great Plains in the second third of the 19th century, they were already the inheritors of two…
Clyde Wilson
May 6, 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
Clyde Wilson Library

Should the South Survive?

This essay served as the introduction to Why the South Will Survive(University of Georgia Press, 1981). OF THE MAKING of books about the South there is no end. This one differs from most in at least one respect—its unembarrassed embrace of the notion that the South is a national asset, a priceless and irreplaceable treasure that must be conserved. The…
Clyde Wilson
April 29, 2015
Blog

The Ides of March 2015

Abbeville scholar Clyde Wilson recently received this charming from Ms. Joscelyn Dunlop of Edenton, North Carolina. It neatly ties together Southern life in the WBTS, the 1930s, and today. Dear Dr. Wilson, Just a line to let you know what a pleasure it is to read your columns in my favorite magazine, which seems astonishingly like the late lamented SOUTHERN…
Clyde Wilson
April 24, 2015
Blog

New From Southern Pens

Karen Stokes’s Reconstruction Novel Awhile back it  was  theorised by some that Southern literature’s era of greatness was coming to an end with the changes taking place in our region.  Abbeville Scholar Karen Stokes of Charleston  single-handedly disproves that  theory.  If I count correctly, seven books published in about as many years—four history and three fiction.  It is rare to…
Clyde Wilson
April 22, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Thomas Jefferson, Conservative

In 1809 Thomas Jefferson yielded up the Presidency and crossed into Virginia. In the 17 active years remaining to him he never left it. The first volume of Malone's masterpiece, published in 1948, was Jefferson the Virginian. The sixth and last is The Sage of Monticello. Jefferson begins and ends with Virginia. Keep this fact in mind. It will save…
Clyde Wilson
April 15, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

What to Say About Dixie?

What to say in brief compass about the South?—a subject that is worthy of the complete works of a Homer, a Shakespeare, or a Faulkner. The South is a geographical/historical/cultural reality that has provided a crucial source of identity for millions of people for three centuries. Long before there was an entity known as "the United States of America." there…
Clyde Wilson
April 8, 2015
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part XV

They call it progress, but they don’t say where it is going. --Faulkner Nothing occurs except the heaping up of tyranny and insult from Washington by the meanest most cowardly and unprincipled lot of men ever assembled together to curse any people. --Mary Custis Lee, 1868 Nothing is more ruinous to a nation than the defective education of its populace.…
Clyde Wilson
April 3, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

A Southern Tradition: Restraining Bad Government

In talking about the Southern political tradition, it is most appropriate to point to the North Carolina Regulators and the Battle of Alamance Creek. This event was, in fact, only one of many such episodes in the colonial South--in the first 169 years of our history as Southerners before the first War of Independence. There was Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia…
Clyde Wilson
April 1, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Hanging with the Snarks: An Academic Memoir

There seemed to be little interest among audience members in whether the ideas I had presented were true, only whether their application would bring about results they liked. I used to have a running argument with a colleague, a great scholar now gathered to his fathers, during late afternoon seminars catered by the good folks at Jack Daniels. The argument…
Clyde Wilson
March 25, 2015
Blog

Calhoun on American Government, Politics, and War

"When it comes to be once understood that politics is a game; that those who are engaged in it but act a part; that they make this or that profession, not from honest conviction or intent to fulfill it, but as the means of deluding the people, and through that delusion to acquire power, when such professions are to be…
Clyde Wilson
March 19, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

“A Senator of Rome when Rome Survived.”

This selection was originally printed in Brion McClanahan and Clyde Wilson, Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012). Of the Great Triumvirate who dominated American public discourse from the War of 1812 till the mid-19th century, John C. Calhoun was the first to depart the scene, in 1850. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster lived a few more years. In a…
Clyde Wilson
March 18, 2015
Blog

John C. Calhoun: A Statesman for the 21st Century

Your ordinary run-of-the mill historian will tell you that John C. Calhoun, having defended the bad and lost causes of state rights and slavery, deserves to rest forever in the dustbin of history. Nothing could be further from the truth. No American public figure after the generation of the Founding Fathers has more to say to later times than Calhoun.…
Clyde Wilson
March 16, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Scratching Fleas: American Historians and Their History

There is no group I would rather receive recognition from than the John Randolph Club. I want to thank my valued comrade-in-arms Tom Fleming for this occasion. Tom is the truly indispensable man. Can you imagine a world without Tom Fleming and Chronicles? It would be immeasurably more intellectually, culturally, and morally impoverished than it already is. I would not…
Clyde Wilson
March 11, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

