Tag

Slavery

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Robert E. Lee, Arlington, and the Ministry of Truth

It is difficult to monitor the level of awareness of the effort to destroy the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate Veteran, who created this work of art, is buried below the monument along with three other veterans. This hate-filled and apparently anti-Semitic agenda, pushed by Ty Seidule, is not unique in American history. The…
John M. Taylor
January 19, 2023
Blog

A Better Light

Once, a mother watching her child searching diligently for something and seeing that she was having no success in her search, asked the tot where she had lost the missing item. The child replied, “I lost it over there,” pointing to the other side of the room. Somewhat confused, the mother said, “But if you lost it over there, why…
Valerie Protopapas
January 12, 2023
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The Glory Days of the Kanawha Canal

Southern essayist and former Lynchburger Dr. George W. Bagby (1828–1883) described departure of one of the bateaux on a trip from Richmond to Lynchburg on the Kanawha Canal, while he was then a lad, in a short piece titled “Canal Reminiscences”: At last we were off, slowly pushed along under the bridge on Seventh Street; then the horses were hitched…
M. Andrew Holowchak
January 9, 2023
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A “Cretinous” Construal of Jefferson’s “Diffusion Argument”

While attending a talk at Poplar Forest on Thomas Jefferson and the Missouri Crisis in the summer of 2019, the speaker, a historian at one of the local universities in Lynchburg, broached Jefferson’s letter to Congressman John Holmes (22 Apr. 1820) about eradication of the institution of slavery by diffusion. This historian called the argument, without further commentary, pure poppycock.…
M. Andrew Holowchak
December 6, 2022
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Heroes, Heroines, and/or Villains

It was a perfect day to spend outside.  Tree leaves were riding the gentle currents of a fall breeze like giant snowflakes, reflecting the orange, red and gold of a warm autumn sun.  Being of African, Native American and European descent, I was attending a Civil War Re-enactment, the only place where I can enthusiastically share the history of my…
Barbara Marthal
December 1, 2022
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Suppression of Free Speech at Poplar Forest

On November 3, 2022, in response to an invitation of group of Thomas Jefferson mavens, I went to Jefferson’s get-away residence at Poplar Forest. I was asked to join their tour, to begin at 12:30 p.m., and to field questions after the tour. I was asked also to bring any books on Jefferson that I wished to sign and to…
M. Andrew Holowchak
November 14, 2022
BlogMedia Posts

The Arlington Confederate Monument

The Naming Commission has recommended the removal of the Arlington Confederate Monument. This would not only be a historical travesty and a barbaric leveling of art, it would lay waste to the very message the monument was intended to convey: fraternity, healing, and reconciliation. Tell your Representative you want to stop this heinous act of cultural destruction. https://youtu.be/IwST0QslHLs
Abbeville Institute
November 9, 2022
Blog

John Reagan Was Right

Texas Senator John Regan was right when he argued in the chamber three months before the opening Civil War shots at Fort Sumter: “Suppose the people of the South would today voluntarily surrender $3 billion in slave property and send their slaves at their expense to the free states, would you accept them as freemen and citizens of your States?…
Philip Leigh
September 23, 2022
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Northern Negrophobia

No doubt the media and the activists tearing them down justify the destruction of Confederate monuments on the premise that the South fought to perpetuate slavery and the North entered and fought the Civil War to end it. Today’s academics are comfortable acquiescing to that false public impression because it serves their anti-Southern agenda. Only if directly asked, “Did the…
Philip Leigh
August 23, 2022
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The Ballad of Confederate Abolitionists

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

Did Thomas Jefferson father any children with Sally Hemings? The historical profession argues, yes. But the evidence does not support this conclusion as Professor M. Andrew Holowchak explains in this video. https://youtu.be/GweMqp4zdjw
abbeinstitute
July 4, 2022
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Juneteenth

The reason your bank was closed yesterday: cultural appropriation and virtue signaling On February 25, 2021, Senator Edward J. Markey (D – Mass) introduced a bill which would become public law on June 17, 2021 under President Joe Biden.  It was entitled the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act”. The Democrat-led initiative was co-sponsored by 60 senators, 40 of whom were…
Lola Sanchez
June 21, 2022
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Dixie Africanus

Black slaves toiling in the fields of large plantations, gentlemen in frock coats and ladies in hoop skirts relaxing on the verandas of large mansions . . . all set in places named Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Mississippi. Most would imagine this to be a picture of the antebellum American South, but they would be mistaken, as it would…
John Marquardt
June 14, 2022
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They Also Arrived in Bondage

Tommie D. Boudreau, chairwoman of the African American Heritage Committee of the Galveston Historical Foundation in Galveston, Texas, recently stated that the Juneteenth national commemoration “gives an accurate picture of United States history because so much has not been shared. African Americans are the only immigrants that were forced to come to America – or the colonies. This gives people…
Timothy A. Duskin
June 13, 2022
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Setting Lincoln Straight

On March 7, 1862, Lincoln sent to congress and congress passed a joint resolution offering pecuniary aid to any State that would initiate gradual emancipation. However, no funding had been passed, only a declaration of intent. The offer fell on deaf ears in all the slave States, including those still in the Union. This prompted Lincoln to call a meeting…
Rod O'Barr
June 10, 2022
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The Confederate Constitution

From the 2003 Abbeville Institute Summer School I come from a somewhat different mold and my thought processes on these issues have changed a bit over the last couple of years. I have written on American jurisprudence and I have detected what I would deem to be ominous trends in American case law, and also in international law. I also…
Marshall DeRosa
June 6, 2022
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Recommended Books about the South and Its History

A friend recently asked me for a list of good books about the South and “the Late Unpleasantness” which he could share with his two sons, one of whom will be entering college this fall, and the other who will be a high school senior. I began naming some volumes, at random. But my friend stopped me in mid-sentence and…
Boyd Cathey
May 31, 2022
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Boston, Home of the Bean, Cod, and Slaves

In a penitent act of fiscal flagellation, Harvard University recently reported that it was establishing a hundred million dollar “Legacy of Slavery Fund” in an effort to atone for its century and half history of using enslaved people.  In the report, it was cited that from its founding in 1636 until 1783, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared slavery to…
John Marquardt
May 10, 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

Rough Music

In the mid-1760s, violent criminal activity began to spread throughout the sparsely populated interior of the colony of South Carolina. Residents in these areas, alarmed at what was occurring, pled with the government for assistance. None would be forthcoming. Instead, individuals residing in the area turned toward the idea of communal, ritual punishment to stem the tide of criminal activity.…
Nicole Williams
April 13, 2022
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A Dangerous Rock Rolling Down Hill

Part 6 in Clyde Wilson’s series “African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective.” Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. “He who controls the past controls the future.  He who controls the present controls the past.”  George Orwell “Live asses will kick at dead lions.”  Admiral Raphael Semmes In the long run of history, the story of…
Clyde Wilson
April 11, 2022
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Indentured Servitude in Early America

French politician and author Jean-Nicholas Démeunier, in 1786, published his Essai sur les États-Unis. Prior to its publication, the essay, intended for Encyclopédie Méthodique, was in the words of Jefferson’s secretary William Short in a letter to William Nelson (25 Oct. 1786), “as false as might be expected from a man who had made the Abbe Raynal his model, and…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 8, 2022
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Emancipation After the War

Part 5 in Clyde Wilson’s series “African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective.” Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Early in Reconstruction the staunch Unionist William Sharkey was appointed governor of Mississippi by Andrew Johnson.  Sharkey said that he believed that half the African American population of the state had perished in the war.  This may not be…
Clyde Wilson
April 5, 2022
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Neo-Abolitionist Historiography

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

Emancipation

Part 4 in Clyde Wilson’s series “African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective.” Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Many Americans doubtless tend to assume a rosy view of emancipation, of brave boys in blue rushing into the arms of newly freed slaves to celebrate the day of Jubilee while handing out Hershey bars to children. Nothing could be further…
Clyde Wilson
March 29, 2022
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The 1862 Louisiana Native Guard

In April 1861, a public meeting was held in New Orleans, Louisiana to discuss Governor Thomas O. Moore's call for volunteers to defend the South against the invading Union army as the War Between the States was just beginning. This particular meeting did not consist of white men, however. It was led and attended by what the newspapers called the…
Shane Anderson
March 28, 2022
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A War to Free the Slaves?

