Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

The Trashing of Robert E. Lee

A friend and Southern Gentleman (interesting how those often seem to go together) sent me this link to an article titled The Myth of the Kindly General Lee in The Atlantic magazine and asked me to comment on it. The subtitle of the article is The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.

I had not seen this article, and frankly, I couldn’t even finish reading it. Was Lee an imperfect man? Of course. Did he make some bad choices along the way? Of course. Have we built his legend beyond the reality? Probably. Such is the fate of all great men. Would they dare to do the same critical study of Lincoln? The purpose of the article is not to discover the truth. Its purpose is the same as those who are, right now, removing Confederate statues. It is about destroying a people. The Southern people. My people.

The article is just another example of the on-going attacks against The South, against the White race, against any one or any thing that does not bow down and worship at the altar of political correctness. Some wonder what led to the rise of the alt-right and why Trump is in the White House. The answer is that they created us. Using myself as an example, I was quite content to simply enjoy my family, tend to my chickens and my garden, and promote the Southern Gentleman and Southern Agrarianism in very much a live and let live manner. It has become plain to me that the Left will not allow me to do that. I am given the same choice that the Muslim gives a Christian – convert or die. There is no room for compromise. No chance to coexist. One side will be the conqueror and one side will be the conquered. I know which side I will be on, and I intend to play a very active role in that. I will not be a mere observer and bystander in what will be seen as one of the great cultural shifts in history.

I will not apologize for my heritage, for my ancestors, for my family, or for who I am. I cannot sit back and watch this happen to the world that my grandchildren will inherit. And I will not.


  1. Heather

    You hit the nail right on the head, Mr. McGehee!! And I am very upset about the removal of all the Confederate statues. Why are people trying to remove history? And I am so tired of all the so-called political correctness. What has happened to clear and direct speech? I have my BA in History and I know what happened to the South after the War Between the States. The North tried to destroy it! And now it seems as if people are trying to destroy the rural areas of this country. It’s all so upsetting. Are we all just “the deplorables”? I for one enjoy your blog very much, if others don’t enjoy it, well I guess that’s their problem. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Lisa Botts

    Very well written. I’m tired of being expected to feel ashamed of something I had nothing to do with yet at the same time I am very proud of the men who were willing to fight and die for what they believed. And what they believed in was not slavery. If only narrow minded people would do a little research on that topic. Unfortunately, today’s public education system is brainwashing future generations to rid them of the notion that anything in the South is something of which to be proud.

  3. Susan Humeston

    It is pure evil to attempt to rewrite history for a specific agenda and the left is doing just that.

  4. Wyandotte

    Could he have been any worse than Gen. Sherman? Your/our enemies are just pulling another arrow out of their quiver in attacking a military man who was doing his duty for his folk.

  5. Hank Longdude

    Just FYI, (((The Atlantic))) is NeoCon magazine run by Zionist racists including Jeffrey Goldburg and David Frum. It has long since parted ways with it’s historic New England WASP roots. It’s worth raising awareness of formerly American institutions and publications that have been purchased by certain ethnic groups that then hide behind the brand while fervently pushing a truly anti-white, anti-American agenda.

    • Don Kenner

      The Atlantic Magazine is a lefty magazine. It’s closer to cultural marxism than it is to neo-conservativism. Right now the magazine features Elizabeth Warren doing “good things” to get the black vote; the Euro-right using Facebook to spread their “message of hate” ; and general salivating over the possible impeachment of Trump. In as much as Democrats embrace or allow for a neo-con foreign policy, The Atlantic will give them a hearing, but the magazine is still left of center. Besides, a publication doesn’t have to be “purchased by certain ethnic groups” to take an anti-South position. All media outlets in either the cultural marxist or neo-con/conservative inc. orbit reflexively do this. Apart from a few paleo-libertarian allies, we Southerners are alone in this fight.

      • Stephen Clay McGehee

        Well said, sir!

  6. Hank Longdude

    PS: We need to understand WHO owns what. In other words, of course The Atlantic publishes lies and vicious attacks on our American heritage. That’s what they do.

  7. Darlene

    There seem to be many similarities between leftist/progressive extremism and Muslim extremism…..and I, for one, am quite fed up with all of it. Open Season is coming. Just not sure of the date! Hoping it is the day after the Rapture…

  8. my name is jack

    Great post.