The Treasury of Counterfeit Virtue

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us!” —Robert Burns Not long ago, a well-known conservative historian lamented that the American public had not been morally engaged to undergo sacrifice after the 9/11 attacks, unlike their heroic predecessors after Fort Sumter and Pearl Harbour. Wait a minute. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were massive…
Clyde Wilson
March 4, 2015
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part XIV

I have seen enough of publick men to come to the conclusion, that there are few, indeed, whose attachment to self is not stronger, than their patriotism and their friendship. --Calhoun We are children of the earth. We are not unlike the Titans, the earthborn giants of mythology, who were invincible in battle only as long as their feet were…
Clyde Wilson
February 25, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Sherman’s March

The History Channel’s recent presentation of "Sherman’s March" has been rightly drawing a lot of criticism from those of us who care about such things. In theory, historical events should become clearer as time passes and the controversies they involved grow less heated. But that is not the case in regard to the War to Prevent Southern Independence—because the myth…
Clyde Wilson
February 18, 2015
Blog

It Could Have Been Worse, Probably

Review of the new film Field of Lost Shoes: I have written before here and here about the treatment of the South in film. A new entry into that dubious field is the recent “Field of Lost Shoes.” It purports to tell the story of the Virginia Military Institute cadets who at great sacrifice participated in driving back the invading…
Clyde Wilson
February 13, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

The War Lover

The American Enterprise magazine, a slick-paper, coffee-table arm of the neocon publishing empire, has recognized the premiere of the Civil War film epic "Gods and Generals" by devoting its March issue to the Late Unpleasantness. TAE brings out some deep thinkers to examine American history 1861 – 1865 under the rubric "Just War." (Shouldn't there be a question mark in…
Clyde Wilson
February 11, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

M. E. Bradford, The Agrarian Aquinas

I have called M.E. Bradford the Agrarian Aquinas. He did not write a Summa, but his work as a whole enriched and carried into new territory the message of I’ll Take My Stand on a broad front of literature, history, and political thought. He came at a crucial time when Richard Weaver had passed his peak of influence and the…
Clyde Wilson
February 4, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Origins of the Educational Nightmare

John Chodes, Destroying the Republic: Jabez Curry and the Re-Education of the Old South. New York: Algora Publishing. 332 pp. $29.95 (quality paperback) Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry of Alabama (1825–1903) was one of those fairly numerous 19th century Americans whose lives of astounding talent and energy put to shame the diminished leaders of the U.S. in the 21st century. Or…
Clyde Wilson
January 29, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Confederate Flag Day

I am honoured to be back in my native State (North Carolina) where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great. We are here on this occasion both to remember our Confederate forefathers and to honour them in their heroic War for Southern Independence. We do right to remember and honour our Confederate forebears, first of all because they…
Clyde Wilson
January 19, 2015
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part XIII

South Carolina will preserve its sovereignty, or be buried beneath its ruins.  --Governor Robert Y. Hayne, 1832 I have lived too long not to know how reluctantly the clearest proposition is admitted against preconceived opinions.   --Calhoun Justice is truth in action.   --Joubert The primary object of the criminal law is not to secure liberty or privilege, but to take them…
Clyde Wilson
January 8, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Cincinnatus, Call the Office!

“. . . a republican government, which many great writers assert to be incapable of subsisting long, except by the preservation of virtuous principles.” — John Taylor of Caroline The United States Senate, one summer morning near the end of the session in 1842, was busy with routine reception of committee reports. The Committee on the Judiciary reported favorably on…
Clyde Wilson
December 31, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part XII

Experience has taught me, that in politicks, it is much more easy to gain the battle, than to reap its fruits. --Calhoun I had not realized how offensive the plain truth can be to the politically correct, how enraged they can be by its mere expression, and how deeply they detest the values and standards respected 50 years ago and…
Clyde Wilson
December 31, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part XI

It has been a rule with me, from which I have rarely departed, to pass in silence the misrepresentations to which I have been subject, in the discharge of my public duties;  leaving it to my after conduct to stamp the charge of falsehood on them.    --Calhoun Whenever  I  need  a  psychiatrist  I go fly  fishing, holding a boat to…
Clyde Wilson
December 26, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part X

