Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, explained in her book A Sacred Circle: The Dilemma of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840-1860 that the romantic nationalism which swept across the Occident in the 1800s had a profound impact upon the world-view of Southern leaders. It was a better fit with their pre-Modern (or anti-Modern) values and the inegalitarian, racial order of Dixie than was the Enlightenment rhetoric of Jeffersonian Democracy which had previously prevailed. Faust writes of Southern poet and novelist William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870) and his colleagues and friends in the informal intellectual group known as the Sacred Circle:
Through biography Simms hoped not just to derive lessons from a single life, but to approach the spirit of a people and to define the relationship between the extraordinary individual and his time. Tortured by the need to find his own place, Simms sought to explore the problem historically. Great men, he concluded, “represent the moods as well as the necessities of a race”; they were the supreme expression of the spirit of the people. In an age that increasingly recognized the masses as the ultimate source of all wisdom, the member of the Sacred Circle sought convincing legitimation for the authority of the few. The genius, they suggested, should be recognized as superior to the people simply because he was the quintessential emanation of them; he understood them better, [George Frederick] Holmes suggested, than they did themselves.
Biography was useful, therefore as an instrument to approach “the moods as well as the necessities of a race,” to endeavor, in other words, to understand national character, for this was the overriding purpose of historical inquiry. The belief in a moral and intellectual spirit peculiar to a nation was central to the conception these Southerners shared about the study of the past. In the conventions of nineteenth-century Romanticism, “nation” had come to mean not as much a political entity as a people or race, which was the source of national character and the determining force of history. A race, as Simms had explained, had certain “necessities,” certain peculiar characteristics that controlled its experience and could be understood by the historian as rules governing its development. Simms subscribed to the widely held belief in the importance of Anglo-Saxon blood to the origins and maintenance of parliamentary republicanism. This “Teutonic origins” theory, as it came to be known, was embraced by many prominent nineteenth-century scholars, including, for example, George Bancroft, who like Simms was convinced that the success of the British and American government arose from the “Sagacious instincts of the Anglo-Saxon nature” and the “inherent virtues of the Anglo-Saxon stock.”
Note: A Confederate monument in Charlotte, NC which reads “Accepting the arbitrament of war, they preserved the Anglo-Saxon civilization of the South and became Master Builders in a Reunited County” was defaced during the high-tide of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Also note: Governor George Wallace, in his famous 1963 inauguration speech, described Alabama as “this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the great Anglo-Saxon Southland.”
When you consider the ease with which these views were jettisoned, I find it difficult to believe they were ever as deeply as internalized as Cushman makes out.
Yes, it’s just malcontentedness, moving from one scheme of rationalization to another. If the South were to gain its freedom, it would instantly be back, pounding on the back door of the U.S. at 2:00 in the morning, trying to get back in, in the manner of a drunken ex-girlfriend.
Of course, JB counter-signals us on everything. Why does an anti-Southerner come here to continually express his hatred for my people and our tradition? Meanwhile his own city is a dungheap.
Touched a nerve, did I?
You are licking your own hemorrhoids, you should know as…
“…Pounding on the backdoor…”
…is your speciality.
I’ve told your wife that what goes on between her and me is none of your business.
I reckon so, John. Feel better?
Well, insofar as it involved collateral damage to James Owen, you, and other Southerners who are always good to me here, not really, Junius—but I figured you’d understand.
I do, John.
I understand you well, because I am a lot like you.
No, you did not bother me.
I reckon that if you can accept my animus towards the North, I can at least accept yours towards the South; and, anyway, we live in two different rival countries.
It’s just a temporary irony that the institution that purports to govern us both, is blind to it.
Have a good afternoon!
A good afternoon to you, too, Junius.
JB’s culture is in the last stages of deterioration. It has nothing to offer humanity. It has descended into cultural rot and that is all it has to promote now. It has but one thing left to offer and it hasn’t obtained that yet.
One the other hand, men such as yourself, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Flowers, SperoPatria offer a vision of a greater culture brought forth from the rot.
The Identitarians will have the day. Trump’s civic nationalism will move through this rot creating voids. These cultural back currents will be where this Identititarian movement will grow, I see it daily.
