The Confederate Celt

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The Confederate Celt

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:03 am

From http://templeofdemocracy.com/ScottishAffairs.htm written by Edward H. Sebesta who is an outspoken opponent of the neo-confederate movement (and has been criticized by other anti-neoconfederate historians for being too partisan in this rhetoric and employing many of the same tactics as the neoconfederates). Anyway, it is an interesting summary of the South's Celtic identity:

The Confederate Celt

Grady McWhiney, founding director of the League of the South, popularized the concept of the Southerner being a Celt, after previous journal articles and conferences, in his book, co-authored with Perry D. Jamieson, titled, "Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage," (Jamieson and McWhiney, 1982). "Attack and Die" was reviewed by Rod Gragg, (Gragg 1983, Southern Partisan, p.38 ). He summarizes the theme of this book as follows:

The Southerners insisted on offensive tactics, the authors suggest, because the South traced its lineage to the ancient Celts, who loved combat and always fought aggressively. The Civil War, the authors claim was really a war between the Celts - represented by the South - and the English - represented by the North. "Southerners lost the Civil War because they were too Celtic," the authors believe, "and their opponents were too English."
...

McWhiney expanded his Celtic ideas in his next book, "Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South," (McWhiney 1988). The forward to this book is written by Forrest McDonald, former Southern Partisan contributor. In this book McWhiney asserts that the culture of the white American South is a Celtic culture.

...

1. Poor white subsistence farmers in the South, which McWhiney calls "Crackers," are an ethnic Celtic group in America.

2. The Civil War was "the largest ethnic rift in American history." Celts versus English Puritans.

3. The Southerner and Celt have a common culture of honor, unindustriousness, and willingness to fight.

...

Chronicles magazine, in the March 1989 issue, has an article by Grady McWhiney titled, "The Celtic Heritage of the Old South" (McWhiney 1989). The article is introduced with a drawing of a man somewhat horizontal, pouring what I assume is beer into his mouth with some of it running down his face onto the ground. He is in a field with a couple cows looking on. McWhiney starts his article by stating his view that Southerner and Northerners are culturally divided and "such cultural disharmony has divided the South from the North for more than three hundred years." McWhiney believes the South was settled by various Celtic groups and the North from the English lowlands resulting in "fundamental and lasting divisions" and eventually, he explains, the American Civil War (McWhiney 1989, Chronicles, p. 12) .

McWhiney explains what Celtic culture is by contrasting it to what he feels is English culture. Often he contrasts two paired groups, that of Celts and Southerners versus that of English and Yankees (McWhiney 1989, Chronicles, p. 13).

Unlike Yankees and Englishmen, who were compulsive plowers and often obsessed with agricultural improvements, Celts and Southerners, cultivated crops reluctantly and haphazardly.

Celts and Southerners, whose values were more agrarian than those of Englishmen and Yankees, wasted more time, rarely read or wrote, consumed more liquor and tobacco, and were less concerned with the useful and material.

McWhiney characterizes Celts and Southerners as a pastoral group that likes gambling, drinking, "raucous music," dancing, hunting, fishing, horse and dog racing. The Celts and Southerners lack ambition, are lazy, and avoid work because they are not materialistic. If these qualities do not sound good, McWhiney becomes a multiculturalist and says they are good in the values of Celtic civilization. The English and Yankees are repeatedly described as censorious and intolerant of Celtic culture. However, McWhiney wishes the reader to know that "when outsiders supply the discipline and constancy, Celts are capable of mighty achievements as British history has shown" (McWhiney 1989, Chronicles, p. 15) With friends like this, who needs enemies?

...

The Rise of the Confederate Celtic Identity

Rising Secessionist Hopes

With the fall of the Soviet Union, secessionist movements seemed to be thriving all over the world. The rise of the Quebec, Scottish, and Northern Italian secessionist movements excited the imagination of the neo-Confederates.... The Scottish movement was also increased in strength and the Scottish parliament was revived after almost 300 years. Suddenly the slogan, "The South Shall Rise Again" no longer seemed to be a romantic expression, but entered the realm of possibility in the minds of many neo-Confederates.

...Braveheart and Rob Roy

Into this juncture of secessionist hopes and growing popularity of Celtic identity theories with neo-Confederates came the movies Braveheart and Rob Roy, both released in 1995. These two movies were enthusiastically viewed by Neo-Confederates and reviewed by the neo-Confederate press. Movie reviews in the neo-Confederate press explain Braveheart and Rob Roy in a Confederate context and their meaning for the neo-Confederate movement.

