Philosopher-Poet of the Rednecks
Cover of issue 30
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How to Cite

Philosopher-Poet of the Rednecks: Donald Davidson and the Defense of the Agrarian South. (2001). The Political Science Reviewer, 30, 174-191.


Confident that industrial prosperity would create the material foundations for a vigorous, democratic civilization in the South, southern liberals since the 1880s had repudiated much of their heritage and embraced science and industry as the salvation of mankind. Liberal educators, journalists, and social scientists of the immediate postwar era, such as Edwin A. Alderman, Henry Grady, and Walter Hines Page, along with their counterparts Stringfellow Barr, George Fort Milton, and Virginius Dabney during the 1920s and 1930s, had become enchanted with northern culture and society. To these men, Donald Davidson lamented, the South suddenly appeared cheap, dilapidated, and inferior. Davidson believed it was principally the duplicitous southern liberal elite that had conditioned ordinary Southerners to accept northern definitions of liberty, democracy, justice, and progress and had convinced the young men of the postbellum South to turn their backs on the past and build the future according to the lax precepts of fashion, expedience, and profit.
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