Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 30, 2015

Southern History Month 2015: Southern Exceptionalism

The South is morally superior

The South is morally superior

Southern Exceptionalism, again?

The South was right?  Morally superior to what?

Really, Bubba?


Confederate History month is Southern History month for me.  The South is more than the failed bloody 4 years of Southern Nationalism.

Besides, it’s fun to make Yankees and Liberals, loons and bigots (assuming one can make such distinctions among the labels) crazy.

So, let’s deal with the obvious issue first.  How can the South be morally superior given the sin of slavery?

My Holland ancestors (2nd SC Infantry) agreed that slavery was a sin.  My League ancestors (16th SC Infantry) did not.  Dunno about the Henderson, Cox, Smith, Yeargin ancestors (2nd and 16th SC too).  The Bowdens and Maleys (Tennessee Partisan Ranger,  1st TN Heavy Artillery, 47 TN Infantry, Others?) probably didn’t think slavery was a sin.

I do.   Slavery, segregation and racism are sins against God.  They violate the second greatest commandment to love others as you love yourself.

When the former slave states invaded the then-current slave states, the former slave states weren’t morally superior – they were just more recently called to conscience and economy to end chattel slavery.  The ban of less than 80 years – at most – didn’t make the Yankees more moral.  They had profited handsomely from the slave trade.  The timeliness of ending sinfulness doesn’t imbue righteousness to the sinner.

Let’s say it again, because the Northern states ended slavery before the South would have – they get a round of applause, not a morality carte blanche or crown of leaves.

Then, the Northern states invade the South, because they left the voluntary union of the 1787 Constitution.  Invading the sovereign Southern states is morally inferior.  It’s reprehensible.   Destroying, burning, looting, stealing – the modus operandi – of the Union armies is morally damnable.

My great-grandmother was about 8 when the Yankees shot a percussion cap pistol by her ear – to scare her into telling where her brother, the Bushwacker of Tipton County, was hiding.  She was deaf in one ear the rest of her life.  She didn’t tell on her brother.  The barn was burned and the animals killed.  It was a hard Winter after that.

The army and the cause that warred on women, children, and old men was morally inferior.

3 million of 3.5 million slaves never left their place of slavery.  That doesn’t create moral credit.  It adds complexity to a very complicated Peculiar Institution.

The burden of immorality is upon the conquering Army, the occupying Army and hateful, hypocritical Congress that treated the states they said couldn’t secede as a foreign country – as the Southerners claimed.

So much for the Recent Unpleasantness – which begat Jim Crow and more sin.  Topics for another day.

The South was left alone, penniless, to rebuild itself for 90 years to WW II.  During those 90 years, three to four generations lived.  They reinforced the culture.  There was little immigration. The Scot-Irish and Tidewater cultures gained depth.

Fast forward to 2015: Southern cultures – especially the Scot-Irish, frontier culture – are coherent, vital and adaptive.  They are live and let live.  They’ll fight for family, freedom and faith.  There is no limit to the violence they will use to protect their family, freedom and faith.

Their faith – Christian faith – is threatened by Islamists abroad and Liberal Secular Humanists at home.   Additionally, their majority Evangelical Protestant population includes believing Catholics as allies and honors observant Jews as God’s Chosen People – and Israel as a friend no matter what the odds.  Their, our, Biblical faith will make all the difference.

Southern Exceptionalism is evolving into a Southern Christian identity.  Christian identity, not Southern nationalism, will matter for decades to come.

When the Supreme Court of the United States declares homosexual marriage is a Constitutional right and the full force of the Federal Government shall enforce every bullying demand of the rabid homosexual lobby, it’ll be deja vu all over again – without the war deaths.  The South, more than anywhere else, will stand.

The civil disobedience, fueled by the moral superiority of a Biblically-observant culture, will resound across the South.

Likewise, when support is needed to send the punitive expeditions to North Africa, West Africa, the Horn of Africa, Syria and Iraq to destroy ISIS and Islamist allies, the South will be over-represented in the American military forces and the political power for a future President to fight for Western Civilization.

Southern history is still being written.

Not in secession, but with Christian identity.

Not in secession, but with Christian identity.



  1. Sorry Jim,

    Still not buying the whole evil Yankee burned us out stereotype.
    Considering Magruder (Confederate) burned Hampton (rather than let it be used by former slaves) and the Confederate Government set the fires in Richmond (Orders from Jeff Davis) I think the Southerners could be as dangerous to themselves as any Union Army.

    Now the “we are our own worst enemies” stereotype I can believe.

    Also remember, the Confederates weren’t above foraging either, didn’t Gettysburg start with a Confederate Corp going there because they had intel there were shoes there? The only reason Confederates didn’t burn more was that they didn’t have the time in their two “invasions” of the North.

    As for Sherman, he and his troops were doing to Georgia what the 8th Air Force did to Germany in World War 2 (but with a lot more precision).

    If anything Reconstruction shows the bad American trait (Lone Ranger Itis?) of riding into town and then not dealing with the consequences.

    Hope you are well

    Tim (unrepentant Yankee)

  2. Tim,
    No argument with you. You should honor the courageous service of your ancestors.

    I spent too much time on the war crimes stuff of the Recent Unpleasantness.

    My larger point was that defending your home is morally superior to conquering someone else’s. And, that slavery didn’t grant the North any moral free pass.

    Not criticizing the individual soldiers.

    Then, the point I need to develop more is that Southern culture – and Southern identity – is evolved and alive in 2015. It is morphing into a Christian identity. And, that will matter for many decades to come – to the US and the World.

    Oh, and I think that Christian identity is a morally superior place to be, Not encouraging the puffed up pride of self-righteousness. Moral certainty as a Christian is a good thing when used for good and humble works by confessing sinners.

    There are plenty of good Christians in every corner of America. They are the majority – and share an identity – in the South and much of the West.

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