If they tear down our monuments, but force us to rediscover the cause to which they were erected to honor in the first place, then it will have been worth it. The cause and the thinking that justified it was far more valuable and serviceable to our present circumstances than the statues. Slavery was only incidental to secession. There was a much deeper philosophical conflict in 1861.
“We now come to the Southern Revolution of 1861, which we maintain was reactionary and conservative – a rolling back of the excesses of the Reformation – of Reformation run mad – a solemn protest against the doctrines of natural liberty, human equality and the social contract, as taught by Locke and the American sages of 1776, and an equally solemn protest against the doctrines of Adam Smith, Franklin, Say, Tom Paine, and the rest of the infidel political economists, who maintain that the world is too much governed, “Pas trop gouvernor,” and should not be governed at all, but “Let Alone,” “Laissez nous faire.” …
The organism of society is more complex and inscrutable than that of the individuals who compose it, for it includes the peculiar organization and idiosyncrasies of all such individuals, and to live and work healthfully, must adapt itself to the wants, failings and peculiarities of all its members. It is more “fearfully and wonderfully formed” than man himself. It is the grandest, noblest work of God, for what a miserable, helpless wretch would man be, without society and government.
This doctrine of the natural growth and origin of society is the distinctive Tory doctrine of England, the very opposite to the theories of Locke and the Fathers of our late Republic. In adopting it, we begin a great conservative reaction. We attempt to rollback the Reformation in its political phases; for we saw everywhere in Europe and America reformation running to excess, a universal spirit of destructiveness, a profane attempt to pull down what God and Nature had built up, and to erect ephemeral Utopias in its place. Liberty was degenerating into licentiousness, and “anarchy, plus the street constable” stared us in the face. We lead off in a new reactionary Reformation, and Christendom must follow our lead, or soon be involved in social chaos and confusion.
Viewed in this aspect, and it is only true in one, which to view it, the Revolution of ’61 is the grandest, most momentous event since the days of Luther and of Calvin. The grandest in conception, and the grandest in action; for never did a people of the same numbers display such heroic courage and giant strength as the people of the South in this revolutionary struggle. “Deo duce vincemus.” For we fight “to vindicate the ways of God” against the profane doctrines and schemes of charlatanic man.”
George Fitzhugh, The Revolutions of 1776 and 1861 Contrasted, December 1863