From Pine View Farm

The Civil War Was Not Civil, and It’s Not Over 2

After explaining that the “New South” as the “era after Reconstruction and before the Civil Rights laws when the states of the old Confederacy seemed most determined to preserve a social and economic order that encouraged low-wage industrialization as they fought to maintain Jim Crow,” Nelson Lichtenstein points out that it’s back.

This is not only a product of racial fears and resentments, however. It also appears to reflect an increasingly inbred Southern hostility to the exercise of economic regulatory power on virtually any level. As in the 19th century, many in the South, including a considerable proportion of the white working-class, have been persuaded that the federal government is their enemy.

As in the New South era, Southern whites, both elite and plebian, have adopted an insular and defensive posture toward the rest of the nation and toward newcomers in their region. Echoing the Jim Crow election laws promulgated by Southern states at the turn of the 20th century, the new wave of 21st-century voting restrictions promise to sharply curb the Southern franchise — white, black and brown.

The new New South rejects not only the cosmopolitanism of a multiracial, religiously pluralist society, but the legitimacy of government, both federal and state, that seeks to ameliorate the poverty and inequality that has been a hallmark of Southern distinctiveness for more than two centuries.



  1. George Smith

    June 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Unfortunately, much of the new South also permeates much of the rest of the country. That makes it WhiteManistan, not just a place but a world view, an ideology and religion. This book got some bad press when it was published because of the author’s tone. I remember reading part of it in a book store.
    You’ll laugh at the mention of the Regent. I would have suggested, seriously, Ted Nugent as a cabinet member in the “new CSA.” The NYT gives the book a poor to mediocre review but two years on, things are demonstrably more polarized and worse. There will never be a remedy for what ails them.

  2. Frank

    June 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    One reason that the South won the peace is that the well of bigotry ran deep in the North, as well as the South. The South had ’em, the North didn’t want ’em. Even Lincoln at one time leaned towards sending blacks back to Africa. Arguably, Lincoln’s acquantance and eventual friendship with Frederick Douglass did much to affect his attitudes.

    One theory I’ve seen about the end of Reconstruction is that, underlying the corruption so well documented by C. Vann Woodward, was a tacit decision by the two sides to reconcile by uniting against the freed black slaves, the South overtly and the North implicitly by ignoring the reinstatement of de facto slavery via Jim Crow, chain gangs, KKK terrorism, and additional means.