  9. Douglas Helms

    Well said my friend, my position was very simlar to yours, to withdraw from society and have a live and let live attitude. But as you stated, we won’t be allowed to do that. We are forced to accept the “marriage” of two men or two women as normal or if a 50 year old man decides he feels like a woman, he can use the same bathroom as my 4 year old grand daughter. I for one sir will not stand for that and as long as there are men like you I won’t stand alone. Thank you for blog, keep going in the vein that are in.
    Your friend
    Doug Helms

  10. Stephen Clay McGehee

    My sincere “Thank You” to all for the kind words. When we face this kind of attack, it is easy to become disheartened and think, “What’s the use?” It doesn’t last long though – I think of my grandchildren and the world they will inherit and it’s like a shot of Adrenalin recharging my determination.

    There is a great benefit in encouraging each other. It makes us realize that, despite the fact that the Left has a huge media advantage, they are completely lacking our most powerful weapon: they have little to nothing at stake for the long term.

    ꔷ They are anti-family, so if they have any descendants, there is likely to be only the thinnest connection between generations.
    ꔷ They have no connection with their past to strengthen their resolve.
    ꔷ Their culture is so mixed and diluted that they have nothing in common to unite them.

  11. Thomas H. Harbold

    Well said, Sir. And I am with you!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thank you, sir. And thank you for reminding me to spend time at The Anglophilic Anglican. It was on my regular reading list, but got lost during a bookmark reorganization project. Your quoted verse – “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” – 1 Peter 2:17 KJV – is my favorite after those verses on Salvation.

      Thank you for your work through your excellent blog!

      • Tom Harbold

        You are most kind, sir – and I apologize that I have not been so regular in visiting The Southern Agrarian as I ought or would like to be! I shall endeavor to correct that lack, in the future. May God continue to bless you, your family, and your efforts to defend our Southern, Christian, and Western-civilization culture and heritage.

  12. Alice

    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us are feeling, and also for lifting the morale of the troops. I, for one, sure needed that.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      We all need that, and we ignore it at our peril. Thank you!

  13. John

    Sir, there are many reasons why they slander and downtrodden the name and character of Robert E. Lee. I believe one reason is that they most certainly do not want the American people to know that when they’re government no longer looks out for the benefit of the people, they most certainly have a Constitutional and natural right from the Declaration of Independence to “shake off” that government and form one that better suits them.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.– That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
    — The Declaration of Independence, In Congress, July 4, 1776

    Even Lincoln himself boasted this right once:

    Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which, we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit. — Speech by Abraham Lincoln in the House of Representatives, January 12, 1848

    Of course, we know that once tyranny gains such a stronghold, it fiercely hangs on with all it’s might. Thus, the lawless brutality of the opposition to General Lee’s army had to fight against was extremely difficult to overcome. Unfortunately ending in surrender. I don’t hold General Lee in any ill-will because of the surrender. While Union forces disregarded the laws of war, General Lee made absolutely sure his army fought completely by the rules. Ecclesiastes says, ““Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” 12:13-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬ when Robert E. Lee stood before his Maker, and gave account of himself, he could account for the loss but by doing what was right. Whereas, Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Custer, Sheridan and many others will have far more explaining and nothing to lawfully account for the atrocities they committed under their command.

    You’re right. Lee and the Confederacy weren’t perfect. But compared to their opponents, were patron saints.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      John – excellent commentary, sir! Thank you.

  14. Shawn

    It is nothing but delusion to look left or right for the solution. The solution to an oppressive central government has only one course.

    Yes, let us dance in the fields that Trump won. Yay …. (note this is a sarcastic cheer).

    I am only newly discovering what has been done… in this so-called “United States.” So perhaps I am a purist, or an idealist.

    It so seems to me that the only solution is the same conclusion those before us came to. Secession from a federalist government which dictates to the states, which dictate to the people.

    They have it backwards and upside-down.

    I thank you all,

    Deo Vindice!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      One of the constants throughout history is that the history books are written by the victors. That is what is then taught in the public schools. One or two generations, and it becomes unquestioned “fact”.

  15. step up your game

    I came here looking for a counterargument. The fact that you don’t have one is somewhat telling, and unfortunate. Obviously the article is propaganda. But since you’re not making substantive arguments against it, only raging, I’m left with the impression that it’s mostly accurate propaganda in service to the correct side of the argument.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      ” the impression that it’s mostly accurate propaganda in service to the correct side of the argument”
      That’s your conclusion because I didn’t provide a point-by-point rebuttal to an article like that?

      There are times when “raging” is quite appropriate. Perhaps one of our problems is that we have been too hesitant to “rage” a bit more.