Part 3 in Clyde Wilson's series "African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective." Read Part 1 and Part 2. In 1798 Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Taylor: “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 and substance.” He added…
Clyde Wilson
March 22, 2022
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Lifetime Bondage

  Part 2 in Clyde Wilson's series, African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective. Part 1 can be read here. Life was tough for everyone in the America of the 1600s and 1700s.  The 1800s saw some improvement which led people to entertain the idea of enlightenment and  progress in living conditions. Southerners were as much conscious of and happy about a…
Clyde Wilson
March 15, 2022
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African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective

Our culture’s indifference to the past---which easily shades over into hostility and rejection---furnishes the most telling proof of that culture’s bankruptcy. ---Christopher Lasch The purpose of education is to free the student from the tyranny of the present. ---Cicero The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn. ---Cicero Introduction The slavery that…
Clyde Wilson
March 10, 2022
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The Preacher Who Stole Lincoln’s Past–By the Carload

On July 17, 1849, Robert Smith Todd of Lexington, Kentucky, died suddenly of cholera. He was among thousands who'd die in the world-wide epidemic that had already killed former president James K. Polk a month before and would be blamed for the death of Edgar Allan Poe a bit later. Todd's hasty death-bed will was endorsed by only one witness;…
Kevin Orlin Johnson
March 7, 2022
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“Moral the Question Certainly is Not”

Filmmaker Arlen Parsa has recently undertaken a project that blots out the faces of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence in John Trumbull’s famous painting “The Declaration of Independence.” The stunt has unsurprisingly gained the filmmaker much notoriety. While the project might seem to have been a frivolous undertaking for Parsa—something to pass the time in these Coronavirus…
M. Andrew Holowchak
March 3, 2022
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Secession Declarations Do Not Prove the War was over Slavery

ACADEMIA'S ABSOLUTE PROOF that the War Between the States was fought over slavery is based primarily on the declarations of causes for the secession of four of the first seven Southern states to secede: South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. However, those four declarations prove nothing of the sort. There were 13 Southern states represented in the Confederate government. That…
Gene Kizer, Jr.
February 25, 2022
BlogReview Posts

What We Have to Expect

A review of How Radical Republican Antislavery Rhetoric and Violence Precipitated Secession, October 1859 - April 1861 (Abbeville Institute Press, 2022) by David Jonathan White. One of the tragic casualties of America’s long culture war is the distortion of the country’s central event, The War Between the States. During the 1950s, historians such as Avery Craven began to question the…
John Devanny
February 15, 2022
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Guess I Won’t Qualify for Reparations

I’ve spent the last forty-five years doing family research and family history. I’ve interviewed some of my older relatives who have now passed on and I’m grateful that I had the foresight to do that. My only regret is that I did not start sooner. This process started around 1977 with the premier of the movie “Roots” the dramatization of…
Barbara Marthal
February 1, 2022
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Slavery and Abolitionism as Viewed by a Georgia Slave

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

The true legacy of Lincoln usually gets drowned in the perennial gush about a president whose name is synonymous with freedom and the end of slavery. Lincoln’s role in bringing to an end the Jeffersonian ideal of a limited, constitutional government, with powers vested in sovereign states, remains relatively unexamined. The direction in which Lincoln took America is not without…
Ilana Mercer
January 5, 2022
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The Coerced Soldiers of the USCT

“That the negroes did not revolt is one of the incomprehensible features of our Civil War. Every chance for success was theirs, nor were they ignorant of their opportunity for striking an effectual and crushing blow against their oppressors.  Why was it not done? Several potent causes combined to render any widespread insurrection at that time impossible. There was in…
Rod O'Barr
January 4, 2022
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Thomas Roderick Dew

Editor's note: The author of this piece won the Bennett History Medal in 1908 for this essay, and was published in the June 1909 volume of the John P. Branch Historical Papers. The Bennett prize is still awarded annually by Randolph Macon College to the best undergraduate history paper. This particular essay displays a depth of understanding even contemporary graduate…
D. Ralph Midyette, Jr.
December 2, 2021
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John Rock and Yankee Hypocrisy

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

Editor's Note: Often considered one of the more important "Lost Cause" post-bellum narratives, Letitia Burwell's A Girl's Life in Virginia Before the War offers a captivating glimpse of life in the Old South. Her grandfather had been Thomas Jefferson's private secretary and her father served in the Virginia legislature ten times. Americans often marvel at the social mores and customs…
Letitia M. Burwell
November 10, 2021
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On “Southern” Slavery

It has become fashionable to bash the South - not only by removing war memorials or looking the other way as they are vandalized, but even in discussions of things like slavery.  It's never just slavery; it's Southern slavery.  The existence of slavery in the North has been whitewashed and sent down the memory hole. Frankly, most of our American…
Rev. Larry Beane
October 28, 2021
Review Posts

When in the Course of Human Events

A review of When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession (Rowman & Littlefield,  2004) by Charles Adams Did the South go to war for sport? Not being a professional historian, my historical toolbox is not large. But one tool has often gotten me to the heart of past events. That tool is to ask:…
Terry Hulsey
October 19, 2021
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The Reparations Rip-Off

      In the dis-United States today, far too many of its people have now lost all sense of proportion and as movie magnate Richard Rowland said over a century ago . . .“the lunatics have taken over the asylum.” What was formally accepted as standard American history and sociology are now being replaced with the 1619 Project and…
John Marquardt
October 6, 2021
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Jefferson Davis on Slavery in the Territories

The modern academic narrative says that the South’s purpose in secession and war was to “preserve and extend slavery.” Any other purpose is labeled a post-war “Lost Cause Myth.” In a speech on the floor of the Senate, February 13, 1850, Senator Jefferson Davis argued against Sen. Henry Clay’s call for banning slavery in the territories. The speech is a polemic against the reason…
Rod O'Barr
August 26, 2021
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Historical Context Explains Secession

That Southern secession was ultimately about independence with or without slavery is easily determined by primary sources. Often I hear that the primary sources I quote in defense of Southern secession are “cherry picked” or “out of context.” Those making these charges will then point to the four Declarations of Causes or The Cornerstone Speech as proof of my lack…
Rod O'Barr
August 12, 2021
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Daniel Webster on the Expansion of Slavery

Daniel Webster was one of the most notable Northern statesmen of his day. He was an American lawyer who represented New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress.  His list of accomplishments is impressive:  Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts's 1st district; Chair of the House Judiciary Committee; United States Senator from Massachusetts; Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.…
Rod O'Barr
July 29, 2021
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The Amendment That Never Was

The date of the latest federal holiday, June 19th, was touted as the one marking the end of slavery in America. While few today would argue with the idea of honoring emancipation, the selection of that date in 1865 leaves much to be desired. If one truly wanted to commemorate the legal end of American slavery, the date for such…
John Marquardt
July 14, 2021
Review Posts

Lincoln and the Border States

A review of Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union (University Press of Kansas, 2014) by William C. Harris. William C. Harris has set before him the admirable task of examining whether the border states indeed “unequivocally cast their lot with the Union” in 1861 (page 8). Unfortunately, his political views send him into the issue with one hand…
Terry Hulsey
June 29, 2021
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The Righteous Cause Myth Strikes Again

As most Americans have learned by now, in their rush to do something politically correct, Congress passed, and the president signed, a bill making “Juneteenth” a federal holiday.  Some of us even got a sudden day off as a consequence.  Until a few years ago, hardly anyone had ever heard of “Juneteenth.”  Apparently, it was the day when word reached…
Samuel Ashwood
June 21, 2021
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Slavery and Agency

Reviewers are unrelenting in their praise for the new Amazon streaming television series The Underground Railroad, a magic realist cinematographic depiction of the eponymous book by Colson Whitehead, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. A review in ABC News calls the show “a masterpiece that raises series TV to the level of art.” The Washington Post has featured…
Casey Chalk
May 31, 2021
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Bad History Masquerading as an Appeal to Peace and Piety: A Response to Allen Guelzo’s “Why We Must Forget the Lost Cause”

It is a testimony to the prevalence of anti-Southern sentiment that The Gospel Coalition (TGC), one of the most prominent evangelical parachurch entities, has provided a platform for such sentiments by publishing an article entitled “Why We Must Forget the Lost Cause.” Written by the prominent Princeton University Professor Allen Guelzo, this piece was published in the “Bible and Theology”…
Tom Hervey
May 24, 2021
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Did Slavery End on June 19th?

