Polemics & Exchanges

His Truth Is Marching On

Like most “whose hearts pump Confederate blood,” Chilton Williamson, Jr., in lamenting the failure of Dixie’s attempt at secession (“The Revenge of the Confederacy,” What’s Wrong With the World, January), neglects to address the elephant in the bed.  That critter is, of course, slavery, the “peculiar institution” at the core of what Williamson sees as a “traditional, religious, and deferential society, from which the gods of commercialism and progressivism had been banished.”  (I would point out that if you’re a slave, you’d damn well better be deferential!)  I assume, perhaps mistakenly, that Williamson feels that slavery should at some point have been abolished; it would be nice if he had postulated how that might have occurred—and when. 

Support of abolition was a crime in the antebellum South and would have brought down on those advocating it both legal sanctions and mob violence.  Also, in the event of a successful Southern secession, Northern abolitionists would have felt free to launch many John Brown-type raids into the CSA.  Most likely, the slaves would have eventually risen in an insurrection similar to that in Hispaniola in the 1790’s, with resulting bloodbaths of both whites and blacks.  Moreover, the notion that “commercialism”...

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