Finally, the South also has a legacy of original political thought and cultural commentary. This is in addition to the first two legacies: the fine arts, and welcoming and integrating outer races and nationalities into its midst and assimilating them into its culture. We stand proud.
Southerners Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and others gave us our founding documents and much of the political thought behind them. Also John C. Calhoun of South Carolina gave us A Disquisition on Government, which presented the concept of “the concurrent majority.” For all these men, we stand proud.
In addition, the most significant political thinkers for today are what we call “the Southern Agrarians.”
Agrarianism as is defined internationally as a form of socialist land redistribution, but that is NOT—I repeat NOT—the definition given of Southern Agrarians. The Southern Agrarians defined the term as having an attachment to a more relaxed agricultural life-style which promoted community, faith, and mutual support.
Some of the men who have provided the South with our intellectual legacy: Frank Owsley, Andrew Lytle, Donald Davidson, Melvin “Mel” Bradford, Richard M. Weaver, and Clyde N. Wilson.
Frank Owsley (1890 – 1956) was an historian who taught at Vanderbilt University, where he specialized in southern history. In 1949 he began a tenure at the University of Alabama.
Andrew Lytle (1902 – 1995) was a novelist, dramatist, essayist and professor of literature. He taught first at the University of the South in Sewanee, then at Southeastern College (now Rhodes) in Memphis, and at the University of Florida. Lytle returned to the University of the South in 1961 to teach creative writing and literature until his retirement in 1973.
Donald Davidson (1893 – 1968) was a poet, essayist, social and literary critic, and author. He taught literature at Vanderbilt University. Davidson is best known as a founding member of the Nashville circle of poets known as the Fugitives and the overlapping group, the Southern Agrarians.
Davidson encouraged Americans to embrace their identities as “Rebels, Yankees, Westerners, New Englanders or what you will, bound by ties more generous than abstract institutions can express, rather than citizens of an Americanized nowhere, without family, kin, or home.”
For the Agrarians, we stand proud.
Richard M. Weaver (1910 – 1963) attended the University of Kentucky. His master’s in English at Vanderbilt University was under the supervision of John Crowe Ransom (another Agrarian). It was at Vanderbilt that Weaver embraced to philosophy of the Agrarians and thus became a member of the “second generation.”
He at Auburn University, at Texas A&M University, then began a Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University, whose faculty included Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren (both Agrarians). His Ph.D. was awarded in 1943 for a thesis titled The Confederate South, 1865-1910: A Study in the Survival of a Mind and a Culture. It was published in 1968, after he died, under the title The Southern Tradition at Bay.
He is primarily known as a shaper of mid- 20th century conservatism and for his books Ideas Have Consequences and The Ethics of Rhetoric. Weaver claimed that the South was the “last non-materialist civilization in the Western World.”
Melvin “Mel” Bradford (1934 – 1993) was a conservative political commentator and professor of literature at the University of Dallas. He saw himself as part of the greater Southern culture. He did his doctorate under Donald Davidson, and thus was a “second generation” Agrarian.
Bradford specialized in the history of the American founding and Southern history in the United States. He also advocated the constitutional theory of strict constructionism.
Dr. Cylde Wilson (b.1941) is Professor Emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina. He received the Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina and then began his tenure with the University of South Carolina.
In 1977 Wilson become editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun. As an intellectual heir of Richard Weaver and the Southern Agrarians, Wilson brought together the book Why the South Will Survive, by Fifteen Southerners, a fiftieth anniversary restatement of the Agrarian message of I’ll Take My Stand.
Dr. Wilson has contributed more than 400 articles, essays, and reviews to a wide variety of academic and popular books and publications. He has lectured extensively across the U.S. to scholarly, heritage, and political groups. He also has liberally given his advice and wisdom in the founding of the Southern National Congress.
With Weaver, Bradford and Wilson, we stand proud.
Many native Southerners have accepted the Yankee lies as truth. They hang their heads and allow abuse of the South and of Southerners to continue.
Join the Southern National Congress and stand proud with us.
From the Southern National Congress Original Story