Inspired by these movies, the theories of Grady McWhiney swept over the neo-Confederate movement. Scottish nationalism became the second nationalism of the Confederate nationalists. It results in a Confederate Celtic cultural programs run by neo-Confederate organizations and a world view in which ideas and events are explained in reference to Confederate Celtic theories. An example is the conceptualization of Northern Italians as being Celts by Thomas Fleming as mentioned previously.

This movement results in a League of the South Celtic Conference in 1996, see below, and a Confederate Tartan being designed in 1995 that was later approved by the Scottish Tartan Authority. This tartan is eventually sold in neo-Confederate publications and on the Internet.

...
The Highlanders generally accepted a king in common with the Lowlanders, but did not feel bound to him by feudal ties as did the people of the South. The connection to the attitudes of the people of the American South to central government is obvious. In so far as the "rulers" recognize and respect the limits of government, those in authority can be tolerated. But when the boundary is crossed, as it was in the United States in 1861, a spirited and freedom loving people will rebel.

For Cook, Rob Roy's wife Mary's ability to withstand suffering, "calls to mind the stories with which we are all familiar of the great sacrifices made by women of the South for the protection and aid of the fighting men." Cook feels that the description of Rob Roy's character is "wonderful" and "could fit any number of American Southerners at any time in our history," and says "I feel compelled to name them." So she does name a series of Confederate heroes from General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Imperial Wizard, the head of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction, to Gen. Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate armies (Cook 1995, Southern Partisan, p.43).

Finally Cook compares the Scottish Highlands to the Appalachian mountains in the American South. This is somewhat strange, since Appalachian residents in the South during the Civil War are known to have been strongly against secession and the lowland slave-owning interests. They did rebel against the Confederacy with a history of successes such as West Virginia being separated from Virginia and being persecuted and the victim of massacres elsewhere. The fact that this rebellion of the Appalachians against the lowland Confederates might be the more obvious analogy to Rob Roy does not occur to Cook. About half as many Southerners fought against the Confederacy as those who fought for the Confederacy. Many Southern unionists came from the Appalachian mountains and other areas in the South where there was subsistence farming and little or no slavery. The other article, "Scottish-Southern Connection: II" describes article's author Steve Du Roches' visit to a placed called the Grand Ole Opry in Glasgow, Scotland.

...

In recent films, "angry white males" are generally portrayed as psychopaths, therefore, almost astonishing that even a good conservative like Mel Gibson should have chosen to make a movie on the life of William Wallace."

To Hill, Wallace is a hero because he "displayed all the characteristics deplored by our prevailing anti-European, anti-heterosexual male culture." The movie was criticized in New York, Hill believes, "because it appeals to all the things that New York despises, namely, Christian devotion, populism, patriotism, home rule, self-defense, well defined sex roles, traditional morality, and self-sacrifice for a noble cause." ...

Then finally Hill describes the story of William Wallace. Edward the II is compared to Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant. The concluding paragraph draws Confederate parallels.

Celtic peoples whether in 13th Century Scotland or in the 19th Century American South have been targets for subjugation and extermination..

Wallace's army is compared to the Confederate army. Hill draws an Anti-Civil Rights lesson about independent Scots from Braveheart, "And perhaps this legacy is why Celts have refused to present themselves as government-protected group 'victim' group," (Hill J M 1995b, Chronicles, p.45).
Last edited by BWV 1080 on Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Southern Celts

Post by Daisy » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:09 pm

Y'know, I hadn't thought about it in any serioius way before, but I suppose it is true. There are a lot of Scots-Irish people in the South. My mother was Scots-Irish on her father's side, my father was Scots-Irish on his mother's side. :D

Of course, this isn't the entire story. My father's paternal family was English. My mother's mother was German, and was the lady who first gave me insights on German music and German culture.

I've lived my entire life in the South, but I was born and raised and spent the first two-thirds of my life in New orleans - which, while technivcally part of the South, is in fact its own thing entirely.

Living now in the "real" South, I have been exposed to much more of my celtic heritage, which is very different from what I grew up with.

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Re: Southern Celts

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:34 pm

Daisy wrote:Y'know, I hadn't thought about it in any serioius way before, but I suppose it is true. There are a lot of Scots-Irish people in the South. My mother was Scots-Irish on her father's side, my father was Scots-Irish on his mother's side. :D

Of course, this isn't the entire story. My father's paternal family was English. My mother's mother was German, and was the lady who first gave me insights on German music and German culture.

