The South & the Southern Tradition

1.  The South in American Literature, 1607-1900, Jay B. Hubbell, 1954.
2.  When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession, Charles Adams, 2000.  Here is a review of the book by Richard Ebling.
3.  War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, Walter Brian Cisco, 2007.
4.  Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel, C Vann Woodward, 2014.

This work is C. Vann Woodward’s classic biographical study of the Georgia agitator, born of a slave-owning family reduced to poverty after the Civil war when his family declined from the plantation owner class to the share-cropper status. Always an enemy of industrialism, Watson took the side of the southern farmer. He was elected to Congress in 1890, later became a Populist leader, and in 1904 and 1908 he ran for president on the Populist ticket. Although Thomas E. Watson championed the rising Populist movement at the turn of the 19th century–an interracial alliance of agricultural interests fighting the forces of industrial capitalism–his eventual frustration with politics transformed him from liberalism to racial bigotry, from popular spokesman to mob leader. Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar C. Vann Woodward clearly and objectively traces the history of this enigmatic Populist leader.

5.  The Other South: Southern Dissenters in the 19th Century, Carl N. Degler, 1974.  [Cited by Carl N. Degler, The Other South (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), pp. 43-44. Degler relies on two main sources: Lane Carter Kendell, “John McDonogh — Slave-Owner,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XVI (1932), and William Talbot Childs, John Mcdonough: His Life and Work (Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1939).]  from Gary North’s article on John McDonogh, July 28, 2018.

1825, John McDonogh.  

This leads me to the story of John McDonogh. He was one of the great forgotten men in American history. He was not well known outside of Louisiana, and he was generally hated there. He died in 1850, the richest man in the state. Today in Louisiana, there are many public schools named after him. There is a reason for this.

John McDonogh was a penny-pinching Scot. Like most Calvinist Scots, he was a strict Sabbatarian. Nobody worked on his plantation on Sundays, but they worked like madmen on the other six days.

Why? From everything we know about the slave economy, slaves were slackers. They stole, they cheated, they faked illnesses. They were goldbricks. They were officially regarded as natural slaves.

What John McDonogh proved, as perhaps no one in American history has proved more clearly, is that men respond to incentives. In 1825, he conceived of a plan that would enable his slaves to buy their way to freedom. He hoped that they would go to Liberia, but only one did.

As a strict Sabbatarian, he would give them Saturday afternoons off for their own work if they promised not to work on Sundays. Other planters also gave their slaves Saturday afternoon off. But McDonogh made this offer: if they would work for him on Saturday afternoon, and two extra hours each day, he would pay them extra. He paid them 50 cents a day in winter and 62.5 cents in summer.

He established a set release price for males of $600 and $450 for females. This was somewhat less than the average market price for healthy field hands. Once they had paid off one-sixth of this agreed-upon price, they would get one free day of their own. They could then use their earnings on this free day to speed up repayment. When they “owned” Saturday, the time they spend working for him on Saturday enabled them to buy Friday. When they had bought Friday, they started buying Thursday. When they bought Monday, they were granted their freedom. It took fifteen years for a slave to buy his way out of slavery.


11.  YOU WILL LOVE THESE SOUTHERN SONGS by Bobby Horton.  These songs show a glorious love for country and the preference and cherished love for liberty.  These songs also give you a great sense of community, love for its history, and a longing to preserve it.

12.  The True Story of the Free State of Jones: Historical Accounts of the Mississippi County That Seceded from the Confederacy, Goode Montgomery, Charles Carlton Coffin, 2016.

In 1863, Mississippi farmer Newt Knight serves as a medic for the Confederate Army. Opposed to slavery, Knight would rather help the wounded than fight the Union. After his nephew dies in battle, Newt returns home to Jones County to safeguard his family but is soon branded an outlaw deserter. Forced to flee, he finds refuge with a group of runaway slaves hiding out in the swamps. Forging an alliance with the slaves and other farmers, Knight leads a rebellion that would forever change history.

