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Southern Culture

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These Women

It was after one of those big family get-togethers when I heard Grandaddy say it. We menfolk had made our way into the living room after helping clear the dining room table of dirty dishes. Dad gathered up the Dixie cups on which we had inscribed our names with a Sharpie marker. The “fine china,” Grandmother called it. My uncle…
Brandon Meeks
May 12, 2024
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Wendell Berry’s 400-Year-Old Debts

Love of cultivated land is a gift—born not from the unbridled wilds but the furrows of tilled soil. This gift, neither wrought nor feigned, cannot be bought nor swapped like an old mule, but rather, is bestowed upon us as a boon from our shared Agrarian Patrimony. Wendell Berry is a fortunate heir and shares his Southern heirloom generously through…
Chase Steely
May 10, 2024
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The History of Our Southern People

The history of the Southern people, in its broad and significant dimensions, is still to be written. A lot of good history (and a lot of bad history) has been written about the South, but the over-arching theme of most of  this writing has been to treat the South as a peculiarity. The North is normal, the South is to…
Clyde Wilson
May 6, 2024
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Wingless Chickens

The great Georgian writer of the mid-twentieth century Flannery O’Connor famously described herself as a “hillbilly Thomist,” a nod both to her Southern origins and her dedication to the medieval theologian and philosopher Thomas Aquinas. However much yankee intellectuals thumbed their noses at the South, the hillbilly moniker was not a little discordant given the well-educated O’Connor hailed from a…
Casey Chalk
May 1, 2024
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Purple Haired Harpies and the Decline of the Historic South

I found the following article of interest, so I am passing it on.  It symbolizes for me, in iconic fashion, another major reason that the millennia-old inherited society around us is collapsing, to be replaced by a monstruous, dystopian Gulag, a counter-reality where our tried-and-true verities are unceremoniously dumped onto the ash heap of history. Just the other day I…
Boyd Cathey
April 29, 2024
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Two-Lane South

I learned to drive in a pasture. The speed limit didn’t matter; that orange Allis Chalmers tractor could only go so fast on uneven ground. Sweetheart, my grandmother, told too many tales of reckless young boys whose turns on the lumbering machines led to disfigurement and death, so I didn’t try anything too adventurous. That is, until my mother let…
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America’s Prophet

This piece was originally published at IM_1776.com. Cormac McCarthy died at his home in Santa Fe last Tuesday, June 13 (2023), at the age of 89. He was our greatest living novelist, an apocalyptic prophet and diviner of violence, and will forever stand with the likes of Melville and Faulkner as the chief American mythmaker of his time. Born in…
Lafayette Lee
April 25, 2024
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Why “Democracy” Has Failed–And How to Fix It

Democracy in America has failed. In spite of the lack of any reference to “democracy” in both the American Constitution and its Declaration of Independence, the United States has institutionalized the democratic principle to become its world exemplar, which according to some intellectuals is henceforth to be the sole pattern for all governments on earth. Francis Fukuyama, a neoconservative until…
Terry Hulsey
April 24, 2024
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He’s Southbound, Lord, He’s Comin’ Home to You

Dickey Betts died. If you need to read a biographical tribute, turn elsewhere.  While there are plenty of cookie-cutter articles about Dickey Betts all over the place, the perspective found here is from a fellow musician, a fellow guitarist, and a fellow Southerner who never met Dickey Betts or ever even saw him perform.  But, oh, what an influence he…
Tom Daniel
April 19, 2024
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The Fasola Fellowship

I’m not deaf to the vibrant Country music chatter. Got opinions, but on social media, I made a vow: don't discuss the current thing. Yet, the discourse reminded of something. Donald Davidson was a man of tradition. He liked the old way. Saw a kinship between song meant for singing and verse meant for reading, a stance rare among his…
Chase Steely
April 15, 2024
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Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson!

At the request of friend John Spear Smith (1785–1866, figure below), who named a newborn child after him, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter (21 Feb. 1825) that he pens some one and one-half years prior to his death, offers philosophical advice to the newborn child, Thomas Jefferson Smith. The missive takes the form of an epistolary trilogy: an advisory letter,…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 12, 2024
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Yankee Cain and Southern Seth

Southerners have often been mocked for their agrarian simplicity by Yankee-minded folks.  We know the insults well by now:  hicks, hillbillies, rednecks, and so on.  But Dixie should not be ashamed of this.  We ought rather to delight and exult in it. Richard Weaver gives us good ground for doing so in his contrast of the Northern/Yankee and Southern types:…
Walt Garlington
April 11, 2024
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Republic or Democracy

Back in 1966, the conservative activist and F.B.I. operative Dan Smoot produced a short film, A Constitutional Republic, Not a Democracy.  Anybody who calls the United States a democracy, he said, is trying to subvert the Constitution of the United States — we’re not a democracy; we’re a republic. Probably because there are supposed to be two political parties here,…
Kevin Orlin Johnson
April 10, 2024
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Saving a Remnant

Nothing is more indicative of the ongoing degradation of American  culture than the fate of the once noble Commonwealth of Virginia—not long ago widely admired as the mother of States and Presidents—inseparable from Patrick Henry, Washington, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Lee and Jackson. Now shallow, opportunistic politicians ignorant of American foundations swarm in every Southern State. In Virginia they have…
Clyde Wilson
April 9, 2024
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Cowboy Carter and Cultural Appropriation

At the time of the Super Bowl in February, 2024, pop singer Beyoncé Knowles released two new singles that sounded a little different than her usual stuff. One of those two singles called Texas Hold ‘Em went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country chart and eventually number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In late March, Beyoncé followed…
Tom Daniel
April 4, 2024
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Soured on the South

I grew up in Virginia, though my accent, apart from a few words and phrases, is almost indistinguishable from my friends from California, Massachusetts, and Michigan. For many Southerners, especially in the Upper South, all that remains of that once rich linguistic heritage are such expressions as “y’all,” “yonder,” and “if I had my druthers.” For that, we can thank…
Casey Chalk
April 3, 2024
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What Did Jefferson Really Look Like?

A newspaper in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1887 and in 1902 stated that Sally Hemings’ last child, slave Eston Hemings, resembled Thomas Jefferson. Just how that resemblance was established is unclear. Eston Hemings died in 1877; Thomas Jefferson, in 1826. So, the newspaper was reporting that one person that had been dead for 10/25 years resembled another that has been dead…
M. Andrew Holowchak
March 27, 2024
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Good Stock

As soon as I walked through the door I could smell it. The thick, pungent aroma of collard greens and smoked ham hock cooked low and slow for hours. Simple fare, born of necessity, but it remains one of my favorite meals. And despite the humble nature of the ingredients, it is nothing short of delicious. It’s Sunday afternoon. That…
Brandon Meeks
March 22, 2024
BlogReview Posts

Patriotism and the History of Prejudice

A review of The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice (Shoemaker + Company, 2022) by Wendell Berry I had heard of Wendell Berry for quite some time, and though I had an idea of what he was for—‘what I stand for is what I stand on’—I had never read him. I believe that my very first…
James Rutledge Roesch
March 21, 2024
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Southern Nationalism

A leftwing scribbler on some website recently called me “a White Nationalist.” He thought that was a conclusive judgment. But I am not now and never have been a “White Nationalist.” I have long been called a Southern nationalist, but that is a different matter. The Southern people are real. White nationalism is merely a Yankee ideology, an abstraction with…
Clyde Wilson
March 19, 2024
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A Favorite Southern Trio

A few years back, I came to Louisiana for the first time. Being an Indiana Hoosier, I had no idea what dishes were native to this region, aside from gumbo and crawfish. The first Southern meal my Louisiana family introduced me to was red beans and rice. I didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as I took my…
Arianna Brindle
March 15, 2024
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1934: The Last Rebel Yell

In 1934, FDR was the first President to visit Roanoke County, Virginia, since George Washington had 200 years before as a young surveyor and soldier. FDR was to race through Salem (our home town) on his way to honor the new World War I veterans’ hospital nearby. The locals crowded about a right turn where his car had to slow…
Joscelyn Dunlop
March 8, 2024
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What’s a Road

Native Americans once traversed their paths before the founding of the nation. A teenage George Washington traveled them as a surveyor in the mid-eighteenth century. Enslaved blacks built fieldstone walls that line some of them. And Union and Confederate armies once clashed upon them. I’m talking about the gravel roads of Loudoun County in northwest Virginia. If you know anything…
Casey Chalk
March 7, 2024
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Jefferson on the Pleasure of Pleasure Gardening

Thomas Jefferson, like others of his day, was a patron and admirer of the fine arts, which were “fine” because they were autotelic—viz., enjoyed as ends in themselves. The number of the Fine Arts was a matter of debate in his day. To granddaughter Ellen Wayles Randolph (10 July 1805), President Jefferson writes: I must observe that neither the number…
M. Andrew Holowchak
February 27, 2024
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Forgotten Southern Wisdom

Over the years I  have occasionally encountered references to Edward P. Lawton’s book The South and the Nation. I was never able to find it until recently when  I was able to get a copy from  a company in India called Skilled Books.  This reprint is nicely printed and bound without any date or copyright  information. Lawton was from Savannah,…
Clyde Wilson
February 22, 2024
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Self-Evident Truths

Armies sometimes crush liberty, but they cannot conquer ideas. Jabez L. M. Curry (Lieutenant colonel, CSA, 1861-1865) From the African continent to the shores of America, the people coercively enslaved were victims of government action, inaction, or a combination of the two. Whether the government is led by a tribal chieftain or a so-called representative government, all governments are political…
Marshall DeRosa
February 21, 2024
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Thomas Jefferson’s “Holy War”

In a singular letter late in life to John Wayles Eppes (6 Nov. 1813), Thomas Jefferson describes the American Revolution as a “holy war.” He writes, “If ever there was a holy war, it was that which saved our liberties and gave us independance.” The letter rather mundanely concerns Jefferson’s abhorrence of banks and paper money. The letter I consider…
M. Andrew Holowchak
February 20, 2024
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New York v. Tennessee

You’ve probably already seen the video of a mob beating up two New York City police officers. The incident happened about 10 days ago in broad daylight in Times Square, one of the most prominent public places and tourist attractions in New York. The video shows two officers apprehending a suspect who resists arrest and is wrestled to the pavement,…
John Avery Emison
February 7, 2024
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Mr. H

When I was in school, many of my teachers were from North Carolina, one of them Miss M., a large and rather loud woman with steel-grey hair.  We liked her much better than her predecessor, the Chicagoan with the prominent nose who mocked our country speech.  We also liked our North Carolinian physical education teacher, a right pleasant person.  And…
J.L. Bennett
February 2, 2024
BlogReview Posts

