Manifesto part 3

The Grand Bargain.

Several decades after the War Between the States ended, Southerners followed the admonition of General Lee and other leaders to obey the law and conduct themselves as loyal Americans. Formal Reconstruction under Federal occupation ended in 1877, and within a decade the South found itself slowly being accepted, grudgingly, because America’s expanding commercial and political ambitions needed our proven valour and military aptitude. And of course, our natural resources and tax revenues.

In the 1890’s a kind of social truce emerged between North and South, sometimes called the “Grand Bargain.” Under this truce Yankees agreed to stop demonizing the South. They acknowledged the South had been sincere and honourable in The War, though misguided in trying to break up the Union. They agreed the valour and dedication of the Southern armies were worthy of praise, even in a wrong cause. Confederate heroes like Lee and Jackson were honoured as American heroes. Southerners were allowed back in the fold as citizens, though never quite on an equal footing with the North.

In exchange for a modicum of respect, for being allowed to erect our Confederate monuments and retain our revered symbols and honour our heroes, the South conceded it was best for the Union not to have been broken up. We became loyal, patriotic Americans, giving our full energies to building the whole country. We paid our taxes and sent our sons to fight America’s wars. We went along with the burgeoning American empire because that is what the powers decreed.

The South has kept this bargain many times over. No part of the country has been more loyal and more patriotic than the South. The Stars and Stripes fly more ubiquitously in the South than in any other region. In every war from 1865 to the present, Southern men have served bravely, representing a disproportionate share of the enlisted ranks and officer corps -- and of the dead and wounded. (Our sons were not enough. Today the Regime demands our daughters, too. It is a mystery why we Southerners, who have always prided ourselves on our respect for women, have never asked what kind of a society sends its women, including hundreds of mothers with children at home, into deadly combat in a faraway land, and in an “optional” war!)

But the Grand Bargain has been cynically broken, even while we Southerners are expected to continue living up to it. As the great Southern historian Dr. Clyde Wilson has said, “Our Confederate heritage is being banished to a dark little corner of American life labelled ‘Slavery and Treason.’ The people who seek to destroy our heritage are not folks we can win over by presenting historical evidence and assuring them we are good, loyal Americans free of hate. They could not care less about truth or heritage. We are not in an argument over the interpretation of the past. Our very identity as Southerners -- today and tomorrow, as well as yesterday -- is at stake.” And the people cited by Dr. Wilson are not just Liberal Democrats and the perfervid ranks of the radical Left. They include so-called conservative Republicans as well.

Yes, the Grand Bargain has been broken, but not by us; and Southerners need to understand fully what this signifies. The end of the truce means that the aggressive, destructive Jacobin spirit unleashed upon us in 1861, held in check for a time by the gallantry of Southern arms, and then restrained in part by the Grand Bargain, now seeks its long-deferred final triumph. Think of it as a delayed cultural mopping-up exercise by the Regime, or as the final round of a deadly, long-term struggle in which the War of 1861, Reconstruction, and the Great Depression were the preceding rounds.

The South and the American Republic.

We should never forget our Southern forebears were instrumental in winning America’s independence and in building a great republic. The contribution of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Daniel Morgan, Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, and thousands of others is well known and need not be enumerated here. Suffice it to say that without the courage and sacrifice of Southern men and women, the outcome in 1781 might well have been defeat and not victory. And the role of Southern statesman after the Revolution equalled their prowess as soldiers. Washington, the epitome of a Southern gentleman, could have gathered the supreme power in his hands. When England’s King George III learned that Washington had willingly relinquished it, he exclaimed, “Why, then, he is the greatest man in the world!” And he was.

In creating the American republic, the Founders were well aware of government’s inherent tendency to usurp and abuse power. They wrote a constitution designed to limit the powers of the central government to strictly enumerated functions. It was to be the servant or agent of the people and the sovereign States that created it, charged to uphold the rule of law and safeguard the peoples’ freedoms. Peoples, States, and regions would enjoy the framework of ordered liberty. Southern men like James Madison, Henry Laurens, the Pinckneys of South Carolina, John Randolph and John Taylor of Virginia put the indelible stamp of individual liberty and limited government on the U.S. Constitution and early Republic. You can see many of them in the image here – men of the South without whom this meeting would have produced a far different outcome.

previous section, Part 2
A Separate and Distinct People
An Occupied People

next section, Part 4
A Republic. If you can keep it

Worth Quoting

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace.  We ask not your counsels nor your arms.  Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.  May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Samuel Adams


What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue?   

Edmund Burke