    • Barry

      To “step up your game”( with no name attached):
      I actually attended “General Lee’s College” and have been watching closely for a number of years how so called “historians” continue to alter facts with regard to the General and everyone else associated with the Confederacy.
      Due to the horrific events in Charlottesville, they feel that the time is right to take down Lee and everyone associated with the Civil War on the South’s side and change the actual motives of the Confederacy, especially since they parallel what many are trying to stop today…citizens using free speech to curb government over reach.
      The Confederacy was fighting to stop complete control of their states from Washington.. Sound familiar?
      It is ironic that so many “historians” and “journalists” are trying to paint Lee and the South as evil losers, bigots, traitors, and “deplorables”, while arrogantly ignoring their own oppressive tendencies as “the victors”. There are just too many people throwing around terms like “white supremicist”, neo-nazi”, and KKK to insinuate that huge numbers of the country support them. Nothing could be further from the truth, but furthering the truth is anything but their goal. The end justifies their means, and their “end” includes wiping away anything positive about the Confederacy, especially it’s icons.
      Admittedly, the evil perpetrators trying to high jack Lee in Charlottesville have complicated the perception of Lee. But the discussion cannot be allowed to take the route of groups like Antifa, whose sole purpose is to shut out real history and silence dissent from anyone who gets in their way.
      No one is perfect (now or then), but the truth usually lies somewhere between extremes and history should not be erased or “created” to accommodate current political objectives of one side.
      In addition, if the hypocritical “journalists” at places like the NY Times, CNN, and NBC are quick to point out that secession was an attempt to destroy the nation, what can they say about their current attempts to pit large numbers of citizens against one another?

  16. Abby Smas

    I appreciate your post, Mr. McGehee, and remind our Southerners that there are many Yankees who have respect and admiration for traditions and heroes of the Confederacy. This is not based on opinions of slavery, but on the honor and sacrifice of Americans who fought for a way of life, as well as exemplifying remarkable leadership and determination. This is not just the history of the South, but the history of ALL Americans. I am frustrated and angry over the desecration of our monuments, and pray that common sense will prevail and extremists sanctioned. They are entitled to voice their opinions, but not to destruction and the re-writing of our history.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      True words of wisdom – thank you for writing.

      One of the most dedicated men in the Sons of Confederate Veterans group I was in had the thickest New York accent I’ve ever heard. He could only join as an Associate member because he had no Confederate ancestors. He understood the sense of honor of The South and wanted to be a part of that. He felt a calling. There are other Yankees that I have known over the years who have a deep respect for the enemies of their ancestors. At the same time, there are far too many living in The South, and with long term roots in The South, who are ashamed and embarrassed about it, and who never miss an opportunity to attack their own heritage.

      The point is that it is very much an American experience, as you said. Again, thank you for writing.

      • Barry

        Mr. McGehee,

        Thank you for the thoughtful words that inspire careful consideration of the life, not only of General Lee, but also many on both sides of the Civil War.
        It is obvious why the horrific individuals in Charlottesville decided to try to gain credibility by picking Robert E. Lee as their “hero.” It is more than unfortunate that the “opposing” groups decided that they could take advantage of this occurrence by tying Lee and others to the event. If they were true to their cause, they would be examining the statues of Union generals as well. After all, we agree that no one was perfect and, by comparison, Lee would hold up well to most of them. So, while Lee should need little in the way of defense due to his noble efforts both during the conflict and afterwards, the twisters of history do need to be exposed.

  17. Felix

    You commented, “Would they dare to do the same critical study of Lincoln?”

    I suggest, yes, they would. He is also becoming a target for the self-righteous pygmies of the Left.

    This is because they want to destroy all our heritage, particularly the legacy of great men of the past such as General Lee and President Lincoln.

    And also, of course, they seek to destroy any current conservative leaders who might effectively oppose their program. Hence their incessant attacks on Mr Trump.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      The original post was written a mere five months ago, yet the situation has deteriorated so quickly that I wouldn’t be asking that question had I written it today. With the removal of the George Washington plaques from the church he attended for twenty years, nothing is off the table at this point.

  18. JoeRyanCivilWar

    The core of the matter, it seems to me, is that the black politicians, with their pals, want the fact that Africans were held as slaves by the supreme law of the Union to be erased from American history: they don’t want to be reminded of the reality of it, by reading about it, hearing about it, or seeing images that remind the public of the fact. Since General Lee is the most ubiquitous image that brings the fact to mind, it is natural that they hate its presence in American society the most and are doing everything they can, with their political power and voice, to turn him into Simon Legree.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      It’s always a bad omen to see people close their eyes to reality and replace it with their own fantasy. Basing a future on a past that has been erased means that the same mistakes will be repeated. We do that often enough without intentionally blotting out the past.

      I’m looking forward to spending some time on your web site, sir.