Stewards of History

Caryl Johnston is a contemporary Southern writer who has so far not received as much recognition as she merits.  That lack was partly corrected in 2021 when the Abbeville Press published her Stewards of History: Land and Time in the Story of a Southern Family. Then last year her fourth volume of verse, Storyteller in Times Square, appeared. Stewards of…
Clyde Wilson
January 31, 2024
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Remembering John Taylor of Caroline

Prophet of Encroaching Tyranny John Taylor of Caroline was a man of the American Revolution. During the fight for independence, he served in the Continental Army and Virginia militia. He left the latter at the end of the war with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Military life molded his character as it did for so many other men, but the enduring…
William J. Watkins
January 24, 2024
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Remembering “Stonewall”

From Mary Anna Jackson, Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson (1895) in honor of "Stonewall" Jackson's birthday. My own heart almost stood still under the weight of horror and apprehension which then oppressed me. This ghastly spectacle was a most unfitting preparation for my entrance into the presence of my stricken husband; but when I was soon afterwards summoned to his chamber,…
Mary Anna Jackson
January 22, 2024
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Ol’ Fred

FRED CHAPPELL was America's greatest living writer. Of that I have no doubt, not that the modern miasma of contemporary letters offered him much serious competition.  (His only rivals for the epithet were Cormac McCarthy, now passed, and Wendell Berry, nearing ninety.) He was a master of most every major literary genre - poetry, fiction, criticism, et al. His scope…
Randall Ivey
January 18, 2024
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Southerners Built Panama

Colonel William Crawford Gorgas, son of Confederate general Josiah Gorgas, Jefferson Davis’ chief of ordnance, was already a world renowned doctor before he ever set foot in Panama. In the final days of the Spanish–American War, Gorgas was Chief Sanitary Officer in Havana, where he eradicated yellow fever and malaria by identifying its transmitter: the Aedes mosquito. (Previously, people had…
Casey Chalk
January 17, 2024
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The Confederate Gold, FOUND!

A review of The Rebel and the Rose: James A. Semple, Julia Gardiner Tyler, and the Lost Confederate Gold, by Wesley Millett and Gerald White, ‎Cumberland House Publishing, August 24, 2007. Millett and White have written a terrific “three-‘fer”: A wartime romance, a history of the flight from Richmond, and an economic reckoning of the Southern Treasury. They have succeeded,…
Terry Hulsey
January 4, 2024
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Go South, Young Man

There is a venerable American tradition — at least as old as Alexis de Tocqueville — to contrast the energy, ingenuity, and virtue of the North with the slow, backward, hypocrisy of the South. In Tocquevile’s influential work Democracy in America, published in 1831, we read: “The banks of the Ohio River provided the final demonstration… time and again, in…
Casey Chalk
January 3, 2024
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Christmas in Dixie

Editor's Note: This is our final post of 2023. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We will be back January 2, 2024. Until we meet again.... The older that I get, it seems the less I enjoy the Christmas season. So much is now packed into the month of December, that it is hard to…
Keith Redmon
December 27, 2023
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A Southern Christmas Carol

During the Advent, or Christmas, season, I enjoy hearing and singing Advent hymns, or Christmas carols, which celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I always look forward to this every year. One which I enjoy hearing and singing was written in Northern Virginia, where I am from and where I live. The Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary…
Timothy A. Duskin
December 22, 2023
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O. Henry: The Short Story Writer of America

Editor's Note: O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" is one of the most popular Christmas short stories, but most modern Americans know little about the author or his Southern background. O.Henry posted caricatures of the local carpetbagger in the drugstore window. He also said that when he heard “Dixie” he did not celebrate but only wished that Longstreet had…This…
Edwin W. Bowen
December 18, 2023
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VMI and the American Empire

The instances are innumerable, their details vast. To exist outside and apart is to be a threat, a West Berlin just visible over the parapet. All distinction must submit. There is no more dialogue as once offered to Melos, there is no longer even the illusion of choice: your old god must be displaced, your plinth must be empty, and…
Thomas Ellen
December 14, 2023
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What Was the War About?

Names tell a lot, and that conflict had many names. The one that seems to have stuck is “The Civil War.” But is this an accurate description? Civil wars by definition are wars waged between two or more factions within a country struggling for control of the government (1). But Robert E. Lee was not fighting to take over the…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
December 11, 2023
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A Southern Memoir

Dr. Virginia Abernethy, retired from the Psychiatry Department of Vanderbilt University, is still going strong at age 90, as evidenced by her lively memoir, Born Abroad:  A Patriot’s Tale of Choice and Chance (Arktos: 2023). From a family of Virginian origins, she was, due to her father’s work, born in Havana and spent her childhood in Buenos Aires.  She still…
Clyde Wilson
December 8, 2023
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Abraham Lincoln–War Criminal

We frequently read today about war crimes, such as bombing hospitals. In World War II Britain bombed civilians in Dresden and dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In war, we are told, “anything goes.” Abraham Lincoln followed this barbaric policy, and those who treat him as a “hero” have much to answer for. In his definitive book War Crimes…
Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr.
December 6, 2023
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An Affectionate Farewell

This is a footnote to my most recent offering at the Abbeville Institute regarding the sayonara being given to far too much of Southern culture, heritage and history that is now being swept away by the ever-growing tsunami of mindless social justice rage. You might well ask what could possibly have led a person who was born and largely bred…
John Marquardt
December 5, 2023
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Willmoore Kendall’s Battle Lines

Few men would confuse the late Willmoore Kendall for a Southern gentleman. The son of a blind Oklahoma Southern Methodist preacher, the conservative political philosopher married three times, and carried on numerous affairs. A regular contributor to National Review, Kendall was once caught with a copy girl in the office of a colleague in NR spaces. He was an alcoholic,…
Casey Chalk
December 4, 2023
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The Great Awakening in Wilson County, Tennessee

It is often said that “a watched pot doesn’t boil”.  Today I’d like to alter that saying to “A watched pot doesn’t boil over.”And I’d like to add that “A watched pressure cooker doesn’t blow up.” The idea here is to prevent a situation from getting out of hand and making a mess in the environment.  This article is to…
Barbara Marthal
November 30, 2023
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What is the Future of the Southern Tradition?

What is the future of the Southern tradition? This question presents a pressing problem for Americans in the twenty-first century. To those who reduce the Southern tradition to treason and slavery, the answer would be simple: it must be eradicated. Unfortunately, these people dominate the academic and political classes in American society. The near decade long pogrom on Southern symbols…
Brion McClanahan
November 28, 2023
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Potluck

I believe that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be a potluck. The Saints will come from afar, bearing covered dishes, and reclining at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But there will be no tofu, for it will have its part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. The course of my life can be charted…
Brandon Meeks
November 22, 2023
BlogReview Posts

African Founders and Albion’s Seed

I've often been asked a variation of the same question: "If you had to choose one American history book to recommend, what would it be?" The answer is simple: David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed. I don't make this suggestion lightly. There are other fascinating and important works to consider, but Fischer presents a compelling tale of early American culture that…
Brion McClanahan
November 15, 2023
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The Peanut Gallery

I never want another dog. As I made the 30 mile trek home from the veterinarian’s office with the stiff body of my 14 year old cur dog, Katie, beside me, I remember muttering those words through hot tears. “They’re a damned inconvenience is what they are,” I argued to myself. Making an oral list of reasons in case I…
Brandon Meeks
November 9, 2023
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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
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Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Attraction of Policial Decency

Scholars are wont to paint antipodally Jefferson and Madison. Most depictions show, in effect, that by psychological disposition, Madison was better suited to be a Hamiltonian Federalist than a Jeffersonian Republican. I offer a few illustrations. Merrill D. Peterson, in his Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, states that Madison had a “more penetrating mind, sharp, probing, and persistent,” while…
M. Andrew Holowchak
October 24, 2023
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The Passing of Zippy

When I first met Zippy he was a mature, chestnut-colored and very friendly male equine who had come to live with my neighbors. They had created an ample fenced-in, grassy pasture next to my property, plus a neat horse-shed where Zippy could both sleep or take safe refuge should the weather turn bad. Earlier this year Zippy reached the admirable…
Boyd Cathey
October 23, 2023
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You Mean You Don’t Know?

Sunday afternoons were once meant for visiting all across The South. Sometimes family and sometimes friends, but the lazy Sunday afternoon visits, after church and then dinner, were a very important part of the connectedness that we all shared. And, by the way, dinner is the meal you ate at mid-day and supper the evening meal… just to set that…
Mike Stephens
October 20, 2023
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Coffee, Waffles, and Gunsmoke

This morning I struck up a conversation with an old man over breakfast at the local Huddle House. He was sitting by himself drinking a cup of coffee. He wasn’t looking for company but I had ordered a big omelet and that’s the sort of thing worth making conversation over. “Look at the size of that thing,” I said. “It’s…
Brandon Meeks
October 19, 2023
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The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down

Has Virgil Kane Been Reconstructed? In 1865 George Stoneman was a mediocre Union general leading cavalry behind Confederate lines in Virginia. 100 years later a Canadian rock band made him famous. It took Robbie Robertson more than six months to write the song. He spent time in libraries researching the end of the war. Many say it was an anti-war…
Garrick Sapp
October 18, 2023
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The Man Who Was George Washington

There is nothing more scholastically problematic than attempts to draw comparisons between and/or among the figures of history. Such an effort can be considered even vaguely accurate only if and when the people being juxtaposed are of the same time period. In that case, at least, the circumstances surrounding them may be fairly equitable! But even that is not always…
Valerie Protopapas
October 12, 2023
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Donald Davidson and the Tennessean’s Book Page

“I can claim no ultimate wisdom in the matter. I can only say that I reviewed books in Tennessee for seven years, and during the same period persuaded a great many people to do likewise. The book page that I edited had a very modest beginning in 1924 in the Nashville Tennessean.” - Donald Davidson 1924 unfurled. The weather, customary…
Chase Steely
October 11, 2023
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Southern Memories

Much of my time growing up in the 60s South was spent with my paternal grandparents. These were some of the best times and are some of my fondest memories. My pawpaw was a mountain of a man standing nearly 6 foot 3 and weighing close to 230 pounds. He had a grip like an iron vise and with his…
Keith Redmon
October 10, 2023
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Farmers and Families and Football and Fools

I watched, sparingly (I was mostly playing chess against the computer) two football games recently (9-30-23) Ole Miss vs. L.S.U. and Miss State vs Alabama. The won-lost column for my Mississippi roots (which run deep and proud) was 1-1. Miss Southern lost to Texas State but they were not on the single channel that I, again sparingly, watched. I keep…
Paul H. Yarbrough
October 6, 2023
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The Ride

In 1989, Papaw bought a brand new Ford pickup, white with a blue stripe. This was a gift to himself for surviving life for eighty years I suppose. That truck was the first new vehicle he had ever owned, his first ride being a two-horsepower convertible wagon with a split-rail oak seat. After leaving Murphy’s Ford dealership, his first stop…
Brandon Meeks
October 5, 2023
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Armageddon or Separation?