After the end of the War Between the States, the Union army established the District of Texas under the command of Major General Gordon Granger. The Emancipation Proclamation had been enforced by the Union army in every other state of the Confederate States of America which it had occupied. Texas escaped Union occupation during the war and the Union army…
Timothy A. Duskin
May 10, 2021
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The Yankees Take Up the White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden –    Ye dare not stoop to less –Nor call too loud on Freedom    To cloak your weariness;By all ye cry or whisper,    By all ye leave or do,The silent, sullen peoples    Shall weigh your Gods and you…    -  Rudyard Kipling, from The White Man’s Burden (1) *** African slaves – purchased from African…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
April 9, 2021
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Searching for a Literary Market in Southern Cities

“Take but degree away, untune that string,And hark! what discord follows! Each thing meetsIn mere oppugnancy”—Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida One of William Gilmore Simms’ abiding concerns was the almost complete absence of a profession of literature in the South. Prior to the 1850’s the South had produced only two professional writers of any note—Simms, himself, of course, and Edgar Allan…
Jack Trotter
April 2, 2021
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Racism and Reputation

Two terms that are tossed about with great liberality today are “racist” and “white supremacist.”  Like other words with specific definitions, such as “fascist” and “Nazi,” these labels are losing their specific social, economic, political, and legal meaning, and have essentially become nondescript slurs thrown at anyone a Progressive disagrees with.All of these words are routinely used against those who…
Rev. Larry Beane
March 1, 2021
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The Big Monochrome Picture

The principal character in Joyce Maynard’s 1992 novel “To Die For” said that if you look too closely at a black and white photograph, all you see are a series of black dots on a white background and then added that one must step back in order to see the big picture.  That, of course, is the problem today with…
John Marquardt
February 25, 2021
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Industrialization and the Survival of the Peculiar Institution

Coming out of the American Revolution, the nation faced a slave problem that most today could scarcely imagine and that was unemployment. The Slave labor force had grown from reproduction and from importing of slaves by the northern slave traders in a situation that, using modern business terms, was more of supplier push than buyer pull. That is the suppliers…
James (Jim) Pederson
February 18, 2021
Podcast

Podcast Episode 246

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 25-29, 2021 Topics: Southern Tradition, Slavery, Southern History, Southern Music, Southern Culture https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-246
Brion McClanahan
January 30, 2021
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The Bad Theology of America’s “Original Sin”

Slavery, we are repeatedly told, is America’s “original sin.”  But unlike the effects of Biblical original sin, there is no possible atonement.  The Left and its racial Grievance Factory will never let original sin be blotted out or separated from American politics.  In the words of Yale historian David Blight, there exists a “the living residue” connected to African slavery…
William J. Watkins
January 28, 2021
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The Yankee Quarantine of Southern Blacks

Legendary financier J. P. Morgan once said: “A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” His meaning is that our public explanation is a noble one whereas our real reason is self-serving. Any adult knows that the maxim applies to politicians, about whom Robert E. Lee said, “They are among the most…
Philip Leigh
January 15, 2021
Blog

The Tarnished Tarheel

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1851 phantasmagorical image of slave life in the South has long been regarded as one of the sparks that ignited the War Between the States.  However, a now almost forgotten anti-slavery polemic by the North Carolina abolitionist Hinton Rowan Helper did far more to inflame the nation at that time than did “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  In fact,…
John Marquardt
January 13, 2021
Review Posts

James Henley Thornwell and the Metaphysical Confederacy

A review of The Metaphysical Confederacy: James Henley Thornwell and the Synthesis of Southern Values (Second Edition; Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1999) by James Farmer The role of religion leading up to the War Between the States is sometimes overlooked. However, there is no question that Christian clergy had a major influence on the Old South, including the politics…
Zachary Garris
December 8, 2020
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Slavery and Emancipation 101

The roots of the myth that slavery was primarily a white Southern institution were planted three decades prior to the War Between the States by the abolitionists in New York and New England.  This myth also included the idea that those same abolitionists of the 1830s had introduced the freeing of slaves in America.   Actually, however, the first seeds…
John Marquardt
November 13, 2020
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New England Slavers in Colonial America

Like any other economic exchange, the slave trade developed with a supplier, a consumer, and a trader or merchant that brought the two together. African kingdoms that had access to the western seaboard had a product, people, that they could readily be collected and sold based on labor demand, primarily from the new world during this time period. The English,…
James (Jim) Pederson
November 6, 2020
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Removing Guilt and Shame from the Study of Slavery

Some people come from the “the land down under”.  I come from the land “where old times are not forgotten”.  As historians we must recommit to helping our youth understand our history and realize that without a commanding knowledge of our history, there is no future for a free United States of America. It is natural to fight for your…
Barbara Marthal
October 15, 2020
Blog

Of Apostates and Scapegoats

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
August 27, 2020
Blog

Knead to Know

Today we are besieged with raucous cries on both America’s streets and its social media platforms, as well as by all too many in the halls of government, to bring to an end what is now termed “systemic racism.”  To bring this amorphous demand about, we are led to believe that the systems that formed the very foundation upon which…
John Marquardt
August 7, 2020
Blog

Free Black Slaveowners

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), known as “The Father of Black History,” was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, the son of former slaves. He received his doctorate from Harvard, rose to prominence as a writer and historian, and was the editor of The Journal of Negro History. He is best known for establishing Black History Week, which evolved into Black…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
August 5, 2020
Blog

The Atlantic Gets It Wrong, Again

I don’t have time to detail everything the piece in question gets wrong, because it's a lot. I’m sure this will be fodder for Abbeville posts for a long time, so I’m going to focus on the Constitutional issues. Stephanie McCurry writes: “In late February 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, the seven breakaway states formed the C.S.A.; swore in a president,…
Aaron Gleason
July 28, 2020
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Why the Civil War Wasn’t About Slavery

From the 1870s to the late 1950s, there was an unofficial truce between the North and South. Each side recognized and saluted the courage of the other; it was conceded that the North fought to preserve the Union and because Old Glory had been fired on, and the Southerner fought for liberty and to defend his home; the two great…
Samuel W. Mitcham
July 22, 2020
Blog

1619 Lies Matter

The dogs of racial war were released this May in Minneapolis by the senseless death of George Floyd, a black man, under the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer.  Even though Chauvin had a long record of misconduct, the charges against him had been mainly disregarded by the local authorities, including former prosecutor, now Senator and failed Democratic…
John Marquardt
July 17, 2020
Blog

The Problem With Lincoln

“The problem with Lincoln is the problem with America,” said my friend Clyde Wilson when I asked him for a blurb for my new book, The Problem with Lincoln (Regnery, 2020).  That in fact is the theme of the book, written seventeen years after my first book on the subject, The Real Lincoln (TRL), as I shall explain.  A secondary…
Thomas DiLorenzo
June 29, 2020
Blog

The Strange Career of Segregation

In the beginning, there was no segregation, certainly not in the sense that we commonly use that term today. Consider in evidence our Southern distinctiveness, which is rooted in a folk culture compounded of black and white influences: our modes of speech; our rich cuisines and rites of conviviality; our varied and original musicality; our arts and crafts; our story-telling…
Jack Trotter
April 1, 2020
Blog

