Renaissance of Historical Writing Needed


“The report made at Birmingham clearly pointed out the necessity of prompt action by this organization in taking steps for a complete “renaissance” of history throughout the South; that justice to the South demands that the entire field of history be explored and its neglected facts be carefully gathered and portrayed; that the vindication of the South must come from the pens of Southern writers; that these writers must be inspired by an active and outspoken public sentiment; that the apparent listlessness and indifference with which the South has submitted to the misrepresentations and omissions of those who have essayed to write American history has been little less than criminal; that a growing sentiment in the South now demands for our children and for the world a vindication of the Southern people, and a refutation of the slanders, the misrepresentations, and the imputations which they have so long and patiently borne.

Macaulay, the historian says: “A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestry will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered by remote descendants.”

In nothing has the South suffered so much at the hands of writers of school history as in the treatment of subjects of State sovereignty, nullification, slavery, and secession. Since the success of the Northern resources over Southern arms in the Civil War, it has been the practice of Northern writers to isolate the period of the war and either uphold the specific acts of the South in withdrawing from the Union as a political crime, using as a term of reproach the term rebellion, or to infer from the fact that Southern independence was not maintained that secession was morally wrong.

The facts of American history rob the reproach of its sting when it shows that the foundation of our present government was laid in secession, the States moving in the matter virtually seceding from the perpetual union under the Articles of Confederation; that the structure of American independence was upreared in rebellion; that subsequently every section of the country has at sometime threatened to secede.”

(Report of the Historical Committee, Houston Reunion of United Confederate Veterans, Confederate Veteran, June 1895, pp. 163-164)