Increasingly it has become evident that the American nation, founded with such high hopes and aspirations in 1787, is expiring, dying a prolonged, painful but also virulently infectious death. Those words are very difficult to write, especially for someone whose American ancestry goes back to Virginia in 1646, and whose ancestors helped settle other Southern states, who served honorably in…
Boyd Cathey
October 4, 2023
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The Night of Replaced Glass

This week, new stained-glass windows at the National Cathedral of the United States were unveiled. Were these new windows a testament to the saving power of Jesus Christ? Did these windows proclaim peace? Did they show Elijah carried into the clouds, or John the Baptist in the river? Not at all. These four new windows proudly proclaim NO and FOUL…
Sara Sass
October 3, 2023
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Maxcy Gregg, Scientist, Sportsman, Soldier

We survivors sometimes forget the human cost of our failed War of Southern Independence.  The casualty rate for Confederate officers was about 25%.  For Union officers it was 10 percent, easily replaced by incoming foreigners. The loss of talented men---future outstanding leaders, writers, scientists, artists, scholars, builders, clergy, entrepreneurs--- was very near catastrophic for the future of the South.  The…
Clyde Wilson
October 2, 2023
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My Dad was a Joker

My dad was a joker.  It was one of his favorite words.  He had lots of favorite words and phrases.  Some of them you will be introduced to in this story.  By a joker, I mean a funny joker.  He always had something running in the background...some program on autopilot and you couldn't tell if it was bothering him or…
William Platt
September 22, 2023
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The Dog Days

It was 104 in the shade yesterday–at dusk. Even in the twilight I could see the wrinkled air above the asphalt on the road, trembling echoes still hot to the touch. I sat bare chested on the front  porch in a pool of saltwater my body had just made out of pork chops and potatoes. The evening sun, now only…
Brandon Meeks
September 7, 2023
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Gone But Not Forgotten

Five Classic Films that Southerners Should Explore It’s no secret that Hollywood over the past three decades has not been kind to the South or to the Confederacy. The last major films that have in any way been fair or which attempted to be objective about the Confederacy were, probably, “Gettysburg” (in 1993) and “Gods and Generals” (in 2003). But…
Boyd Cathey
September 1, 2023
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Old Men and Honor

Old men observe and imagine the fate of the "country" that was once a relatively free group of independent states of people living freely within tribal nests of local-style Jeffersonian parlors of home and family; people who loved the land and the God who provided it. Some old men have such observations. Now in time, much past, as the fortunes…
Paul H. Yarbrough
August 31, 2023
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The Southerner as Historian and Vice Versa

(*first published at First Principles Journal online, April 30, 2008) Publication of a second collection of essays by Southern historian Clyde N. Wilson -- Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture -- provides us with an occasion for surveying Wilson’s larger contributions to American and Southern history, and to the conservative movement. A native of North Carolina in the…
Joseph R. Stromberg
August 29, 2023
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Where I Come From

I’m a prodigal son of sons of a mill town. When Dr. Gresham slapped my pink behind, my first ragged breath was filled with sawdust, cotton-lint, and the deep musky smell of the Georgia-Pacific paper company. Everybody I knew growing up planted row crops or cotton or picked and ginned it; cut timber or turned it into toilet tissue; or…
Brandon Meeks
August 28, 2023
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Deep Southern Summer Written at Midnight

Remember. This is a fought-for land There’s blood soaked in the soil. There’s tears within its waves And wails upon the shore Its tempests veil the shrieks Still heard from years of yore. There’s terror in its shades Dark places in its woods recall Much pain unthinkable. The pain must still remain It cannot sublimate so soon. The prayers of…
James Everett Kibler
August 25, 2023
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All the Biscuits in Georgia

The AfroTraditonalist has been interested in starting a regular fireside chat with interesting people from the various political & cultural “spheres” I interact with on the internet. Sam Burnham is a blogger and media personality from North Georgia with roots across the South, who’s purpose is “the celebration and preservation of Southern history, culture, and agrarian ideals.” He will be…
Afro Fogey
August 24, 2023
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The Making of a Conservative

The student radicals and New Leftists of the 1960s and 1970s are now the ruling elite of the U.S.  They naturally celebrate themselves as the heroes of that period of American history.  But neither then or now are they representatives of the majority of the American people.  They are affluent spoiled brats who know  nothing of the life of  middle…
Clyde Wilson
August 23, 2023
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Sam and Cherry

They plowed the earth, they hauled heavy loads, they helped weave the fabric of their nation, Dixie.  They toiled in the hot, Southern sun, as their ancestors had, during the wars for independence, ‘76 and ‘61, during pioneer days, and as the patchwork of farms covered their native land.  They didn’t complain...much.  They worked tirelessly and for little reward.  They…
Brett Moffatt
August 22, 2023
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The Argument for Preserving Our Early American Symbols

Annie Gowan of The Washington Post writes of an incident a few years ago, June 2020, where a group of Portland, Oregon, protestors, gathered a high school and used bungee cords, wires, and human muscle to topple a statue of Thomas Jefferson off its pedestal and into the cement. Says 26-year-old removalist Triston Crowl, “When it came down, we could…
M. Andrew Holowchak
August 21, 2023
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Look Away, Dixieland

Shortly after I returned from my first tour in Afghanistan, several friends invited me over to watch the 2008 war thriller The Hurt Locker, about an Explosives Ordnance Team serving in the Iraq War. I couldn’t make it halfway. I walked out, got in my car, and sat there, staring off into space and breathing heavily for a few minutes…
Casey Chalk
August 18, 2023
Blog

Rethinking Gettysburg

It is near universally assumed that the battle of Gettysburg determined the failure of the Southern War for Independence. But is that too facile and summary a judgment? The battle may be considered something of a turning point, especially coming at the same time that Vicksburg was starved into surrender after an eight-month attack by superior numbers aided by heavily…
Clyde Wilson
August 17, 2023
Blog

How Rich Men North of Richmond Became the Cry of Middle America

Early last week hardly anyone had heard of Oliver Anthony. Now he has four of the top ten songs on Itunes. Three of his songs are being downloaded more than hits by Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift. No one in the music industry has ever risen so dramatically to prominence without radio play, corporate connections, or even a music studio.…
Jonathan Harris
August 15, 2023
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Victory Ruins

A Review of Victory Ruins (Amazon Digital Services, 2022) by Troop Brenegar. "Lee in the Mountains" by Donald Davidson culminates in the resonant utterance, “Unto all generations of the faithful heart.” These words also served as inspiration for the title of an elusive tome on Southern literature by M.E. Bradford. With a nod to this timeless phrase, Troop Brenegar’s Victory…
Chase Steely
August 14, 2023
Blog

Cook That You May Conserve, Part 3

‘But what we really seek is a different kind of sustenance. We seek a cultural relic that points to an old style of “Southern-ness” that is quickly vanishing from modern American life. We seek crude essences of the frontier, unswerving backwoods mentalities, rural respect for tradition, insights into rural humor, and examples of the wild braggadocio that has created many…
James Rutledge Roesch
August 11, 2023
Blog

The Coldest Winter

My grandfather often spoke about growing up on a poor mid-Missouri farm during the Great Depression and the period immediately following.  Thankfully, I’ve never had to experience the challenges that confronted those who lived during such trying times, so while I found the stories fascinating from a historical standpoint, I struggled to truly grasp the everyday fear, discomfort, and despair…
Trevor Laurie
August 10, 2023
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Cook That You May Conserve, Part 2

‘Barbeques were important not only because they were popular social gatherings—in fact, they were enormously popular—but also because with their accompanying dances, and games, and speeches, and storytelling, they also served to transmit traditional culture from one generation to the next; and of course they also played an important role in the democratisation of American politics.’ —Sean Busick, ‘Political Barbecues…
James Rutledge Roesch
August 4, 2023
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Turner’s Diner, Tire, and Lube

It’s 7:43. Merle is on the radio making empty promises. “Someday when things are good I’m going to leave you,” he sings. But we know better. I am sitting in a corner booth, surrounded by the rising tufts of Marlboros, and still trying to wake up good. Coffee stouter than napalm is dripping, slow and thick, into a pot purchased…
Brandon Meeks
August 2, 2023
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The Southern Culture of the Lower Midwest

Many people tend to think of regions in these United States as homogenous or collectively very defined either by border, culture, or some other parameter. However, the truth is that regional boundaries are much more fluid and crossover exists between each region abutting each other. This can be seen across the country, but is very prevalent in what is called…
Cole Branham
August 1, 2023
Blog

Cook That You May Conserve, Part 1

‘Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes. Let’s keep it that way.’ —John Shelton Reed ‘I’ve lived in North Carolina for 60 years, but I love Texas barbecue—in Texas. I love Memphis barbecue in Memphis, Kansas City barbecue in Kansas City, and even…
Blog

A Tribute to Mark Winchell

In memory of Mark Royden Winchell (1948-2008), author of biographies of Donald Davidson and Cleanth Brooks He sits amid the facts he’s gathered in From interviews, books, archives, scattered prose Mastered at last so recollection’s pen Can resurrect the dead by what he knows. He minds the many pitfalls of his art, Wary of how some storytellers err In idolizing,…
David Middleton
July 27, 2023
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Why We Love Thomas Jefferson

“For ever this, the tribes of men lived on earth, remote and free from the ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring the Fates on men. … Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home under the rim of a great jar, and did not fly out the door; for ever that, the lid of the jar stopped…
M. Andrew Holowchak
July 26, 2023
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The Kindness of Strangers, Southern Style

I currently live in the town of Cary, North Carolina, which is known, for one, as a bedroom community for our more famous neighbors in the Research Triangle: Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The Triangle is one of the premier high-tech centers of the country, but I contend that even so this part of North Carolina has not entirely lost…
Thomas Hubert
July 25, 2023
Blog

The Southern Remnant

In the summer of 2020, overwhelmed with sorrow and horror over the removal of our historical monuments, the renaming of our historical places, and the rewriting of our history, I wrote a trio, and then a duo, of essays titled ‘The Southern Remnant.’ Inspired by an anonymous writer who advised, ‘We must become living monuments,’ I exhorted others who felt…
Blog

How Does it Profit the South?

