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Drew Fraser, author of The Wasp Question, speaks with Greg Hood about the “invisible people’s” lost identity and spiritual roots — and ways both can be reclaimed.

 

This is the eleventh in a series about the continuing disappearance of whites from American cities (see our earlier articles on Birmingham, Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Richmond, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Jackson). Many people still pretend that The Great Replacement is a myth or a conspiracy theory, but the graphs that accompany each article prove them wrong. Every city has a different story, but each has seen a dramatic replacement of whites by minorities.

Memphis, Tennessee, exemplifies the rise, fall, and flight of European-Americans from the cities we built. Andrew Jackson helped plan the frontier city, an important trading post for the growing nation. During the Civil War, the Union won a victory that cut the Confederacy’s river-trade network. However, after the war, it was in Memphis where whites rioted against blacks, an important step in the Southern Redemption that overthrew Reconstruction and military occupation.

Memphis was the scene of another turning point when James Earl Ray assassinated Martin Luther King Jr, the moral hero of “Our Democracy,” which replaced the Old Republic. A slim white majority held on until 1980, and its percentage now falls every decade. Today, Memphis is a majority-black, crime-ridden, and arguably the most dangerous city in the country.

Spanish, French, and American explorers and soldiers all recognized the strategic importance of Memphis’s location. Andrew Jackson and two other men founded it on May 22, 1819 after securing land from the Chickasaw. They named it after the famous Egyptian city. Like those who built other frontier settlements, Jackson and his co-founders believed they were starting something great.

These were hard men with no racial fantasies. In 1813, co-founder General James Winchester had lost the Battle of Frenchtown to the British and their Indian allies; Indians then massacred unarmed prisoners. What became known as the River Raisin Massacre prompted infuriated Americans to rush to the colors. Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans might not have been possible if frontier Americans hadn’t been so enraged.

The third founder, John Overton, descended from a famous Roundhead general in the English Civil War. He was a judge, slave trader, land developer, member of the American Antiquarian Society, and, like Jackson, a Freemason. (Overton’s home, Traveller’s Rest, and Jackson’s famous Hermitage are both in Nashville. Those who run them today emphasize “the enslaved.”) Winchester and Overton were more heavily involved with the city than Jackson was, but Memphis can still claim Old Hickory as a Founding Father.

Traveller’s Rest
Traveller’s Rest

Unlike many cities in this “Great Replacement” series, Memphis was never almost entirely white. It was a trading post with both black slaves and free blacks, and became an important railway hub. It also attracted many Irish immigrants. The white share of the population peaked at 82.8 percent in 1860. The Union captured the city relatively early in the war, so there was no Confederate conscription. Many of the Memphis Irish therefore were never in the Confederate Army.

After the Union victory, this meant the majority of eligible voters weren’t born in America, and many of the police were Irish. Unlike in many Southern cities, whites never lost control of politics, though Confederate veterans had no power.

Irish workers competed with blacks for jobs, and this led to the Memphis Riot of 1866. This bloodletting inspired Radical Republicans to push through the 14th Amendment, meant to guarantee rights to blacks.

According to a report from the Freedman’s Bureau, which some might consider biased, Irish police forced blacks off the sidewalk and a fight resulted. The next day, there appeared “a crowd of colored men, principally discharged soldiers, many of whom were more or less intoxicated.” A few were “very noisy and boisterous.” Police tried to arrest the men but were attacked by “Negroes” who tried “to rescue their comrades.” One white policeman accidentally shot himself in the confusion and died. The Freedman’s Bureau reports that:

About this time the police fired upon unoffending Negroes remote from the riotous quarter. Colored soldiers with whom the police first had trouble had returned in the meantime to Fort Pickering. The police was soon reinforced and commenced firing on the colored people, men, women and children, in that locality, killing and wounding several.

Shortly after, the City Recorder (John C. Creighton) arrived upon the ground (corner of Causey and Vance Streets) and in a speech which received three hearty cheers from the crowd there assembled, councilled and urged the whites to arm and kill every Negro and drive the last one from the city. Then during this night the Negroes were hunted down by police, firemen and other white citizens, shot, assaulted, robbed, and in many instances their houses searched under the pretense of hunting for concealed arms, plundered, and then set on fire, during which no resistance so far as we can learn was offered by the Negroes.

