Seigneurial planters vs bourgeois capitalists

Italian historian Raimondo Luraghi described the plantation civilization of the New World, referred to by many nineteenth century Southerners as the “Golden Circle,” as “a singularly new civilization” built by “the immediate, legitimate son[s] of… [the] Renaissance.” These included “the French-Canadian gentilhomme, as well as the southern and West-Indian planter, the Brazilian senhor de engenho, the Spanish-American haciendado.” Luraghi notes that even though the Western colonial empires to which the plantation societies belonged were dominated by “the capitalist world market economically… a class was rising to power in the New World that would confront the bourgeoisie, and compel it, in many cases, to a bloody fight for power.”

The historian went on to point out in The Rise and Fall of the Plantation South¬†(New Viewpoints, 1978) that “Nowhere did this peculiar kind of seigneurial civilization achieve such a high development as in the United States and Brazil; but it was the Old South that soon fell into conflict with bourgeois, capitalist America, generated by Calvinist Dutch and Puritan New Englanders.”

In this context, we can understand the long conflict between the traditional South and the Modernist North as part of a larger historic struggle across the Western world between a class of Renaissance-influenced seigneurial planters (and their societies in Dixie, northeastern Brazil, the Yucatan, Cuba and elsewhere) and a competing class of Enlightenment-influenced bourgeois capitalists (and their system of global finance and industrial production). Numerous enduring cultural and political differences between North and South can be traced back to this historic class struggle which ushered in the disastrous reign of Modernity.

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  1. The Northern Industrial complex was/is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, environmental disasters we’ve had/have. This is not to say that all industry is bad, but the bourgeois-capitalists have a history of polluting the environment in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

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