13.  The South Was Right! – James Ronald Kennedy, 1994.

An authoritative and documented study of the mythology behind Civil War history, clearly exhibiting how the South was an independent country invaded, captured, and still occupied by a vicious aggressor.

The following books were discovered from listening to Tom Woods’ Episode #1465, where he interviews Brian McClanahan. 

Eugene Genovese, an ex-Marxist who wrote about the Southern Traditions, found value in the southern tradition.  Genovese said that denying the southern traditions was an atrocity.  McClanahan explained that Donald Livingston founded the Abbeyville Institute.  Every form of American music has its origin in the South?  Quite a claim from McClanahan.  Southerners still like to hunt and fish more than anyone in the country.  Think of all the comedy that comes out of the South.  The South is more militaristic than the North.  You have to pay Northerners to fight, whereas Southerners fight out of honor.  Jay William Fulbright was anti-war.  Claude Kitchin (1869-1923) of North Carolina was anti-war.  Disproportionally, the South favors the regime’s wars.  They were conquered by the regime, and now they’re the shock troops for the regime.  Honor in the South, Celtic culture and cavalier.  James Harrison Wilson was back in the city in 1888.  Southerners wanted acceptance back into the Union.  

14.  I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition, 1978.  This is a collection of essays collected and edited by Susan V. Donaldson.  Woods cites Donald Harnish Fleming as the Harvard lecturer who used this book in his class.  Woods acknowledged the value of the book against the anti-Southern propaganda that he’d been exposed to at Harvard and elsewhere.  
15.  The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of American Conservativism, Eugene D. Genovese, 1994.  
16.  The Political Economy of Slavery: Studies in the Economy and Society of the Slave South, Eugene D. Genovese, 1988.  
17.  A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South, Eugene D. Genovese, 1999.  
18.  From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World, Eugene D. Genovese, 1992.
19.  The Sweetness of Life: Southern Planters at Home, Eugene D. Genovese and Douglas Ambrose, 2017.
20.  Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made, Eugene D. Genovese, 1976.  
21.  Slavery in White and Black: Class and Race in Southern Slaveholders’ New World Order, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, and Eugene D. Genovese, 2008.
22.  The Southern Front: History and Politics in the Cultural War, Eugene D. Genovese, 1995. 
23.  The World the Slaveholders Made: Two Essays in Interpretation, Eugene D. Genovese, 1988.  
24.  Fatal Self-Deception: Slaveholding Paternalism in the Old South, Eugene D. Genovese, 2011.
25.  Why The South Will Survive: Fifteen Southerners Look at Their Region a Half Century After “I’ll Take My Stand,” Clyde N. Wilson, with an Afterward by Andrew Lytle, 1981.

I’ll Take My Stand is the name of a collection of essays by 12 southern writers, collectively known as the Southern Agrarians, who took exception to H. L. Mencken’s criticism of southern culture.  This is a must-listen interview by Tom Woods of Brian McClanahan.  Some books by McClanahan: 

How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America
9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America
The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution

Read the original article at

The Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver, (1910-1963) 1987. 

Richard M. Weaver (1910–1963), one of the leading figures in the post-World War II development of an intellectual, self-conscious conservatism, believed that Southern values of religion, work ethic, and family could provide a defense against the totalitarian nihilism of fascist and communist statism.


In Defense of Tradition is a collection of essays collected by Richard M. Weaver, 2001.  Stromberg has a review of Weaver’s ideas, his work, and influence.  I liked this quote

In “Reflections of Modernity,” a talk on regionalism given, interestingly, in Provo, Utah, Weaver noted: “But an international culture is a contradiction in terms.  There are no international roots.  Cultures are sometimes national or roughly co-extensive with the nation (if the nation is not too big a one), but in most instances, they are geographically regional.

Weaver’s book, Ideas Have Consequences, 1948, is apparently his most widely-read book as a benchmark of conservative thought. 

Woods mentions one of his Harvard professors, Donald Flemming.  Donald Livingston, Abbottsville Institute.

Brion McClanahan on David Crockett.

Here are McClanahan’s podcasts.

Here are his articles at Abbeville Institute.