The report says that whites attacked blacks for days, also killing a white person by mistake. The mayor was reportedly drunk, and the sheriff and a Union general couldn’t restrain the mob. “The remote cause was the feeling of bitterness which has always existed between the two classes,” says the report, and “the minor affrays which occurred daily, especially between the police and colored persons.”

 

The humiliation ritual is an important part of American life. Our rulers occasionally degrade a symbol of the historic American nation and tell us to cheer. If you protest and accomplish nothing, you look weak. If you cheer, you submit. When the military and FBI knelt for Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020, it was a humiliation ritual.

You could argue that living in American is one ongoing humiliation ritual because whites must tolerate black violence without striking back — or even noticing. To speak is to be destroyed.

Theodore Dalrymple wrote:

When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

Celebrating ugliness is part of this.

I don’t know what a “Lizzo” is, and don’t want to know. However, when state institutions endorse deliberate desecration, it is a humiliation ritual. It is symbolic conquest of whites. It shows that the new, non-white America is taking ownership of the old America built by whites and mocking its symbols.

Many Americans, especially conservatives, may think that they still “really” run America. They may imagine that the military, intelligence agencies, and other serious institutions have no time for political correctness. They are wrong. The CIA just put up a statue of Harriet Tubman.

Of course, nothing is good enough for leftists.

What kind of nation teaches its young people to hate themselves?

It is mainstream to use The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and to teach students that the settlement of America by whites was a crime. This is the establishment.

There’s a lot going on here.

I’m not sure this is something to celebrate, but coverage of an armed white march protesting replacement and making race-based demands would get far different coverage.

In South Africa, where whites were defeated by treason from within and venom from without (and with help from Queen Elizabeth II), the long-feared expropriation bill has passed. This will make things even worse for white farmers.

Let’s remember this if South Africa goes the way of Zimbabwe and we start hearing pleas for help. Let’s also celebrate Orania. If you are a white South African, perhaps it is time to make another Great Trek and stand together.

News from the Mother Country. First, don’t misgender the sex offender.

Second, the British Empire now hosts bumfights between warring groups of foreigners. For example, here are pro-government and anti-government Iranians.

Here are Hindus and Muslims clashing.

Don’t worry, “community leaders” have decided they can agree on one thing: White racists are the real enemy.

Leicester has been settled since before the Romans arrived. Hindus and Muslims had nothing to do with it. However, Europeans aren’t indigenous to Europe, apparently (just the Sámi), so thousands of years of history don’t count.

Third, here’s the foreigner Sadiq Khan putting up a statue of an enemy to Great Britain and the white race.

That’s a real humiliation ritual.

The Republican Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, “Dr. [Mehmet] Oz,” is losing to Democrat John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor. In 2013, Mr. Fetterman, carrying a gun, chased a black man after hearing what he thought were gunshots. It turned out the man was jogging. There is a certain recent incident in Georgia that might come to mind when you think about this.

However, Mr. Fetterman hasn’t paid much of a political price. This could be because he backs Black Lives Matter and its soft-on-crime policies. He did until recently, anyway. He has wiped that from the “issues” on his candidate site.

This could be because parts of Pennsylvania look worse than many Third World countries.

The non-white woman asking if the workers will still make her food while her co-ethnics unleash havoc sums up our “civilization.”

 
Credit Image: © Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press
Credit Image: © Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

President Joe Biden’s midterm campaign message is that he is defending democracy from former president Donald Trump and his supporters. At Independence Hall, he says “MAGA forces” are a threat to the country. Among their sins is their promotion of “authoritarian leaders” and “[fanning] the flames of political violence that are threat to our personal rights [and] to the pursuit of justice.”

President Biden has overwhelming media support for this campaign, and it’s working; he and the Democrats are up in the polls and are almost sure to keep the Senate, if not the House. Even with the country arguably already in recession, the GOP is muffing it.

Still, one wonders what President Biden means when he says his opponents are “authoritarian.” What rights would he grant us? Do we still have free speech? At a recent summit, the President said that social media platforms must be “accountable for spreading hate and fueling violence.” We already know that the government, even under President Trump, has pressured media companies to ban people they don’t like. The Biden administration failed to launch a “Disinformation Panel” that would be run out the Department of Homeland Security, but it didn’t change its policies. It’s just less open about them. The federal government telling companies what speech they should ban is a perfect example of “authoritarianism.”

