B.M. Palmer – The South, Her Peril And Her Duty


This is my reading of an excerpt from a discourse delivered in the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, Thursday, November 29, 1860 By Reverend Benjamin Morgan Palmer. Palmer was an eloquent and well known Presbyterian minister around the time of the Civil War. Like other Southern Presbyterians, he believed that the pulpit was sacred and therefore not the place to discuss political and worldly matters. However, on the eve of impending conflict, he found it prudent to speak his mind. This particular excerpt has to do with the issue of slavery, the French Revolution, and Divine Providence as it relates to authority and hierarchically ordered society. He comments on the deranged fanaticism of New England abolitionists that sought to destroy existing organic hierarchy in favor of new systems of radical egalitarianism. This should be of particular interest to Southern-Reaction and Neo-Reaction because it is a Calvinist critique of the Post-Puritan, Unitarian, and Transcendentalist utopian-ism that helped create our modern political and cultural environment. Palmer saw the South and the Civil War as the last holdout for traditional society against the modern world.

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