The Economy, Stupid

Just as the Earth revolves on its axis each day and travels around the Sun in an equally regular pattern, so has world history tended to be cyclical in nature throughout the centuries, with many episodes seemingly being repeated countless times over.  In many cases the basic cause behind such recurring cataclysmic events as war, radical changes in political systems…
John Marquardt
March 13, 2020
Blog

Bernie Sanders and Simon Legree: Real and Imaginary

Bernie Sanders wants to bring back slavery. This raises the question: can he have the 13th Amendment repealed? Who says that it hasn’t already been repealed? Bernie says, among other Communistic pronouncements, that “health care is a right.” Well, if that is so, then someone: doctor, nurse, medic, etc must provide it. That is unless Bernie, the Commie, means that…
Paul H. Yarbrough
March 6, 2020
Review Posts

The Craggy Hill of Slavery

A review of It Wasn't About Slavery: Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War (Regnery History, 2020) by Samuel Mitcham On a huge hill, Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will Reach her, about must and about must go, And what the hill’s suddenness resists, win so. John Donne, Satire III As John Donne so correctly informs…
Blog

PBS’s Poisonous Reconstruction Series

Caught a tweet tonight from Professor Henry Louis Gates, the Executive Producer of this PBS mini-series on "Reconstruction." He was jubilant that the series had won a Columbia/Dupont Award for Journalism. I checked out the other 2020 Award winners: NPR, CNN, Nation Magazine. All leftist outlets. NPR is high quality. Nation, depends on the writer. CNN is pretty worthless--Clinton News…
Alphonse-Louis Vinh
January 24, 2020
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A Southerner’s Movie Guide, Part III

5. Spielberg’s Amistad (1997) If Amistad is not yet a household word like ET or Jurassic Park, it soon will be with the power of Steven Spielberg behind it.  (When I started this review awhile back, that was my first sentence, but I may have been wrong.  Late reports indicate the box office is lagging.)  Amistad is really two movies.…
Clyde Wilson
December 19, 2019
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Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Mike Hudson was an investigative journalist for the now-defunct Niagara Falls Reporter in 2014, and looked deeply into city plans to erect a monument to the largely mythological “underground railroad” of the mid-nineteenth century. Hudson wrote in August 2014 that: “City Council approved spending $262,000 to dedicate a park and erect a statue to a woman who by all accounts…
Bernard Thuersam
November 15, 2019
Review Posts

Capitalism and Forced Labor

A review of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2014) by Edward Baptist Recent polling of the millennials’ attitudes toward socialism suggests that higher education on the postmodern campus has better prepared graduates to denounce capitalism than to defend it. Undergraduate enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid speaks to the point.…
Robert L. Paquette
September 24, 2019
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The Psychosis of Slavery

When most Americans hear the word slavery today, their minds instantly conjure up only images of either a black African in chains or a group of such people toiling away in the fields of some Southern plantation.  This distorted, even psychotic, mental picture of an institution that is as old as civilization itself is now, of course, being used not…
John Marquardt
August 22, 2019
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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
Review Posts

The Barber of Natchez

Review of The Barber of Natchez (LSU, 1954, 1973) edited by Edwin Adams Davis and William Ransom Hogan. Author's Note: In 1938 a trove of documents dating from 1793 -1937, "over 60 volumes of account books, "nearly 1400" financial and legal documents, bound and unbound volumes of "rare antebellum newspapers" including 2 editions unknown before, "over 400" sheets of 19th century…
Vito Mussomeli
July 23, 2019
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Defending the South Against Fake News

I had some correspondence with an editor of the Post and Courier this week when I sent them a letter for publication in response to their July 6, 2019 editorial "Don't let extremists define our national symbols." As a result, I saw an opening to send some valuable Southern history to this newspaper and I jumped on it. Their editorial…
Gene Kizer, Jr.
July 18, 2019
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The Place of Nathaniel Macon in Southern History

Many who are well acquainted with Southern history are almost entirely unfamiliar with the historical character of Nathaniel Macon. He is often mentioned by the best of authors as a North Carolinian, as a Georgian, or simply as a Southern Democrat. His share in the political development of the South is but vaguely known, yet every southern state has either…
William E. Dodd
June 27, 2019
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Nat Turner’s Massacre Apologists

The Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Commission of the Virginia General Assembly announced that it will spend taxpayer money to erect a statue honoring Nat Turner who was the leader of a drunken slave rebellion that massacred fifty-five whites in the Southeastern part of the state in 1831. Most of the victims were women and children hacked to death with hatches and axes. Thirty-one…
Philip Leigh
May 16, 2019
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Reparations: Let’s Do It!

Reparations for the deserving.? Who gets the money? Who gives up the money?  Who owes the money? The idea for reparations for which many of the current political and /or media hacks call the “original sin” of “the country” is restitution. That is, a large number of thugs like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or the usual peripheral suspects of…
Paul H. Yarbrough
April 3, 2019
Review Posts

Many Thousands Gone

A review of Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Harvard, 1998) by Ira Berlin For an understanding of the Atlantic-African slave trades and the origins of the peculiar institution in North America, Prof. Berlin’s Many Thousands Gone is a must read (along with Hugh Thomas’ The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave…
W. Kirk Wood
March 12, 2019
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Contested Ground: Southern Identity and the Southern Tradition

In the popular imagination the South is viewed as a region typified by racism, poverty, and ignorance save a few special islands, such as Chapel Hill and Charlotte, which lay in the archipelago of enlightenment.  There are some cracks in this edifice of Yankee bigotry, but when political and cultural wars become heated, the edifice is trotted out once more…
John Devanny
February 18, 2019
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Did Ulysses Grant Own and Rent Slaves?

Even among the most Grant-partial historians there’s no denying that Ulysses Grant and his wife owned slaves prior to the Civil War. In fact, “Ulysses Grant” is the correct answer to a crafty American history trivia question that asks: “Can you name the last slaveholding President?” As growing political correctness causes our culture to increasingly condemn historical figures connected with…
Philip Leigh
February 8, 2019
Review Posts

A Black Sugar Planter in the Old South

A review of Andrew Durnford, A Black Sugar Planter in the Antebellum South by David O. Whitten, (Transaction Publishers, 1995). I In the year 1800 the Viceroyalty of New Spain was still intact, and Louisiana still part of the Spanish Empire. So, too, was Mexico, Texas, all the Southwest of today's America, north to Kansas and clear to the West Coast…
Vito Mussomeli
November 20, 2018
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Securing the Blessings: Today the South, Tomorrow….

We are threatened by a powerful, dangerous, conspiracy of evil men. The conspiracy is the enemy of free institutions and civil liberties, of democracy and free speech; it is the enemy of religion. It is cruel and oppressive to its subjects. Its economic system is unfree and inefficient, condemning its people to poverty and deprivation. It has a relentless determination…
Ludwell H. Johnson
November 16, 2018
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Justice Kavanaugh and the Triumph of Symbol over Reality

“History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Attributed to Mark Twain Americans at their best are a pragmatic “can do” folk, be it “Yankee ingenuity” or good old fashioned “get ‘r done.”  We are at our worst when we stray from this pragmatic bent into the misty fields of sacerdotal ideology, which is to say when we ascribe…
John Devanny
October 17, 2018
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Rhetoric, Reality, and the Late Unpleasantness

The 1850s is viewed by most scholars as the crucial decade of the sectional crisis that resulted in the War Between the States. The Great Triumvirate of John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster had passed from the scene.  These giants were replaced by lesser lights, and “the war came” as Mr. Lincoln claimed.  As historical explanations go, there…
John Devanny
September 24, 2018
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Calhoun and Modern Economics