  What are people for? --Wendell Berry I do not view politicks as a scramble between eminent men; but as a science by which the lasting interest of the country may be advanced. --Calhoun Citizens must fight to defend the law as if fighting to hold the city wall. --Heraclitus Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest…
Clyde Wilson
December 16, 2014
Blog

The True Fire Within

  A review of Henry Timrod: A Biography by Walter Brian Cisco, Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickison University Press, 2001. 168 pages. Henry Timrod died in 1867 at the age of thirty-nine from tuberculosis--his end aggravated and hastened by inadequate food and the rigors of eking out a living amidst the charred ruins of South Carolina's capital city. The newspaper which…
Clyde Wilson
December 9, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Literature in the Old South

In an ideal world the separate studies of history and literature would enlighten one another. A historian—whether of republican Rome, seventeenth century France, the Old South, or any other subject—would gain insights into an era from its imaginative literature. Insights of a kind to be found nowhere else, for the best imaginative literature is created by the most acute consciousnesses…
Clyde Wilson
December 2, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part IX

It is not in the power of any single, or few individuals to preserve liberty. It can only be effected by the people themselves; by their intelligence, virtue, courage, and patriotism. –Calhoun Rules in war have purpose. Every broken rule deepens the hate between enemies. Every rule preserved keeps hate at bay. --Christian Cameron I lived this long by never…
Clyde Wilson
December 1, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part VIII

It is the very genius of a consolidated Government to elevate one portion of the Community, while it corrupts the other. --Calhoun Generally, however, the secession movement was a remarkable testament to the compact theory of government, which Jefferson, more than anyone, had fixed upon the American political mind. --Merrill D. Petersen Never ascribe to malice what can be adequately…
Clyde Wilson
November 21, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

The Republican Charade: Lincoln and His Party

"To parties of special interests, all political questions appear exclusively as problems of political tactics." I want to take a look at this strange institution we know as the Republican party and the course of its peculiar history in the American regime. The peculiar history both precedes and continues after Lincoln, although Lincoln is central to the story. It is…
Clyde Wilson
November 19, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Nolan’s Myth of the “Lost Cause”

"Your enemy is not a criminal just because he is your enemy." —Saying credited to the founder of Israeli intelligence. "How could we help falling on our knees, all of us together, and praying God to forgive us all." —Joshua Chamberlain on the surrender at Appomattox. Gary W. Gallagher and Alan T. Nolan, eds., The Myth Of The Lost Cause…
Clyde Wilson
November 17, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Tiger’s Meat: William Gilmore Simms and the History of the Revolution

In the early days of the United States, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton remarked: "The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment." The common national sentiment—among American peoples diverse in economic interests, folkways, and political agendas—mainly rested on a fraternal sense of the shared perils and triumphs of the War of Independence, prior to…
Clyde Wilson
November 11, 2014
Review Posts

Twenty Million Gone: The Southern Diaspora, 1900—1970

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yKesnaFYUw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DkcQ09h2Vo That is Bobby Bare on Detroit and Dwight Yoakam on Los Angeles. Sometimes there are significant movements in history that go unnoticed because they take place slowly over a long period of time and are marked by no major event. The Southern Diaspora of the 20th century is such a movement. Twelve million white and eight million black…
Clyde Wilson
November 10, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part VII

The Constitutional power of the President never was or could be formidable, unless it was accompanied by a Congress which was prepared to corrupt the Constitution. --Calhoun Devolution is not an event, it is a process. --John Davies, Welsh nationalist leader And as for unrequited love, it is seldom fatal, Shakespeare having observed with great sapience: “Men have died from…
Clyde Wilson
November 5, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Reconstruction: Violence and Dislocation

The final part in this installment is a lecture entitled, "Reconstruction in the Experience of the Southern People," delivered at the 2009 Summer School. Violence is a big subject in Reconstruction. There was certainly violence, ranging from personal assaults to riots to pitched battles in which people were killed. However, I doubt that it was as prevalent or as decisive…
Clyde Wilson
October 30, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners Part VI

When did the South ever lay its hand on the North? --Calhoun The body of a Confederate soldier was discovered near here a few days ago. I think I will go over and apologise. --Ambrose Bierce, former Union soldier Therefore I charge the young not to despise hunting or any other schooling. For these are the means by which men…
Clyde Wilson
October 28, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners Part V

