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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: January 2018

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Mind of the North

By Mike C. Tuggle on Apr 20, 2015
In my opinion, the single best short summary of the political and cultural differences between North and South appears in the movie Ride with the Devil, starring Tobey Maguire.

Ride with the Devil is powerful, visually striking movie set during the guerilla war in Missouri during the War for Southern Independence. In one scene, Tobey Maguire’s character, a Southern guerilla fighter, spends an evening away from the bitter fighting in the home of a Southern sympathizer named Evans. Evans pours drinks for his two guests, who are extremely appreciative of Evans’ hospitality. Despite their attempts to avoid the subject, they start talking about how the war is going.
Evans nods thoughtfully, then predicts the Yankees will win. He asks his startled guests if they’d ever seen Lawrence, Kansas. They reply they have not. Evans tells his guests what he’d seen in the town while it was under construction:
As I watched those Northerners building that town, I witnessed the seeds of our own destruction being sown. I’m not speaking of abolitionist trouble-making, or even the number of Northerners. It was the school. Before they built the church, they built that schoolhouse. Then they brought in every farmer’s son and every farmer’s daughter and made sure they would think and live the same free-thinking way they do, without regard to station, or stature, or custom, or propriety. That’s when I realized that the Yankees will surely win, because they believe everyone must live and think just like them. We don’t want to make everyone be like us. We shall surely lose because we don’t care how other people live-we just take care of ourselves.

