Once upon a time, prior to US invasion, occupation and Reconstruction, the Southern States maintained a classical Western civilisation led and governed largely by natural elites rather than political hacks. It’s difficult for us in the modern USA to even imagine such circumstances. We are used to a system in which power-hungry men and women who will say and do anything to win popularity contests are then given control over their betters and allowed to shape and mold society according to their whims and the whims of their financial backers. This system is popularly called ‘democracy’ or ‘liberal democracy’ in our society and we are told it’s the best system in all of history. We’re told that this is what makes America ‘the greatest country in the world’ even as the debt piles up, the foreign wars drag on endlessly, public morality slips to new lows and demographic catastrophe looms large. ‘The greatest country in the world’ is clearly going down the tubes. Democracy, or whatever you prefer to call the present system, is one of the primary reasons why this is happening. The more democratic and egalitarian the United States has became (especially since Lincoln declared the Union to be a proposition nation dedicated to equality) the more depraved it has became. There is nothing to aspire one to greater heights in a society of equals. When base equality and bland sameness are celebrated excellence declines. We see around us today the final stages of an entire civilisation in decline – an Empire in collapse.
Author, professor and liberty advocate Dr Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in an article entitled ‘Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State‘ wrote about the old system, the sort of system which once prevailed in the South.
[T]he natural outcome of voluntary transactions between private property owners is non-egalitarian, hierarchical, and elitist. In every society, a few individuals acquire the status of an elite through talent. Due to superior achievements of wealth, wisdom, and bravery, these individuals come to possess natural authority, and their opinions and judgments enjoy wide-spread respect. Moreover, because of selective mating, marriage, and the laws of civil and genetic inheritance, positions of natural authority are likely to be passed on within a few noble families. It is to the heads of these families with long-established records of superior achievement, farsightedness, and exemplary personal conduct that men turn with their conflicts and complaints against each other. These leaders of the natural elite act as judges and peacemakers, often free of charge out of a sense of duty expected of a person of authority or out of concern for civil justice as a privately produced “public good.”
Dr Hoppe’s above description reminds me of US Senator, South Carolina Governor and Confederate General Wade Hampton. Hampton was probably the wealthiest man in the Palmetto State when the South seceded from the US in 1860-61. A conservative man with a lot to lose, Hampton opposed secession. However, once his State seceded he resigned from his lofty position in the Senate and enlisted as a mere private in the South Carolina militia.
[T]he governor of South Carolina insisted that Hampton accept a colonel’s commission, even though he had no military experience at all. Hampton organized and partially financed the unit known as “Hampton’s Legion“, which consisted of six companies of infantry, four companies of cavalry, and one battery of artillery. He personally financed all of the weapons for the Legion.
Hampton and his Legion fought to the bitter end to resist US invasion and occupation.
Hampton’s Legion was an American Civil War [sic] military unit of the Confederate States of America, organized and partially financed by wealthy South Carolina plantation owner Wade Hampton III. Initially composed of infantry, cavalry, and artillery battalions, elements of Hampton’s Legion participated in virtually every major campaign in the Eastern Theater, from the first to the last battle.
…Organized by Wade Hampton in early 1861, Hampton’s Legion initially boasted a large number of South Carolina’s leading citizens, including future generals J. Johnston Pettigrew, Stephen Dill Lee, Martin W. Gary, and Matthew C. Butler. Originally, the Legion comprised six companies of infantry, two of cavalry, and one of light artillery. The infantry and cavalry fought in the First Battle of Manassas, where Colonel Hampton suffered the first of several wounds during the war. In November 1861, the artillery was then outfitted with four Blakely Rifles, imported from England and slipped through the Union blockade into Savannah, Georgia. By the end of the year, each element of the Legion had been expanded with new companies to bolster the effective combat strength.
There are a few things to note from the above information. First, Hampton used his vast wealth to personally arm and equip South Carolina troops. He didn’t go to the government and ask the people to be taxed to supply these troops. As a natural elite in his society he provided the money for the soldiers himself. Second, Hampton quit the Senate to enlist as a private in the South Carolina militia when war seemed imminent. Can we imagine even the most hawkish and blood-thirsty members of the US Senate today resigning their office and joining the US military as a mere private in any of the many imperialist wars around the world they constantly foment? Seriously, can we imagine any of the chicken-hawks donning a private’s uniform and going off to fight in Afghanistan? Of course not. They’ll gladly send our sons and daughters to die in that pointless occupation of the Afghan people, but would not consider going themselves. Of course, the distinction between kinds of wars should be made as well. Hampton fought a defensive war to repel an invasion of his society. Today the US military carries out offensive foreign invasions of societies around the world, never once actually fighting a defensive war in the last half a century or more. Third, Hampton’s Legion was joined by many other natural elites in South Carolina society. These men willingly left great wealth, their families and comfortable homes to fight and possibly die. The traditional society they led required this of their honour. It required them to do what they could to equip their fellow South Carolinians for war. They were the elites; they were expected to do this. To do otherwise would have been to disgrace themselves in the eyes of their countrymen.