It’s not just about race. According to a lawsuit filed by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, “dozens of federal officials across at least eleven federal agencies” tried to impose a “massive, sprawling federal ‘Censorship Enterprise,’” with the “intent and effect of pressuring social-media platforms to censor and suppress private speech that federal officials disfavor.”

The FBI is now being told to manufacture cases. According to a report from the Washington Times , FBI leaders are pressuring agents to “create domestic terrorist cases and tag people as White supremacists to meet internal metrics.” “We have more people assigned to investigate White supremacists than [supremacists] we can actually find,” one agent said.

The article was based on comments from unnamed current and former FBI agents, so we have to be skeptical. Still, the FBI appears to have baited men into planning a ridiculous scheme to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI paid an undercover informant \$54,000 over seven months for his efforts. The feds got convictions after a second trial, but some defendants were acquitted in an earlier trial. “[T]he Justice Department will not tolerate violent extremist plots,” said a former U.S. Attorney. It’s doubtful there would have even been a “plot” without the FBI.

Suspects in the Governor Whitmer “kidnapping plot.”
Suspects in the Governor Whitmer “kidnapping plot.”

The FBI operates in semi-secrecy; the administration openly tries to censor speech. At Mr. Biden’s “United We Stand” summit, the President once again cited Charlottesville’s “Unite The Right” rally as what motivated his campaign. He also recycled the old line from George W. Bush that America is “literally, not figuratively” based on an idea. He intoned: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . . .” The White House official transcript inserted “women and” before “men” in brackets.

Thomas Jefferson, didn’t mean egalitarianism was self-evident or that the country was based on it. That is why he is being canceled. Administrators remove his name from schools. Charlottesville no longer celebrates his birthday; Monticello spits on him. The woke understand him better than President Biden does. The President can’t base American identity on one snippet from the Declaration while our rulers are expelling its author from the civic pantheon.

By modern standards, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Ben Franklin, and every other Founder was a racist white nationalist. They believed they were building a nation by whites, for whites, rooted in the traditional liberties of Anglo-Saxons. One cannot understand the Declaration without understanding this.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart, ca. 1805-1807. Credit: Album / quintlox
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart, ca. 1805-1807. Credit: Album / quintlox

 

President Joe Biden spoke at the United Nations on Wednesday. Surprisingly, he defended nationalism — in Ukraine: “This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people.” he said.

For some reason, when non-Ukrainian Europeans fight “to exist as a people,” they don’t get the same praise. (Of course, Western journalists didn’t celebrate the Ukrainian nationalist movement or its supporters before the invasion.)

We’ll see a test of President Biden’s apparent support for nationalism after the Italian elections on Sunday. A coalition led by the “Brothers of Italy” (Fdl) party is set to win. The conservative parties, including Matteo Salvini’s Lega and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, are united behind it, at least for now. The latest polls show the Fdl has a quarter of the vote, a dramatic increase from 2018, when it had just 4.4 percent, and the coalition could be the big winner.

Giorgia Meloni, who leads the party, calls for a naval blockade of North Africa to stop the illegal migrants streaming across the Mediterranean to Italy. There have been more than 42,000 of them so far this year. Modern leftists seem more interested in importing foreigners than helping native workers, which is why the Brothers are poised to win even a historically socialist area of Italy.

Giorgia Meloni (Credit Image: © Lo Bianco/ROPI via ZUMA Press)
Giorgia Meloni (Credit Image: © Lo Bianco/ROPI via ZUMA Press)

According to its platform, Brothers of Italy would put a moratorium on all immigration, and deport immigrants who commit serious crimes. It would bring back the death penalty, cut foreign aid, test welfare recipients for drugs, and outlaw government monitoring of phone calls and email. It would ban same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexuals.