As Evans says, Southerners tend to mind their own business and let things be. Northerners, on the other hand, must remake things to suit them better, and to impose their way of doing things on others. As Admiral Raphael Semmes of the CSS Alabama once put it, “The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” So what made Yankees that way?
The short answer is “The Puritans.” In Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history), David Hackett Fischer describes how the culture of the Northeast was defined by its Puritan settlers. Fischer describes that cultural migration as “East Anglia to Massachusetts.”
The South, on the other hand, was essentially a Puritan-free zone. In the migration pattern he named “The South of England to Virginia,” Fischer identified the demographics of the coastal South as “Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants (Gentry influenced the Southern United States’ plantation culture).” Fischer characterized the demographics of the inner and mountain South as “The Flight from North Britain (Scotch-Irish, or border English, influenced the Western United States’ ranch culture and the Southern United States’ common agrarian culture.”
The Puritans, both in England and in New England, rejected traditional society, just as they had originally rejected the traditional church. Their doctrine of “total depravity” saw all institutions as infected by sin. Here is how A. J. Conyers describes the Puritan crusade in his book, The Long Truce: How Toleration Made the World Safe for Power and Profit
Their zeal drove them to criticism of existing orders and institutions, fueling the wish for deliverance from the effects of human depravity. Driven in this direction, they were tempted by the same dualism that Christians of all ages have entertained. It is a kind of Gnostic style of theologizing that finds no good in the created order, in human nature, or in the institutions arising in such a world. For the gnostic–and, for the Puritan—Christianity is altogether a theology of redemption without the inclusion of a theology of creation.
The Puritans were members of the Church of England who wanted to purify the Church of non-Biblical elements. They wanted to eliminate all the practices they viewed as holdovers from the Catholic Church, which the Puritans referred to as “popery,” including the ritual robes of the priests, the various ceremonies practiced, and the overall focus and purpose of the Church. They rejected the traditional aspects of worship that did not conform to the Bible, and therefore made the Bible the exclusive reference point of their religious practices.
The Puritans not only made their reading of the Bible central to their religious practices; they went so far as to make the Bible and their understanding of it as the exclusive authority for all religious questions. They intellectualized religion to the point of excluding all tradition and custom. As a matter of fact, the Puritans came to see religion as exclusively within the realm of the mind. Education came to be the key to salvation, and this of course established and legitimized the Puritan belief that lack of formal education equated to sinfulness.
The Puritan way of thinking eventually secularized. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a proponent of the transformed New England ideal. Emerson, a former Unitarian minister, acknowledged that his aunt, Mary Moody Emerson, a devout Puritan, exerted the greatest influence on his life. Here is what Emerson said in his 1838 address at the Harvard Divinity School:
Build therefore your own world, a correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit. So fast will disagreeable appearances, swine, snakes, pests, madhouses, prisons vanish; they are temporary and shall be no more seen until evil is no more seen. The kingdom of man over nature .. a dominion such as now is beyond the dream of God.
Could Emerson have been any clearer in expressing the radical difference between the secularized Puritan worldview and the traditions of Aquinas and Aristotle? Those traditions, which respected hierarchy and social customs as invaluable sources of stability, continued to be embraced by Southerners, who saw themselves as stewards of God’s creation, and believed that traditional society is the result of God’s patient hand. Where Southerners saw mystery and beauty in the world, Northerners saw only chaos and untapped raw materials.
Southern religion, and therefore the entire Southern worldview, appreciates the richness of both the physical and the spiritual. We believe that both belong to God. Therefore, unlike the Puritan, we do not believe that “things” are inherently evil. Tobacco, food, alcohol, and guns, to name a few examples, are not evil in and of themselves. Evil people can abuse those things, but Southerners know that these things can be not only useful, but enjoyable.
Southerners, as a whole, appreciate nature, and tend to the agrarian belief that nature is to be both enjoyed and preserved. We accept the world as it is given to us, and believe it is our duty to find our place in it and accept our responsibilities. As stated in the original introduction of I’ll Take My Stand in 1929: “Religion can hardly expect to flourish in an industrial society. Religion is our submission to the general intention of a nature that is fairly inscrutable; it is the sense of our role as creatures within it.” Anne C. Loveland, in her book Southern Evangelicals and the Social Order, 1800-1860 wrote that Southerners are “as dubious of human ability in social and political matters as in the matter of salvation. The belief in the sovereignty of God and dependence of man was the whole of their thinking.”
Here is how Richard Weaver once described the Southern spiritual tradition: “Piety comes to us as a warning voice that we must think as mortals, that it is not for us either to know all or to control all. It is a recognition of our own limitations and a cheerful acceptance of the contingency of nature, which gives us the protective virtue of humility.”
This helps us understand some of the pronouncements coming from Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton, and the like. These people, and their followers, really believe that there is no justice, no order, no value in traditional society. If any good is to be had, it must be imposed from the outside, by force, by the ultimate sovereign, which is Big Government.
By understanding what happened to the Calvinist Puritans, we can better understand why it is true that, “The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” It’s because of the old Puritan belief that the natural world is evil and corrupt, and that all goodness and order come from the mind-spirit of the universe that only the elite can comprehend. According to this worldview, there is no culture whatsoever in traditional society, no barn dances, no singalongs, no folk art whatsoever until Big Government creates a museum and imports artists from New York to provide cultural uplift to the unwashed masses.
And since there are no natural bonds between people, any talk about heritage and kinship as a basis for social order is illogical sentimentality. The only thing people have in common is the shared desire to make money and protect their lives and property. Since economics trumps all other considerations, why shouldn’t we open our borders to all comers? And the thought process is the same even when they call themselves neo-conservatives, which is nothing more than another name for the same ideology wrapped in the language of conservatism.
That’s why we should appreciate what gives the Southern worldview its vitality and its uniqueness, and be ready to defend it. We must defend it because it is the only barrier to the predatory Puritan mindset. That mindset, as Evans warned in Ride With the Devil, is bound to make everyone conform, and that means the end of authentic culture and freedom.
About Mike C. Tuggle
M. C. Tuggle is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose short stories have appeared in several publications. The Novel Fox published his novella Aztec Midnight in 2014. His next book, The Genie Hunt, is a tribute to Manly Wade Wellman’s Southern tales, and will be published this summer. He blogs at

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Forrest’s Statue and Crocodile Tears

Hal Rounds

Observations of a Citizen

While on our Christmas visit with our daughter and the grandkids, one granddaughter took to disruptive behavior that mommy had to stop. Immediately upon the toy being taken away, the youngster began to cry harshly, with tears dripping down her angrily rosy cheeks. She was not in pain, nor had she any cause for grief. She was just angry and frustrated at being stopped. Moments later, all was OK

There is a difference between tears of pain and sorrow, and tears of rage. The illegal attack on the statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest by Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis city council helps us understand this difference when it is exhibited by adults.

