The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 94
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the Confederate States of America had been mystically converted"
(p. 92). This image of the defeated Confederacy as a "City of the
Soul," beyond the haggling of constitutional lawyers, the ambitions
of politicians, and the jealousy of localisms, is one Warren set forth
in his thoughtful 1961 essay, The Legacy of the Civil War: Medita-
tions on the Centennial.
Although Warren admits that "we can ultimately only guess about
Davis," and that "the historian who called him the Sphinx of the
Confederacy was right" (p. 53), he comes to understand that Davis,
unlike Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant, who were "modern"
men in their military attitudes, "was not a modern man in any sense
of the word but a conservative called to manage what was, in one
sense, a revolution. Honor, perhaps, more than victory, was, in the
midst of ill fortune, ineptitudes, and even stupidities, his guiding
star... ." (p. 68).
And yet, suppose Lincoln or Grant should have citizenship thrust
upon him by the America of today? "Would either happily accept
citizenship in a nation that sometimes seems technologically and philo-
sophically devoted to the depersonalization of men?" Warren wonders.
"In a way, in their irrefrangible personal identity, Lincoln and Grant
were almost as old-fashioned as Jefferson Davis" (p. 113). Warren,
himself a paradoxical figure, at once an old-fashioned writer and a
contemporary one, is clearly uncomfortable with the "business ethic"
that, some historians say, became triumphant in American life with
the defeat of the Confederacy. The rootlessness of modern Americans,
their loss of a "sense of place," also distresses a man whose most recent
novel was entitled A Place To Come To. "How odd it all seems now,"
he says of Davis's decision to follow Mississippi out of the Union in
1861 "-when the sky hums with traffic, and eight-lane highways stink-
ing of high-test rip across hypothetical state lines, and half the citizens
don't know or care where they were born just so they can get some-
where fast" (p. 49) .
University of Texas, Austin NORMAN D. BROWN
Reluctant Imperialists: Calhoun, the South Carolinians, and the Mexi-
can War. By Ernest M. Lander, Jr. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1980. Pp. xv+ 189. Preface, bibliography,
maps, index. $13.95.)
Ernest M. Lander, Jr.'s gracefully written Reluctant Imperialists
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/114/ocr/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.