  19. William Harrison

    I very much agree with this, the attacks they make on us are simply ridiculous. Once, in school, I did an English project where I said that the war was not fully about slavery, the teacher seemed to like the topic, and I got a good grade, but the students, they were a problem. I do not quite remember who it was, but someone claimed that I Nazi, others boasting on how their relatives like to punch Nazis. These claims were completely unfounded, and I had no idea that things would get worse, the class fool even going so far as to try to infiltrate what he thought was my ‘nazi’ group, he failed because he was wrong. I never quite figured out what makes these people hate us so, especially since they make claims of being tolerant. It also appears that the school system has gotten worse since those days, these tolerant people really aren’t so tolerant. Thank you for writing this Mr. McGehee. The attacks on general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are completely ridiculous too, trying to take down his whole carving on the mountain.

    • William Harrison

      To say nothing of the fact that the atlantic outright LIED, I saw several things in there that were: A) twisting his words to say something entirely different, B) plain and simple lies, or C) not taking these things into context of the times.
      I detected inumerable lies in the article.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thank you for writing, sir. Sometimes I think, “they can’t really believe the Leftist nonsense that they are spouting”, but they really do. It would be easy to dismiss talk of things leading to civil war here in America, but it would be foolish to do so. The Left seems to think that they can continue pushing without consequence. What they are doing is radicalizing those of us who simply want to live in peace, enjoy our families, raise a garden, tend to the chickens, and worship our God. I find myself busily networking with others to defend our way of life and our people. Frankly, that is no small part of why I have grossly neglected The Southern Agrarian – I spend my time working on other projects.

  20. Charles Brown

    Amen, brother.

  21. Charles R. Reeves II

    Sir, Bravo I stand and applaude , as you have said the Left has created our reaction. What has been interesting is watching how “ Those People “ have been so quick to lay aside the Law the Constitution, and their pretense of decency to try and FORCE a return to their control over our Country.
    In other times i might not have voted for Pres. Trump , he is not my ideal candidate. But as my cousin in Tennessee said,” I would have voted for a sack of mud if it could have beaten Hillary”.
    This might be a good time to reprint your New Years Resolution Thank You for your Rage.

    My Admiration and Respect
    Charles R. Reeves II

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Yes, sir! It truly is time, once again, to reprint the New Era’s Resolutions.

  22. Landy Fincannon

    Dear, Mr. McGehee. I hope this post will find you in good health. I’ve noticed that you’ve not been very active. Which I can fully understand.

    Anyway , I wanted to let you how informative I’ve found your site to be.

    Of course , like a lot people , I’m still trying to process the events of the last three years.

    I’m an 9th grade dropout ( not a point of pride) that wanted to know the truth, once the statues began coming down. All I knew about the War of Northern Aggression, was my indoctrination.

    Since I didn’t know where to begin, I was kinda in a quandary. Then, one post put me on the trail. It wasn’t very long, at all. “ For those of you who consider the South to have been traitors, then, you’ll have to explain the Corwin Amendment.

    Here’s where a light came on, and I’d like to ask you your opinion. Do you think that we, as a nation are dealing with the same Powers That Be, as Lee, Davis, etc … faced then? The reason I ask: is of Horace Greeley, the socialist and Lincoln’s friendship with him. The way I see it, Lincoln had been reading the writings of Karl Marx, ten years before he was elected. Looking forward to your reply. Thank you

    Sincerely, landy f.

    PS both my parents are from North Carolina. Scuttlebutt has it, that we’re descendants of Danial Boone.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Hi, Landy. Thank you for stopping by and commenting – and thank you for the kind words. That means a lot. The inactivity will be coming to an end in mid-November. I’m writing posts and tweaking the site, and The Southern Agrarian will be reactivated in just a few weeks from now. The goal is to post an article at least once each week.

      It’s an interesting idea, and one I hadn’t heard or considered before. My own thinking is that it was more of a pure power struggle with lots of money involved. The other major factor was the cultural divide. A good case can be made that the War for Southern Independence was a continuation of the English Civil War. The English immigrants who came here to flee the war went in two different directions. The North was populated by the “Roundheads” and the South by the “Cavaliers”. The Roundheads were the egalitarian zealots who founded the Yankee culture, and the Cavaliers were the royalists who believed in a structured hierarchy that became the basis for Southern Plantation culture. The political, financial, and cultural aspects were inseparable, so we can’t really say that it was “this one thing”.

      History is always written by the victors, and this was certainly no exception. The whole “it was about freeing the slaves” nonsense has been dis-proven time after time, and the Corwin Amendment is yet another piece of evidence.

      Again, thanks for writing!

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