Required Reading: The Foundations of Southern Nationalism

There is perhaps an assumption current amongst us in the various Southern Nationalist circles that we have all read the same works, that we have all thoroughly understood them, and that this canon of thought informs our perspectives on the present. To a great extent, this is so, but the existence of a list of titles with a few explanatory notes might well be useful for the younger or the newer amongst us. What follows will be a partial introductory list, which is not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive of the body of works available to us.

Our forefathers left us stacks upon stacks of books that sit mostly unread in this new dark age in which we find ourselves; the lessons to be found in these treasures are legion, if we allow them to speak for themselves. What they have to say about politics, religion, economics, honor, justice and race is foundational to understanding and living our cultural patrimony; it behooves us to understand what they have spoken to each, and not brush aside any aspect of what we find before us without first internalizing the hard “why?” of what has been said. Without any further way of introduction, here’s our list:

  1. The Holy Bible—first and foremost, the history of the Southern people cannot readily be understood from a position of passive Biblical illiteracy. Even if you happen to consider yourself an atheist, an agnostic or some flavor of neo-pagan, the majority of the Southern people are, have been, and likely will be to the conclusion of our existence as a people, Christians. It is my studied conclusion that claiming a foundation for morality without an a priori moral law is not workable or tenable, and that truth necessarily must exist for the concepts of right and wrong to have any meaning at all, and that knowing any meaningful differentiation between the two implies a real distinction independent of our finite experience—that is, a moral law, which in turn implies a maker of that moral law.

You may readily disagree, but the fact remains that we on the dissident right are making moral claims—we are saying that our being replaced is wrong, that erasing our culture is wrong, that tearing down our monuments is wrong, that elevating perversion is wrong, that setting any part of the natural order amongst the sexes and groups of people aside has been wrong in the extreme, and that subversion of our institutions by various alien cultures and peoples is wrong. We are in a moral fight, and for many on our side, the inherited morals of Christendom are being posited, urged, upheld, advocated and defended, all the while being completely divorced from the fundamental underpinning: namely, the logically necessary concept of a moral law and moral law-giver. This is an absurdity which eventually will become an acute issue in our circles as evil progresses further. It is nonsense to speak of good and evil if those categories do not actually exist; we see evil, closing in on us, testifying to its reality in every terrifying tentacle. If we are to be fully on the side of the good, more and more, we are going to be forced to see the spiritual reality of what we are up against.

Hence the need of a robust understanding of theology, and the ability to articulate it; and for our people, as part of a continuum of Christian European peoples, this framework is found in the Scriptures. Talk of a “foreskin eating volcano demon” or a “kike on a stick” simply avoids the fundamental question of the reality of good and evil, and leaves the foundation for any non-negotiable, universally applicable moral standards of right and wrong as some form or another of subjectivism. It either is always wrong to rape a child, in all places and all times, or it isn’t. Without an implicit moral law, one course of action is just as good as the other. Without an implicit moral law, replacing us, destroying our genetic existence, and destroying our culture and the artifacts thereof is just as valid as not doing so. I urge earnest familiarity with the ontology of good and evil, and the reality of both; it strikes me as imminently useful for our people to consult the texts that have been held sacred by our ancestors for centuries, and to do so fervently, and as a powerful rebuke to the decadence of our present era.

  1. John C. Calhoun’s Discourse and Disquistion­—in a better age, our States produced great thinkers, who left us a brilliant record of the workings of their minds in the speeches and writings preserved in our libraries and archives. I would contend that the often maligned John C. Calhoun as a political philosopher is without peer amongst any born on this continent; his Discourse and Disquistion, written when he already knew his death was nigh, were his final gifts to the Southern people. These two companion works contain an understanding of human nature, the science of government and the reality of the operation of numerical majorities that we must incorporate into our understanding of the present as we grapple with demographic concerns. Supplementary to these, there are two excellent biographies of Calhoun which ought to have currency amongst all Southern nationalists—Charles Wiltse’s three volume Nationalist/Nullifier/Sectionalist, and Margaret Coit’s John C. Calhoun: American Portrait.
  2. R. L. Dabney’s Defence of Virginia and the South. Dabney was Presbyterian theologian, minister and educator, of the first order for his era, who served on the staff of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The spelling of “defence” here is not a mistake, that is the original and arguably correct spelling, and is as Dr. Dabney penned it. This work skewers the moral and theological arguments leveled against the South in a matter very difficult to gainsay or set aside, and had our people internalized Dr. Dabney’s Defence ages ago, we would not be in the conditions we are in today. His Life and Campaigns of General Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson is likewise well worth your time, as his commencement address given at Hampden Sydney College on June 15th, 1882, published under the title “the New South”.

