Melvin E. “Mel” Bradford (May 8, 1934 – March 3, 1993) was a conservative political commentator and Professor of Literature at the University of Dallas. He was the author of “A Better Guide than Reason: Federalists and Anti-Federalists”, “Original Intentions: On the Making and Ratification of the Constitution”, “Founding Fathers: Brief Life of the Framers of the Constitution”, and “The Reactionary Imperative: Essays Literary & Political.”

Dividing the House: The Gnosticism of Abraham Lincoln

By |2020-08-19T23:48:57-05:00July 14th, 2016|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, M. E. Bradford, The Imaginative Conservative|

What are the final implications of the political example of Abraham Lincoln? And what the enduring consequences of his sanctification as our only Father and preceptor in times of national crisis? The “House Divided Speech” is the wa­tershed of Abraham Lincoln’s political career.[56] In this address, given to the Republican state conven­tion that nominated their tall [...]

The Language of Lincoln

By |2020-10-26T00:11:04-05:00July 7th, 2016|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Language, M. E. Bradford, The Imaginative Conservative|

As a promising young centralist, Abraham Lincoln played the role of champion for what Professor Michael Oakeshott has called the “enterprise associa­tion” theory of the state.[21] While serving as the elected representative of Sangamon (1834—1842), he first made a name for himself by enacting this part. Joining with other soon-to­-be forefathers of the Republican Party, [...]

The Myth of Abraham Lincoln

By |2020-10-26T00:16:43-05:00June 30th, 2016|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, M. E. Bradford|

After over one hundred years, it continues to be almost impossible for us to ask certain basic questions about the role of Abraham Lincoln in the formation of a characteristically American politics. At every appropriate point of inquiry, the Lincoln myth obtrudes. Since 1865 no one has denied the extraordinary purchase of that imaginative construct upon the idiom and [...]

M.E. Bradford & the Intoxicated Air of the Modernist Moment

By |2016-06-20T13:29:21-05:00June 2nd, 2016|Categories: Agrarianism, Aristotle, Books, Dante, Featured, Homer, Literature, M. E. Bradford, Marion Montgomery, Plato, South, Southern Agrarians, St. Augustine|

IV M.E. Bradford The principle underlying the Agrarian­-New Critic’s position as literary critic, shared generally in the New Critical move­ment at large, may be simply put: Some poems are better than other poems. He judges them as things existing in them­selves, made by that intellectual crea­ture—man. The problem term, of course, is better, since it commits intellect, willy­ [...]

M.E. Bradford: Traditionalist as Rememberer

By |2016-06-11T09:26:54-05:00May 26th, 2016|Categories: Agrarianism, Books, Featured, Language, Literature, M. E. Bradford, Marion Montgomery, South, Southern Agrarians, Tradition|

We spoke of much else besides [our business of the day]: of friends and mentors and the tumors of both—their fortunes and misfortunes, their origins and our own; of illustrative stories, many of them drawn from outside the narrow confines of the academy; of adversaries ancient and modern; of our delight in the progress of [...]

On Remembering Who We Are: A Political Credo

By |2020-05-08T15:30:29-05:00May 7th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Equality, Featured, Freedom, M. E. Bradford|

We should learn from the political credo of the Venetians, who never forgot the history that had made them a special nation. To be a patriot is to embody our connection to the national bond through devotion to a "practice." It is good to be enthralled by dogmas of the quiet past, remembering who and [...]

How Equality Is Misleading

By |2016-07-04T01:02:48-05:00February 28th, 2016|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Equality, Featured, History, M. E. Bradford, Slavery|

I Let us have no foolishness, indeed.* Equality as a moral or political imperative, pursued as an end in itself—Equality, with the capital "E"—is the antonym of every legitimate conservative principle. Contrary to most Liberals, new and old, it is nothing less than sophistry to distinguish between equality of opportunity (equal starts in the "race of [...]

A Better Guide than Reason: The Politics of John Dickinson

By |2016-11-16T08:17:44-06:00October 28th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Christendom, Featured, John Dickinson, M. E. Bradford|Tags: |

Of all the men significantly involved in the major events leading up to and following from the American Revolution none has been so undeservedly neglected by our political historians as the mysterious John Dickinson. The oversight would seem on its face unlikely. For this planter and prototypical Philadelphia lawyer is as complicated and intellectually interesting [...]

A Teaching for Americans: Roman History and the Republic’s First Identity

By |2019-06-06T18:33:09-05:00October 19th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Essential, Featured, History, M. E. Bradford, Republicanism, Rome, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join M.E. Bradford as he examines Roman history and the American founding. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher The Federal District of Columbia, both in its formal character as a capital and also in its self-conscious attempt at a certain visual splendor, is, for [...]

Freedom & Tradition: M.E. Bradford’s Southern Patrimony

By |2017-09-05T23:05:49-05:00April 12th, 2015|Categories: Christendom, Culture, Featured, M. E. Bradford, Mark Malvasi, Southern Agrarians|Tags: |

M.E. Bradford Ideas about property, language, and memory established the contours and parameters of M.E. Bradford’s Southern inheritance. In Bradford’s thought, property, language, and memory were linked in defense of what his mentor, Donald Davidson, characterized as “the great vital continuum of human experience to which we apply the inadequate term ‘tradition’….”[1] The [...]

Allen Tate and the Agrarian Mission

By |2015-05-08T23:46:47-05:00April 12th, 2015|Categories: Agrarianism, John Randolph of Roanoke, M. E. Bradford|Tags: |

Allen Tate Who Owns America? followed I’ll Take My Stand–which had appeared six years earlier–as a more diverse sequel and defense of decentralization. More importantly, Who Owns America? was explicitly a plea for a recovery of what had been lost: a humane social order. If the Agrarian and Distributist insights contained in Who [...]

Mel Bradford, Religion, and Original Intentions

By |2015-12-19T11:36:46-06:00February 20th, 2014|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, M. E. Bradford, Religion|Tags: |

The late Mel Bradford (d. 1993) was one of the leading paleo-conservative scholars of the South, teaching at the University of Dallas until his unexpected death due to complications from surgery. Bradford’s scholarly work was primarily in the field of Southern literature (his writings on Faulkner received particular attention), although he branched out from literary [...]

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