Much of John C. Calhoun’s criticism stems from his 1837 speech in the Senate where he stated slavery was “a positive good.” This quote is often paraded as evidence of Southern racism and is used in attempts diminish Calhoun’s legacy. Quite possibly no other politician, aside from Lincoln, is so often misrepresented and misunderstood. The reason is that nowadays, we…
Michael Martin
September 6, 2018
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Revisiting the “Cornerstone Speech”

Most mainstream historians point to the “Cornerstone” speech by Alexander Stephens as the clearest piece of evidence that slavery and white supremacy alone were the reasons for Southern secession. After all, most transcriptions show Stephens having stated that the Confederate government was founded on the “great physical, philosophical, and moral truth” of white superiority. A major quote that the historians…
Michael Martin
August 27, 2018
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Lincoln on Mars

There is a 1909 “Lincoln penny” attached to the probe arm of Curiosity, a unit of currency, as it were, stuck to its palm. On the face of it, this doesn’t seem such a remarkable idea, but on the coin there are three inscriptions: “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and the date. That money should precede us in the exploration…
Malcolm McNeill
August 24, 2018
Review Posts

A Society With Slaves

A review Slave and Free on Virginia’s Eastern Shore by Kirk Mariner (Onancok, VA: Miona Publications, 2014). The book can be purchased by emailing Miona Publications. One of the ironies that plague the proponents of the “South is about slavery and slavery is about the South” school of history is the lack of knowledge we possess regarding the everyday lives and social…
John Devanny
August 21, 2018
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Causes of the “Civil War”

In a PBS interview seven years ago historian and Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust identified slavery as the cause of the Civil War. “Historians are pretty united on the cause of the Civil War being slavery,” she said before adding, . . . “when the various states announced their plans for secession, they uniformly said that the main motivating factor was…
Philip Leigh
August 9, 2018
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Juneteenth: A Celebration of Nothing

On June 19, 1865, Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas and declared to the population of that state that the Emancipation Proclamation had freed its slaves. Called "Juneteenth," it was initially celebrated in Texas, but it is now recognized in one way or another by 45 states and the District of Columbia. But what is it a celebration of? President…
Timothy A. Duskin
June 25, 2018
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Tom Foolery

There are neither Confederate monuments to be torn down in Japan nor Battle Flags to be lowered . . . but if there were, there could well be some Japanese who might wish to protest such symbols. While my wife Rieko would certainly not be among them, when she was attending high school one of her standard 1953 English text…
John Marquardt
June 20, 2018
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The Wrong Side of History

I've always been fascinated by those tricky slogans politicians and social activists use to dupe the public. These cleverly crafted catchphrases are short, simple, easily understood and tend to stick with people. A currently popular catchphrase is “The wrong side of history” which has been defined as: “Having policies or practices that are perceived as not progressive or enlightened; behaving…
Gail Jarvis
June 1, 2018
Review Posts

Cracks in the Treasury of Virtue

A review of Division and Reunion: America, 1848-1877, by Ludwell H. Johnson, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1978. 301 pages; and The Secret Six: John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement, by Otto Scott, New York: Times Books, 1979, 375 pages. It was Flannery O'Connor who remarked, in one of her short essays, that people will believe anything about the…
Clyde Wilson
May 29, 2018
Blog

Unlearning “Fake History”

An African-American columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has opined that it is time to unlearn the “fake history” of slavery and “The Lost Cause” that ostensibly has been taught in schools in Virginia and the South. I am an advocate for the Truth in all things, and I am not opposed to his premise, although much “fake history” comes from…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
April 25, 2018
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The Lies and Hypocrisy of the Civil War

More than 150 years after the Civil War, the nation is engulfed in controversy over statues of people who fought for the Confederacy. Many people want the statues taken down. The statues, they say, depict men who were slaveowners, slavery proponents, and traitors. Those who want the statues to stay in place are said to be racists. The feelings run…
Jacob G. Hornberger
January 24, 2018
Review Posts

The World They Made Together

A review of The World They Made Together, Black and White Values in Eighteenth Century Virginia, by Mechal Sobel, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1987 I In America, in 1607 the first successful British settlement began in a land they called Virginia. Within a few decades another people began arriving, taken from their homes in Africa. Both peoples arrived…
Vito Mussomeli
December 12, 2017
Blog

Through a Lens Darkly

There is an old saying in the theater that when one is acting the part of a butler in a play, the actor tends to regard it as a play about butlers.  This manner of observing personages and events, both past and present is, of course, a sad fact of life within many levels of modern society.  All too often,…
John Marquardt
December 4, 2017
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Slavery and the War

The recent apoplexy over White House Chief-of-Staff John Kelly’s comments about Robert E. Lee and the Civil War have revealed on ongoing problem in the thinking of many Americans when it comes to history and politics in general – the inability to see any issue or event in anything but the most oversimplified terms.  In the particular context of the…
Michael Armstrong
November 27, 2017
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Slavery and the Confederacy

What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of ‘The Times’ had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected…
Kirkpatrick Sale
October 26, 2017
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Nat Turner: Terrorist

As the old cliché goes, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” The phrase has been around forever, it seems, and sometimes it can be true, I suppose. There are always exceptions to every rule. But most of the time, a terrorist is simply a terrorist, a person who uses extreme violence and fear to achieve a political or…
Ryan Walters
October 18, 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
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The Historical Folly of “Nothing but Race.”

At the base of most of the ongoing political debates currently raging in the United Sates there are always, it seems, deeper questions, more philosophical and more historical contexts that need to be examined—what I would call “legacy issues.” Oftentimes assumptions are made or are disseminated by many self-proclaimed defenders of our traditions—by those “conservative apologists”—that bear little relationship to…
Boyd Cathey
September 20, 2017
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Slavery and the War

To assert the dogma that slavery caused the war of the 1860s sanctifies the North, vilifies the South, glorifies the Blacks, and mythologizes the war. This dogma has been thrown out there as an unchallenged “given” for a hundred and fifty years to put the South on the guilty defensive and keep her there, but it all collapses with one…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
September 13, 2017
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American Presidents, Slavery, and the Confederacy

The current pogrom against Southern history and symbols ignores the influence the South and the institution of slavery had on most American presidents. American history would not be the same without it. If the current goal is to purge any reminder of slavery and the Confederacy from the public sphere, then nearly every American president would have to be withdrawn…
Clyde Wilson
August 30, 2017
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Imagine if the British Won?

Let us imagine for a moment that the French army and fleet were not present at Yorktown to augment Washington’s army, and that the British prevailed in their war to suppress the rebellion of their subjects populating the American colonies below Canada. As the victorious redcoats swarmed through those colonies they arrested and imprisoned rebel leadership including Jefferson, Washington, Franklin,…
Bernard Thuersam
August 28, 2017
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Confederate Case Law: The Rule of Law, Not of Men

The mark of an advanced civilization is the rule of law, with the highest being the rule of law that protects life, liberty and property. Based upon this standard, the Confederate States of America embodied an advanced Christian civilization. Accepting this truism goes a long way in understanding why the Confederacy has been demonized to the point of eradicating it…
Marshall DeRosa
August 23, 2017
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Is 19th Century Slavery Harming 21st Century Black Americans?

Today's Americans are not nearly as gullible as the Leftist establishment seems to think. Also, its hard to believe that these starry-eyed ideologues think they can remove all obstacles that they have decided stand in the way of the “purification” of America. They cleverly created ambiguous and questionable encumbrances that can be interpreted in whatever way is necessary to justify…
Gail Jarvis
August 17, 2017
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A Monumental Spin

It takes men of worth to recognize worth in men. – Thomas Carlyle Totalitarian movements are mass organizations of atomized, isolated individuals. – Hannah Arendt Yea, they would pare the mountain to the plain to leave an equal baseness. – Tennyson The mob attacks on Confederate monuments remind me of the “useful idiots” and “rent-a-thugs” who are happily condoned, if…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
August 16, 2017
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The Absurdity of Racial Correctness Exposed

This article was originally printed at Townhall.com A couple of days ago, a friend of mine from Alabama shared on his Facebook wall an article from Alabama Political Reporter by a Mr. Josh Moon. The title is, “An Apology for White People.” Moon, a white man, writes that “white people in Alabama (and other states too, I presume)…like to pretend a lot…
Jack Kerwick
July 6, 2017
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“Free People of Color” in Dixie

This article is the abbreviated address that I made at the Upcountry Literary Festival 2017, at the University of South Carolina, in Union South, Carolina. Some people come for the land down under (Australia). I come from the land where old times are not forgotten. I started my presentation by singing the old spiritual entitled, Wade in the Water, God’s…
Barbara Marthal
June 30, 2017
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Was the South Poor Before the War?

