Neo-confederate
Overview
 
Neo-Confederate is a term used by some academics and political activists to describe the views of various groups and individuals who have a positive belief system concerning the historical experience of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

, the Southern secession, and the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

.
  • Honor of the Confederacy
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

     and its veterans — Much of the Neo-Confederate movement is concerned with giving the proper due honor to the Confederacy itself, to the veterans of the Confederacy and Confederate veterans' cemeteries, to the various flags of the Confederacy, and to cultural Southern identity.

  • Economics — neo-Confederates usually advocate a free market
    Free market
    A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

     economy which engages in significantly less taxation than currently found in the United States, and which does not revolve around fiat currencies such as the United States Dollar
    United States dollar
    The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

    .

  • History — many neo-Confederates are openly, highly critical of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

     to varied degrees, and of the history of Reconstruction.
Encyclopedia
Neo-Confederate is a term used by some academics and political activists to describe the views of various groups and individuals who have a positive belief system concerning the historical experience of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

, the Southern secession, and the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

.

Summary of neo-Confederate beliefs

  • Honor of the Confederacy
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

     and its veterans — Much of the Neo-Confederate movement is concerned with giving the proper due honor to the Confederacy itself, to the veterans of the Confederacy and Confederate veterans' cemeteries, to the various flags of the Confederacy, and to cultural Southern identity.

  • Economics — neo-Confederates usually advocate a free market
    Free market
    A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

     economy which engages in significantly less taxation than currently found in the United States, and which does not revolve around fiat currencies such as the United States Dollar
    United States dollar
    The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

    .

  • History — many neo-Confederates are openly, highly critical of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

     to varied degrees, and of the history of Reconstruction. Various authors have written critiques of Lincoln and the Union. Slavery
    Slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

     is almost never defended, but it isn't seen as the primary cause of the American Civil War
    American Civil War
    The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

     by pro-confederates, for they argue that the South seceded because the Federal Government's tariffs drove the Southern people into poverty. Critics often accuse Neo-Confederates of "revisionism
    Historical revisionism
    In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event...

    " and of acting as "apologists".

  • Culture — many neo-Confederates promote an unabashed Christian
    Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     culture. They support, for example, public displays of Christianity
    Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

    , such as "Ten Commandments
    Ten Commandments
    The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

    " monuments and displays of the Christian cross. Almost all Neo-Confederates strongly support
    Patriot movement
    The Patriot Movement is a loose collection of independent minarchist social movements in the United States beginning in the latter half of the 20th century...

     the right to keep and bear arms
    Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second...

    , present in both the United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

     and the Confederate States Constitution
    Confederate States Constitution
    The Constitution of the Confederate States of America was the supreme law of the Confederate States of America, as adopted on March 11, 1861 and in effect through the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Confederacy also operated under a Provisional Constitution from February 8, 1861 to March...

    . Generally they oppose unmitigated illegal immigration
    Illegal immigration
    Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

     of foreign nationals into Southern states. Some Neo-Confederates view the Civil War as a conflict between a secular North and a Christian South. Certain Neo-Confederates believe in a Celtic identity theory for residents of the South, with residents of the North being mostly English.

  • Secession — many neo-Confederates openly advocate the resecession of the Southern states and territories which comprised the old Confederate States of America
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

    . The League of the South
    League of the South
    The League of the South is a Southern nationalist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, which states that its ultimate goal is "a free and independent Southern republic." The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy...

    , for example, promotes the "independence of the Southern people" from the "American empire". Most neo-Confederate groups do not seek violent revolution, but rather an orderly separation, such as was done in the division of Czechoslovakia. Many Neo-Confederate groups have prepared for what they view as a possible collapse of the federal United States into its 50 separate states, much like the Soviet Union collapsed, and believe the Confederacy can be resurrected at that time.

  • The Civil Rights Movement — some neo-Confederates adopt a paleoconservative or libertarian
    Libertarianism
    Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

     view of the Civil Rights Movement.