Italy has a huge debt, which will require tough fiscal choices that Miss Meloni is willing to make. Small businesses are being crushed by bureaucracy and foreign competition, something that Brothers of Italy intends to fix. Miss Meloni does not want to take Italy out of the European Union and supports Ukraine, so she is not risking diplomatic isolation. The party supports Christian values. All this resonates with millions of voters — and, of course, elicits accusations of “fascism,” even from the image captions supplied by photo agencies:

September 20, 2022, Palermo, Italy: Demonstration against Giorgia Meloni and fascist party in Palermo. (Credit Image: © Antonio Melita/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire)
September 20, 2022, Palermo, Italy: Demonstration against Giorgia Meloni and fascist party in Palermo. (Credit Image: © Antonio Melita/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire)

“Brothers of Italy” — the party name — is taken from the first words of the Italian national anthem. Its founder, Giorgia Meloni, was born in 1977, 22 years after World War II ended, but here is typical coverage:

Last month, Miss Meloni issued a statement that her party “unambiguously condemn[s] Nazism and communism,” and said it “shares values and experiences with the British Tories, the U.S. Republicans and the Israeli Likud.” Her critics say it isn’t enough. It never is.

Devotional objects of the former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and fan articles of fascism are sold in a store in Predappio, where Mussolini is buried. Italy will elect a new government on Sept. 25, 2022, with Giorgia Meloni’s post-fascist ”Fratelli d’Italia” party expected to win. (Credit Image: © Oliver Weiken/dpa via ZUMA Press)
Devotional objects of the former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and fan articles of fascism are sold in a store in Predappio, where Mussolini is buried. Italy will elect a new government on Sept. 25, 2022, with Giorgia Meloni’s post-fascist ”Fratelli d’Italia” party expected to win. (Credit Image: © Oliver Weiken/dpa via ZUMA Press)

“There are clear signs that Brothers of Italy, a descendent of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a party set up by a minister in Benito Mussolini’s dictatorship, has not completely severed ties with its past,” complained The Guardian. The paper quoted Professor Luciano Cheles, presumably the same one who wrote Neo-Fascism in Europe in 1991, who said the past still lives on. Here’s some of the “evidence:”

In July, when Mario Draghi’s government collapsed, Meloni took to the stage in Piazza Vittorio, a square in a multicultural area of Rome, and told her supporters: “We’ve had three different governments, three different majorities [since the March 2018 general elections]. Have any worked? No. History has proved us right.”

Cheles said: “In an interview with a fascist journalist five days before his death, Mussolini said: ‘History will prove me right … a young person will rise, a leader who will inevitably agitate the ideas of fascism.’ I don’t think what Meloni said at Piazza Vittorio was purely accidental. The very phrase is so pompous, but in the far right when you mention ‘history’ you mean fascism.”

The real question here is why there needs to be a “multicultural area of Rome.”

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: European Right, Immigration, Italy 


Gregory Hood and Joseph Ford Cotto discuss Traditionalism, monarchy, and hierarchy. Should whites care about the monarchy? We know what many blacks think . . .

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Monarchy 

However, there were countless others who responded heartlessly to the queen’s death.

The South African Economic Freedom Fighters Party was especially cold considering that the queen’s racial treason is a major reason they can strut around pretending they have a functional country.

One historian tweeted:

Considering the state of once-Great Britain, why shouldn’t Britons look to the past?

“Mainstream” journalists made racial complaints while supposedly reporting the news.

A Washington Post reporter:

Despite it all, the indigenous British respected their queen and look favorably upon their new king. The link between monarch and nation remains in the United Kingdom, at least among whites. Britain can be understood with these two videos. A mostly white crowd mourns its monarch, while leftists march with revolutionary slogans for an “aspiring rapper” whom the police shot to death.

Sky News mistakenly linked a protest march to a remembrance of the Queen. This led to more outrage. British rulers didn’t listen to Enoch Powell, so they have imported American-style race problems. These controversies will continue as long as blacks occupy Britain.

Monarchy is a symbol of unity, but many mocked the video of whites mourning their Queen.

This is hatred. These people see the queen as a white symbol, they hate whites, and they enjoy white sorrow.

Why do they hate? The queen didn’t have much power under the constitution. However, what she had, she used to help blacks at the expense of whites. Still, blacks – correctly – saw her as white Britain’s sovereign. Many whites, including the queen, keep appealing to common ground that isn’t there.