Yes, multiculturalism is dead. It has nothing left to offer. It has hit it’s utopian ideological wall. We are the future.
I personally think that JB is looking for attention and that he also finds ethnic nationalism threatening. It certainly seems to bother him that we don’t want our own nations to become White melting pots. And, in my experience, quite a few White Nationalists get extremely defensive, angry, and downright vindictive when you reject their ‘White proposition nation.’
Ironically though, I’ve told JB that I support White Nationalism for extremely ethnically mixed places like Philadelphia and Jersey. But he never responded to that. Why? Because he wants the entire U.S. to stick together and suffer the same melting pot fate that his city has.
Wrong again, as always, Vickstrom. I don’t think I’ve ever expressed opposition to Nordicism.
I just want to point out what’s transpired so far:
>You come to a Southern Nationalist site and insult the South by comparing Dixie to a drunk ex-girlfriend.
>Michael points out that you constantly do this.
>I then point out that, based on said evidence, you either enjoy the drama or find ethnic Nationalism threatening.
>You then say that you have no objection to Nordicism (which is not the same thing as ethnic nationalism, and I think you’re smart enough to understand that).
Ergo, you showed up and insulted everyone, insulted me (for the umpteenth time), and then changed the subject.
Are you even capable of debating honestly and staying on topic or must you always be evasive and dishonest?
“Because he wants the entire U.S. to stick together and suffer the same melting pot fate that his city has.”
That’s what you said, Vickstrom. As I’ve indicated, you were wrong.
He’s a gentleman Yankee duellist, Mr. Cushman.
I understand him.
If it rankles you, leave him to me.
I’m a gentleman duellist, too – just a Southern one.
You have no shame.
The ironick thing, John, is that, as fascinating as Mr. Cushman’s article is, and as mischievous as your prick is, the fact of the matter is that White Southerners, overwhelmingly, no longer want ‘freedom’.
No, Sir – in a double dark and ironick twist, for a Southern soul like me, and, I suspect, my Southern Secessionist friends, here, The South would much more likely fight to keep California in, and, if not successful in that, would stay in ‘The Union’ to rule over what remained.
I’ve prayed to The Good Lord many times over these matters, and that is how he has been giving me to see it.
I’m sure I’ll acquire a taste for the grits, Junius—but my God, the football will drive me nuts.
Well, if it comes to that, John – you’ll only have two choices – Crimson tide or The Auburn tigers.
That’s our Longfellow and Keats.
As to grits : you might like ’em, BUT, be apprized that more than a few Southern city-slickers won’t touch them, anymore than they will fried okra fried chicken livers, roe and eggs, or head-cheese:::)))
Understood, Junius, understood.
It pains me to know that most Northerners only exposure to fried okra is the thick breaded Captain D’s style instead of the thin sliced cornmeal breaded type us locals fry up.
I reckon you do, Mr. Saint.
I did not know that Northerners, working for Captain’s D’s had screw up Fried Okra – which, as we do it, is rolled around in egg, then rolled around in corn flour and salt, and then fried golden brown – the results, as you know, being is aromatick, nutty, and crunchy with a slightly soft center.
But then, on this subject, I think of that great Southern scalawag, Mark Twain, who said…
‘For instance, the corn bread, the hot biscuits and wheat-bread and the
fried chicken. These things have never been properly cooked in the North
— in fact, no one there is able to learn the art, so far as my
experience goes. The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but
this is gross superstition.’
200,000 dead. Cities burned and
a country destroyed. You call this “ease”? And those values still lasted a century more under hostile occupation. They continue today in a diluted form.
Question: Was the Antebellum South more class-based or race-based?
Very very class-baset, Mr. Kleinfeld, as it STILL is, nowadays.
A reprise of the feudal English caste system, blended with the colonial experience of Caribbean plantation, is what The South, back yonder times.
Race was a given, just as it was up North – but, lalss cut through it all.
Junius, what are your thoughts on the difference between the Anglo-(Saxon)-Norman cavalier culture of the low country and the Border Scots-Irish clannish culture of the highlands. (In SC, the difference between the Low Country and the Upstate)?