I've lived my entire life in the South, but I was born and raised and spent the first two-thirds of my life in New orleans - which, while technivcally part of the South, is in fact its own thing entirely.

Living now in the "real" South, I have been exposed to much more of my celtic heritage, which is very different from what I grew up with.
Being in Texas since jr. high has made me aware of this and my complete lack of any Celtic heritage (one side of my family dates back to Mass Bay Puritans and the other is 19th century German / Scandinavian immigrants)

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:28 pm

My roots are Louisiana and Texas, and as near as I can tell, I don't have a drop of Celtic blood. :( It's all English.

I believe the thesis about the Celts was also expounded on at great length in David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed.
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Post by anasazi » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:02 am

Yes, there were Celts in the old South. Well, heck, there were Celtic people all over the country at that time. That was the decade or two that they mostly immigrated. There were plenty of Celts in the North as well, including my great-grandfather, who was paid to take a rich boy's place in the Indiana militia and died somewhere in Tennesee.

I think the original article could have been written by Margaret Mitchell (cue Tara's theme here).
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:19 am

anasazi wrote:Yes, there were Celts in the old South. Well, heck, there were Celtic people all over the country at that time. That was the decade or two that they mostly immigrated. There were plenty of Celts in the North as well, including my great-grandfather, who was paid to take a rich boy's place in the Indiana militia and died somewhere in Tennesee.

I think the original article could have been written by Margaret Mitchell (cue Tara's theme here).
Not quite. The mid-19th century Irish immigration was predominantly to the North and were Roman Catholic. The Celtic population in the South were Ulster Protestants and lowland Scots who came over in the early 1700's.

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Post by anasazi » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:12 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
anasazi wrote:Yes, there were Celts in the old South. Well, heck, there were Celtic people all over the country at that time. That was the decade or two that they mostly immigrated. There were plenty of Celts in the North as well, including my great-grandfather, who was paid to take a rich boy's place in the Indiana militia and died somewhere in Tennesee.

I think the original article could have been written by Margaret Mitchell (cue Tara's theme here).
Not quite. The mid-19th century Irish immigration was predominantly to the North and were Roman Catholic. The Celtic population in the South were Ulster Protestants and lowland Scots who came over in the early 1700's.
Actually that goes to another thought I had. My own ancestors would not have fared well in the deep south. Actually even Indiana (a so-called Northern state) had a very strong KKK contingent, at least until about 1950. They may have them still, just not out in the open so to speak. ;-)

In any case, my Irish Catholic ancertors did indeed come from the south. First Tennesee, then Kentucky, then Indiana. That was more or less what I've been able to figure out at least.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:02 am

anasazi wrote:Actually even Indiana (a so-called Northern state) had a very strong KKK contingent, at least until about 1950.
The kkk was the most powerful in the 1920s when its political power reached as far as New Jersy, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio, and Illinois. Catholics, in Louisiana certainly, had little to fear from the KKK. It was largely an urban phenomenon, an expression of the strains urban life with many people, small spaces, and lots of demands for complex services.
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Post by anasazi » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:45 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
anasazi wrote:Actually even Indiana (a so-called Northern state) had a very strong KKK contingent, at least until about 1950.
The kkk was the most powerful in the 1920s when its political power reached as far as New Jersy, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio, and Illinois. Catholics, in Louisiana certainly, had little to fear from the KKK. It was largely an urban phenomenon, an expression of the strains urban life with many people, small spaces, and lots of demands for complex services.
In my own family's experience (in Indiana) it was more of a rural thing. Larger cities (with better police forces) like Indianapolis and Evansville had fewer problems. In southern Indiana, the kkk was pretty active until about 1950. I believe one of the small towns there was some sort of national hq.
(I know the name of the town, but do not wish to give it any more bad pr).

Out in the boonies, well, most of the county sherriffs just kind of looked the other way, or possibly they were also outfitted with sheets themselves.
I never had the feeling it had to do with stress (except for the victims) but simply of too much vile and hatred.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:44 pm

anasazi wrote:I never had the feeling it had to do with stress (except for the victims) but simply of too much vile and hatred.
I know. But you have to remember its origin and the periods and locations of its revivals. The friction of groups trying to gain political dominance over each other when there were few goals shared between them and no satisfactory manner of dividing the resource pie. It's like the witch hunts that burst out periodically: rarely happened where there was a dominant political culture, often happened at points where political and religious differences ground against each other because of the absence of a dominant political culture. The rise of the KKK in the immediate post-Civil War occupation represented the defeated Southern culture resorting to the only means they had to resist the occupation. It took local Republican vigilantes and national military (controlled by the Republican government) to break that edition of the KKK. The early 20th Centruy edition represented the backlash to immigration and Progressive politics represented by urban centers, which in those days were the laboratories of social programs later adopted by the federal government in the 1930s.
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Post by anasazi » Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:02 pm

I'm not at all sure that I completely understand what you just said. But be that as it may, Indiana was not a southern state, so why was the clan so popular and powerful there for a time?

