Friday, July 20, 2007

Confederates and Catholics

A superb article from Charles A. Coulombe, proving again that most of the politically correct history taught in public schools has no bearing on reality, especially where the American South is concerned. Very interesting, please read the whole article if you have time. Mr. Coulombe pulls together lots of things that I have heard and read about in various and sundry places. He makes the point of how the history of black Americans in the South has been neglected, which is unfortunate, since the culture of the South was deeply influenced by those of African descent. After all, in many southern families it was black women who raised all the children (of both colors), taught them their manners, as well as running the household. (Yes, the circumstances were terrible because of slavery but the profound influence of the blacks upon the whites cannot be ignored.)

Mr Coulombe also says:
As indicated earlier, in antebellum times, Catholics were a presence, if a small one, in various parts of the South. Because of their relatively high social standing, members of that Faith wielded an influence all out of proportion to their numbers—there was a Catholic in Davis ’s cabinet, as well as a Jew who later converted. The three arguably best known Southern war songs were all written by Catholics—“Dixie” by Daniel Decatur Emmet, “Maryland, My Maryland” by James Ryder Randall, and “The Bonnie Blue Flag” by Harry McCarthy (beautifully performed by Damon Kirsche in the extraordinary 2003 film Gods and Generals). Such verses as “The Conquered Banner” and “The Sword of Robert Lee” were written by Confederate Army chaplain, Rev. Abram Ryan, the “poet-priest of the Confederacy.” The soon to be canonized Pope Pius IX was the only foreign ruler to recognize Davis ’ presidency. After the war, while Davis languished in Fortress Monroe, Pope Pius sent Davis his portrait and a crown of thorns he had made with his own hands (this second class relic may be viewed at the Confederate Museum in New Orleans). Davis had himself attempted to convert to Catholicism at 14, but the Dominicans who taught him demurred on account of his age; nonetheless, his rosary and scapular were on display at Beauvoir.



Anonymous said...

I learned more in this one article than I did in my entire K-12 years in public school about the War between the States and its social and political ramifications.

And some in our 'ruling elite' wonder why Americans now are so woefully ignorant of history? The dumbing down of our curriculum is killing this country. It helps to explain why so many hold such ridiculous opinions and advocate history-proven disastrous courses of action (or inaction).

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Margaret. People who do not know their own country's history can be easily led astray by trendy politicians.

Anonymous said...

Margaret, you may enjoy reading HL Mencken.

Mencken took the idea a little further. The very last thing the aggressors wanted after the Civil War was to have a rematch. So they set about destroying the South so that it would never be able to fight again. After the Third Punic War, the Romans burned all of Carthage, and then salted the ground, to ensure that there would never be a Fourth Punic War.

The God-fearing souls enraptured with the thought of ending slavery would never have stood for salting the entire South. So they set about to destroy its social structure so thoroughly that it would be an intellectual desert for the next hundred or so years. Without intelligent leadership, a country can't wage war.

To effect this, the North rescinded the right to vote of all Southerners who had been eligible to vote during the Confederacy. This meant that the only people with the right to vote were the African-Americans, who had largely been unable to learn how to read and write, and were fairly ignorant as a result, and the carpetbaggers.

When Zaire, an African nation the size of Western Europe, became independent in the 1960s, it had produced a grand total of 17 college graduates. Not surprisingly, when the whites and Lebanese were asked to leave the country, Zaire went into free fall, that ended in people living in the jungle like before the Belgians came.

What happened in the South, was that the Southern gentry was disenfranchised for life, and amid the turmoil and anarchy that erupted anyone with any skills chose to leave the South, westward, and for the North, Europe, even Egypt and the Far East. This left the second and third tier of the Southern whites behind, the sort of people with whom the gentry would never had any truck, and whose progeny presumably collect car hulks on their property, and the African-Americans.

Mencken claimed that the African-Americans had enjoyed more privileges than the bottom of ante-bellum White society, because the aristocracy chose its mistresses from among the African-Americans, who in turn looked down on the less privileged whites, and because their place in the caste system was more fluid.

According to Mencken, one reason for the visceral racism endemic among Southern whites was that they knew that the African-Americans had been their betters until after the war, and that they were intent on retaining the position. To prove his point, he compared the contributions African-Americans from the South had made to music with those by the whites.

Interestingly enough, the first African-American college president in the United States, was at Georgetown University either right before or after the Civil War, although he, of course, found it expedient to label himself as white.

Mencken not infrequently over exaggerated his points, but insofar as that the Arkansas legislature passed a motion urging that Mencken, an American citizen, be deported to Germany, he must have struck a nerve.

Interestingly enough, a very similar scenario - elections that make the underclass top dog, anarchy with mass emigration, and exclusion of the former upper class from government - has happened in Iraq 150 some years later.

Would the theology of the rapture have infected as many people were it not for Appomattox?

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Steven, for such fascinating observations.

Anonymous said...

sc - Thank you for your interesting comment! I shall add HL Mencken to my reading list! I have visited the South several times and have been able to perceive the tensions that you have described here....but I did not fully know the reason why behind them. This makes perfect sense.

Anonymous said...

What a GREAT article!! I said exactly the same thing that Margaret did--in all my years of schooling, I'd never learned any of this stuff--and I was born and raised in the heart of Dixie, New Orleans itself!

Thank you once again, dear EMV, for presenting another fine article and unknown history for your readers' edification.

Anonymous said...


My pleasure.

Strom Thurmond was the perfect encapsulation of racial relations in the South racial question: by day he campaigned on a platform of strict and unyielding segregation, by night he had relations that could not have been more intimate with at least one African-American.

The irony of history is that Thurmond, Wallace, and Garner were quite arguably the more decent people than FDR and Wilson, that Ku Kluxer.

It hasn't yet made Fox, but it may be worth noting that the American colony in Paris is swollen as it was never before with Americans with trust funds awaiting the end of the Bush-Cheney regnum in a civilized country. All the United States may yet became a Sahara of the Bozart.