As a Southerner, I have always enjoyed the simple joy of driving down the backroads of Alabama. The black top two lanes that cut through the state are beautiful, flanked by old pecan orchards and cattle farms, where rustic tractors sit half visible behind tall grass, like monuments to our agrarian roots. Amongst the hand-painted signs and well-worn service stations…
John Slaughter
July 18, 2023
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Southern Misadventures in Latin America

William Walker (1824-1860) was a man of many skills: physician, lawyer, journalist, mercenary, president. The Tennessee-born polymath completed his medical degree and legal studies before he turned twenty-five. After moving to California to work as a journalist, he concocted a plot to conquer parts of Latin America and create new slave states to join the Union. In October 1853, Walker…
Casey Chalk
July 11, 2023
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Agrarianism After Taylor

I was not here for Dr. Fleming’s talk, but I imagine he made the point he often likes to make: the term “agrarian” is problematic, because in European and general political terms “agrarian” suggests a group of wild-eyed radicals who want to seize and divide up other peoples’ property. Of course, this not what our Agrarians are about, but I…
Clyde Wilson
July 3, 2023
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Jefferson’s Platonic Republicanism

Jefferson was never shy about his execration of Plato. He told John Adams (5 July 1814) that reading Plato’s Republic—fraught with whimsies, puerilities, and unintelligible jargon—was “the heaviest task-work I ever went through.” It is not so astonishing that Jefferson would have had such an unsympathetic, even hostile, view of Plato and his Republic, as Jefferson was a practical man…
M. Andrew Holowchak
June 28, 2023
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The Lord and His Mules

As a child, my grandfather inspired in me both a love and fear of two things: the Lord and mules.  Having been born into an old family in the “Little Dixie” part of Missouri, the importance of loving reverence for both the Lord and his mules (seemingly His agents on Earth) were exceedingly important, and, according to Grandpa, both played…
Trevor Laurie
June 23, 2023
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The Moral Superiority of the South

The South is morally superior. It always has been and, looks like, likely will be. It all started when the Yankees showed up in 1620 to be the second English-speaking people here. The pilgrims were absolutist, stiff-necked, uncompromising, dissenting Puritans. They were different from the start. They mostly came from East Anglia and the ancient Danelaw. The Puritan’s religion, ideas,…
Blog

Roscoe

The little hill behind my grandparent’s house is a piece of sacred earth to me. My grandmother planted a dogwood tree there when I was just a sapling myself. And beneath its blossoms I have planted three flying squirrels, a basset hound, and a kindly old cur dog. To rest in the shade until the Day dawns. I know how…
Brandon Meeks
June 21, 2023
Blog

A Glaring Consistency

While other interests come and go, I believe the permanence of my obsession with Dixie is rooted in its manifestation of enduring principles, to which I am stubbornly loyal. Despite the Abbeville Institute’s dedication to the Southern tradition in its entirety, our study seems to hover around the Confederacy and the War for Southern Independence, and for good reason.  In…
Julie Paine
June 19, 2023
BlogPodcast

Ep. 2: Jefferson Davis’s Farewell Address

Ep. 2: Even just a few years ago, Jefferson Davis's January 1861 Farewell Address to the United States Senate was considered to be one of the most important speeches in United States history. Those who heard it both wept and cheered as Davis led several other Senators out of the chamber. The speech is one of the "essential Southern" documents…
Brion McClanahan
June 17, 2023
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The Barbershop Gospel

As a young minister, my daily conversations tend to be around the Bible in some form or another. Everyone, and rightly so, expects a minister to talk about Jesus. Still, one could be amiss if a young barber started talking about Jesus, especially sin and forgiveness while clippin' a man’s hair. It was rather pleasant for a change to hear…
Rev. Tar Heel
June 16, 2023
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Thomas Jefferson as a “Southern Cosmopolitan”

Xenophon in his Memorabilia (II.i.21–34) cites Prodicus’ account of Herakles (L., Hercules), “passing from boyhood to youth’s estate,” at a crossroads. He went to a quiet place to consider his course of life, when he was visited by two goddesses—Hēdonē (Pleasure) and Aretē (Virtue). “The one was fair to see and of high bearing; and her limbs were adorned with…
M. Andrew Holowchak
June 15, 2023
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Tomatoes

Early Saturday morning, an unexpected item popped up on my laptop. Not an unusual phenomenon, but this one was different. It came from a New England travel site and featured an article titled, “The Tomato Sandwich-A New England Sumer Treat.” What the heck? Each word slapped me in the face, and I finally understood the definition of cultural appropriation. “No,…
Averyell A. Kessler
June 13, 2023
Blog

A Birthday Salute to Clyde Wilson

On Sunday, June 11, 2023, my dear friend and a man who is rightly called “the Dean of Southern Historians,” Dr. Clyde N. Wilson, celebrated his 82nd birthday. For some fruitful fifty-five of those years he has been at the forefront of efforts to make the history of his native region better known, and, as events and severe challenges to…
Boyd Cathey
June 12, 2023
Blog

Cowell to Judea

I pulled up to my great uncle's house around 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Our goal was to find mushrooms, but what it evolved into was so much better than any sackful of morels could ever be! We left his house and headed to Cowell, on Highway 7, and took the dirt road that winds back down the mountain. As…
Travis Holt
June 9, 2023
Blog

Mary Boykin Chesnut as Novelist

I’m going to talk about Mary Boykin Chesnut. I want to ask you, how many of you know her famous epic, sometimes called A Diary from Dixie, sometimes called Mary Chesnut’s Civil War? How many of you have heard those names? I’d like to see a show of hands. Well, less than half. I was expecting a few more. How…
Blog

James Dickey and Charlotte Holbrook

Families in the South connect in complicated ways.  James Dickey was the famous author of the 1970 novel, Deliverance, about 4 Atlanta men who take canoes down a north Georgia river and become violently entangle with the local mountain men.  James Dickey himself appears at the end of the movie version (1972) in the character of the Sheriff, with a…
Blog

George Washington and the Constitution, A Reflection

Things are seldom what they seem and therefore, beware “simple” or “easy” solutions to problems and questions that are themselves neither simple nor easy. In other words, when one is presented with what seems an obvious explanation of something that is itself anything but obvious, one should take care lest in grasping at “the answer,” one fails to understand the…
Valerie Protopapas
June 1, 2023
Blog

Jefferson’s Plan for “Healthy” Cities

In a prior essay, “Thomas Jefferson’s Prophetic Anti-City Sentiments” (Abbeville), I wrote about Jefferson’s dislike of cities—the larger, the worse. In this essay, I discuss his plan making cities healthy—viz., if there must be cities, Jefferson’s plan for what we can do keep corruptions from them. Yellow fever, in 1793, struck Philadelphia, then the capitol of the United States. There…
BlogPodcast

Ep. 1: What is a Southerner?

Clyde Wilson defined a Southerner in the 1990s. This offered a great inaugural episode of The Essential Southern Podcast. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/ep-1-what-is-a-southerner?si=680741341c0a482a89c11721a65e0dc6&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing
Brion McClanahan
May 28, 2023
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Salty Joe

Reaching back in my memory banks, there are many people whom I am forever indebted to. I’ve spoken of my uncle Lynn Carl, and his memory shall forever be with me, along with a host of other great folks who helped shape the man I was to become throughout my young life. I feel I should do an article on…
Travis Holt
May 26, 2023
Blog

Effie Lou

She was old all my life; 76 when I was born, 87 when I first met her. When she spoke, it sounded like a swarm of bees hovering over a thick patch of clover. She was blind and feeble and had to be led around by the arm. But there was rarely a Sunday that went by for a hundred…
Brandon Meeks
May 24, 2023
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Faulkner the Southerner

A review of Faulkner the Southerner (Abbeville Institute Press, 2023) by James E. Kibler What more can be said than what has already been said about the life and work of William Faulkner? For decades, scholars and lay enthusiasts alike have written a myriad of books (and even more articles) analyzing the techniques that formed, and the influences and beliefs…
Patrick Seay
May 23, 2023
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The Mystery of the Great Seal of the Confederacy

In my April account of the British territory of Bermuda and its intimate relationship with both the South and the Confederacy, I had omitted one important factor . . . Bermuda’s role concerning the great seal of the Confederate States of America. The unusual history of the seal was so complex that I certainly felt the story merited its own…
John Marquardt
May 19, 2023
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Unnoticed Facts About the War Between the States

The great internal bloodletting of 1861—1865 is still a central event and great dividing line in American history. In our discourse today, both high and low, it is now pervasively declared that that great event was simply about suppressing “treason” and “slavery.” This is an abuse of history, using it as a weapon to enforce a party line rather than…
Clyde Wilson
May 16, 2023
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Legal Justification of the South in Secession

From Confederate Military History, Vol I, 1899. The Southern States have shared the fate of all conquered peoples. The conquerors write their history. Power in the ascendant not only makes laws, but controls public opinion. This precedent should make the late Confederates the more anxious to keep before the public the facts of their history, that impartial writers may weigh…
J.L.M. Curry
May 12, 2023
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Three Run Creek

It was the best fishing hole on Three Run Creek for a half mile either way. The black folks that lived and worked on Papa’s place, and their kinfolks up and down the road, knew its whereabouts, but that’s about all. Not that it was a secret, it just happened to be almost inaccessibly deep in Three Run Swamp. The…
Rock Killough
May 11, 2023
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“I’d Gone with Mississippi”

In July I’m having my Southern Literature Club read Shelby Foote’s central chapter on the Gettysburg Campaign found in the second part of his literary masterpiece, The Civil War: A Narrative. When filmmaker Ken Burns began work on his greatest film, The Civil War documentary series, (which remains to this day PBS’s most watched presentation with 40 million viewers. I…
Blog

An Honorable Cause

America is now governed as an ever more centralised nation/state with an increasingly imperialist and left-authoritarian character.  But America as a society and a people is no longer coherent. A people, according to St, Augustine, are those “who hold loved things in common.”  By that reading Americans are not  a people. A recent poll indicates that 44% of Southern people…
Clyde Wilson
May 9, 2023
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Singing Billy Walker and Amazing Grace

