In the Partisan’s last issue, I raised the question of why the United States has not been troubled in this century by regional nationalisms of the sort that are currently disturbing most other industrialized countries. In particular, I asked, why has there not been a serious version of Southern nationalism?
Answering my own question, I suggested that (1) the outcome in 1865 was discouraging, (2) the United States as a whole offered a compelling object for nationalistic sentiment, and (3) identifying the cause of the South with the cause of white supremacy alienated those elements within the South’ s population that might have been expected to formulate a separatist program. I concluded that the United States is not immune to the centrifugal forces operating elsewhere, merely protected from them by a number of unique historical accidents—factors now dwindling in importance.
Consider, in the first place, that the old Confederates have gone, and with them the memories of the last go-round. The veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic are equally extinct, taking with them, I believe, the mystical commitment to the Union that led them to preserve it by stomping the South.