William Cawthon (with whom I once had the pleasure of staying up ’til almost dawn on a hot summer night in Montgomery discussing Southern history and nationalism) has penned a must-read article for the Abbeville Institute which lays out our position today as a people on the verge of disappearance. Cawthon’s well written article is, as Hunter Wallace at Occidental Dissent notes, an “excellent read.” But it is also a difficult read because of how truthful it is about the sad state of the South today.
Our ancestors knew what was at stake in the mid-1800s. They had witnessed the decline of the British Caribbean plantation colonies through egalitarian revolution with government placed in the hands of former slaves. Once stable, productive and wealthy societies were ruined and have never recovered. Even more dramatically, they had seen civilization completely destroyed in racial genocide in Haiti – what had been the wealthiest colony in the world under the French plantation system. Southerners watched these developments in horror and resolved not to let their own society be likewise destroyed.
John Smith Preston, a sugar planter from Virginia who made a fortune in Louisiana before moving to South Carolina where he served in the senate, was chosen by the Palmetto State to address Virginia’s secession convention in 1861. Preston described his people as “the holders of the most majestic civilization and the inheritors, by right, of the fairest state of liberty.” He argued that anti-Southern attitudes in the North and the election of Abraham Lincoln and his Republican Party presented the South with “a conflict for life and death.” Ultimately Southerners faced “annihilation” in the Union. Georgia’s Supreme Court Justice and Commissioner to Virginia, Henry L. Benning, warned similarly that “We will be completely exterminated” and the South made into another Haiti. “Above all, we have a cause – the cause of honor, and liberty, and property, and self-preservation” which could only be assured through independence.
Source: Apostles of Disunion by Charles B. Dew, pages 63-71