We're here to talk about the man who's responsible for “Amazing Grace,” but I want to build a base first so you'll appreciate the song better, because the song's being attributed, I think, by people who are rewriting history, whether willfully or ignorantly (and I think it’s ignorantly, because we haven't done our work). We need to give the story…
Blog

Monticello as a Southern Pleasure Garden

(A selection from Thomas Jefferson and the Fine Arts) Jefferson did not consider husbandry to be a fine art, certainly because husbandry did not aim at beauty, but yield. Nonetheless, the gentleman farmer could make his entire estate a garden. As Philip Southcote, designer of an estate at Woburn in Surrey, England, said, “Why may not a whole estate be…
Blog

A Southern James Bond Goes to School

Southern fiction has a new  hero—Tom Ironsides makes his  appearance in book form in Perrin Lovett’s work The Substitute (Shotwell Publishing, 2023). Sequels and prequels are in the offing. Ironsides is a sort of James Bond, but a much better man.  He is a master of his former craft as a CIA operative, although he has progressively developed a realisation…
Clyde Wilson
May 1, 2023
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The Moral Underpinning of Jeffersonian Republicanism

Liberty for Jefferson is a concept readily grasped, but one, he learns throughout the decades, of great difficulty in application. It is easy to understand what it means for government to be only minimally involved in the affairs of its citizens—to be involved in directing its foreign affairs and in protecting citizens’ liberties—but difficult to put into praxis such thin…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 26, 2023
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We’re Still Here

It’s hard to believe, but John Shelton Reed’s classic sociological study The Enduring South was first published a half century ago. I long ago gave my copy to a student, but, as I remember, Reed’s findings pointed to a persistent identification of a great many people as Southerners by use of various opinion surveys. Persistent peculiar Southern aspects of behaviour…
Clyde Wilson
April 24, 2023
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Faulkner Among the Puritans

Originally published in The Sewanee Review Vol. 72, No. 1 (Winter, 1964), pp. 146-150 William Faulkner wrote romances, not novels; of this those who study and write about Mr. Faulkner are now, it seems, agreed. Had our great-grandmothers read his fiction, they would have been astonished by this critical consensus. But "romance" is an elusive word, subject to periodic metamorphosis…
M.E. Bradford
April 21, 2023
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What the South Has Done About Its History

From The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Feb., 1936), pp. 3-28. The South has often been referred to as a virgin field for the historian. Other sections of the country have written almost the minutest details of their history or suffered others to do it, even to magnifying the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s Ride into…
E. Merton Coulter
April 20, 2023
Blog

Why They Hate Thomas Jefferson

The essay is included in Writing on the Southern Front: Authentic Conservatism for Our Times (Taylor and Francis, 2018). Thomas Jefferson is America’s favorite whipping boy. Not among the public, which remains either ambivalent or blissfully ignorant of most history. But this certainly is the case among the jealous elites. Nowadays, Jefferson is even more despised than such longtime bogeys…
Joseph Scotchie
April 19, 2023
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A Southern Response to the Nashville School Shooting

‘One day Saint Polycarp saw the ruler sitting in his chair and watching as the blood of Christians flowed like water.’—From the life of Martyr Polycarp of Alexandria (+4th century) The murder of six innocent Christians at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, by a deranged young woman in the grips of the demonic ideology of transgenderism seems to have…
Walt Garlington
April 14, 2023
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Why the Confederacy Could Not Succeed

Many books over the years have given me insights into history—insights that occasionally cause things to come together to produce a “Road to Damascus” moment. Recently the remembrance of one caused me to revisit my long-held belief that the attempt by the States of the South to establish a confederated republic upon the North American continent was doomed to failure…
Valerie Protopapas
April 4, 2023
Blog

The Tower on the Tyger

“Do fish swim in a whiskey barrel?” was the only logical response when Brandon Meeks, the Bard of Southern Arkansas, asked me to represent the new Southern journal Moonshine & Magnolias at the Upcountry Literary Festival held in Union, SC. You see, Dr. James Everett Kibler was set to receive the William “Singing Billy” Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in…
Chase Steely
April 3, 2023
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Return to Red Rock

Seems like it was only yesterday. I was a teenager in high school at Mt. Judea (pronounced “Mount Judy”), Arkansas, and I was the one who had to call and get permission from a local good ol' boy and landowner who owned the summit of Red Rock mountain in Vendor. He never failed to give us the OK, and then…
Travis Holt
March 31, 2023
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Mark Twain Dismantles Teddy Roosevelt

For generations, both mainstream and armchair historians alike have perpetuated a variety of myths about Teddy Roosevelt. According to their interpretations, Roosevelt practically defeated the Spanish in 1898 by himself, dug the Panama Canal with his bare hands, and took on the evil, monopolistic corporations against all odds and in spite of his wealthy upbringing. However, not all of his…
Michael Martin
March 24, 2023
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Hollywood Lies

World War II was a large factor in my early childhood. I lived with my grandmother. My father and his two brothers were in harm’s way (as were the uncles on my mother’s side of the family). We followed the newspapers and radio every day. Every day I took a 3-foot metal pipe, which was my rifle, into the adjacent…
Clyde Wilson
March 20, 2023
Blog

Irish Confederates

Seemingly everything possible has already been written about the climactic battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—three nightmarish days of intense combat in early July 1863—that determined America’s destiny. Consequently, for people craving something new beyond the standard narrative so often repeated throughout the past, they were sorely disappointed by the new Gettysburg titles released for the 150th anniversary. In fact, this unfortunate…
Philip Thomas Tucker
March 17, 2023
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The Last Words

A review of The Last Words: The Farewell Addresses of Union and Confederate Commanders to Their Men at the End of the War Between the States by Michael R. Bradley (Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2022) The idea for this book came when Mrs. Susan Harris asked Dr. Michael Bradley, “Is there a book about what officers said to their men when…
Brett Moffatt
March 16, 2023
Blog

The Confederate Constitution of 1861, Part I

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School You know, you should ask yourself, “Why is the Confederacy so important?” Not only from a historical perspective, but also prospectively, what is it about the Confederacy and the leaders of that time that should encourage not only us people with Southern sympathies, but all people who are interested in good government generally,…
Marshall DeRosa
March 14, 2023
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The South in a Revolutionary Time

How should a Southerner face existence in a degenerating American regime in which the traditions of our identity as a  people are a prime target for destruction?  The persistence of current attacks would seem to guarantee that the South before long will be as if it never existed. There is no short and clear answer to this dilemma, but it…
Clyde Wilson
March 13, 2023
BlogMedia Posts

Loving a Home

Carey Roberts on "Loving Home" and the Southern Tradition from the 2022 Abbeville Institute Summer School, July 5-8, 2022, Seabrook Island, SC https://youtu.be/JoRT3zExVgw
Carey Roberts
March 10, 2023
Blog

Friday Lights Out

I still remember my first fight. Though raised in a God-fearing home that took the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth seriously, my folks were convinced of the “two cheeks” rule. That is, after having been smitten on the one, the Christian may oblige an assailant to double up on the second, but after that it’s our turn to commence smiting…
Brandon Meeks
March 9, 2023
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Was Randolph Jefferson Just a “Muddy Boots Farmer”?

In 2011, Bernard Mayo edited the collection of letters between Thomas Jefferson and younger brother Randolph in Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother Randolph. In the short book, Mayo proffers a four-page introduction to the thin correspondence. The letters exchanged, says Mayo, “are primarily interesting because they reveal Thomas Jefferson’s solicitousness: his “affection, patient kindness, and desire to help a…
M. Andrew Holowchak
March 6, 2023
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Southern Artist and Historian

African American Gregory Newson, a talented artist, was raised in New York but now lives and does his work in South Carolina.  He has made contributions, both in art and writing, to Confederate history that deserve to be better recognised. In 2016 he published Get Forrest, a beautifully illustrated biography. One could not ask for a more fair and interesting…
Clyde Wilson
March 3, 2023
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The No-So-Enlightened Patriarch of Monticello

A Review of Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf’s Most Blessed of the Patriarchs (Liveright, 2016) by M. Andrew Holowchak While Pete Onuf’s somewhat incoherent 2007 book on Jefferson, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson—it is mere a rag-tag collection of his thoughts on various topics related to Jefferson—betrays unsubtly a bitter, even angry, Onuf, intent in belittling Jefferson, his 2016 collaboration…
M. Andrew Holowchak
March 2, 2023
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The University of the Southern Cause

The Confederacy and Naples Some years ago (summer 1974) when I was completing a doctorate in history and political science in Europe, I made a journey south from Rome to the Italian city of Naples. Earlier, before traveling to Europe on a Richard Weaver Fellowship, I had managed to read two engrossing volumes on the Bourbon monarchy of the Kingdom…
Boyd Cathey
February 27, 2023
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The Destruction of Washington Street Methodist as a Metaphor

As Northern victory drew near in 1865, on the night of February 17/18 troops under General William T. Sherman set fire to the Washington Street Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Legend has it – highly plausible – that the soldiers intended to burn down the First Baptist Church. But when approached and queried by Union soldiers as to the…
Forrest L. Marion
February 23, 2023
Blog

The Gift

On the day of Her Late Majesty’s Funeral, I rose a great while before daylight in order to tune in to the broadcast. Since I still had half an hour or so before the service started, I decided to go ahead and say morning prayer. After looking all over the house for my prayer book, I remembered that I had…
Brandon Meeks
February 17, 2023
Blog

A Jefferson Styled Love Letter

Thomas Jefferson was never comfortable in allowing direct expression of his emotions. When he did, the results were general catastrophic—e.g., his tongue-tied attempts at expressing his love as a youth to Rebecca Burwell and his seeming inability emotionally to recover himself after the passing of his wife Martha on September 6, 1782. Jefferson eventually accepted a post as delegate to…
M. Andrew Holowchak
February 14, 2023
Blog

Front Porch Sittin’

I have an obsession with old pictures. I have inherited and hoarded many of them in my travels. Amongst these pictures, I often find a common backdrop of a beautiful, simple white-sided Ozark home with white roof supports. One of these pictures was taken in the mid-1990s or so and shows four generations of my Holt family (myself included) perched…
Travis Holt
February 10, 2023
Blog

The Power of Place: True South

If you watch college football, there’s a good chance you’ve seen, or seen an ad for, TrueSouth, a television series on the SEC Network. The show is hosted by John T. Edge, author and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. If, for some reason, you don’t like college football, you should still turn to the SEC Network for this show.…
Elizabeth Stice
February 3, 2023
Blog

Why Lee Still Matters

In Richmond, there’s a movement afoot to rename the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge. At Charlottesville, a statue to the Confederate general was removed last year. In Abilene, Texas, Lee Park, named after the general, has been changed to that of a local football coach. The list could go on and on, as we’ve all seen. But let’s step back…
Stephen Davis
January 25, 2023
Blog

The Echoes

The echoes are still there, for those who will listen. I’ve often spoke of my home and how I was blessed to be raised in a closed society of family and friends. The world was the Big Creek Valley, and Vendor, Arkansas was home. The people I learned from were all well known to me, even if they passed long…
Travis Holt
January 24, 2023
Blog

Did Thomas Jefferson Have a Sexual Relationship with Bob Hemings?