Hampton lost almost everything in War: his wealth (spent supplying Southern troops), his home (burnt by Sherman’s forces) and his sons (shot by Yankee invaders). And yet his service to his society and his people did not end.
In October 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia, Hampton sent his son, Thomas Preston, a lieutenant and an aide to his father, to deliver a message. Shortly afterward, Hampton and his other son, Wade IV, rode in the same direction. Before traveling 200 yards, they came across Preston’s body, and as young Wade dismounted, he was also shot. Thomas Preston died from his wound.
While Lee’s army was bottled up in the Siege of Petersburg, in January 1865, Hampton returned to South Carolina to recruit additional soldiers. He was promoted to lieutenant general on February 14, 1865, but eventually surrendered to the Union along with General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina. Hampton was reluctant to surrender, and nearly got into a personal fight with Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick at the Bennett Farm.
After the war, Hampton found his property and wealth diminished. His boyhood home, Millwood, near Columbia, South Carolina, was burned by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union soldiers, and his fortune was depleted supplying those soldiers.
…Hampton was offered the nomination for governor in 1865, but refused because he felt that those in the North would be suspicious of a former Confederate general seeking political office only months after the end of the Civil War [sic]. After his refusal, Hampton had to campaign for his supporters not to vote for him in the gubernatorial election. In 1868, he became the chairman of the state Democratic Party central committee, which lost to the Radical Republicans in the election. His role in the politics of the state ceased until 1876….
Hampton was a leading opponent of Radical Republican Reconstruction policies in the South, and re-entered South Carolina politics in 1876 as the first southern gubernatorial candidate to run on a platform in opposition to Reconstruction. Hampton, a Democrat, ran against Radical Republican incumbent governor Daniel Henry Chamberlain in Charleston. Supporters of Hampton were called Red Shirts and were known to practice violence. Due to their crude reputation, and hoping to allay Union suspicion, Hampton used Grace Piexotto’s “The Big Brick House”, a prominent brothel located at 11 Fulton Street, to assure complete privacy for the Red Shirts’ [a Southern nationalist paramilitary and political organisation which ultimately forced out the military occupation and the exploitative government it supported] meeting ground, which mainly served as campaign headquarters (Jones 2006: 22-23). The1876 South Carolina gubernatorial election is thought to be the bloodiest in the history of the state. Both parties claimed victory. For over six months, there were two legislatures in the state, both claiming to be authentic. Eventually, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Hampton was the winner of the election. The election of the first Democrat in South Carolina since the end of the Civil War [sic], as well as the national election of Rutherford B. Hayes as President, signified the end of Reconstruction in the South.
After the election, Hampton became known as the “Savior of South Carolina”. He was reelected in 1878, but two days after the election he was thrown from a mule while deer hunting and broke his right leg. The New York Times called this incident the “Mule Fraud”, claiming it was a political trick planned by Hampton so he would not have to sign election certificates, even though the Governor of South Carolina does not sign such certificates. Several weeks later, his right leg was amputated due to complications arising from this injury. Despite refusing to announce his candidacy for the Senate, Hampton was elected to the United States Senate by the General Assembly on the same day as the amputation of his leg. He resigned from the governorship in 1879 and served two terms in the Senate, until 1891, but was denied a third term by the Tillmanites in the state elections of 1890.
…. In 1899, his home in Columbia, was destroyed by fire. An elderly man, he had limited funds and limited means to find a new home. Over his strong protests, a group of friends raised enough funds to build him one.
Hampton died in Columbia and is buried there in Trinity Cathedral Churchyard. Statues of him were erected in the South Carolina State House building and the United States Capitol. An equestrian statue by Frederick W. Ruckstull was erected on the grounds of the South Carolina State House in 1906.
To honor Hampton for his leadership in the Civil War [sic] and the redemption of the state, the General Assembly created Hampton County from Beaufort County in 1878. The town of Hampton Courthouse, later shortened to Hampton, was incorporated on December 23, 1879, to serve as the county seat of Hampton County. Across South Carolina many towns and cities renamed streets for him. At least eight municipalities in South Carolina have a street named “Wade Hampton” (Beaufort, Charleston, Duncan, Greenville, Greer, Hampton, Taylors, and Walterboro) and approximately 47 towns in the state have streets named “Hampton”. Two high schools in South Carolina are named Wade Hampton High School, one in Greenville and the other in Hampton. A residence hall at Hampton’s alma mater, the University of South Carolina, is called the Wade Hampton. There is a Hampton Park in Charleston and a Hampton Park in Columbia named after Hampton. In 1964, Wade Hampton Academy was charted in Orangeburg; the school later merged with Willington Academy in 1986 to become Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, Inc.
Surely Wade Hampton is exactly the sort of natural elite described by Dr Hoppe who emerges from traditional societies. It’s impossible to imagine such a man emerging from the hopelessly corrupt, democratic, modernist society of the United States today. What has been forced upon the Southern people by an alien people is a perversion of decency, an honour-less society full of mass consumers. We as Southern nationalists should do all we can to keep alive the concept of Southern honour and expand its acceptance amongst our people in this dark age of decline. As the Empire we live under today crumbles around us we may once again have the chance to build a traditional society of honour and excellence here in the Southland.