Though outsiders often see neo-Confederacy as "rebellion", the Neo-Confederates themselves generally believe that the federal government of the United States has strayed from its original intent, and that the Confederate States of America was both the lawful and logical successor of the original government which formed out of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

.

The term "neo-Confederate" is considered by many people a pejorative political epithet and its application to specific groups and individuals has caused controversy. Not everyone, however, avoids the term. Al Benson, Jr., head of the former Southern Independence Party declares, "I am part of what Morris Dees
Morris Dees
Morris Seligman Dees, Jr. is the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center , and a former direct mail marketeer for book publishing. Along with his law partner, Joseph J...

 calls the 'Neo-Confederate Movement'".

Neo-confederates and Libertarianism

Historian Daniel Feller notes that libertarian authors Thomas DiLorenzo
Thomas DiLorenzo
Thomas James DiLorenzo is an American economics professor at Loyola University Maryland. He is an adherent of the Austrian School of Economics. He is a senior faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and an associated scholar of the Abbeville Institute...

, Charles Adams, and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel have produced a "marriage of neo-Confederates and libertarianism." Despite an apparent disconnect (Feller asks, "How can a lover of liberty defend slavery?), Feller writes:
Hummel in turn, in a review of libertarian Thomas E. Woods, Jr's
Thomas Woods
Thomas E. "Tom" Woods, Jr. is an American historian, economist, political analyst, and New York Times-bestselling author. He has written extensively on the subjects of American history, contemporary politics, and economic theory...

  "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History", refers to the works by DiLorenzo and Adams as "amateurish neo-Confederate books". Of Woods, Hummel states that the two main neo-Confederate aspecs of Woods' work are his emphasis on a legal right of secession while ignoring the moral right to secession and his failure to acknowledge the importance of slavery in the Civil War. Hummel writes:
Hummel also criticizes Woods' "neo-Confederate sympathies" in his chapter on Reconstruction. Most egregious was his "apologia for the Black Codes adopted by the southern states immediately after the Civil War." Part of the problem was Woods' reliance on an earlier neo-Confederate work, Robert Selph Henry's 1938 book "The Story of Reconstruction."

History of the term

The term "neo-Confederate" has an extensive history. James McPherson used the term "Neo-Confederate historical committees" in his description of the efforts from 1890 to 1930 to have history textbooks present a version of the Civil War in which McPherson writes included that secession wasn't rebellion, the Confederacy didn't fight for slavery, and the Confederate soldier was defeated by overwhelming numbers and resources. Historian Nancy MacLean used the term "neo-Confederacy" in reference to right-wing groups that formed in the 1950s to oppose Supreme Court rulings demanding racial integration. Former Southern Partisan editor and co-owner Richard Quinn used the term when he referred to Richard T. Hines, former Southern Partisan contributor and Reagan administration staffer as being "among the first neo-Confederates to resist efforts by the infidels to take down the Confederate flag." It is possibly the earliest use of the term "neo-Confederate" in Southern Partisan.

This definition is not necessarily accepted by neo-Confederates, though Mel Bradford
Mel Bradford
Melvin E. "Mel" Bradford was a conservative political commentator and professor of literature at the University of Dallas....

, who was a key figure in the neo-Confederate movement and frequent writer for Southern Partisan
Southern Partisan
Southern Partisan is a right-wing political magazine published in the United States founded in 1979 that focuses on its Southern region and those states that were formerly members of the Confederate States of America. Its first editor was Thomas Fleming...

from its founding, was pleased to title one of his books The Reactionary Imperative: Essays Literary and Political.

Another use of the term was used in 1954. In a book review, Leonard Levy, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1968, wrote, "Similar blindness to the moral issue of slavery, plus a resentment against the rise of the Negro and modern industrialism, resulted in the Neo-Confederate interpretation of Phillips, Ramsdell and Owsley.".

