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Old 03-06-2017, 08:11 PM
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Default Book Review: "The Idea of a Southern Nation" by McCardell

Book Review: "The Idea of a Southern Nation," By McCardell
(Apollonian, 6 Mar 17)

John McCardell's "The Idea of a Southern Nation: Southern Nationalists and Southern Nationalism, 1830-1860"; W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., NY, London, 1979, 394 pp, xi, 338 text, appendices, bibliography, index, is another outstanding and thorough work, yet well- and concisely-written for pertinent details, covering the rise of Southern nationalist feeling of the slave-holding south which naturally and inevitably grew as the two sections developed along their necessarily different paths for labor and economic systems. An additional element was the moralistic cancer, esp. fm northern abolitionists, which further aggravated the problem.

For soon enough the Constitutional contract was effectively invalidated by refusal of northern states to honor the Fugitive Slave provision and even conspiratorial terrorism fomented by northern interests, most notably in the territory of Kansas, and as culminated in instance of the John Brown raid on Harper's Ferry in Virginia, 1859. Finally, the South determined to declare independence, asserting their sovereignty and states rights which was thereupon dis-allowed by the amazing psychopaths of the North, Lincoln, Seward, the "radical" Republicans, and others caught-up in the war hysteria which the South was un-able to allay.

The South fatally under-estimated the determination and ability of the northern nationalists and psychopaths for applying grim methods of warfare and mass-murder, all supported by the distracted population. For the north had turned into a super monstrous juggernaut, economically and then militarily which it exerted to applying an extensive conquest and subjugation now against its own citizens, regardless of law, Constitution, and reason, the people persuaded it was working in self-defense.

Historically, the first distinct alarm for southerners was the Missouri Compromise activity which began in 1819 regarding the first state west of the Mississippi River in land purchased as part of the Louisiana territory fm the French in 1803. Northern legislators wanted to ban slavery in newly acquired territory in favor of the free white labor system preferred by the north. But definitive ever after was surely the S. Carolina "Nullification" crisis beginning in 1828 over the tariff issue by which John C. Calhoun asserted the state right to nullify any law it considered un-constitutional. The President, Andrew Jackson, supported by Congress, denied such state right(s), and thereupon threatened force against the state and subsequently a hasty "compromise" was effected in Congress.

Thus the real issue regarding essence of Constitutional contract was placed in focus, states rights and sovereignty, and the question now was (and still is) whether reason would prevail against emotion and moralism. The immediate decision and events of the 1860s was that reason and states rights lost horribly and disastrously as the northern juggernaut crushed out heroic and patriot resistance of the south in four yrs, even as the north at first bumbled and blundered, yet inexorably built an irresistible momentum, maintaining that psychopathic obsession for moralistic dominance built upon its overwhelming economic strength. That very same insanity for mindless dictatorship fueled upon moralism persists even to this day in the 21st century threatening to exterminate all of humanity itself (Agenda-21 and -30).

Perhaps most interesting is the heroic efforts of southern politicians and statesmen to retain and remain in the union despite all the difficulty and controversy. For it wasn't until the Republican party arose and gained such power and influence so relatively quickly fm the mid 1850s that southerners understood the end was near for remaining in the union. Secessionists and secessionism had always been the minority influence up until the Lincoln election of 1860; even then it wasn't terribly overwhelming, the northern tier of slave states remaining out until April of 1861. Interestingly, even after secession, Confederate gov. featured the more moderate and conservative element of southern politicians, like Jeff Davis and Alex Stephens, and not the most ardent of secessionists.

McCardell's work covers political and legal activity, but especially as it parallels the cultural, literary, and religious events too. Exposition ends at the secession convention activity just prior to the war. McCardell's outstanding achievement then is for most careful and detailed plotting of political, cultural, and economic evolution of southern reaction and growing nationalism which culminated in secession of southern states and establishment of the Confederacy of 1861, a truly excellent, informative, and even artistic exposition for the historian. The reader is not disappointed.
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