I never claimed a victory, though I stated that Lee was defeated in his efforts to destroy my army. --Gen. George G. Meade, Union commander at Gettysburg The army did all it could. I feel I required of it impossibilities. But it responded to the call nobly and cheerfully, and though it did not win a victory it conquered a…
Clyde Wilson
October 16, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part IV

A good dog needs no pedigree, and if a dog ain’t any good, a pedigree don’t help him none. --Havilah Babcock Southerners are the world’s worst record-keepers. --Havilah Babcock It is true that we are completely under the saddle of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and that they ride us very hard, cruelly insulting our feelings, as well as exhausting our strength…
Clyde Wilson
October 10, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners, Part III

Reality is what continues to exist whether you believe in it or not. --Philip K. Dick There is but one rule if you want to be a man---absolutely but one---and that is to do your level best to reach a clear, correct idea of what is right, and then stick to it and fight for it, in spite of the…
Clyde Wilson
October 6, 2014
Blog

The (Modern) American Citizenship Exam

These 40 questions have been carefully designed to test your qualifications as a citizen. The test is self-administered, but please be honest. Answer each question with "Agree" or "Disagree." The more questions you can answer with "Agree," the better-qualified you are to be a good citizen of 21st century America. Politicians really care about the people’s welfare. The media really…
Clyde Wilson
October 3, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Small Is Beautiful

When I first heard of the topic "Small is Beautiful," I thought of the wonderful motto of Chilton Williamson's friend Edward Abbey: "Growth is the Enemy of Progress." Abbey went right to the heart of the matter. The false but pervasive premise of American life is that progress and growth are the same thing and are defined and justified by…
Clyde Wilson
October 2, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Please Tread On Me

“Sic Semper Tyrannis.” — from the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia “I want everybody to hear loud and clear that I’m going to be the president of everybody” — George W. Bush “I hope we get to the bottom of the answer. It’s what I’m interested to know” — George W. Bush A bit of folklore, often retailed,…
Clyde Wilson
October 1, 2014
Blog

Citizen Faulkner: “What We Did, In Those Old Days”

In honor of William Faulkner's birthday (Sept 25), Clyde Wilson discusses Faulkner as a conservative. This essay first appeared in Clyde Wilson and Brion McClanahan, Forgotten Conservatives in American History William Faulkner is of course a giant of 20th century literature. Study of his works of fiction is an immense and world-wide scholarly industry. Most of the vast published commentary…
Clyde Wilson
September 25, 2014
Review Posts

James Jackson: Forgotten Founding Father

This essay appears in Clyde Wilson and Brion McClanahan, Forgotten Conservatives in American History and is reprinted here in honor of Jackson's birthday, Sept 21. James Jackson did not sign the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. But his heroism in the War of Independence and his exemplary integrity and republican statesmanship in the first days of the U.S. government…
Clyde Wilson
September 22, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners Part II

Swagger and ferocity, built on a foundation of vulgarity and cowardice, those are his characteristics, and these are the most prominent marks by which his countrymen, generally speaking, are known all over the world. --The Times of London on “the Yankee breed,” 1862. We sometimes wonder if the Yankees do not get weary themselves of this incessant round of prevarication,…
Clyde Wilson
September 18, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

The Lincoln War Crimes Trial: A History Lesson

This essay originally appeared in Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture. In the previous chapter we discussed the early stages of the North American War of Secession of 1861-63 as the minority Lincoln government attempted to suppress the legal secession of the Southern United States by military invasion. In this chapter we will discuss the conclusion of the…
Clyde Wilson
September 17, 2014
Blog

Sayings By or For Southerners

While I could never with safety repose confidence in a Yankee, I have never been deceived by an Indian. ---Daniel Boone That cold-blooded demon called Science has taken the place of all the other demons. . . . Whether we are better for his intervention is another story. ---William Gilmore Simms The inclination to command compliance with one’s ideas is…
Clyde Wilson
September 11, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Reconstruction as a Problem in Statesmanship

How do you achieve peace and normal life after a civil war? Of course the War to Prevent Southern Independence was not really a civil war since the South did not want to control the U.S., just to be let alone. Strictly speaking it was a war of conquest. However, it was in spirit a civil war since it was…
Clyde Wilson
September 8, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Reconstruction

Reconstruction. There is no part of American history in which what is taught these days is more distorted by false assumptions and assertions. For leftists, Reconstruction can be celebrated as a high point of revolutionary change and egalitarian forward thrust in American history. This interpretation is untrue in the terms in which they portray it, but that is the dominant,…
Clyde Wilson
September 1, 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
Clyde Wilson Library

Shakespeare Spoke Southern

One of the cultural markers that has identified that which we call Southern from the undistinguished mass of American nonculture is language. Obviously pronunciation is involved here, but also words, idiom, usage, style. A few years ago there was a celebrated (and therefore naturally very stupid) series on PBS on the English language. According to this series the only distinctive…
Clyde Wilson
August 13, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

What is a Southerner?

