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Three Awkward Questions

     In reviewing the phenomenon of the removal of Confederate statues, it strikes me that this is a great opportunity to review some fundamental questions about things Confederate and indeed about the nature of our federal system of government. To those celebrating the removal of soldiers’ statues, I would pose three questions.     […]

The Spirit of Radicalism

   As southerners surveyed the damage after their failed bid for independence, some gave in to despair. Others were unsure what to do. Many turned to Christian ministers for guidance and comfort. Some of the better ones gave comfort and advice that is still excellent today.    Robert Lewis Dabney was a Presbyterian minister, who […]

The Plausible Lie

John Taylor       Since the foundation of the Republic, two schools of interpretation of Federal powers have evolved.  One school follows the rule of the great English jurist Lord Edward Coke: “intentio legislatorum est lex”: the law means what the legislators intended it to mean.  The salient characteristic of the debate over the Constitution was […]

The Copperhead: An Uncommon War Movie

  This weekend, my wife and I watched Ron Maxwell’s latest film, The Copperhead.  This film is not like any other film on the War to Prevent Southern Independence.  It is the story of a northern anti-war Democrat in upstate New York in the spring of 1862.  While the character development is slow, the story […]

Legacy of Lee and Jackson

by John Taylor, A Virginian In December 2013, the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania discovered it had portraits of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.1 In the world we live in today, it should not be surprising that somebody was offended that they had such portraits at the Army War College. The […]

Free Black People in the Antebellum South

 by John Taylor, a Virginian Much of the way we now view the War between the States is informed by our simplistic view of the two sides in that conflict: northern “good guys,” out to free the slaves and southern “bad guys” out to keep black people in bondage.  This view of antebellum southern society, […]

A Response to Bateman’s “Meaning of Oaths”

Bateman has presented a provocative essay on the persistence of veneration for those who fought for the Confederacy.  ( A couple of comments might not be out of place. First, one feels for a man who apparently has suffered through two divorces, at least one of them ugly.  Such a situation is probably not conducive […]


By John Taylor, a Virginian Anyone who has discussed the War Between the States with a Yankee, either face to face or on-line, will find that, eventually, the Yankee will bring up Alec Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech.” In this speech, Stephens is alleged to have said, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; […]