Criticism of the term

Some neo-Confederates reject the term "neo-Confederate." They feel that it is often employed as a pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

 description of people who take a sympathetic view of Southern history (particularly in connection with the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

) and views on the Civil War that are different than most other historical perspectives. It is also used sometimes to criticize people who echo the Copperhead
Copperheads (politics)
The Copperheads were a vocal group of Democrats in the Northern United States who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates. Republicans started calling anti-war Democrats "Copperheads," likening them to the venomous snake...

 attacks against Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and the Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

.
There are historians that argue the current academic climate makes it impossible to discuss issues that view any part of traditional Southern culture or history as positive without incurring this label.
Gary W Gallagher author of "the Confederate War" states it this way.

"Any historian who argues that the Confederate people demonstrated robust devotion to their slave-based republic, possessed feelings of national community, and sacrificed more than any other segment of white society in United States history runs the risk of being labeled a neo-Confederate. As a native of Los Angeles who grew up on a farm in southern Colorado, I can claim complete freedom from any pro-Confederate special pleading during my formative years. Moreover, not a single ancestor fought in the war, a fact I lamented as a boy reading books by Bruce Catton and Douglas Southall Freeman and wanting desperately to have some direct connection to the events that fascinated me. In reaching my conclusions, I have gone where the sources led me. My assertions and speculations certainly are open to challenge, but they emerged from an effort to understand the Confederate experience through the actions and words of the people who lived it.

Criticism of neo-Confederacy

The Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

 (SPLC), a private organization headed by Morris Dees
Morris Dees
Morris Seligman Dees, Jr. is the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center , and a former direct mail marketeer for book publishing. Along with his law partner, Joseph J...

, reports on the "Neo-Confederate movement", almost always in a critical fashion. A special report by the SPLC's Mark Potok in their magazine, Intelligence Report, critically described a number of groups as "neo-Confederate" in 2000. "Lincoln Reconstructed," published in 2003 in the Intelligence Report, focuses on the resurgent demonization of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 in the South. The article quotes the chaplain of the SCV as giving an invocation which recalled "the last real Christian civilization on Earth." The article further mentions that the LewRockwell.com website hosts a collection of anti-Lincoln articles, which led Marcus Epstein, founder of the Robert Taft Club, to compare the SPLC's tactics to McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

."Whitewashing the Confederacy" was a review that alleged that the movie Gods and Generals
Gods and Generals (film)
Gods and Generals is a 2003 American film based on the novel Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara. It depicts events that take place prior to those shown in the 1993 film Gettysburg, which was based on The Killer Angels, a novel by Shaara's father, Michael...

presented a false, pro-Confederate view of history. Myles Kantor of the conservative FrontPage Magazine described the review as a "web of falsehood." Critics have accused Neo-Confederacy of being essentially a movement about race. Most prominently, the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans is an American national heritage organization with members in all fifty states and in almost a dozen countries in Europe, Australia and South America...

 and the Council of Conservative Christians have had this charge leveled against them.

Origins and doctrines of "Lost Cause" Civil War history

The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to a literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional society of the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 to the defeat of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 of 1861–1865. Those who contributed to the movement tended to portray the Confederacy's cause as noble and most of the Confederacy's leaders as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry
Chivalry
Chivalry is a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood which has an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others. Chivalry was also the term used to refer to a group of mounted men-at-arms as well as to martial valour...

, defeated by the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 armies not through superior military skill, but by overwhelming force. They believe the commonly portrayed Civil War history to be a "false history". They also tended to condemn Reconstruction.

The SCV on its main website, still speaks of “ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved” and claiming that “[t]he preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution.”