Wow, WP what an unexpected and incredible question!?!
Well, a student of English history as I am, I afraid that my view might disappoint you for it’s subjective nature.
Still, I will try.
The low country of Ængland were always the Yankees, and, those areas which had been, all along the eastern side of Britain under The Danelaw, The Confederates.
I say this because, in the 150+ years between Alfred’s great victories and William The Bastard’s devastating win, at Sanguelac, over Harold of Godwinson, the Saxon Low Country was always trying to get the erstwhile Danelaw areas under their thumb and integrated into their system of centralized government, from London.
Even The Great Holy Saint Cuthbert (both an Orthodox and Roman Catholick Saint because the schism, in 1064, had not yet occurred in The Holy Mother Church) was imprisoned by the Anglo-Saxon Southern Yankees – for being a fire-breathing secessionist, along the lines of John C. Calhoun.
In my conversations with Mr. John Bonaccorsi, here at OD, we have oft bickered about who, The North or The South, has carried on what is truly ‘Ænglisc’.
In that vein, I believe that New England has carried on the Saxon low country internationalist trader centralized progressive tendency, (Norman Cavalier Low Country Culture in your words) as it has evolved to this day, where as we, in The South, have embodied that wild agrarian, supersticious anti-technological anti-central rural feudal caste culture that, symbolically, forever died when the head of Charles I was droppt into the Cromwell’s basket.
Are we the horsethieving Armstrong clan of the Scots-Cumbran-Northumberland borderlands?
Maybe in Appalachia, though, as a whole, I think not. Still, the James, Dalton, and Younger gangs of the 19th century do seem like a rebirth of that.
A big difference to me between the two cultures you mention is the notion of destiny.
Our highly parochial South and, as you say, ‘clannish culture’ of The Uplands seems to live in the time dimension in a self-satisfied, reactionary, and generally stagnantly self-contented way, whereas the Norman Cavalier Culture of the Low Country seems to be always reaching out to some unknown hypothetical point on the future horizon – it have been allied to Puritanism and Jewish culture since around the time of the Roundheads)
When you cut below race and all the customs that define these different cultures, I believe you stumble onto this disparity of time perception; and, with that, you get the essential difference that propels us (Upland and Lowland cultures) into permanent conflagration with each other.
It seems, WP, that Time will not countenance two lovers, all at once.
In North Carolina, our rural areas (55% of the population, currently, and occupying 80%+ of the terrain) have always been, and remain, a blending of that Clannish border Upland culture – mixed with the Olde Danelaw culture.
Our cities, however, taken over, both in the financial, physical, and mental sense, by The New England Yankee Government System, are the very embodiment of that ‘Norman Cavalier Low Country Culture’.
The latter has dominated the former, for the last 50+ years, though, we who are the former, are resurgent – 2010 marking the year that our war to the death to take back out state, and reclaim it for the upland Culture, began
Thank you for such an interesting inquiry.
Would you care to comment?
Dear Mr. Cushman.
It’s good to have you here, and writing so many interesting articles. Feels like your old SNN, and that’s a downright good thing.
I hope things are well with you and your fiancee!
Very interesting article Mr. Cushman. Much of the pro-South literature I have read stresses the Celtic/Scottish aspect of the South -ignoring Anglo-Saxons. They just pass over it that George Washington was almost fully English, though he was a Southerner by culture. Any way, I am a mix of the Germanic and Celtic peoples, and I enjoyed your piece on the Anglo-Saxon aspect of the South.
I loved your statement of the following toward the end of this piece: “Simms subscribed to the widely held belief in the importance of Anglo-Saxon blood to the origins and maintenance of parliamentary republicanism. This “Teutonic origins” theory, as it came to be known, was embraced by many prominent nineteenth-century scholars, including, for example, George Bancroft, who like Simms was convinced that the success of the British and American government arose from the “Sagacious instincts of the Anglo-Saxon nature” and the “inherent virtues of the Anglo-Saxon stock.” Most (usually not racially conscious) American patriot types forget about the Angle and Saxon origin of the Common Law that they adore.