I support monarchy, and not just as a symbol. We need hierarchy — a sovereign as the link between the people and the sacred, and the union of state and people. Nations are built on myth, blood, and heroism, not legal contracts.

Monarchy represents this. In a democracy, politicians try to defeat opponents by any means, including replacing them physically. In a democracy, every “fellow citizen” is a potential political enemy. Legitimacy rooted in “public opinion” is dangerous because public opinion is manipulated. It is laundered oligarchy. Worse, it’s dishonest laundered oligarchy because even though it is controlled from the top down, mass democracy’s values come from the gutter. Equality and victimhood become ideals rather than greatness and sacrifice.

Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and other degraded monarchies show that monarchy by itself can’t check degeneracy. Traditional institutions can be harmful when they force conservatives into leftist positions out of misplaced reverence. Queen Elizabeth II’s reign is a clear example.

However, monarchy at least offers an alternative to endless decline. It doesn’t even require a government. The Zulus don’t have a nation-state, but they have a king who commands great respect among his people. He deserves respect from other peoples, including us. He shows a gracious alternative to the way other blacks behave.

What’s next? Australia, New Zealand, and Canada may shuck the king and become republics. Progressives want to build new negative identities based on aboriginal, Māori, and “First Nations” victimhood.

The Welsh, Irish, and Scots helped build the Empire, but the truly powerful will never let regional nationalists be “victims” like blacks. Irish nationalists wailing about the Black and Tans will never get the worshipful media attention and prestigious prizes blacks get even in the Irish Republic.

If groveling is what Irish independence led to, the struggle was pointless. Cromwell did less damage.

There can be no hope for King Charles III. Still, His Majesty knows Traditionalist René Guénon’s work and can defend hierarchy. “In these uprooted times, there is a great need for constancy, a need for those who can rise above the clamor, the din, and the sheer pace of our lives to help us to rediscover those truths that are immutable and eternal, and a need for those who can speak of that eternal wisdom which is called the perennial philosophy,” he said to a traditionalist conference.

In an age of constant leveling, that counts for something. We fight for our people, but also for something more. Our foes have linked “whiteness” with greatness. I’ll accept that gift.

Nick Fuentes put it well:

Ultimately, we need institutions that are by, for, and about the upward development of our race and nothing else. However, such things can’t emerge from nothing. Tradition has value and our ancient institutions are important. They should be respected. Our future will be rooted in our past. It is all part of the same story that will never end so long as even one white family lives.

The white crowds who mourned their queen understand this in their bones, even if they don’t have words for it. “Men never respect what they have made themselves,” wrote Joseph de Maistre. True loyalty is organic, inherent, in the blood. It is powerful because it is “irrational.” Thus, monarchy endures, while the democratic politicians supposedly holding the real power seem small.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Britain, Censorship, Political Correctness, Twitter 

Democrats and their allied media are increasingly worried about “fascism.” One might think fascism, if it means anything, is the combined use of state, media, and corporate power to incite a never-ending campaign against invented enemies. At the risk of making the “Democrats are the real fascists” argument, it seems leftists are projecting. They’ve even got the optics figured out.

Tech companies censor information that challenges official orthodoxy on health, race, sex-change, and other questions. The government asks them to do this. Republican opposition stopped the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed “Disinformation” panel, but that was a minor victory, since progressives already control the information people can see and hear.

Democracy and self-government need a population that gets accurate information. If you aren’t allowed to make up your own mind, you’re not free. You can’t make up your own mind if you can’t hear all sides. Do we really have democracy or self-government? Did we ever? There is no “marketplace of ideas” when censorship smothers competition.

Elections outcomes may be downstream from culture, but culture is downstream from media control. The process is as crude and effective as a besieging army controlling the defender’s food supply. We may tell ourselves that hiding the truth won’t work, but with enough power, it can work. A defending army may be courageous, but it will die if supplies run out.

Race realists and white advocates believe the truth is on our side. Race is biological, there are race differences, and differences have consequences. However, “truth” is elusive in a democratic, media-dominated society. (Apparently, so are the concepts of male and female.) Racial differences in IQ are some of the most consistent findings in all of social science, but our rulers conceal them. Some may know they are hiding the truth; others may think they are hiding “disinformation.” The consequences are the same.

