Clyde Wilson

About Clyde Wilson

Clyde N. Wilson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of From Union to Empire: Essays in the Jeffersonian Tradition and Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture. He is also editor of The Essential Calhoun in Russell Kirk’s Library of Conservative Thought, as well as the editor of the multivolume The Papers of John C. Calhoun.

Patriotism: A Necessary Sentiment

By |2019-07-04T11:59:46-05:00July 4th, 2019|Categories: Clyde Wilson, Nationalism, Patriotism, Quotation, Timeless Essays|

Patriotism is the wholesome, constructive love of one’s land and people. Nationalism is the unhealthy love of one’s government, accompanied by the aggressive desire to put down others—which becomes in deracinated modern men a substitute for religious faith. Patriotism is an appropriate, indeed necessary, sentiment for people who wish to preserve their freedom; nationalism is [...]

M.E. Bradford’s Revolutionary “A Better Guide Than Reason”

By |2020-03-23T15:32:29-05:00April 30th, 2018|Categories: Agrarianism, American Founding, American Republic, Books, M. E. Bradford, South, Southern Agrarians|

No one who reads and digests “A Better Guide Than Reason” can fail to be revolutionized. We had thought that the great Southern political tradition—that of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, and the agrarians—was dead. Not so. A Better Guide Than Reason: Studies in the American Revolution by M.E. Bradford (241 pages, Sherwood Sugden [...]

Thomas Jefferson, Conservative

By |2021-04-07T10:58:55-05:00April 12th, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Clyde Wilson, Essential, Featured, Thomas Jefferson, Timeless Essays|

The Sage of Monticello, by Dumas Malone, Volume Six of Jefferson and His Time In 1809 Thomas Jefferson yielded up the Presidency and crossed into Virginia. In the 17 active years remaining to him he never left there. The first volume of Malone’s masterpiece, published in 1948, was Jefferson the Virginian. The sixth and last [...]

Who Is the Conservative Intellectual?

By |2017-06-08T09:20:33-05:00May 12th, 2017|Categories: Clyde Wilson, Conservatism, Featured, History, Tradition|Tags: |

The task of the conservative intellectual remains the same as it has always been, though acquiring new urgency. That task is to keep alive the wisdom that we are heir to and must keep and hand on… Carlyle defined history as ”the essence of innumerable biographies.” This is only one of the many inadequate but [...]

From Cincinnatus to Caesar: The Devolution of the American Presidency

By |2016-10-17T11:04:39-05:00December 10th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Clyde Wilson, Featured, History|

The American President began as Cincinnatus, a patriot called to the temporary service of his country (a republican confederation). The President ends as Caesar, a despot of almost unlimited power, presiding over a global empire. Like the Caesars, in some quarters the President is even worshiped as a god. Cincinnatus was called because of his [...]

The Jeffersonian Conservative Tradition

By |2020-11-18T11:22:56-06:00November 9th, 2015|Categories: Clyde Wilson, Featured, History, Republicanism, Thomas Jefferson, Timeless Essays, Tradition|

American conservatives, when they have felt the need to establish their lineage, have accepted the rather conventional framework of liberalism-conservatism, already existing in American historiography and popular lore. But one possible tradition of American conservatism is the Jeffersonian tradition. As a movement of thought, the resurgent conservatism of twentieth century America cannot achieve maturity without [...]

Jeffersonian Political Economy

By |2020-05-17T01:06:07-05:00September 11th, 2015|Categories: Clyde Wilson, Economic History, Economics, Featured, Political Economy, Thomas Jefferson|

Our Southern forebears did not practice economics. They practiced political economy—which is concerned with human well-being. Those old-time Southerners did not assume that man is to be understood wholly or chiefly as an economic being. Economics, as practiced today, is a utilitarian and materialistic study. It is concerned with maximizing profit, with describing the actions [...]

Inventing a New Nation at Gettysburg

By |2020-11-18T21:08:37-06:00May 18th, 2015|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, American Republic, Civil War, Clyde Wilson, Featured, War|

In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln consolidated his base, and justified and sanctified the Northern cause and victory both as preservation of the hallowed old and a birth of the new. He created an image of the United States that has had and continues to have incalculable effects on American public life and, indeed, on [...]

Restoring the Old Order: Who Owns America?

By |2019-07-09T16:04:30-05:00September 4th, 2014|Categories: Agrarianism, American Founding, Clyde Wilson, Constitution|Tags: |

In graduate school, I was assigned by the resident “New South” historian I’ll Take My Stand by Twelve Southerners as my final paper. I eagerly accepted the project. This was in my back-yard, so to speak. I had read the book at least twice before and considered it one of the best tomes on Southern [...]

Looking for Thomas Jefferson

By |2018-08-13T09:16:01-05:00April 13th, 2014|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Clyde Wilson, Featured, Thomas Jefferson|Tags: |

A cynical but true saying that sometimes passes around among historians is “He who controls the present controls the past.” Man is a symbolizing creature, and political struggles can be as much over symbols as over tangible things. Those who hold power and those who seek power want to associate themselves with favourable symbols from [...]

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