Casting Out Yankeeism
The author below predicted that had the American Confederacy won its independence, “it would have undoubtedly developed more toward a conservative aristocracy” and more like the Founders’ intended republic. Its aversion to the mob-rule democracy of the North was another reason the South left the Union to strike out on its own.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Casting Out Yankeeism:
“There was a growing opinion among Southerners that a proper concept of eternal law was the bulwark of all liberty. Universal suffrage would never be able to discover and conserve this law. Universal suffrage in the North was “organized confiscation, legalized violence and corruption…a moral disease of the body politic.”
It was mob government, radical democracy, “the willing instrument of consolidation in the hands of an abolition oligarchy,” which had perverted the old Union. It was this the South was fighting against. The individual must be buried in the institution. The mob did not know what it was voting for, except to obtain money for doing it or to get a drink of whiskey.
The South had never believed in democracy; it had worked with the Democrats in the north only to secure a place of power in the government. Most [government] positions should be appointive and not remunerative. Officers would serve without pay, if they were patriots. Now every petty sheriff, whiskey-drinking constable, and justice of the peace must be elected and get a fee. All of this is Yankeeism, which the South should cast out – all this universal suffrage – elective Judges – biennial Legislatures – and many other features of policy – all tending to degrade government and corrupt the people.”
In line with its conservatism, the Confederacy debated much the abolition of the naturalization laws which it had inherited from the old Union and which made possible the infiltration of masses of foreigners with their “dangerous European radical ideas.” Especially they would exclude Yankees. Representative John B. Clark of Missouri declared that he would “as soon admit to citizenship a devil from hell.” He advocated a law banishing any Southerner who should marry a Yankee.”
(A History of the South, Volume VII, The Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, E. Merton Coulter, LSU Press, 1950, pp. 64-67)