The children of Elizabeth “Betty” Hemings—a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson’s father-in-law, John Wayles, a white English sea captain—occupied a special place at Jefferson’s Monticello. That might be because six of Betty’s 10 children—Robert, James, Thenia, Critta, Peter, and Sally—were said to be fathered by John Wayles. Yet we do not know about paternity in either case. Much depends on…
M. Andrew Holowchak
January 17, 2023
Blog

The Soul of the South

My wife is from Atlanta, so we visit Georgia frequently. In addition to downtown Hotlanta with its nauseating CNN Studio Tours and “World of Coca-Cola,” I’ve become acquainted with beautiful old towns in Marietta, Alpharetta, Roswell, and Dahlonega. I’ve explored the Chattahoochee, Stone Mountain, and various historic houses, plantations, and churches across North Georgia. I’ve seen the Braves, the Yellowjackets,…
Casey Chalk
January 10, 2023
Blog

The Backcountry Wisdom of Lester Flatt

Oh, I can't tell the boys from the girls And friends it's really messing up my world They all wear long hair and bouncy curls And I can't tell the boys from the girls You might be inclined to think the above might originate from some clever conservative podcaster such as Matt Walsh or Michael Knowles, reflecting on the confusing…
Casey Chalk
January 5, 2023
Blog

Boy Meets Girl

I grew up in a family that couldn’t seem to sire any offspring that wasn’t a manchild. So apart from the matrons of the clan, we boys had little exposure to the strange ways of womenfolk. As it stood, I knew next to nothing about reading moods. Or even that moods were the sort of thing that needed interpretation. This…
Brandon Meeks
January 4, 2023
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Thomas Jefferson and the Proper End of a Good Life

After giving a talk on Jefferson's conceptions of reason and the moral sense at UVa (11 Apr. 2015), a gentleman brought up the issue of slavery and mentioned how he found unpalatable Jefferson’s repeated claim, especially later in life, that he refused to do more to eliminate the heinous institution because the time was not yet right. The gentleman, of…
M. Andrew Holowchak
January 2, 2023
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Christmas, A Southern Tradition

The ever-widening chasm that separates the North and the South today has a long history with many fissures, but one would hardly consider the celebration of Christmas to be one of them. However, in the years prior to the founding of America’s first English colonies in Virginia and Massachusetts, Christmas was a highly controversial subject in Great Britain, and that…
John Marquardt
December 16, 2022
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A Southern Christmas Sampler

If you're like my family, you probably start playing Christmas music as soon as the calendar hits November 1, and you keep it on rotation through the 12 Days of Christmas in January. The classics from the Big Band and post World War II era are staples, but most are written for a distinctively Northern audience. Traditional Christian hymns also…
Brion McClanahan
December 15, 2022
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Sitting on a Gold Mine

My obsession with the South often has me wishing that I had been born there or that I could find at least one ancestor that served the Confederacy, but I have had to content myself with loving it from afar and luxuriating in its wealth through the usual channels available to outsiders.  My family is very accommodating of my passion…
Julie Paine
December 12, 2022
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Halfbacks

In North Carolina and South Carolina native observers have noticed a phenomenon frequent enough to have a label--Halfbacks. This does not refer to football.  It refers to well-to-do Northerners who have moved to Florida, become discontented, and moved halfway back. The coastal areas of the two States are full of gated communities of mini-mansions already occupied by Northerners who the…
Clyde Wilson
December 8, 2022
Blog

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
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part V

XIII. The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals Originally published in The American Mercury, 1934 “The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals” Back when wild-eyed suffragettes were on the losing end of Oklahoma Drills with King George V’s horse, Vanderbilt and Sewanee were Southern football giants, and the Bull Moose Party was hawking the square new deal, Southern liberals—all hopped up on…
Chase Steely
December 2, 2022
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The Political Economy and Social Thought of Louisa S. McCord

From the 2011 Abbeville Institute Summer School. The name of the lady I'm introducing today, the Southern intellectual Louisa Susanna Cheves McCord, or as she's usually called, Louisa S. McCord, is generally not well known today. In the antebellum era she was the author of numerous essays on political economy and social issues. Her other writings included poetry, reviews, and…
Karen Stokes
November 30, 2022
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Southern Humor in Congress

The halls of Congress today are seldom filled with the sound of laughter.  The humor that pervaded congressional proceedings over a century ago has now given way to only angry shouts and hateful partisan rhetoric engendered by a variety of ever-growing regional, political, racial and social differences.  Not that such divisions did not exist during the latter half of the…
John Marquardt
November 29, 2022
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Those Pesky Southern Women

Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah is frustrated by how poorly the Democrats performed in her native Texas. Attiah, who has a penchant for racially provocative punditry, notes in an 11 November column that besides white men, “there is another group that consistently supports the GOP’s anti-woman, do-nothing-about-dead-kids stance, and that is White women. Seriously, what gives?” White women, observes Attiah,…
Casey Chalk
November 28, 2022
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The Bootlegger

When I talk about where and how I grew up, folks, even a bit older than me, assume that not only am I from another state, they imagine I must be from another century. Case in point. My home county is dry. I don’t mean that we get little rain, I mean that we have no legal alcohol. This is…
Brandon Meeks
November 17, 2022
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Hollywood Hates the South: Southern Accents Edition

Where can we hear the worst southern accent of all time? Is it Tom Hanks as the lovable but stupid Forrest Gump? Is it SNL alum Dan Akyroyd in Driving Miss Daisy? How about the mess present in Django? Often, British, Irish or Scottish actors will nail a southern accent before Hollywood even thinks of hiring a southerner (see Vivien…
Sara Sass
November 11, 2022
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Ropes and Swimming Holes

He was old and black...negro...colored he'd say and he had been for a good while.  "I know you."  He said.  "You watch me thru de windah."  I nodded as our first conversation concluded. He drove his old mule down the newly-paved asphalt roads, begrudgingly regal on an old scrap tire his plow rested...the point hidden inside the body of the…
William Platt
November 10, 2022
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Mary Randolph: The South’s First Celebrity Chef

My grandfather keeled over dead from a heart attack at the age of 54 after a long battle with arteriosclerosis. If you are not up on your medical jargon, that means the hardening of the arteries. I remember my parents’ telephone-the old black rotary dial type that weighed ten pounds and had a real metal bell-ringing obscenely early one Saturday…
R. Ashley Hall
November 3, 2022
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James Henley Thornwell, R. L. Dabney, and the Shaping of Southern Theology

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School It's a privilege for me to be here. I've enjoyed the sessions very much so far. In fact, after the sessions yesterday I had to go and rewrite my conclusion just from things that I learned, especially about locality, localism, and patrimony. Just fascinating. Today I want to talk about James Henley Thornwell,…
Samuel C. Smith
November 2, 2022
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Dark Age Patriotism

“Now at the height of modern progress, we behold unprecedented outbreaks of hatred and violence; we have seen whole nations desolated by war and turned into penal camps by their conquerors; we find half of mankind looking upon the other half as criminal. Everywhere occur symptoms of mass psychosis. Most portentous of all, there appear diverging bases of value, so…
Lafayette Lee
October 28, 2022
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An Inheritance of Love

I recently found myself sitting next to an old classmate from my Virginia high-school on an airplane flight (for whatever serendipitous reason, these bizarre things happen to me with some regularity). It was particularly timely: this year marks the twentieth anniversary of my high-school graduation. I recognized the woman immediately — we probably shared ten classes together between seventh and…
Casey Chalk
October 27, 2022
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Driving Through Southern Maryland, Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2 It’s easy to be transported back in time in Charles County. Rural roads meander through woods, across streams and between fields, some adorned with tobacco barns. Sprinkled throughout this typical Southern Maryland countryside are historic sites, villages, and quiet churches. The final resting places of settlers and patriots, churchyards tell their own story of regional…
Brett Moffatt
October 14, 2022
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History vs Lies

History is an art in a sense. That is, it is not mathematically provable. The mathematician (I am one, at least through some bit of graduate studies) must prove something logically (there are certain basic rules of logic—contrary to reflections from “the squad,” et al). If he can’t prove it, it simply means it is not provable true, nor is…
Paul H. Yarbrough
October 13, 2022
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Good Directions

The fella that runs the local feed store is a Cajun from Ville Platte, Louisiana. He moved up here to Arkansas because the woman he met in the personal ads said she could abide thickets and pine trees but would not tolerate bayous or raising a coonass baby. I stopped by the store yesterday because I needed some laying pellets…
Brandon Meeks
October 11, 2022
BlogReview Posts

The Attack on Leviathan, Part 4

X. American Heroes Originally published as “A Note on American Heroes” in the Southern Review (1935). Whatever else we lack, we do not lack great memories. We have heroes, and we want to possess them affectionately as a mature nation ought. The American mind is divided against itself. Our approach to “what terms we may possess our heroes” is as…
Chase Steely
October 7, 2022
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The Rainmakers

Uncle Dude and Aunt Lura lived across the field beside us when I was growing up. They were both born between the two World Wars and lived through the Depression. Dude was born at the foot of Mount Saint Helens, Lura was born in the same room where she died in the Arkansas Delta. They had lots of odd superstitions…
Brandon Meeks
October 4, 2022
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Like Phil Harris Said, “That’s What I Like About the South”

I write a lot about the South. But then it seems necessary if you think “conservative.” That is conservative, not necessarily Republican. Conservatives aligning themselves with Republicans do so because politics is a realm of life much like the environment where dogs live; that is wherever they (dogs) can accredit their lives best.  Conservatives are much like working dogs: Bird…
Paul H. Yarbrough
September 30, 2022
BlogMedia Posts

Big Bang Blues

Tom Daniel discusses blues music, from the 2022 Abbeville Institute Summer School at Seabrook Island, SC, July 5-8, 2022 https://youtu.be/NZ9_hcxfpLw Note: The views expressed on abbevilleinstitute.org are not necessarily those of the Abbeville Institute.
Tom Daniel
September 29, 2022
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Happy Birthday Senator Sam

