Encouragement from Dabney

R.L. Dabney wrote A Defense of Virginia and the South in 1867 as a response to the conquering of his State–that is, Virginia–by the North in the Civil War. It’s his attempt to both deflate the contemporary propaganda surrounding the institution of slavery in the South and to clarify the bases and rationalizations of the moral arguments used during the conflict between the states. An excerpt here from today’s reading, as true for unionists as for confederates:

The wisest, kindest, most patriotic thing which any man can do for his country, amidst such calamities, is to aid in preserving and reinstating the tottering principles of his countrymen; to teach them, while they give place to inexorable force, to abate no thing of righteous convictions and of self-respect. And in this work he is as really a benefactor of the conquerors as of the conquered. For thus he aids in preserving that precious seed of men, who are men of principle, and not expediency; who alone (if any can) are able to reconstruct society, after the tumult of faction shall have spent its rage, upon the foundations of truth and justice. (page 8)


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