"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Wednesday, December 03, 2003 Learning to Love the Federalists: From the noteworthy Claremont Review of Books, a shot across the Jeffersonian bow in defense of the not-always-fairly-maligned party of "the rich, the well-born and the able:"
It was slavery, ironically, that drove the Jeffersonians to the very egalitarian rhetoric which has enshrined them as the protectors of American liberty. Edmund S. Morgan pointed out 25 years ago that the revolutionary resistance to "slavery" and "tyranny" were honed appreciatively on the revolutionaries' own consciousness of the slavery they had fastened on their African bondsmen. But Morgan failed to appreciate the degree to which the Jeffersonian rhetoric about slavery had a sharp class edge to it. For the prominence of slaveholders among the Jeffersonian critics of Federalism is more than an irony: slaveholding was, in fact, central to the preservation, not just of a racial hegemony, but of a ruling class among whites in the South after the Revolution, and that ruling class preserved itself in the face of revolutionary egalitarianism only by pretending that slavery had, in fact, created a kind of white egalitarianism. By equating the slaveholder and the rural farmer as "agriculturalists" and allying them together in a white racial alliance which ensured that enslaved blacks could never become the "equals" of whites, Jeffersonians like Randolph, Taylor, and Jefferson himself ensured the support of white farmers, who cared far more about keeping blacks in bondage than about levelling white elites. They looked, in other words, to slavery to preserve gentility; and then insisted that the presence of blacks made all white men, ipso facto, into gentlemanly equals.
The Claremont Review, which would win big style points here for its old American Spectator-style look even if it weren't devoting serious coverage to Fisher Ames, receives high praise from Power Line, which links to a Wm F Buckley review of Ann Coulter.