Many of the monument attackers seem to argue that occasionally seeing the statue makes them feel pain and suffering. To see whether their figurative tears are ones of suffering, or something else, we need to look closely at the circumstances.

What is General Forrest doing, and what is he wearing on the monument in Memphis (or all his other monuments, for that matter?) It is not the mythical supervisor’s whip and garb of the slave-owner. It is not the white hood of the klansman. No one celebrates that. For that matter, no one celebrates his contributions to the economy of Memphis and the South by helping organize a new railroad, or advocate unity among whites and blacks as the South turned to rebuild after the Yankee depredations, either.

He is mounted on a cavalry horse, and wearing a military uniform. That is the role celebrated by his statue. That is the mark Forrest made on history, a mark that is studied to this day to instruct our military in ways to defend our freedoms when war falls upon us. What was he fighting?

His uniform is the uniform of an army fighting an invader from the North. Many serious depredations were inflicted by that army upon Forrest’s homeland and his neighbors. General Ulysses Grant was one commander of the Yankee occupation forces that Forrest was fighting. Perhaps the most notorious act of abuse by Grant was “General Order 11: The Jews, as a class… are hereby expelled from the Department (of Tennessee) within 24 hours from the receipt of this order… any one returning after notification will be arrested … as prisoners…”

Though this 1862 act is not taught in the usual Civil War history courses, it was a problem for Grant later. An 1882 political cartoon showed Grant in a crocodile skin, shedding tears for the abuses of the Jews by the Russians. The comments compared his abuse of the Jews in Yankee-occupied Tennessee to his hypocritical sympathy for the Jews suffering in Russia. They were crocodile tears, not tears of real sympathy.

Was it wrong for a general to fight such abuses by an invader? Or was it heroic to do so against such unfavorable odds, and to win so often? Is it wrong to celebrate that heroism in a troubled time?

The Forrest haters demand that the only periods of Forrest’s life that can be exposed to the public are the periods they deem evil. It is censorship. They argue that their cause is propelled with tears. Perhaps – but they are not tears of anguish. They are tears of rage.

The role for which Forrest is honored by his memorial is also the role that so desperately stirs the anger and hatred of those who demand that only their take on history be allowed. They do not want us to remember the sacrifices and successes of a renowned military leader, because these things interfere with the image they insist we accept.

They broke laws to take that statue down, like a child disrupting what could otherwise be a peaceful event. That behavior requires a firm disciplinary response.

In this case, “mom” has to be the Tennessee Attorney General, or, failing that, the Tennessee State Assembly.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Happy Birthday General Robert E. Lee

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘Lee was the noblest American who had ever lived and one of the greatest commanders known to the annals of war.’

Do young people still hear stories about George Washington, Booker T. Washington and Robert E. Lee? There was a time when schools and businesses closed in respect for the birthday of one of the South’s favorite sons -Robert E. Lee.

Friday, January 19, 2018, is the 211th birthday of Robert E. Lee, whose memory still weighs dear in the hearts of many Southerners. Why is this man so honored in the South and respected in the North? Lee was even respected by the soldiers of Union blue who fought against him during the War Between the States.

What is your community doing to remember this great man?

During Robert E. Lee's 100th birthday in 1907, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., a former Union Commander and grandson of US President John Quincy Adams, spoke in tribute to Robert E. Lee at Washington and Lee College's Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginia. His speech was printed in both Northern and Southern newspapers and is said to had lifted Lee to a renewed respect among the American people.

Dr. Edward C. Smith, respected African-American Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C., told the audience in Atlanta, Georgia during a 1995 Robert E. Lee birthday event, 'Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee were individuals worthy of emulation because they understood history.'

Booker T. Washington, America's great African-American Educator, wrote in 1910, 'The first white people in America, certainly the first in the South to exhibit their interest in the reaching of the Negro and saving his soul through the medium of the Sunday-school were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.'