Also, I understand there was some resentment among whites in the south after the war between the States, but why was it directed against Blacks? Why was it directed toward Jews and Catholics?
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:35 pm

anasazi wrote:Indiana was not a southern state, so why was the clan so popular and powerful there for a time?
New Jersey and Oregon and Canada are not southern states either. Yet the KKK was there because their conservative and nativist positions and their strong affiliation with the Democratic party. They represented the lower middle class working people who felt alienated and powerless in times of great change and uncertainty. The KKK was not the widely condemned anathema that they became to the civil rights activists of the 1960s. It was a widely accepted and tolerated political force to which many prominent politicians belonged, including at least one SCOTUS justice. Besides thinking of it as a criminal organization, as we are want to today, you have to think of it then as a violence-prone special interest group within a major political party.
Also, I understand there was some resentment among whites in the south after the war between the States, but why was it directed against Blacks? Why was it directed toward Jews and Catholics?
It wasn't directed against Jews and Catholics until the revival in the 20th century, and then not solely or universally. Catholics adn Jews with long Southern pedigrees and/or sympathies with Klan causes went untroubled by the Klan. Immigrant Jews and Catholics landing up in urban areas where they could form powerful political organizations, they were very much troubled by the Klan.

In the early 20th Century, anti-Semitism was an unremarkable fact of American life, as was anti-Catholicism and anti-immigration. Those policies didn't really distinguish the KKK in the post-Civil War era or in its modern revival, which has a birthday incidently: the lynching of Leo Frank in Georgia for the murder of Mary Phagan. He was innocent of the crime and the system was moving inexorably if lurchingly and slowly to vindicate him, but as a representative of a new wave of Northern invaders, he was a seen as a symbol of a threat to Southern stability and powerful politicians. Local Atlanta and Georgia state officials conspired to murder him as a symbol. Two organizations were born of that abortion of justice: the modern KKK and the Anti-Defamation League. The fact that socially minded Northern Jewish lawyers began about the same time to take up the Negro civil rights issue and represent them in courts didn't help either. There's a very detailed article on the Klan in Wikipedia. You might find it useful.
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Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:06 am

I wonder how the KKK dealt with the fact that Jefferson Davis came very close to converting to Catholicism. He attended a Dominican-run school as a child. He had a close relationship with Pius IX, who sent him a signed portrait and crown of thorns during his imprisonment.

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Post by burnitdown » Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:59 pm

In its original construction, the Klan was a protection agency against the revenge impulse of the newly enfranchised during Reconstruction, and the lawless carpetbaggers etc. arriving. The later version of the Klan was basically a Christian White Power outfit that lives on with the Christian Identity types today and a Klan that still holds public demonstrations across the nation. There was one a few months ago in Houston.

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Post by david johnson » Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:41 pm

study up on gen. pat cleburne. grew up in ireland and served in a british regiment before moving to the usa. he's one of 5 confederate generals from helena, arkansas.

cleburne served with the army of tennessee as did most other arkansans.
the best divisional commander of the war. his battle front was almost always a victory, but the rest of the army had frequent difficulties beginning when commander albert johnston died at shiloh. davis should probably left joseph johnston in charge after that. by the time he got around to bringing joe back, things were mighty dim. still, joe and sherman slugged each other throughout the deep south until johnston surrended at goldsboro, nc.

lee intended to meet up with johnston when things went bad at appomattox, va.

dj

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Post by burnitdown » Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:17 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:I wonder how the KKK dealt with the fact that Jefferson Davis came very close to converting to Catholicism. He attended a Dominican-run school as a child.
Or this:

http://www.ajhs.org/publications/chapte ... mentID=222

Good luck, KKK. The costumes are cool, and who doesn't like a bonfire, but probably not for me.

I don't think racial antagonism is decreasing, however. The big trend here in TX is former "minority" groups going at it. I'm thankful for my warm study, surrounding stereo system and faith in human nature.

(Note: feel free to quote the above paragraph and follow it with the words "Idealistic moron" and/or other expletives of your choice.)

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