One of the characteristics of American politics in the North in the 1850s was the rivalry between the Republican party and the Know Nothing movement to position themselves as the prime opponent to the Democratic party. Both movements agreed that Democrats supported a threat to values deemed important. Republicans spoke of a “slave power conspiracy,” aided and abetted by Democrats such as Stephen Douglas, to promote the interests of slavery; Know Nothings warned of a “papal plot,” identifying the Democratic party as the party of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church, which they believed endangered American values (yes, Know Nothings pointed to the influx of immigrants from Ireland and Germany as a threat, but this was in part due to their religious affiliation: many prominent German Protestants, such as Carl Schurz, found their political home in the Republican party).
Lately a particular website has reminded me of this relationship and highlighted the ways in which people use claims about heritage to further political agendas. The blog in question is called The Catholic Knight. Several months ago this blog became very interested in the concept of southern independence. As one post declared:
There are multiple peaceful secession movements across the United States, however the one I am particularly interested in is the American South (Dixieland). The time has come for all of the sons and daughters of the South, and their descendants, who now live in other parts of the United States, to come home. When the American empire crumbles, you don’t want to be caught in an area where the culture is not your own. If you’re a Southerner by culture, then you know who you are. You want to be in an area that is ready and eager to rebuild according to the Christian culture and values you hold dear. Start getting your things in order. It’s time to move back home.
If you’re neither a Southerner, nor descended from the South, but you share the values of the Southern people — Faith, Family and Christian Culture — then you may want to consider a relocation to the South (Dixie). Catholicism is growing at a rapid rate in the South. In fact, it’s the only part of the United States where dioceses are building parishes and schools instead of closing them down. You will also be pleased to know that the Southern states of Dixie are still vigorously fighting gay-marriage, while many states in the North and West have given in to it. My home state of Missouri has passed a constitutional amendment banning gay-marriage outright. Many other Southern states have done the same. This makes the South more hospitable to Catholic Charities while other states in the North and West are causing them to shut down. Homeschooling is protected in the South as well, encouraging family-based traditional education. Housing is very affordable and so is Catholic school tuition. The only advice I would give you is this. When you come to live here, leave your Northern and Western mentalities behind. With a little help, you will assimilate into this region easily, and you’ll be glad you did.
I do confess to having a strong biological connection to Southern culture through my mother, both in Southern English, Irish and Scottish descent, as well as a strong Cherokee ancestry which is deeply connected to Southern history. My ancestors on my mother’s side fought for Dixie in the War for Southern Independence (American Civil War). None of them were slave owners. (Contrary to what is taught in America’s public schools, the overwhelming vast majority of Confederates did not own slaves.)
Someone ought to fill him in on who advocated the removal of the Cherokee Nation. But never mind. Why? As the blogger tells us:
If you want to learn the real history of the Civil War, and the real story behind the culture of the Old South, it should be told from the perspective of a man descended from Southern black slaves — a man who knows his history and isn’t afraid to tell it like it was. His name is H.K. Edgerton and his website is SOUTHERN HERITAGE 411.
I believe I’ve heard of this fellow.
That post also includes a heartwarming picture of Susan Hathaway, the head of the Virginia Flaggers movement.
Lest you think this is a popular democratic uprising of the people, however, you might be interested to know that The Catholic Knight believes that monarchy is the way to go. And you should also know that the League of the South has opened its arms to this sort of thinking.
Make of this what you will … but here’s another case of someone using claims about so-called southern (read “Confederate”) “heritage” to justify a current political agenda.
At least John Surratt’s happy now.