Lord Acton and the American Civil War

By |2019-02-07T12:32:08-05:00February 7th, 2019|

Lord Acton believed that the wrong side won the American Civil War. Such a judgment could hardly be said to be a minor detail of someone’s historical worldview, yet this judgment has somehow been obscured… “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Among Catholic students of political thought, few figures are more liable [...]

Robert E. Lee Reconsidered

By |2019-02-06T23:14:15-05:00February 6th, 2019|

Clearly, Robert E. Lee’s reputation has plummeted from the lofty height it once occupied. It is time to clear a path through the rubble of toppled statues and discarded plaques to examine the qualities of the authentic Lee, as well as the turn of mind that would relegate him to historical ignominy... I. “What excellence is [...]

The First Shots of the Civil War: The Star of the West

By |2018-11-14T23:30:37-05:00November 13th, 2018|

The Union soldiers defending Forts Sumter and Moultrie in Charleston Harbor had come to believe that their honor, as well as the honor of the Constitution and the federal government, was at stake... Star of the West Shortly after dawn, around 6 am, on January 9, 1861, Captain Abner Doubleday spotted a steamer [...]

“Not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863”

By |2018-07-03T22:06:49-05:00July 3rd, 2018|

“It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind [...]

The Attack on Memory

By |2018-06-21T22:06:42-05:00June 21st, 2018|

History is the “remembered past,” remembered according to values and virtues that are the inheritance of a particular people. The story as told gives meaning to the “facts,” and the story must be told to be remembered… “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I [...]

A Requiem for Manners

By |2018-06-22T14:39:06-05:00June 17th, 2018|

Christian chivalry harmonized human relations. Without it, society could only be held together by brute force and cold reason. Gone would be the warmth of considerate human relations, corrupted would be the morals of men, and all would be reduced to slaves… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity [...]

Erasing General Lee

By |2018-06-06T10:19:17-05:00June 5th, 2018|

What a pity that a whole generation of students will know Robert E. Lee not as a complex man, not as a nuanced man, and not, like all of us, as a flawed man. They will know him only as the man who was erased… Our culture has, of late, become rather fixated on [...]

In Search of the Real Abraham Lincoln

By |2018-05-17T23:42:30-05:00May 17th, 2018|

For many, Abraham Lincoln became a symbolic Christ, for some, perhaps, more than symbolic. They could scarcely help themselves, the parallels were so striking. He was the savior of the Union, God’s chosen instrument for bringing the millennium to suffering humanity, born in a log cabin (close enough to a stable), son of a [...]

Statesmanship and the Dangers of Civil Religion

By |2019-03-11T15:13:39-05:00May 13th, 2018|

Demands for statesmanship tend to hold up a model of greatness in political leadership that is profoundly dangerous. The desire to be “great” by upholding the interests of the nation as a political whole promotes a massive increase in the extent and centralization of political power… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords [...]

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Robert E. Lee

By |2018-04-10T01:10:22-05:00April 8th, 2018|

To those Americans who revere him—sadly, a dwindling number these days—Robert E. Lee is still much a "Marble Man": the noble face of the antebellum South, the tragic embodiment of the Lost Cause, the "perfect" man, as a contemporary deemed him. Even his admirers are unaware of the some of the more interesting details of [...]

The Elements of Academic Success

By |2019-02-07T12:56:25-05:00February 2nd, 2018|

Gene Kizer’s practical advice and his notations of political correctness and anti-Southern bias make The Elements of Academic Success an ideal purchase for any current or potential college student, especially those of a conservative and pro-Southern bent… The Elements of Academic Success by Gene Kizer, Jr. (364 pages, Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2014) I wish I had [...]

Good Books and Great Music for Christmas Gifting

By |2017-12-14T15:43:07-05:00December 14th, 2017|

Here are four recently-published books and four new classical music albums that I have greatly enjoyed this past year… Books I’ve read several excellent biographies (and one great autobiography) this past year. Foremost among the former is Jan Swafford’s magisterial Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, which could easily be termed the definitive biography of perhaps the [...]

Niebuhr’s “Irony of American History”: Still Vital at Sixty-Five

By |2019-04-02T15:24:34-05:00November 28th, 2017|

Reinhold Niebuhr finds that, ironically, we turn our virtues into vices when our virtue is “too complacently relied upon” or naively affirmed or trusted in—maybe even brazenly signaled to others—just as our power becomes problematic if we have an overweening confidence in our wisdom to employ this influence or force justly… The Irony of [...]