The most “woke” people in our society are white liberals. New findings indicate that they believe things that are obviously false. However, unlike dissidents, they don’t fear censorship. They know their sources of (dis)information will remain.

Zach Goldberg, perhaps the leading scholar of absurd American beliefs, reported years ago that white liberals prefer non-whites to whites. This attitude is unique among all people in the world, and perhaps in all history. It means white liberals may support policies because they makes things worse for whites. “Perhaps this is why white support for increasing immigration coincides with more negative feelings towards whites,” wrote Mr. Goldberg in 2019 in Tablet.

Mr. Goldberg recently reported that by 2020, white liberals had begun to believe that whites are more violent, lazier, and less intelligent than blacks.

He notes that this goes beyond egalitarianism and suggests anti-white animus.

One could argue that “intelligence,” “violence,” and “laziness,” can’t really be measured. However, if we accept the relationship between IQ and intelligence, crime rates and violence, and income and laziness, white liberals believe things that are provably wrong. Why shouldn’t they? They get little information telling them otherwise. It would be fascinating to see how white liberals justify their anti-white beliefs.

Some white advocates may comfort themselves by saying that while the “woke” are getting crazier, white conservatives are “waking up.” Not so. The data above show that white independents and conservatives are on the same path.

Propaganda works. Even absurdity works. If our rulers can persuade people to say things that would have been considered ridiculous even a year ago, they can persuade activists to do just about anything. “Wokeness” will not die because it’s wrong. It’s a political force. Truth has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Goldberg suggests that woke attitudes may be part of “an attempt to proclaim their [liberals’] anti-racist bona fides — which, interestingly, now seems to require expressions of anti-whiteness.” If all whites are racist no matter what we do, whites are the problem, and racism cannot be eliminated. Elites don’t expand their power by solving problems, but by inventing new ones that last forever. What would the civil rights industry do if we ever achieved the “post-racial” society we’ve long been promised?

John Robb of Global Guerillas writes that once people are in a “pattern matching network,” it is almost impossible to change their minds. Most people interpret new information to fit pre-existing mental frameworks in what is called confirmation bias.

What Mr. Robb has called “The Long Night” could finally be upon us. In 2017, he said the danger is “an all encompassing online orthodoxy,” a “sameness of thought and approach enforced by hundreds of millions of socially internetworked adherents.”

CNN, The Guardian, Slate, and countless other powerful outlets celebrated the takedown of the site “Kiwi Farms.” It was a controversial forum that hosted what could be considered “hate speech” against “transgenders.” Cloudflare, which just a week ago said it would not pull its protection, reversed its decision after a few days of pressure. Cloudflare prevents distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. They are felonies. The pressure on Cloudflare for protecting Kiwi Farms was like persuading the police to look the other way while you ransack the house of someone you don’t like.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2022 Election, American Media, Democratic Party 


 
• Category: History, Ideology 

David E. Johnson, Douglas Southall Freeman, Pelican Publishing: 2002, 280 pp., \$25.45 (hardcover), \$9.99 (Kindle)

Defeated political figures often hope that history will redeem their cause. The Confederacy’s motto, Deo vindici, means “God will vindicate.” For a while, it seemed, He did.

The conquered South honored men such as Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Perhaps the man who did the most to enshrine their memory was Douglas Southall Freeman, a Virginia journalist, military historian, and political commentator who achieved professional success. His Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies of George Washington and Robert E. Lee were huge successes, but his best known book is Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command.

This was a favorite of his friend of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who also admired General Lee. Freeman knew and was friends with Winston Churchill. His historical work was only part of a heavy work schedule that included editing The Richmond News Leader and making twice-daily radio broadcasts.

It’s fitting that Freeman should be all but forgotten today; he wrote for a state and a country that no longer exist. Freeman was a Confederate veteran’s son. He was a patriotic Virginian and patriotic American; he saw no contradiction.

Freeman nearly went into the ministry, but instead became a writer, building his reputation by working with primary sources, such as the letters between Lee and Jefferson Davis. He remained a firm Christian throughout his life — a respectable, devout, mainline Protestant of the kind that once defined this country and has now all but vanished. He married Inez Virginia Goddin and the couple had two daughters and a son.

