I’ll Take My Stand


From Mayberry to Nashville

What do a popular country group and the Vanderbilt Agrarians have in common? West Virginian Arlos Smith penned the song Mayberry for the pop-country group Rascal Flatts. There are striking similarities between the Agrarian manifesto I’ll Take My Stand (ITMS) and the song Mayberry, but I couldn’t find any evidence that the work of the Agrarians had any influence on…
Brett Moffatt
November 7, 2023

My Southern Thanksgiving

I’ll Take My Stand contains a vivid description of rural Southern life by Andrew Lytle: “The Hind Tit,” which I always associate with my Thanksgiving memories, despite its not being specifically about Thanksgiving. (The title refers to the poor nourishment left to the “runt” Southern States by the American empire after the War Between the States.) The farm life that…
Terry Hulsey
December 7, 2022

Who’s Your People?

“Who's your people?” Though now somewhat rare, one still hears that question in Dixie, usually uttered from the lips of older or rural Southerners. Much is implied by the question. There is the implicit belief that one’s extended family — or clan, given much of the region’s Scotch-Irish roots — serves as an inextricable part of one’s identity. Also implied…
Casey Chalk
July 26, 2021

Cousin Lucius

The Southern version of Thoreau’s Walden may be considered I’ll Take by Stand, by Twelve Southerners, with its subtitle, The South and the Agrarian Tradition.  It was published in 1930 and met with considerable criticism from those who believed it was a futile effort to “turn back the clock” to an idealized utopia of the antebellum South.  On the contrary,…

We’ll Take Our Stand

It is not often enough, but I do set aside blocks of time to express gratitude to God for all the many blessings He has bestowed on me in my lifetime. There are many things I have missed out on, or simply fouled up royally, but the stars aligned in mid-October and I had the good fortune of being able…
Joshua Doggrell
November 12, 2020

The Revolt Against Christian Civilization: The Southern View

Southerners, of all Americans, have been the most acute and the most persistent in their analyses of what has ailed and threatened our culture, certainly since the end of the War for Southern Independence. Only consider a Robert Lewis Dabney or an Albert Bledsoe in the years immediately after that conflict. Then, more recently, recall the Southern Agrarians centered in…
Boyd Cathey
September 9, 2019
Review Posts

How to Be a Conservative and the Southern Tradition

A review of How To Be a Conservative (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2015), by Sir Roger Scruton. It is highly unusual for any political leader to articulate any sort of learned political philosophy that underscores their beliefs or policy actions in any legislative chamber at the local, state or Federal level.  This, despite the existence of organizations such as the Abbeville Institute,…
Nicole Williams
July 2, 2019

Nathan Bedford Forrest and Southern Folkways

There are many examples of heroism that illustrate spiritedness in America’s history. Indeed, the American Revolution was won because of the indomitable spirit of the Patriots and a growing unwillingness of the British to put down the campaign for independence. The same spirit was present a century later during the War between the States. It is routinely acknowledged that Confederate…
Benjamin Alexander
July 16, 2018

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
Review Posts

Reflections of a Ghost: An Agrarian View After Fifty Years

Of the twelve agrarians who wrote the symposium I'll Take My Stand, only three are alive: Robert Penn Warren, the poet and novelist, Lyle Lanier, a psychologist and former executive vice-president of the University of Illinois, and myself, a writer and reader of fiction. I don't presume to speak either for Warren or Lanier, and I don't know how to…
Andrew Nelson Lytle
August 23, 2016
Review Posts

Is Pluralism Enough?

Fr John Strickland, reflecting on the Renaissance of Western Europe, wrote, . . . For Burckhardt, the Renaissance (for the first time a distinct period in history) became the moment of cultural liberation, the breakthrough into the modern age of humanism, individualism, and secularism.  . . . At the heart of this breakthrough was the Renaissance’s reflection on the human…
Walt Garlington
June 21, 2016
Review Posts

Agrarianism and Cultural Renewal

This essay was originally printed at The Imaginative Conservative. Among the contributions to I’ll Take My Stand, Allen Tate’s “Remarks on the Southern Religion” is usually interpreted as the most acerbic, immoderate, and unusual essay in the collection. All too often the essay is read as an apologia for violence or an eccentric defense of tradition. In fact, Tate–like his…
H. Lee Cheek, Jr.
May 24, 2016
Review Posts

Manifesto of Old Men and Simple Preachers

Over time a man, if he is perceptive, comes to certain conclusions.  The most startling is that the greatest truths were spoken to him throughout his life by ordinary men, simple preachers, old men sitting around drinking soda and eating peanuts, his father.  These men, if beneficiaries of a culture and community that embraces common-sense as a virtue, know truths…
Barry Clark
February 23, 2016
Review Posts

The Same Old Stand?

This essay was published in Why the South Will Survive: Fifteen Southerners Look at Their Region a Half Century after I'll Take My Stand, edited by Clyde Wilson, 1981. When the Southern Agrarians took their stand, they did it stoutly, on two feet. Some emphasized the "Southern," others the "Agrarian," but fifty years ago it seemed that the two loyalties, to the South…
John Shelton Reed
December 1, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

A Jeffersonian Political Economy

Your other lecturers have pleasant and upbeat subjects to consider. I am stuck with economics, which is a notoriously dreary subject.   It is even more of a downer when we consider how far the U.S. is today from a Southern, Jeffersonian political economy which was once a powerful idea. Economics as practiced today is a utilitarian and materialistic study. It…
Clyde Wilson
July 29, 2015
Review Posts

The Sesquicentennial of the War for Southern Independence as Symbolic of the Fallen State of the South

With the Sesquicentennial of the epic war of American history winding down, many may think this War no longer particularly relevant and we can move on to more current concerns. Such an attitude, which I dare say prevails among most Americans, Southerners included, ignores the watershed importance of the War known by any number of names, the “Civil War,” the…
William Cawthon
May 19, 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
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

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
Review Posts

Fugitive Agrarians

I’ll Take My Stand, the classic statement of Southern Agrarianism, was first published in 1930. Since that time, it has never been out of print. You have to ask yourself why people have continued to read it. There are several good reasons why they shouldn’t. It’s a quirky book. The 12 essays—written by men of varying backgrounds and talents—are uneven…
Thomas Landess
April 3, 2014