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

A while back, some of the folks at Abbeville Institute turned out a fine anthology of the greatest Southern rock melodies of the present day. Music, of course, like most everything else, changes with the times and there were other golden eras for country music that gave the listeners of their day a far different sound and put them in…
John Marquardt
September 19, 2022
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The Federalist Crucible

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson have dinner. It looks like funding an assumption of State debts by the general government is not going to go through, and Hamilton’s very worried because U.S. stock is plummeting in the international finance markets. So, a deal is struck. Jefferson will put pressure on his people to…
John Devanny
September 16, 2022
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Destroying the Past to Change the Present

On June 17th, 2015, a deranged white man, Dylan Roof, attacked an all-black prayer meeting in a South Carolina church killing nine of the participants. Of course, most rational, intelligent (that is, ordinary) Americans saw the mass shooting as another opportunity for the “gun violence” crowd to demand an end to the rights of law-abiding Americans to own guns; and…
Valerie Protopapas
September 15, 2022
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The Cry of the Vanquished

Owen Wister’s novel Lady Baltimore is the story of a Northern man spending time in South Carolina around 1905.  He is not your typical arrogant Yankee, but openly acknowledges the modern decay he sees in the North and is sympathetic to the South.  He is staying in a boarding house with a variety of guests; they include Juno, an elderly…
Julie Paine
September 12, 2022
BlogConferencesMedia Posts

Loving Home

Loving Home by Carey Roberts from the 2022 Abbeville Institute Summer School, July 5-8, 2022 at Seabrook Island, SC https://youtu.be/48dJnuFhfHc Note: The views expressed on abbevilleinstitute.org are not necessarily those of the Abbeville Institute.
Carey Roberts
September 9, 2022
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Vendetta Over Alabama

Originally published at barelyablog.com In the mid-1950s my family arrived in Athens, Alabama, I being eleven, my father a mathematician working at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in nearby Huntsville. Athens was small, the county seat of Limestone County. The town square had the courthouse in the middle with the statue of a Confederate soldier and a Baptist church. The…
Fred Reed
September 7, 2022
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The Confederate Army and God

This article was first published by Crossfire: The Magazine of the American Civil War Round Table and is republished by permission. Introduction The United States Civil War produced some very dark days in American history. Ideas and values separated the North and the South. The whole world watched as America was at war with itself. Having been established as a…
David Crum
September 2, 2022
BlogReview Posts

The 200 Most Important Confederate Books

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

Why the red wave will NOT be.  The typical contemporary Republicans lie for support, then reveal their lies. The Democrats just lie. The resignation of Dr. Ann Hunter McLean from her Youngkin appointment to the Virginia Historic Resources Board is a product of the same mentality wherein Ronald Reagan was deceived in 1981 insofar as Bob Bennett’s replacing M.E. Bradford.…
Paul H. Yarbrough
August 25, 2022
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The Better Men

John William Corrington (1932—1988) of Louisiana was a prolific author of poetry, stories, and novels. And, as with Faulkner, making a living in commercialised American “culture”  required him to expend talent in Hollywood on movie and television scripts. Corrington has received some recognition, but no less an authority on Southern literature than M.E. Bradford has said that his reputation falls…
Clyde Wilson
August 22, 2022
BlogReview Posts

Confessions of a Copperhead

A review of Confessions of a Copperhead: Culture and Politics in the Modern South (Shotwell Press, 2022) by Mark Royden Winchell The concept of the South as a peculiar and singular region of America, indeed not quite American except in its vices of racism and violence, is something of an industry in the halls of academia. Numerous university centers and…
John Devanny
August 18, 2022
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The Decaying Distillery

Very few things in my native Fairfax County are especially old. That’s unfortunate, given the county’s founding (1742) predates the United States of America, and boasts the homes of Founding Fathers George Washington and George Mason. Yet post-World War II development rapidly changed the character of the county, and many of the old properties were sold and their ancestral homes…
Casey Chalk
August 15, 2022
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When Things Go South

“When things go south” is a phrase that typically means matters have taken a turn for the worse.  Well, things have gone south in my family for a while now, and I couldn’t be happier.  That is because I literally mean, gone South, and I feel more at home than I ever imagined possible.  For things to go South, they…
Julie Paine
August 11, 2022
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Aunt Elizabeth, the Desert Fox, and General Jackson

Raised on a tobacco farm at the edge of the Chinquapin Forest in Southern Maryland, my Aunt Elizabeth for much of her life attempted to divest herself of her rustic upbringing.  When she graduated from nursing school, she married and subsequently lived for long spells in South America and Europe.  In spite of all this, fortunately, she never succeeded in…
J.L. Bennett
August 8, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 3

VI. Still Rebels, Still Yankees Originally published as two essays in the American Review and can be found in the anthology Modern Minds. Many will recognize this chapter’s title from another book of Davidson’s collected essays with the same title published in 1957. Davidson begins recollecting a meeting of Southern writers in Charleston, SC. In 1932, Davidson penned a brief…
Chase Steely
August 4, 2022
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The South’s Drink

Several years ago, my wife and I visited a distillery in rural Virginia that made the only whiskey in the Old Dominion that possesses legislative approval to make something called  “Virginia Whiskey.” It’s a good product, though it requires the taster to accept the fact that it doesn’t taste much like Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (I’d offer there are hints…
Casey Chalk
July 26, 2022
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A Hard Line Ozark Man

I sit here, watching the fading sun over the Ozarks hills, not too far from where I was raised. Last night, we had an annual birthday bash for an old family friend, and I got the opportunity to sit and visit with many of the older generation that I grew up around. The most notable, a long visit with a…
Travis Holt
July 22, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 2

I. The Diversity of America Parts of this chapter (along with several others) are from “Sectionalism in the United States,” Hound and Horn, VI (July-September, 1933). The link to Davidson’s “Sectionalism” essay provides some context of its genesis—some of which is a smidge uncomfortable. In The Idea of the American South (1979), Michael O’Brien portrays Davidson as a misfit compared…
Chase Steely
July 15, 2022
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A Bushel of Poke Salad and a Gallon and a Half of Coal Oil

Uncle Jim didn’t care much for Lyin’ Ed and nobody really knew why. Some speculated that it had to do with the fact that both had been sweet on Aunt Ginny decades earlier. Others reckoned that it stemmed from a schoolyard rivalry that had followed them into adulthood and now into old age. Aunt Ginny once gave voice to the…
Brandon Meeks
July 14, 2022
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The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Origins of Southern Constitutionalism

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School On April 10th, 1606, King James I of England (and VI of Scotland) granted letters of patent to Sir Thomas Gates and others, thereby establishing two companies for the settlement of colonies along the Atlantic coast of North America, which was then called Virginia in honour of the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. The…
John Graham
July 7, 2022
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Marking the Wolf

'Yates Standridge, who recently escaped from the state convict farm, where he was serving what practically amounts to a life sentence for murder, declared that he never will return to the penitentiary, according to residents of the sparsley settled hills of Newton County, where Standridge makes his home. These hill people say Standridge recently spent two weeks in that section…
Travis Holt
July 1, 2022
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Holding Heritage Groups Responsible

When the assault on Southern heritage with the destruction of monuments, symbols and heroes began, I wrote a letter to the President of the Civil War Trust as a member of that group attempting to determine the course the Trust would take in this matter. Sadly, the gentleman did not even have the courtesy to respond even in a form…
Valerie Protopapas
June 30, 2022
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Elvis Has Left the Building

The Baz Luhrmann Elvis movie is as good as it is frustrating. The movie might serve as a good introduction for those who don't know much about Elvis (which, sadly, is becoming most people). I say it might because it is more than likely that viewers will come away knowing more about Col. Tom Parker, Elvis' manager, than Elvis himself.…
Aaron N. Coleman
June 29, 2022
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Mother Jones

Some people won’t believe in something they haven’t seen, others refuse to believe in something precisely because they have. When it came to the question of religious egalitarianism, I reckon my people were firmly in the latter category. Even as a boy I knew that there were as many kinds of religions in our small Southern town as there were…
Brandon Meeks
June 23, 2022
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Randolph Shotwell in War and Prison

We live in a regime with an industrial output of lies about Southern history, so we should let our forebears speak for themselves whenever we can.  I have been reporting  on little known  Southern books and here is another. Randolph Shotwell in the 1880s put together some materials for his an account of his extraordinary life,  using his diaries, letters…
Clyde Wilson
June 17, 2022
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The Problem of Singular “They”

As I grow older my appreciation for the wisdom of my parents increases. As the United States descend daily further into madness, I find myself torn between being glad they aren’t here to be angered and tormented by the tragedy, wickedness, and vicious idiocy of the times, and a strong desire to profit from their counsel and advice. They were…
Earl Starbuck
June 16, 2022
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Moonshine

Moonshine, though often associated with Appalachia, is also an integral part of the Ozarks culture. Growing up in the hills of Newton County, Arkansas, I lived a privileged life. I got to know a good amount of my ancestors, and hear their stories and experiences. Though most of them were straight laced, hard-working and proud folks, I would occasionally hear…
Travis Holt
June 15, 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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The Worst Street Corner in America

Mako Honda recently told the Washington Post that she and her husband Ryan Finley live on “the worst street corner… across the U.S.” You might speculate that the couple live somewhere in Los Angeles, which retains the notoriety of having the three most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States. Or perhaps they live somewhere in inner-city Chicago like West Garfield…
Casey Chalk
May 30, 2022
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This Land is Ours

It’s hell, sittin’ here. I grew up in the hills of Newton County, Arkansas, the place that my direct line had hacked out and settled in the 1850s, when the first white settlers moved in. Being a native Ozarker has its advantages and disadvantages. When I married and moved one county north, it almost seemed like sacrilege. The next phase…
Travis Holt
May 24, 2022
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An Adopted Valley Virginian

While teaching at the University of Virginia, William Faulkner once remarked: “'I like Virginia and I like Virginians because Virginians are all snobs, and I like snobs. A snob has to spend so much time being a snob he has little left to meddle with you, and so it's very pleasant here." Perhaps Faulkner should have spent more time in…
Casey Chalk
May 16, 2022
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Honorable and Courageous Patriots

Delivered at the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Park for the Confederate Memorial Day remembrance held April 30, 2022. Thank you for taking time today to consider the deeds and lessons of our long-dead ancestors. When Confederate commemoration began, it was a memorial to people who were known to those living.  Today, it is unlikely that there is a person here…
Martin O'Toole
May 12, 2022
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The Fox Hunt

I’ve heard tell that fox hunting is the sport of kings. Be that as it may, in the hills of Arkansas it is largely the purview of fools and knaves. There are no aristocrats. No gaudy outfits. No prized horses. In fact, there are usually no horses at all. Perhaps stranger still, no guns. Unless someone totes a side arm…
Brandon Meeks
May 11, 2022
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No Capitulation: A Call to Southern Conservatives

This piece was originally published at Chronicles Magazine and is reprinted here by permission. The following speech critical of the conservative establishment is one that I did not give at The Charleston Meeting, in Charleston, S.C., whither I was invited by its organizer Gene d’Agostino, as a speaker for the evening of April 14. After espying copies of my book…
Paul Gottfried
May 2, 2022
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Why Were the Articles of Confederation Dissolved?