Expert testimony in several federal court cases: Scholars in every field in the humanities and social sciences have long recognized that Southerners have formed a distinct people within the body of Americans from the earliest colonial times to the present. Authorities in history, political science, economics, sociology, folklore, literature, geography, speech, and music, have recognized and studied the significance of…
Clyde Wilson
August 13, 2014
Blog

The Real Constitution

The real U.S. Constitution, which was scrapped long ago, does not permit judges to be its final interpreters, executive orders, coercion of the people of a State by the federal government, delegation of control of the currency to a private banking cartel, the subsidy of private corporations, or calling the militia to active service except in case of invasion or…
Clyde Wilson
August 7, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True History of the War for Southern Independence

We Sons of Confederate Veterans are charged with preserving the good name of the Confederate soldier. The world, for the most part, has acknowledged what Gen. R. E. Lee described in his farewell address as the “valour and devotion” and “unsurpassed courage and fortitude” of the Confederate soldier. The Stephen D. Lee Institute program is dedicated to that part of…
Clyde Wilson
July 22, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Those People Part 2

The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal despotism as modern times have witnessed. —Francis Key Howard, a prisoner of Lincoln at Fort McHenry, 1861 Slavery is no more the cause of this war than gold is the cause of robbery. —Governor Joel Parker…
Clyde Wilson
July 15, 2014
Blog

Presidents Quiz

*What American President launched a massive invasion of another country that posed no threat, and without a declaration of war? *What President raised a huge army at his own will without the approval of Congress? *What President started a war of choice in violation of every principle of Christian just war teaching? *What President said that he had to violate…
Clyde Wilson
July 15, 2014
Blog

The Wizard of the Saddle

One of the greatest men in American history was born on this date (July 13) in 1821 near the town of Chapel Hill, Tennessee, then known as Bledsoe’s Lick. It is said that a few years after the great American war of 1861—1865 an Englishman asked General R.E. Lee who was the greatest soldier produced by the war. Lee answered…
Clyde Wilson
July 14, 2014
Blog

Hollywood’s South: Family Night Down Home

Last in a six part series. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. As we all know, in recent times, Southerners, so far as Hollywood is concerned, are subhuman. A Southern accent or a Southern flag is a sure sign of murderous and/or stupid character. Yet it has not always been so, as we tried to show…
Clyde Wilson
July 10, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

The Other Side of Union

The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern States. —Charles Dickens, 1862 Slavery is no more the cause of this war than gold is the cause of robbery. —Governor Joel Parker of New Jersey, 1863 Sixteen years after publishing his classic of American…
Clyde Wilson
July 9, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Those People Part 1

The North is full of tangled things . . . . —G.K. Chesterton A meddling Yankee is God's worst creation; he cannot run his own affairs correctly, but is constantly interfering in the affairs of others, and he is always ready to repent of everyone's sins, but his own. —North Carolina newspaper, 1854 The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no…
Clyde Wilson
July 9, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

John Taylor’s Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States, Part 2

We now approach the heart of Taylor's Inquiry: recent times had created a new type of privileged order exercising dominion in a new way. This was the “paper and patronage aristocracy,” a form of government that had been perfected by England. John Adams had completely failed to notice the new type of regime (although, in fact, he actually wrote most…
Clyde Wilson
June 26, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

John C. Calhoun and Slavery as a “Positive Good:” What Calhoun Did Not Say

In what became the United States, servitude of people of the black African race existed for about two and a half centuries. The subject of American slavery is today so entertwined with unhealthy and present-centered emotions and motives—guilt, shame, hypocricy, projection, prurient imagination, propaganda, vengeance, extortion—as to defy rational historical discussion. Curiously, the much longer flourishing of African bondage—in the…
Clyde Wilson
June 25, 2014
Blog

Hollywood’s New South

(Part 5 of a 6-part series on the South in cinema) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. As you know, the folks who dominate the American movie industry regard the South only as the weirdest and most dangerous part of that unknown territory between the JFK runways and L.A. International. Besides, Yankees since the 17th century have regularly…
Clyde Wilson
June 24, 2014
Blog