American Presidents who have paid tribute to Lee include: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who spoke during the 1930s at a Robert E. Lee statue dedication in Dallas, Texas, Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower who proudly displayed a portrait of Lee in his presidential office.

During a tour through the South in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt told the aged Confederate Veterans in Richmond, Virginia, 'Here I greet you in the shadow of the statue of your Commander, General Robert E. Lee. You and he left us memories which are part of the memories bequeathed to the entire nation by all the Americans who fought in the War Between the States.'

Georgia's famous Stone Mountain carving of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee was dedicated on May 9, 1970. William Holmes Borders, a noted African-American theologian and pastor of the Wheat Avenue Baptist Church, was asked to give the invocation. The many dignitaries attending this historic event included United States Vice President Spiro Agnew. Thousands of people bring their families each year to see this memorial to these three great Americans.

Who was Robert E. Lee that has been praised by both Black and White Americans and people from around the world?

Robert E. Lee, a man whose military tactics have been studied worldwide, was an American soldier, Educator, Christian gentlemen, husband and father. Lee said 'All the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth.'

Robert E. Lee was born on Jan. 19, 1807, at ' Stratford Hall ' in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The winter was cold and the fireplaces were little help for Robert's mother, Ann Hill (Carter) Lee, who suffered from a severe cold.

Ann Lee named her son 'Robert Edward' after two of her brothers.

Robert E. Lee undoubtedly acquired his love of country from those who lived during the American Revolution. His Father, 'Light Horse' Harry was a hero of the American Revolution and served three terms as governor of Virginia and as a member of the United States House of Representatives. Two members of his family also signed the Declaration of Independence.

Lee was educated at the schools of Alexandria, Virginia, and he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1825. He graduated in 1829, second in his class and without a single demerit.

Robert E. Lee's first assignment was to Cockspur Island, Georgia, to supervise the construction of Fort Pulaski.

While serving as 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers at Fort Monroe, Virginia, Lee wed Mary Ann Randolph Custis. Robert and Mary had grown up together, Mary was the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the Grandson of Martha Washington and adopted son of George Washington.

Mary was an only child; therefore, she inherited Arlington House, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., where she and Robert E. Lee raised seven children, three boys and four girls.

Army promotions were slow. In 1836, Lee was appointed to first Lieutenant. In 1838, with the rank of Captain, Robert E. Lee fought in the War with Mexico and was wounded at the Battle of Chapultepec.

Lee was appointed Superintendent of The United States Military Academy at West Point in 1852 and is considered one of the best superintendents in that institution's history.

General Winfield Scott offered command of the Union army to Robert E. Lee on April 17, 1861, but he refused. Lee said, 'I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children.'

The Custis-Lee Mansion 'Arlington House' would be occupied by Federals, who would turn the estate into a war cemetery.

Lee served as adviser to President Jefferson Davis, and then on June 1, 1862, commanded the legendary Army of Northern Virginia.

After four terrible years of death and destruction, General Robert E. Lee met General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.

Lee was called Marse Robert, Uncle Robert and Marble Man.

Lee was a man of honor, proud of his name and heritage. After the War Between the States, he was offered $50,000 for the use of his name. His reply was: 'Sirs, my name is the heritage of my parents. It is all I have and it is not for sale.' His refusal came at a time when he had nothing.

In the fall of 1865, Lee was offered and accepted the presidency of troubled Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. The school was later renamed Washington and Lee College in his honor.

Robert E. Lee died of a stroke at 9:30 on the morning of October 12, 1870, at Washington College. His last words were 'Strike the tent.'

The church bells rang as the sad news passed through Washington College, Virginia Military Institute and the town of Lexington Virginia. He is buried at Lee Chapel on the school grounds with his family and near his favorite horse, Traveller.

On this his 211th birthday let us ponder the words he wrote to Annette Carter in 1868: 'I grieve for posterity, for American Principles and American liberty.'

Lest We Forget!

Calvin E. Johnson, Jr. is Director of the Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month Program 
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