Revolt of the Planters[1]

Mark Albertson

37 Russell Street,

Norwalk, Ct. 06855


* * * * *

Known as the War Between the States or the War Between the North and the South, even the War of Brother Against Brother, the conflict which tore the Republic asunder less than a hundred years of its founding is known popularly as . . . the Civil War. 

In one way or another, the above descriptions are true.  But there is another which captures the political, economic and social aspects of the conflict in a fashion decidedly more accurate; and that is, the Revolt of the Planters.  Such a description lends more to the Jeffersonian versus the Hamiltonian agendas for the future of America.  The former enlists the agrarian agenda, while the latter showcases the desire to industrialize backed by a sound system of finance.  And while the latter boasts of industrial production, commerce and banking, the former caters to the landed interests; a contradiction waged by the Southern Aristocracy versus burgeoning Northern Capitalism.

The Confederacy, then, was revolution from the Right.  An attempt by the Southern Aristocracy to preserve the Slaveocracy of the American Gulag; while at the same time, purging the poisonous, anti-Constitutional precepts of the Capitalist North.  Yet . . .

. . . preservation of an Aristocracy based on the primacy of a Landed Gentry was rapidly reaching a conclusion; an unfolding reality to which the Antebellum South seemed clueless.  The Industrial Revolution, evolution of Capitalism with the rise of the Bourgeoisie displacing landed nobility and the corresponding rise the Middle Class, would prove itself superior in the industrialized, corporatized war to follow.  The demise of the Southern Aristocracy in 1865 will be a prophetic warning of what was in store for the monarchs of Europe by 1918.

Week 1:  People Who Own the Country Ought to Govern It.[2]

The importance of Land as a determinant for power . . . seven of the first ten presidents were Southerners, as were 23 of the first 36 Speakers of the House.  The aspect of Private Property, whether a Plantation Owner or Small Farmer, bestowed upon such types voting privileges denied others.  We the People, then, was based on the ability to own Land.  Yet the threat posed to the Landed Interests by Northern merchants and industrialization was evident with the founding of the Nation.  Thus the stage was set for the contradictions posed by the Jeffersonian versus the Hamiltonian doctrines for political primacy.

Week 2:  Southern Aristocracy

Landed Gentry and the Slaveocracy of the American Gulag; class structure of the Antebellum South.  Manifest Destiny and the unfolding decline of Southern political power; corresponding growth of Northern Industrial and Financial primacy.  Burgeoning Southern radicalism and the secessionist movement.  

Week 3:  American Gulag

The basic economic construct of Cotton Capitalism was that concentration camp network known as the Plantation System.  A purgatory of bondage for the unpaid Black toiler, living and breathing property devoid of human and civil rights; a Slaveocracy with a lifespan enjoyed many years more under the Stars and Stripes than under the Stars and Bars.   This session will delve into the founding of this sordid system forced labor and its significance to the political, economic and social structure of the South.

Week 4Confederacy as a Revolution

The Confederacy was a revolution from the Right; an attempt to insure the primacy of a restricted clique of Landed Gentry and the notion of Cottonism.  The resulting fallacy of Ruralism, States Rights and the Southern notion of being defenders of the Constitution in the face of Industrialization, Central Government, Urbanization and the realities of modern industrialized war.  Like the Fascists in Italy and the Nazi Revolution in Germany, the Southern Aristocracy represents that Rightist repugnance for the ideals of the Age of Reason/Enlightenment.

Week 5:  Cassandra of Change

The demise of the Confederacy as that Cassandra of change; the Boyars of Cotton are unable to staunch the tsunami of revision sweeping across the decades of the 19th century.  And the Goetterdaemerung of the Southern Aristocracy presaged the cataclysm to come, the mass extinction of the once inviolable houses of royalty in 1918, as the tides of modernity washed away the decay of antiquity.        


[1]  This course will be devoted to the political, economic and social aspects of the Confederacy in lieu to a military approach concerned with battles and battlefield strategy.

[2]  John Jay - The Fairfield Bigelow Senior Center