Hollywood–South by West

Part 4 in a 5 part series. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. In 1902 the Philadelphia aristocrat Owen Wister published what has been called “the first true Western novel.” It was set in Wyoming and entitled The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains. Think about it. What is “a Virginian” doing in Wyoming? In fact, Wister was right on…
Clyde Wilson
June 20, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

John Taylor’s Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States, Part 1

John Taylor (1753–1824) of Caroline County, Virginia, is the most important, profound, prophetic and neglected American political thinker of the Revolution and early national period. To explore his thinking is, for a twenty-first century American, an adventure in time travel. We return home amazed—much enlightened about our forefathers' world and with new perspectives on our own. Taylor is the Jeffersonians’…
Clyde Wilson
June 19, 2014
Blog

“When the American Nation Finds Itself Culturally . . .”

Hermann Keyserling was an Austrian writer quite well-known internationally in the early 20th century for his philosophical works and travel accounts. After an extended visit to the U.S., he published in 1929 an essay in a popular American magazine which included this passage: “When the American nation finds itself culturally, the hegemony will inevitably pass over to the South. There…
Clyde Wilson
June 19, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Southern Culture: From Jamestown to Walker Percy

"Nations are the wealth of mankind, its generalized personalities; the least among them has its own unique coloration and harbors within itself a unique facet of God's design." —Alesandr Solzhenitsyn James Warley Miles was librarian of the College of Charleston in the mid-nineteenth century. He was also an ordained Episcopal priest. Miles had spent some years in the Near and…
Clyde Wilson
June 18, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Can the South Survive?

(I’ll Take My Stand 75th anniversary conference, Franklin, Tennessee) The Twelve Southerners have been justly praised for their powers of prophecy. In reading ITMS once more after several years, it struck me that their description of the unhappy tendency toward the massification of American life and mind—what they called industrialism—is even more precisely accurate in 2005 than it was in…
Clyde Wilson
June 11, 2014
Blog

Clyde N. Wilson

Most people don't know, but today (June 11) is Clyde Wilson's birthday. I had the honor of being Clyde's last doctoral student. I first met Clyde in the Spring of 1997 as a senior in college trying to decide where to attend graduate school. My top choices were South Carolina and Alabama, Clyde Wilson or Forrest McDonald. My advisor as…
Brion McClanahan
June 11, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Nullification Reconsidered

With the destructive evil of centralized power becoming every day more evident and 10th Amendment resolutions appearing in various State capitals, publication this month of the second volume of Professor W. Kirk Wood's magisterial three-volume "Nullification:A Constitutional History, 1776-1833" is serendipitous. For the first time in a half century and long past due, serious people are beginning to search for…
Clyde Wilson
June 2, 2014
Blog

Hollywood’s South — 20th Century Wars

(3rd in a 5-part series) Hollywood’s treatment of Southerners in the vast output of World War II movies is a mixed bag. There is a fair amount of favourable portrayal of Southerners. This doubtless reflects the good will with which the American public entered the war and its recognition that we were needed and doing our part or more. On…
Clyde Wilson
May 30, 2014
Blog

Hollywood’s South — 20th Century Wars

(3rd in a 5-part series) Hollywood’s treatment of Southerners in the vast output of World War II movies is a mixed bag. There is a fair amount of favourable portrayal of Southerners. This doubtless reflects the good will with which the American public entered the war and its recognition that we were needed and doing our part or more. On…
Clyde Wilson
May 30, 2014
Blog

Confederate Hollywood Part 2

In Part 1 we demonstrated how during Hollywood’s Golden Age nearly every Northern-born major star willingly portrayed a sympathetic and admirable Confederate character. That phenomenon has continued up to the present. Admirable Confederates still appear played by major actors. What has changed in recent times is that there have been evil Confederates appearing more often on the screen and the…
Clyde Wilson
May 28, 2014
Blog

Confederate Hollywood Part 2

In Part 1 we demonstrated how during Hollywood’s Golden Age nearly every Northern-born major star willingly portrayed a sympathetic and admirable Confederate character. That phenomenon has continued up to the present. Admirable Confederates still appear played by major actors. What has changed in recent times is that there have been evil Confederates appearing more often on the screen and the…
Clyde Wilson
May 28, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Inventing a New Nation at Gettysburg

Few actors in history have been hallowed in as many points of the political compass as Abraham Lincoln. During the 1930s, portraits of Lincoln appeared at New York City rallies of American fascists and in the publications of American Communists. He was also the favourite of the most reactionary industrialists and the most advanced liberals of the time. “Getting Right…
Clyde Wilson
May 23, 2014
Blog

Confederate Hollywood—Those Were the Days!