Note: Dr. Dabney refers in his Defence in a number of places to agrarianism; it needs to be understood that he is not referring to the rural economic philosophy embraced by a later group of our public thinkers. Rather, he is discussing the term as then used in the 1860s for a socialist land redistribution movement originating in France.

  1. The Lost Cause/The Lost Cause Regained by Edward Pollard. The labor of a talented Richmond editor, these two works, taken together, form a narrative of the war and reconstruction, and provide valuable insight into what the contemporary public perception happened to be on a range of issues, many with obvious connections to issues still current. Pollard minces no words, which is part of what makes his writings worthy of continuing attention.
  2. Is Davis a Traitor?, by Albert Taylor Bledsoe, in tandem with Bernard Janin Sage’s Republic of Republics—or American Federal Liberty, decisively refuted the bogus treason narrative which has been revived with a vengeance in recent years relative to our our forefathers and the monuments to them. So effective was Bledsoe that there is circumstantial evidence that this work is precisely why the Johnson Administration let Jefferson Davis depart from Fortress Monroe without ever standing trial. The attorneys of our president were poised to make use of Bledsoe’s accumulation of facts in court, and the United States government became convinced that it would be impossible to convict Davis, and could not afford the political embarrassment and fallout from his acquittal. Sage, originally writing under the name P. C. Centz, expanded the refutation of the treason assertion in such a way that his rebuttal of calling the men of the South traitors cannot be refuted without outright lying. Granted, our enemies lie, and do so constantly when it serves their purposes; but we still have an obligation to the good name of our dead to know the truth, and proclaim it at every turn.
  3. Richard Weaver’s The Southern Tradition at Bay looks at politics, culture, literature and religion in a manner that effectively picks up where the original cohort of the Southern Agrarians left off, and asserts that the South has her own distinct tradition that is more fundamentally European than any other Anglophone region of North America. Weaver began on the political left, and was moved right by an awakening relative to place and time, and an appreciation for and contact with a number of the men who had been the nucleus of the Fugitive and Agrarian movements at Vanderbilt. You are doing yourself and the South a disservice if you ignore this work.
  4. I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition by Twelve Southerners, is a cultural, economic and political touchstone, of enduring significance; it appeared in the context of the upheaval of the Great Depression, seven decades after the Invasion, and six decades after Reconstruction. The authors were all academics—historians, writers, poets, and so on—who in this work upheld the value of society rooted in and based upon the soil. It should be read, digested, and absorbed in a way that resonates with our present condition of having been largely uprooted from the way of life that prevailed in our States within the lifetimes of people we knew. That being said, know this going into I’ll Take My Stand: none of these men were able to practice what they preached in terms of getting back to the land. They all continued in their various disciplines, and most of them eventually were effectively self-exiled to Northern universities, having found the academic establishments of our own region uninterested in what they had to say.
  5. Bedford Forrest and His Critter Company, written by Andrew Nelson Lytle (who was one of the Twelve Southerners mentioned above), is an engaging, highly readable account of the life and times of Nathan Bedford Forrest. In Lytle’s prose, the raw heroism and unflinching leadership of a rough Southern man leaps from every page. I suspect that we will soon enough find ourselves in circumstances where we will need the example of Forrest in terms of endurance, leadership and native ability, and of the biographies of the man available, these traits come across like lightning in this little volume. I recommend the second edition from the Southern Classics Series curated by the late M. E. Bradford; the author’s introduction alone in that version is profoundly moving, and edifying to any Southern traditionalist.
  6. War Crimes against Southern Civilians, by Walter Brian Cisco, along with The Sack and Destruction of Columbia, South Carolina by William Gilmore Simms, The Terrible Swift Sword: A Young Girl’s Account of the Invasion of South Carolina and the Burning of Columbia by Emma Florence LeConte, and The Uncivil War: Union Army and Navy Excesses in the Official Records by Thomas Bland Keys, should be read to understand the nature of the conclusion of the formational conflict of our people. Consider yourselves duly warned: whatever jimmies you have will be emphatically rustled by these works.
