Resisting radicalism: Canada & Dixie

Tory Canada, governed from 1791 until 1841 under the so-called Family Compact (which was loyalist, traditionalist and heavily Anglican), successfully repelled Whig radical imperialists from New England in the American invasion of 1775 and home-grown liberal sympathizers in the Rebellions of 1837 only to largely lose against liberal republicanism in the sweeping reforms of the 1840s. Canadian traditionalists essentially won the war but lost the peace.

Traditional Dixie, governed until 1865 by a home-grown plantation elite which was deeply conservative and heavily Anglican, threw its lot in with New England radical republicans in the 1770s, fatefully joining a democratic-republican expansionist experiment in equality as a minority slave-holding culture. Unsurprisingly, it quickly found its core values and institutions under attack. Within a generation the South turned away from the Southern radicals who had led it into Revolution and Union and returned to a conservativereligious and paternalistic world-view which underpinned its civilization. Dixie sought to maintain balance in a Union with liberal republicans and seceded only when that spectacularly failed in 1860. It formed a Confederacy to defend its traditional order and lost the war which followed. But it largely won the peace, unlike Tory Canada, and preserved important aspects of itself as a distinct region through the 1960s.

Today, both Tory Canada and traditional Dixie are minority voices in liberal republican regimes which embrace radicalism, reject our core values and are hostile to our identities. But we took different paths to get here. Likely few Southern nationalists and Canadian Tories realize that they have counterparts and potential allies in North America who have resisted radical republicanism. The interested Southerner should read Mark Christensen’s excellent review of The North American High Tory Tradition (American Anglican Press, 2016) as a starting point.


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