This essay was written in 1982 under the direction of Emory Thomas at the University of Georgia and was originally titled, "The Affluent Section: The South on the Eve of the War Between the States." "Once upon a time we all knew that the antebellum South was poor", asserted Harold D. Woodman in the 1975 issue of Agricultural History.  He was…
William Cawthon
May 26, 2017
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Sanctuary City Mayor Trashes An AMERICAN Hero, Robert E. Lee

This piece was originally published at Townhall.com. Mayor Mike Signer—who had declared his intention to make Charlottesville, Virginia, the "capital of the resistance" to President Trump and a sanctuary city "to protect immigrants and refugees"—is refusing to protect a symbol saluting one of America's greatest men. Yes, Robert E. Lee was a great American. If Signer knew the first thing…
Ilana Mercer
May 25, 2017
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Confederate Monuments

The latest Crusade of the Progressives and other Politically Correct to remove all Confederate monuments from the face of the earth reminds me of a recent article by one Patricia Sullivan from the Washington Post concerning the Confederate statue in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Alexandria City Council’s unanimous vote to relocate it. The article also noted that others spoke with…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
April 10, 2017
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A Disease of the Public Mind

Historian and novelist Thomas Fleming is the author of more than fifty books, including two very good revisionist histories of the two world wars: The New Dealers’ War, and The Illusion of Victory in World War I. He has authored biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and has written extensively about the founding generation, including his best-selling book, Liberty!…
Thomas DiLorenzo
March 29, 2017
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Jefferson and Slavery

Every so often, contemporary opponents of the Jeffersonian tradition make the argument that the legacy of the “Sage of Monticello” has been tainted by patent hypocrisy. The barrage of attacks Jefferson levied against slavery, they suggest, should be discounted on the grounds that he was a slave owner himself. Beyond this, some go as far as to claim that all…
Dave Benner
March 27, 2017
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Attack on Robert E. Lee is an Assault on American History Itself

Early in February, the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia voted 3-2 to remove a bronze equestrian monument to Robert E. Lee that stands in a downtown park named in his honor. Vice Mayor Wes Belamy, the council's only African American member, led the effort to remove the statue. In the end, this vote may be largely symbolic. Those opposed to…
Allan Brownfield
February 14, 2017
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Never the North, Always the South

"I think every heritage has things that are good about it, every heritage has things that are harmful about it," replied Representative Tom Price recently to a question from Senator Tim Kaine. "And I'm happy to answer the specific question. I think slavery was an abomination." Price was being interviewed for Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human…
Paul H. Yarbrough
January 31, 2017
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Censoring Jefferson to Safeguard Ignorance

This piece was originally published in the UVA Cavalier Daily.At the risk of offending 469 UVA faculty colleagues and students who protest President Sullivan’s practice of quoting UVA founder Thomas Jefferson “in light of Jefferson’s owning of slaves and other racist views” (“Professors ask Sullivan to stop quoting Jefferson,” Cavalier Daily, Nov. 13), I would submit another Jefferson quote: “This institution…
Robert F. Turner
December 2, 2016
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Cherry Picking James Madison

Legal “scholar” Akil Reed Amar made waves recently by arguing that a single comment from James Madison proves that the Electoral College had an intrinsic pro-slavery bent and was designed to perpetuate the institution. According to Amar, Madison suggested that Virginia’s stature would be hindered by a national popular vote for president, an idea proposed in the Philadelphia Convention by…
Dave Benner
November 15, 2016
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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
Review Posts

Truth in the Pit of Political Correctness

Last week’s vote (June 2016) to repudiate the Battle Flag by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) caught me by surprise and left me in shock. I have long considered our denomination to be socially conservative, prudent, and wise to stay out of issues that do not directly impact the mission of our church. I am a deacon but more importantly on…
Ben Thompson
August 16, 2016
Review Posts

The Tariff and Other Tales from Alabama

My friends, there is one issue before you, and to all sensible men but one issue, and but two sides to that issue. The slavery question is but one of the symbols of that issue; the commercial question is but one of the symbols of that issue; the Union question is but one of those symbols; the only issue before…
James Rutledge Roesch
August 1, 2016
Blog

New England Bound

New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren; ISBN: 978-0871406729, W.W.Norton, June 7, 2016, 368 pages. Squanto the Indian came out of the woods in the spring of 1621, and taught the Pilgrims how to raise the crops of the New World, thereby saving their lives. What is wrong with this picture? The story is true,…
Terry Hulsey
July 28, 2016
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Hampton Roads: A Twist in the Lincoln Myth

According to the standard narrative maintained by the North, Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation brought about a new moral aim that justified a particularly bloody conflict. The act is often described as a device that would usher in a new age where angelic Northerners suddenly abandoned their racist past in favor of a fair, more equitable course for enslaved men. From…
Dave Benner
May 16, 2016
Review Posts

Is “White Supremacy” an Exclusively “Southern” Ideology?

“We abhor the doctrine of the "Types of Mankind;" first, because it is at war with scripture, which teaches us that the whole human race is descended from a common parentage; and, secondly, because it encourages and incites brutal masters to treat negroes, not as weak, ignorant and dependent brethren, but as wicked beasts, without the pale of humanity. The…
Brion McClanahan
May 3, 2016
Review Posts

The Cause of Jackson is the Cause of Us All

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

Confederate Emancipation

  The following is a transcription of a speech given at the inaugural Education Conference of the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans:  ‘The best men of the South have long desired to do away with the institution and were quite willing to see it abolished.’ – Robert E. Lee ‘Most informed men realized that slavery was not…
James Rutledge Roesch
March 15, 2016
Clyde Wilson Library

Why The War Was Not About Slavery

Conventional wisdom of the moment tells us that the great war of 1861—1865 was “about” slavery or was “caused by” slavery. I submit that this is not a historical judgment but a political slogan. What a war is about has many answers according to the varied perspectives of different participants and of those who come after. To limit so vast…
Clyde Wilson
March 9, 2016
Blog

The Lincoln Douglas Debates

This essay first appeared in National Review, 6/1, June 21, 1958, 18-19. Just one hundred years ago Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas were stumping Illinois for tire office of United States Senator. They made a total of eighty-three appearances before the voters of that state, seven of which were in the form of joint debates. Now, on this anniversary…
Richard M. Weaver
February 15, 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

Black Slaveowners

  This essay is the introduction to Larry Koger's book, Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860. Black slaveholding is a historical phenomenon which has not been fully explored by scholars. Graduate students of history are often sur­prised to learn that some free blacks owned slaves. Even historians are fre­quently skeptical until they discover the number of…
Larry Koger
January 7, 2016
Review Posts

Did Black People Own Slaves?

