Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction

By Euan Hague; Edward H. Sebesta et al. | Go to book overview

Afterword: Nationalizing
Neo-Confederacy?

EUAN HAGUE AND EDWARD H. SEBESTA

As we were developing this manuscript in November 2004, George W. Bush was reelected president of the United States.1 Following the election results, the neo-Confederate League of the South (ls) published two maps on its web site. Under the heading "two nations?" each map showed the United States divided into blue Northern states and red Southern states, one labeled "1861" the other "2004."2 Gleefully quoting the evaluation by British journalist Simon Jenkins that the election was the "Confederates' revenge," the neoConfederates' implication was clear.3 The United States was once again "two nations." In 1861 this division had resulted in secession and the attempt by Southern states to gain independence and establish their own nation-state— why not secede once more in 2004?4

A week before the election, James Webb, writing in the Wall Street Journal, also warmed neo-Confederate hearts by identifying the "Scots-Irish" as the decisive ethnic group in the upcoming vote.5 The ls web site exuberantly proclaimed its familiar neo-Confederate message with an illustration of a sword-wielding, kilt-wearing Celtic warrior accompanying the text:

With the decline of the 20th century megastate, culture and ethnicity are
re-asserting themselves as organizing principles. So, for us, Anglo-Celtics
of the South, this probably marks the first "mainstream" recognition of this
phenomenon in the Americas.6

In his essay, Webb simplistically conflated culture and ethnicity to argue that Scots-Irish ethnic culture has produced "for 16 centuries" a "mix of fundamentalist religion and social populism," the members of this ethnic group being "tested through constant rebellions against centralized authority." Sounding like neo-Confederate ideologues Michael Hill and Thomas Flem-

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