James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book...

 has written on the origins of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
United Daughters of the Confederacy
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a women's heritage association dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served in the military and died in service to the Confederate States of America . UDC began as the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, organized in 1894 by...

 and states that “A principal motive of the UDC’s founding was to counter this ‘false history’ which taught Southern children ‘that their fathers were not only rebels but guilty of almost every crime enumerated in the Decalogue
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

.” Much of what the UDC termed as “false history” centered on the role of slavery with secession and the war. The chaplain of the United Confederate Veterans
United Confederate Veterans
The United Confederate Veterans, also known as the UCV, was a veteran's organization for former Confederate soldiers of the American Civil War, and was equivalent to the Grand Army of the Republic which was the organization for Union veterans....

, forerunner of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans is an American national heritage organization with members in all fifty states and in almost a dozen countries in Europe, Australia and South America...

, wrote in 1898 that history books as written could lead Southern children to “think that we fought for slavery” and would “fasten upon the South the stigma of slavery and that we fought for it ... the Southern soldier will go down in history dishonored.” Referring to a 1932 call by the SCV to restore “the purity of our history”, McPherson notes that the “quest for purity remains vital today, as any historian working in the field can testify.”

In the 1910s Mildred Rutherford, the historian general of the UDC, spearheaded the attack on schoolbooks that did not present the Lost Cause version of history. Rutherford assembled a “massive collection” which included “essay contests on the glory of the Ku Klux Klan and personal tributes to faithful slaves.” Historian David Blight concluded, “All UDC members and leaders were not as virulently racist as Rutherford, but all, in the name of a reconciled nation, participated in an enterprise that deeply influenced the white supremacist vision of Civil war memory.”

Historian Alan Nolan refers to the Lost Cause as “a rationalization, a cover-up”. After describing the devastation that were the consequences of the war for the South, Nolan states:
Nolan further states his opinion of the racial basis of Lost Cause mythology:
Historian David Goldfield observes:
When asked about purported "Neo-Confederate revisionism
Historical revisionism (negationism)
Historical revisionism is either the legitimate scholastic re-examination of existing knowledge about a historical event, or the illegitimate distortion of the historical record such that certain events appear in a more or less favourable light. For the former, i.e. the academic pursuit, see...

" and the people behind it, Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

 professor and Civil War historian Brooks D. Simpson said that:
This is an active attempt to reshape historical memory, an effort by white Southerners to find historical justifications for present-day actions. The neo-Confederate movement's ideologues have grasped that if they control how people remember the past, they'll control how people approach the present and the future. Ultimately, this is a very conscious war for memory and heritage. It's a quest for legitimacy, the eternal quest for justification.

Neo-Confederate views of the Republican Party

Many neo-Confederates are openly critical of the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

. Conservative columnist Alan Stang, in a Southern Mercury article, "Republican Party: Red From the Start", sees a communist conspiracy in the Republican party of the mid-19th century. He alleges that the 1848 revolutionaries in Europe were communists and that some of these revolutionaries came to America after the failed 1848 revolution to perpetrate some type of communist agenda in the United States. Stang states:


... Lee and Jackson did not fully comprehend what they were fighting. Had this really been a "Civil" War, rather than a secession, they would and could have easily seized Washington after Manassas and hanged our first Communist President and the other war criminals."


Another quote is:


So, again, the Republican Party did not "go wrong." It was rotten from the start. It has never been anything but red. The characterization of Republican states as "red states" is quite appropriate.


Recently two prominent neo-Confederates Walter Donald Kennedy and Al Benson published the book "Red Republicans and Lincoln's Marxists: Marxism in the Civil War" in which they argue that Lincoln and the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 were influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

.

See also

  • List of organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups‎

Further reading

  • Denson, John V. A Century of War: Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt
  • Fredrickson, Karl. The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968. (Chapel Hill, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2001). Forerunners of the modern neo-Confederate movement.
  • Gallagher, Gary W. The Confederate War. (Harvard University Press, 1999).
  • McMillen, Neil R. The Citizens’ Councils: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction, 1954-64. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971). Forerunners of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
  • Murphy, Paul V. The Rebuke of History: The Southern Agrarians and American Conservative Thought. (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2001). This is an important book to understand the forerunners of the modern neo-Confederate movement.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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