Having passed my allotted three score and ten, I realise that I have spent too much time watching movies. I can only hope that come judgment a merciful Lord will forgive my frivolous wasted hours. My excuse is that cinema has been the major literary form of my time, a powerful influence on the ideas, attitudes, values, and behaviour of…
Clyde Wilson
May 16, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Rethinking the War for Southern Independence

(13th Annual Gettysburg Banquet of the J.E.B. Stuart Camp, SCV, Philadelphia) We human beings are peculiar creatures, half angel and half animal, as someone has said. Alone among creatures we have a consciousness of ourselves, of our situation, and of our movement through time.We have language, and by symbols can communicate knowledge to one another and across generations. We can…
Clyde Wilson
May 14, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Three Cheers for the President (Jimmy Buchanan)!

The historians have put out another one of those ratings of Presidents – the great, the near great, etc. I always hoped that I would be asked to participate in that survey so I could start a boomlet for the truly greatest – John Tyler. But, alas, I was never asked. My disappointment has been assuaged, however, on seeing that…
Clyde Wilson
May 14, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Devolution

Equipped with an abundant knowledge of history, Michael Tuggle has cast a discerning eye on the trends of the present. Not the ‘trendy’ trends but the real ones, those which can guide our steps into the future (as far as the future can be known to us mortals). The trends suggest to him something very hopeful – the probability and…
Clyde Wilson
May 14, 2014
Blog

Remember the Alamo!

T.R. Fehrenbach, author of the magisterial classic Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans, passed away late last year in San Antonio at the age of 88. I recently came by chance across his obituary in The New York Times, which is a museum quality specimen of the intellectual and ethical defects of current American journalism and “scholarship.” The…
Clyde Wilson
May 7, 2014
Blog

Southern Honour and Southern History

In present day academia, one is guaranteed a celebrated career by inventing a new way to put the South in a bad light or a new twist on an old put-down. In the 1970s, Raimondo Luraghi, Eugene Genovese, and other historians were starting to pay some attention to the existence of a genuine aristocratic ethics in the Old South. Immediately…
Clyde Wilson
April 28, 2014
Blog

Déjà Vu All Over Again

It had to happen. It was as inevitable as the sunrise, death, taxes, politicians’ lies, and Massachusetts arrogance. The only thing surprising is that it took so long. “Students” (unnamed and unnumbered) at Washington and Lee University have demanded that the school apologise for “the dishonorable side” of General Robert E. Lee and his “participating in chattel slavery.” Further, they…
Clyde Wilson
April 22, 2014
Blog

Happy Birthday William Gilmore Simms

"To write from a people is to write a people---to make them live---to endow them with a life and a name---to preserve them with a history forever." --W.G. Simms The great Southern writer William Gilmore Simms was born on this day in 1806. Unlike the more famous Southern writer, the short-lived Edgar Allan Poe, Simms wrote voluminously and in every…
Clyde Wilson
April 17, 2014
Blog

William Gilmore Simms on the Fate of Nations

William Gilmore Simms was a consummate Southern man of letters, excelling equally in poetry, fiction, and essay. The excerpt below is from a long piece he wrote in 1850 in the Southern Quarterly Review. Simms had in mind the hubris of the North as it engaged in intensified economic, political, and cultural aggression against the South, but his remarks are…
Clyde Wilson
April 17, 2014
Blog

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Boston Residents Protesting Busing in 1974. Jonathan Kozol seems to be one of those innumerable relentless reformers who are determined to make the world resemble their idea of what it should be. American society breeds the type like the proverbial rabbits--ever since the 1830s when New England started sending out Unitarians, abolitionists, convent-burners, free lovers, vegetarians, suffragettes, Mormons, and such.…
Clyde Wilson
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

My Court House and Their “Judicial Center”

When I first moved here, more than forty years ago, the county was mostly rural, inhabited by families whose land patents went back to the late 17th century and by black people with equally ancient pedigree--- the descendants of slaves, the numbers of which had been modest by South Carolina standards. Few people ever bothered to cross the river to…
Clyde Wilson
April 3, 2014