It’s hard to think of two journalists more different in literary style and cultural views than Freeman and H. L. Mencken. However, both were successful partially because of their attachments to place and routine. For Mencken, it was Baltimore; for Freeman, it was Richmond, where he would salute the General Lee statue before work each morning.

Westbourne, Freeman’s Richmond home from 1938–1953. Photo credit: Calder Loth, 2021
Westbourne, Freeman’s Richmond home from 1938–1953. Photo credit: Calder Loth, 2021

Freeman planned out his days in a relentless quest for self-improvement. Well into his professional life, this was Freeman’s schedule — which began at 2:30 a.m:

Freeman was an ardent Southerner. When speaking to a Confederate memorial organization about his work on historical papers, he said:

They say it was a lost cause: Perhaps it was; but it still lives in the hearts of the Southern people. Its career of arms ended these forty years ago, we only live for its justification. And this is not to be done in any other way than through the careful collection and statement of calm historical fact.

Freeman’s biography of Robert E. Lee was not hero-worship. While he admired Lee, his intent was to check the “extravagances of rhetorical apostrophe on all that pertained to the Confederacy,” saying that purple prose was “actually lowering our Southern leaders.” He wanted to write “in plain terms,” not ignoring the general’s mistakes.

In his study of Washington, Freeman found a man of powerful emotions behind the marble edifice. He said the young Washington was defined by ambition. However, he also showed that Washington deliberately built his character through sheer will, subordinating his emotions to his judgment.

Among the admirers of Freeman’s biography of Lee was Carl Sandberg, who wrote an influential biography of Abraham Lincoln. The two eventually met. Sandberg told Freeman about a Kentucky man who had lost two sons in the War Between the States, one fighting for the Union, the other for the Confederacy. On the stone of their double grave, the father wrote, “God knows which was right.” Freeman’s response to the tale, which deeply moved Sandberg, was, “Both sides were right.”

Freeman did not believe the Civil War was about slavery. “Slavery played a small part in the attitude and decision of 1861,” he wrote about Southern leaders. If he had to reduce the Civil War’s cause to a single word, he protested he could not do it. However, if pressed, he said it would be “politicians.”

“The War Between the States had its origin between old ideals and new,” he said. “It was fundamentally a struggle between the rural society of the old colonies and the urban society in New England, which had the full support of the white new states of the Middle West. New England wanted a protective tariff. The South did not.”

Freeman said that the slavery issue had been “exaggerated” by politicians, concealing the deeper struggle about two different ways of life. Freeman said that “two different peoples” who shared “common blood” and both owned slaves had developed different values and traditions. It was a battle between peoples, not policies.

Author David Johnson writes that Freeman “did not equate the Confederate cause to racist beliefs.” “I think there is no nobler tradition in the world than that of the Confederacy,” Freeman wrote. Today, the Confederate flag is used for many purposes, including to show white pride or rebelliousness. Freeman wouldn’t approve: “It is not pleasant to see the symbol of a country’s war, intimate to the hearts of us all, used lightly as a mere ornament or symbol of defiance. To many of us the flag represents much that we hold sacred in the ideals of self-government.”

Douglas Southall Freeman in his study.
Douglas Southall Freeman in his study.

Freeman is best known for his biographies, but he was also a journalist. He called journalism “writing in the sand,” but it reflected his beliefs. Conservatives may be disappointed.

Freeman supported Woodrow Wilson, partially from Southern loyalty to the Democratic party. Unlike Mencken, Freeman cheered American entry into The Great War, writing that German attacks on American ships risked making the Second Reich “the enemy not only of the allies, but of the entire world.” He thanked God when the Allies won. His support for Wilson, who dramatically expanded the power of the federal government, is at odds with his support for “self-government.”

However, Freeman opposed much of the New Deal. He called Social Security the replacement of “security by thrift” with “security by taxation.” In a speech delivered before an openly hostile Fiorello LaGuardia, Freeman said that political liberalism “does not [or should not] mean to be liberal with other people’s money.” He argued that Virginia was “ready now to do battle on the floors of Congress for states’ rights just as on the battlefields in times past.” The Democrat Party was an unwieldy coalition, uniting Northern party bosses, Southern segregationists, and urban workers.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Academia, Civil War, Political Correctness, The South 
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