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Abstract

This article examines how the Southern proslavery defense produced a distinctly proto-fascist ideology. Rather than comparing the Antebellum South to twentieth century racist regimes, this study compares Southern fascist thought to Germany’s nineteenth century Völkisch movement. The author uses Roger Griffin’s Palingenetic Ultranationalism to explore how the Antebellum South promoted an illiberal vision of modernity. The author argues that proto-fascists rejected liberalism, had a profound sense of social decay, and advanced a vision of a new man, new political structure, and a new temporality. The striking similarities between nineteenth and twentieth century fascist movements mandates that the Antebellum American South should be included in comparative fascist studies. The results of this study contextualize the comparisons made between American racism and fascism along with deepening our understanding of fascism’s protean qualities.

In: Fascism