  7. Why the Solid South? Or, Reconstruction and its Results, edited by Hilary Herbert, is a compilation on a State-by-State basis of how Reconstruction unfolded, a political history authored by a prominent man from each State. Missouri and West Virginia are represented here, but for whatever reason, the wartime and postwar internal upheavals of Kentucky and Maryland were not included. Understanding Reconstruction is fundamental to understanding our present political situation.
  8. Half Hours in Southern History, by Dr. John Leslie Hall of William and Mary College, published in 1907, is a concise overview of our history, was originally aimed at Southern young people, and intended to be imbued with a healthy and dynamic realism. These three hundred and ten pages contain much that speaks just as much to our era as the conditions of a hundred and ten years ago.
  9. Red Shirts Remembered, by William Arthur Sheppard, appeared during the Depression, and the prevailing financial conditions of the period impacted the quality of the publication; there are significant editing issues in most existing copies, but nonetheless, this work telling the story of the political revolution against the Reconstruction Regime in South Carolina in the year 1876 is instructive on many levels. It focuses on Gen. Martin Witherspoon Gary of Edgefield, South Carolina, the man who studied the political conditions of his State, took a long hard look at demographic realities (whites were a numerical minority in South Carolina that point in time), and resolved that there was one and only one means for restoring honest government in the Palmetto State. Gary’s Red Shirt movement rallied behind the candidacy Gen. Wade Hampton for the governorship, and using Hampton as their figurehead, they swept the State and broke the Reconstruction Regime in a brilliant fashion. But Hampton in office was a different creature from Hampton the Candidate, and the parallels between Hampton and the Red Shirt movement that supported him, with Trump and his Alt-Right supporters, is well-worth being cognizant of.
  10. Ousting the Carpetbagger from South Carolina: the Story of Reconstruction in South Carolina, of how it was Fastened upon the State, and How the People Rid Themselves of It, by Henry T. Thompson, is another valuable look at the situation on the ground in the hardest-ridden of our States during the waning days of Reconstruction.
  11. The South to Posterity, by Douglas Southall Freeman, is a brief look at the best methods and historiographical sources available relative to the history of the Confederacy, by a man who was arguably our greatest historian. Freeman’s mammoth biographies of Lee and Washington are also worth your time, as his is study of Lee’s subordinates, but each and all of these other works is, frankly, a giant commitment. The South to Prosperity envisions our history as being in our care, and rightly so; and this little work of Freeman’s should be a mainstay amongst any and all who wish to effectively counter the now-prevailing narrative that casts our people as evil.
  12. Notes on the Situation, by Benjamin H. Hill, originally appeared in the now long-defunct Augusta, Georgia Constitutionalist newspaper as a series of polemics against the imposition of Military Reconstruction, following the passage of the Reconstruction Act of 1867. Ben Hill was one of my State’s greatest sons; he opposed secession up until it was a fait accompli, then he faithfully served Georgia in the Senate of the Confederate States, and, later on, in the Senate of the United States, in a rigorously principled manner. He resented mightily native Southerners cooperating with the regime being imposed upon them, in particular, Georgia’s wartime governor who became an open collaborationist during the period. His Notes, twenty-one in total, address the conditions faced by our people, including specific antagonisms, social conditions and political realities that will look very familiar to today’s reader. They can be found in Senator Benjamin H. Hill of Georgia: His Life, Speeches and Writings compiled by Benjamin H. Hill, Jr., beginning on page 730, running through page 811.

There are many, many more that could well be added to such a list of foundational reading for Southern nationalists, but these seem to me a robust starting point for anyone moving in our circles. It is my sincere hope that if you call yourself one of us that you will, if you have not already, read each of these works, and absorb them thoroughly into your worldview. In closing I will add that it is my intention in subsequent articles to follow the format of Senator Hill, and present Identity Dixie with new Notes on the Situation for our time period.

-By George McDuffie

Oh, I'm a good old Rebel, now that's just what I am;
For this "Fair Land of Freedom" I do not give a damn!
I'm glad I fit against it, I only wish we'd won,
And I don't want no pardon for anything I done.

3 comments

  1. I have a few of these already, but was either reminded of or introduced to several more by this excellent piece!

    Thank you, sir. Your exposition on the significance of the Bible as the top placeholder on this list is especially important and was brilliantly elucidated.

    In regards to your comments on “Was Davis A Traitor?” are you familiar with that quote from Salmon P. Chase, where he is purported to have said that they could not let Davis defend himself in court for fear of him “walking out of the courtroom and back into the White House of the Confederacy”?