I'm going to talk about the way the Articles of Confederation functioned, how people acted under the Articles, and the three reasons why I think the Articles were dissolved. The signers of the Articles of Confederation were not happy with what was finally implemented. Indeed, once the Articles were sent to the States, it took nearly four years before they…
Carey Roberts
April 29, 2022
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God’s General

Neither side in the War for Southern Independence produced a finer or more morally upright man than Richard Montgomery Gano. He was the descendent of a distinguished military/evangelical family. His great-grandfather, John Allen Gano, was born in New Jersey and became a Baptist preacher. He joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, where he was known as “the fighting…
Samuel W. Mitcham
April 28, 2022
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The Legend of the Dogwood

My grandmother is the closest thing to a saint I have ever known. She is good and kind. She gives herself away until she is all but spent. She has always worked hard and loved harder. She prays and goes to church. And I’ve only known her to cuss when it thunders. But like many of the medieval saints, her…
Brandon Meeks
April 27, 2022
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XX

William Gilmore Simms, Part 2 The Green Corn Dance Come hither, hither, old and young--the gentle and the strong, And gather in the green corn dance, and mingle with the song-- The summer comes, the summer cheers, and with a spirit gay, We bless the smiling boon she bears, and thus her gifts repay. Eagle from the mountain, Proudly descend!…
Clyde Wilson
April 22, 2022
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Kith and Kin: The Enduring Ethic of the South

From the 2016 Abbeville Institute Summer School. So, what I have to say is gonna be, I think, somewhat maybe tedious.  I've tried to boil down stuff I've been working on for years, many chapters of a book project, and sometimes when you boil things down, it's not like distilling rose petals. You don't get the fine essence, what you…
Thomas Fleming
April 19, 2022
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The Pride of Kentucky…and Maryland

There are disagreements on the subject, but I wholeheartedly believe that Bardstown, Kentucky is “where bourbon was born.”   Many of the first bourbons, however, were variations on old rye whiskey recipes brought to the Bardstown area by settlers from Maryland.  Among them were people named Dant, Mattingly, Medley, Wathen, Pottinger, Miles, Willett and Beam, all families associated with the earliest…
J.L. Bennett
April 15, 2022
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Dirt

When I was a boy I was convinced that when God decided to make the world He started with Arkansas. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers were merely nicknames for the Ouachita and the Mighty Mississippi that hemmed in our corner of the Delta. And the first man, Adam, likely lived somewhere between West Memphis and the Louisiana line. After all,…
Brandon Meeks
April 14, 2022
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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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The Keeper of the Family Story

The advent of my coming and going to another world was not through a portal handcrafted from a felled silver-barked tree of old, but the factory-made casket of my Father. My people bury in several places–my Father, a stone’s throw from Sarah Cannon, right down the street from where Tate was roused to write his Ode. He died at 61…
Chase Steely
March 17, 2022
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The Silent Killer

I started playing the piano when I was 11. My family wasn’t musical and didn’t own a piano. So every afternoon when the bus dropped me off from school I would walk the mile from my house to my grandmother’s house. She had an old upright with so many missing bits of ivory that it looked like a snaggle-toothed kid…
Brandon Meeks
March 16, 2022
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The Hog Killin’

A dozen years ago or so, I was pastoring a small country church in the smallest county in the state of Mississippi. After church, one of the deacons said, “We’ve got a big dinner set on. You wanna come eat? Gonna be good.” “Sure,” says I. His name was Gabe. He was chairmen of the deacon board, pater familias to…
Brandon Meeks
February 28, 2022
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Southern Distinctiveness

Have you ever accidentally used the wrong mushrooms in a recipe inducing you to think the South is some type of hallucination? Me neither–I reckon we aren’t enlightened enough to grasp such concepts. Until recently, I never pondered ideas like “regional consciousness” or “Southern distinctiveness”—truth be told, “provincial” seemed too overdressed to feel comfortable amongst my hand-me-down vocabulary—and not a…
Chase Steely
February 24, 2022
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The South Has No Culture?

I once broke up with a girl because of the South. Well, sort of. We had been dating for a month or so, and she invited me to come visit her parents, who were living in central Virginia. Her father was a widely respected and well-known U.S. Army officer. The family had recently moved to Virginia after many years stationed…
Casey Chalk
February 17, 2022
Blog

An Alabama Christmas

Christmas can be both a wonderful and awful time of the year for many of us.  The holiday has become one associated with worries over holiday debt, sadness from loss, concerns over gatherings, and add into that the calamities of the last few years: the pandemic, politics around the dinner table, and now, worries over the supply chain.  Contrary to…
Nicole Williams
December 24, 2021
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When Hollywood Rode Right

Although Hollywood is now considered a monolithic bastion of leftist and “woke” political and cultural sentiment with almost no dissent tolerated, it was not always that way, at least not to the degree that exists today. Go back sixty years ago, and that progressivist uniformity was not as apparent. Certainly, “Tinseltown” was never a haven for conservative and traditionalist cinema,…
Boyd Cathey
December 10, 2021
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Andrew Lytle and the Order of the Family

Andrew Nelson Lytle—novelist, dramatist, essayist, and professor of literature—extolled the order of the family, which by the 1930s he thought all but spent, precisely because it was rooted in the very concept of divine order that the modern world had decried and rejected. As patriarchy deteriorated, as acceptance of divine supremacy vanished, the family languished, and with it the community…
Mark G. Malvasi
December 8, 2021
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Mississippi–A Warning for Virginians

The proud folks of The Old Dominion turned their state from Blue back to Red in their recent governor’s election. Even more dramatic is the fact that in the last twelve months, voters in various Virginia counties voted overwhelmingly to keep their Confederate monuments! In nine out of nine ballot referendums, the voters spoke, and they spoke with a loud…
James Ronald Kennedy
November 30, 2021
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Thanksgiving 2021

The Thanksgiving holiday always puts me in mind of the history of this country from its hopeful beginnings as thirteen separate colonies, through its tortured periods of strife and conflict, until our own day when the very existence of the Framers’ design seems to be coming apart at the seams. Yet, we still have hope, and we still celebrate our…
Boyd Cathey
November 29, 2021
Blog

Windy

Of all the giants that strode through my childhood, some loom larger than others: Some due to their innate kindness or acts towards me, some for the wisdom they imparted or their willingness to share life experiences, and some simply due to the fact of just how damn likeable they were. But there are a few who loom large for…
Travis Holt
November 26, 2021
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An Able Address Against Conscription

Editor's Note: This speech was delivered in 1917 and was published in the September issue of Watson's Magazine. Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: Deeply impressed with the gravity of this occasion, and an earnest desire to preserve the liberties of my people and our common country, I beg to submit, that — The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United…
H.W. Johnston
November 19, 2021
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A New Civil War?

By 1860 our country was so hopelessly divided that it broke up, and only by force was it kept unified. While the North and South had profound political, economic, and moral differences, institutional slavery being paramount, the two halves had a great deal in common, so much so that after the bloodletting and rage subsided, we were able to come…
M.C. Atkins
November 17, 2021
Blog

Southern Hospitality in Asia

Many years ago I spent five fantastic weeks in Boston during the fall. Though I had heard about the explosive colors of autumn in New England, it truly was a sight to see. So too were the two games I attended at Fenway Park, only a year after the Red Sox swept the Rockies in the World Series. But the…
Casey Chalk
November 15, 2021
Blog

The Devils in the Demonstrators

  I was chairman of the Annual Confederate Flag Day at the North Carolina State Capitol in March of 2019 when our commemoration was besieged by several hundred screaming, raging demonstrators—Antifa-types and others. It took a mammoth police escort for us to exit the surrounded Capitol building. I clearly recall the disfigured countenance, the flaming eyes, the foul imprecations of one of…
Boyd Cathey
November 12, 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
Blog

American Monuments

Editor's Note: Former Abbeville Institute summer school student Jon Harris and his Last Stand Studios produced this original documentary about American monuments and the ongoing American iconoclasm. It features Abbeville Institute scholars Donald Livingston, Brion McClanahan, Bill Wilson, Philip Leigh, and Kirkpatrick Sale. From the website: "Our next project, American Monument, will explore the good, true, and beautiful qualities represented…
Abbeville Institute
November 8, 2021
Blog

Why Do They Hate The South?

Dr. Paul Gottfried's speech at the annual Confederate Flag Day commemoration in the historic 1840 North Carolina State Capitol House of Representatives chamber on March 3, 2007 is remarkably prescient and topical for us today. Much history has passed in the last fourteen years, much of it very damaging and destructive of those Southern and Confederate traditions and inheritance we…
Boyd Cathey
November 5, 2021
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Remembering John C. Calhoun

Though John C. Calhoun was a distinguished American statesman and thinker, he is little appreciated in his own country. Calhoun rose to prominence on the eve of the War of 1812 as a “war hawk” in the House of Representatives and was the Hercules who labored untiringly in the war effort. While still a congressman, he was the chief architect…
John Devanny
October 26, 2021
Blog

Poor Poe

At the University of Virginia, Room No.13 on the fabled Lawn is reserved as a permanent shrine to Edgar Allan Poe, who reportedly lodged in the room during his brief time on campus (or “the grounds,” as we say). One wonders what Poe, though a proud Virginian, would think about this honor — he was not terribly happy with his…
Casey Chalk
October 25, 2021
Blog

Tradition and Culture

Our farm was a broadly covered area of green stalks, blanketing the ground for hundreds of acres all around. In a slow-motion explosion, day-by-day, week-by-week, the land revealed the white birth of cotton, the king crop of the Mississippi Delta. There were great vines of honeysuckle on one side of the house. The aroma seemed more noticeable in the open…
Paul H. Yarbrough
October 21, 2021