This article was originally printed at TheRoot.com on March 4, 2013. One of the most vexing questions in African-American history is whether free African Americans themselves owned slaves. The short answer to this question, as you might suspect, is yes, of course; some free black people in this country bought and sold other black people, and did so at least…
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
January 5, 2016
Clyde Wilson Library

Scholars’ Statement in Support of the Confederate Flag (2000)

Statement of College and University Professors in Support of the Confederate Battle Flag Atop the South Carolina Statehouse, drafted just before the legislative "compromise." To the General Assembly and People of South Carolina: Certain academics have issued a statement on the cause of the Civil War as it relates to the controversy over the Confederate battle flag. They held a…
Clyde Wilson
November 18, 2015
Blog

When I Was Little: A tale of life in Mississippi during the War

This story was originally published at Alabama Pioneers and comes from the book Alokoli : the Choctaw County. “Tell us about when you were little” was the oft repeated request of two lovely wee girls, my grandchildren and now comes the request that I put it down in writing. Viewed from their own childhood of peace and plenty mine seemed…
Clemmie Parker Wilcox
November 9, 2015
Blog

Calhoun and Yale

I can still recall one of my college economics professor's witticisms. When a student mentioned that the current year's test had the same questions as last year's, the professor replied: "Yes, but the answers have changed." My professor illustrated a valid point: theories of economic causation, like other theories, often change. A culture's political and social attitudes also change. But…
Gail Jarvis
October 26, 2015
Review Posts

Slavery in the Confederate Constitution

...... Although I have never Sought popularity by any animated Speeches or Inflammatory publications against the Slavery of the Blacks, my opinion against it has always been known and my practice has been so conformable to my sentiment that I have always employed freemen both as Domisticks and Labourers, and never in my Life did I own a Slave. The…
Vito Mussomeli
October 20, 2015
Blog

Believe It Or Not…

Criss-crossing the South, from Virginia and Maryland to Texas, and from Missouri and Tennessee to South Carolina and Florida, there are thirteen museums dedicated to the myriad oddities of life . . . Robert Ripley’s “Odditoriums.” Almost a century ago, as a reporter for the New York Globe, Ripley created what would soon become the world-famous media feature, “Believe It…
John Marquardt
October 9, 2015
Blog

Discovering Jackson

  Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson (2014) by S.C. Gwynne. A braver man God never made. – Richmond Dispatch, 3-28-1862 (page 226) Gwynne’s biography of Stonewall Jackson is simply one of the best biographies I have ever read. Many biographies plod along a “cradle-to-grave” timeline that starts out something like “our hero’s father started out as…
Terry Hulsey
September 25, 2015
Blog

Revisiting 25 Years of Revisionist Claptrap

With its usual promotional hype, PBS re-broadcasted its 1990 program The Civil War. This 25-year-old program, along with Jazz and Baseball constitutes Ken Burns' trilogy on racial relations. Wanting to make the Civil War "comprehensible to a contemporary audience", Burns chose to present a "social history", one that was heavily influenced by contemporary socio/political sentiments. Burns publicly admitted that he…
Gail Jarvis
September 24, 2015
Review Posts

Robert B. Rhett: Liberty Protected by Law

“The one great principle, which produced our secession from the United States – was constitutional liberty – liberty protected by law. For this, we have fought; for this, our people have died. To preserve and cherish this sacred principle, constituting as it did, the very soul of independence itself, was the clear dictate of all honest – all wise statesmanship.”–…
James Rutledge Roesch
September 22, 2015
Review Posts

Promoting Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day Observance in South Carolina, 1827-1837

In the eighteenth century, each of the British North American colonies that later formed the United States of America had statutes that regulated the observance of the Christian Sabbath, or the Lord’s day. The two motivating concerns were, first, religious worship; and, second, commercial or business activity on the weekly rest day. While the high regard of New Englanders for…
Forrest L. Marion
September 8, 2015
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Judah P. Benjamin: Able Statesman, Forgotten Patriot

If you showed the average American pictures of famous figures from Confederate States of America, there is a good chance many would recognize Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Pressed further, some may even identify Alexander Stephens. All were influential men, and important to the establishment and development of the Confederacy. However, none of them assisted the Confederate cause in…
Dave Benner
September 4, 2015
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Was the Civil War About Slavery?

A new video entitled “Was the Civil War About Slavery?” from Prager University is currently making the rounds on the Internet. A caption claims that the video “settles the debate once and for all,” superseding over a century’s worth of scholarship by historians who have argued this matter. But does it really? The video is filled with misconceptions and myths…
Dave Benner
August 14, 2015
Review Posts

Abel P. Upshur

This essay is published in honor of Abel P. Upshur's birthday, June 17, 1790. Today, States’ rights are remembered as a legalistic excuse for the preservation of slavery – a part of the past best forgotten. One historian scoffs at the notion of “loyalty to the South, Southern self-government, Southern culture, or states’ rights,” declaring that “slavery’s preservation was central…
Clyde Wilson Library

Goodbye to Gold and Glory

“The Father of Waters now flows unvexed to the sea,” Lincoln famously announced in July 1863. He was, according to a reporter, uncharacteristically “wearing a smile of supreme satisfaction” as he related the news of the surrender of Vicksburg. Like many popular sayings about the war of 1861–1865, Lincoln’s words rest on certain unexamined assumptions. Why had the flow of…
Clyde Wilson
June 16, 2015
Review Posts

The Old and the New South

Delivered as the commencement address for South Carolina College, 1887. What theme is most fitting for me present to the young men of the South, at this celebration of the South Carolina Col­lege ? What shall one, whose course is nearly run, say to those whose career is hardly begun ? In my retrospect I deeply sym­pathize with you in…
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The Plundering Generation

This piece was originally published in Southern Partisan magazine in 1987-88. A few years ago I was shuffling through accumulated litter in my garage attic when I came across some clippings dating from the 1960s. Among them were several letters to Life magazine comment­ing on an article by Bruce Carton. One reads as follows: Bruce Carton's article is interesting and…
Ludwell H. Johnson
May 29, 2015
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Lincoln and Equal Rights: The Authenticity of the Wadsworth Letter

This article was originally published in The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 1966), pp. 83-87. In the current national debate on the race problem, the authority of the Great Emancipator has been claimed by both sides. Some have represented Lincoln as an archsegregationist by quoting from the 1858 debates, in which he opposed political and social…
Ludwell H. Johnson
May 28, 2015
Review Posts

Ludwell Johnson: Master Southern Historian

  Life and Work Why Read Ludwell Johnson? Both Ludwell Johnson’s style of work and choice of subject matter strongly recommend him to our consideration. As a working historian he is calm and measured, with just the degree of detachment that historical work ideally requires. As he puts it, “trying to identify cause and effect is, to me, the very…
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PBS’s “The Civil War”: The Mythmanagement of History

This piece was originally printed by Southern Partisan magazine in 1990. In the September issue of the American Historical Association's newsletter, a rave review predicted that the PBS production "The Civil War" might become "the Gone With the Wind of documen­taries." After watching almost all of it, I would suggest Uncle Tom's Cabin as its fictional alter ego. But let…
Ludwell H. Johnson
May 25, 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
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Remembering the War Between the States and Its Aftermath

This piece was originally printed at res33blog.com. The commentary by University of North Carolina-Wilmington history Professor Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. titled, “Why the Civil War still matters” published in the Wilmington StarNews last March caught my attention both for his review of some interesting facts, and his omissions and conflicting ideas about that historic period.  Prof. Fonvielle explains some of…
R.E. Smith, Jr.
May 18, 2015
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Yet Another Uneducated, Baseless Attack on the South

A so-called "writer" for al.com, Charles J. Dean, in an article entitled Today Alabama officially observes Confederate Memorial Day: Shame on us seems to be making a living these days off of feeble attempts at denigrating the South by misconstruing the history of the Confederate soldier, his cause and the situation that compelled him to war. This is his second…
Carl Jones
April 30, 2015
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White Cargo

White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America, Don Jordan and Michael Walsh, NYU Publishing Co., 2008, 431 pages. 978-0814742969. Where’s my reparations payment! If Ta-Nehisi Coates has provided the ideas behind John Conyers’ House Bill HR 40 for slave reparations to blacks, then Jordan and Walsh can provide the same for everyone else. For the truth…
Terry Hulsey
March 12, 2015
Review Posts

Taking Back Thomas Jefferson

“There is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1826, days before death It is now accepted as a fact that one of the preeminent Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson – the Apostle of Liberty and Reason – engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with one of his slaves, Sally…
James Rutledge Roesch
March 10, 2015
Review Posts

When the Yankees Come: Former South Carolina Slaves Remember the Invasion

Introduction As we are now in the midst of the sesquicentennial of the Union Army’s march through South Carolina—the climax being the burning of the city of Columbia on 17 February 1865—I thought it might be interesting to employ a rather unorthodox, but extremely interesting source to broaden the understanding of this infamous event: Slave Narratives: A Folk History of…
Paul C. Graham
February 17, 2015
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How The War Was About Slavery

In my capacity as editor of the Palmetto Partisan, I keep a very close eye on the news for articles regarding the Confederacy, especially as it relates to South Carolina, in the hope that our staff can use some of this information to produce timely and relevant content for our division journal. To do this I employ a news search…
Paul C. Graham
January 26, 2015
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American Conservatives Do Not Understand the South

The cover story of the January/February 2015 issue of The American Conservative titled ‘A Nation of Prisoners’ deals with the high rate of incarceration in the United States. The cover story was yet another opportunity for Washington centered conservatives to remind Southerners of our proper place upon the “stools of everlasting repentance.”  The fact at a national “conservative” journal that…
James Ronald Kennedy
December 30, 2014
Review Posts

Exclusion of Free Blacks In the North

This piece was originally published at SlaveNorth.com. "ace prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known." --Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America In some Northern states, after emancipation, blacks were legally allowed to vote, marry whites,…
Douglas Harper
December 23, 2014
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An Easy Moral Superiority over Our Dead Heroes

This article was originally published by the History News Network and is reprinted here by permission. Henry Wiencek’s Master of the Mountain (2012), which depicted Jefferson as a greedy and racist slave-owner, sold well but was given an ambivalent reception. Though the book has been fairly well received by the general public,its author has been censured severely by Jeffersonian scholars…
M. Andrew Holowchak
December 2, 2014
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They Dared to Die

Address of Colonel Edward McCrady, Jr. before Company a (Gregg's regiment), First S. C. Volunteers, at the Reunion at Williston, Barnwell county, S. C, 14th July, 1882. It is with divided feelings, my comrades, that we meet upon this occasion. It is indeed doubtful which emotion is the stronger, that of pleasure in once more grasping the hands of those…
Edward McCrady, Jr.
December 1, 2014
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All Slavery, All the Time*

*Apologies to Jon White from whom I sole the title for this piece. Invariably, any discussion regarding the causes of the Late Unpleasantness brings forth the tortured issue of slavery. Back when I was a graduate student in the 1990s, there was still some room, though not much, for a multi-causational interpretation of the War, not so much anymore. Much…
John Devanny
November 12, 2014
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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
Review Posts

The Political Economy of John Taylor of Caroline

Part III of a Five Part Series. Part I, Part II. 1. Republicanism and Liberalism Revisited As noted previously, 18th-century Anglo-American opposition writers employed several political languages. One of these, classical republicanism, asserted reciprocal causal relations between power and property such that a republic secures stability and liberty by way of a “mixed constitution” resting on a broad class of…
Joseph R. Stromberg
November 6, 2014
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Where Mason Left Us

This essay is in honor of George Mason's death, October 7, 1792. He wrote the foundational words for America. If we listen, he taught us the dream that the import of America is greater, more important than any government of any United States. He continues today as he was in his time, a pulsating presence of cogency, learning and disregard…
Vito Mussomeli
October 13, 2014
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The One Word Answer: Slavery

“What caused the Civil War?” Ever since the close of the conflict, historians have been struggling with this crucial question. Given the profound consequences of the war, asking “how?” and “why?” are worthy endeavors. Lately, however, the cause of the War of Southern Independence has been distilled down into a single word: slavery. Ideology has deposed understanding. This notion that…
James Rutledge Roesch
September 22, 2014
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The Original Steel Magnolia

“No wonder men were willing to fight for such a country as ours—and such women. They were enough to make heroes of any material.”- President Jefferson Davis, C.S.A. Mary Boykin Chesnut’s diary is a touching human and intimate history of a civilization locked in a struggle for life or death. Out of respect to her, and to preserve the authenticity…
James Rutledge Roesch
September 10, 2014
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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
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Righteous Cause Mythology

From April to July of 1863 British Lieutenant Colonel Arthur J. L. Fremantle visited all but two Confederate states. He entered at Brownsville, Texas and finished by observing the battle of Gettysburg from the Rebel side where he was a character in both Michael Shaara's novel, The Killer Angels, and the corresponding film, Gettysburg. About 140 years later one of…
Philip Leigh
August 26, 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
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Understanding “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

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

Speech of Hon. Joseph Wheeler, of Alabama. From the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, July 31, 1894 Causes Of The War. Opposition of the Southern Colonists to Slavery, and Their Devotion to the Union--Advocates of Secession. On Friday, July 13th, 1894, the House of Representatives being in Committee of the Whole, on appropriations and expenditures, and having under consideration the bill to…
Joseph Wheeler
June 27, 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
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The Other Side of Slavery

The concept of a faithful slave goes against today's authorized slave narratives. Before the social upheavals of the 1960s, it was still permissible to depict different reactions of slaves towards their masters; all slaves didn't have to be portrayed as resentful. Admittedly, most slaves wanted freedom and many slaves were mistreated and consequently bitter towards their masters. Indeed there were…
Gail Jarvis
May 26, 2014
Blog

The Other Side of Slavery

The concept of a faithful slave goes against today's authorized slave narratives. Before the social upheavals of the 1960s, it was still permissible to depict different reactions of slaves towards their masters; all slaves didn't have to be portrayed as resentful. Admittedly, most slaves wanted freedom and many slaves were mistreated and consequently bitter towards their masters. Indeed there were…
Gail Jarvis
May 26, 2014
Review Posts

The Unemancipated Country: Eugene Genovese’s Discovery of the Old South

This essay originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Academic Questions (Volume 27, Number 2). On 26 September 2012, Eugene Dominic Genovese, one of the most influential and controversial historians of his generation, passed away at age eighty-two after a lengthy struggle with heart disease. His principal writings focused on the history of slavery and the Old South. Roll,…
Robert L. Paquette
May 21, 2014
Review Posts

A Bostonian on the Causes of the War, Part IV

Part IV (Final) from a section of Dr. Scott Trask’s work in progress, Copperheads and Conservatives. Part I. Part II. Part III. Massachusetts’ Politics It is one of the perils and paradoxes of democracy that it often bestows disproportionate power and influence upon a minority. Two-party democracies are the most susceptible to this reversal of the familiar and rather tiresome…
H. A. Scott Trask
May 19, 2014
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A Bostonian on the Causes of the War, Part III

Part III from a section of Dr. Scott Trask's work in progress, Copperheads and Conservatives. Part I. Part II. Warnings of the Wrath to Come Southerners were by no means alone in deprecating the antislavery agitation. The northern anti-abolition movement was far stronger than the movement it opposed. Many northern leaders accurately forecast the consequences of agitation. In his annual…
H. A. Scott Trask
May 13, 2014
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A Bostonian on the Causes of the War, Part II

Part II from a section of Dr. Scott Trask's work in progress, Copperheads and Conservatives. Part I. Historical Survey Lunt believed that the celebrated Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which prohibited slavery in the territories north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi, had been a mistake. It was not because he believed slavery could have been profitably introduced…
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A Bostonian on the Causes of the War, Part I

Part I from a section of Dr. Scott Trask's work in progress, Copperheads and Conservatives. Academic historians continue to regard their work as one of scientific objectivity, one of the corollaries being that the more removed the historian is from the events he or she describes the more reliable the finished work. John Lukacs has argued against such dogma. He…
Review Posts

The Real Robert E. Lee

I was disappointed to hear of the demands of a group of Washington & Lee law students to ban the flying of the Confederate battle flag and denounce one of their school’s namesakes, General Robert E. Lee, as “dishonorable and racist.” This latest controversy appears to be yet another example of the double standard and prejudice against anything “Confederate.” Why,…