stand how or why one could admirenthem and still call himself a conservative.nIt takes nothing less than thensophistry of the Straussian political scientistsnto answer this paradox adequately.nI know, however, that decentnfolks disagree with me, and I remainnopen to argument. As I said, history isnnot easy, and it may not be possiblenever to settle such questions.nPerhaps the most significant thingnabout this book is that it is part of annas-yet-unrecognized and unlabelednshift of focus in American history writingnfrom the South to the North. Mostnof the historical literature, and of thencommon understanding in regard tonour Civil War (still the largest and mostncritical episode in American history)nhas proceeded on the working assumptionnthat the South constituted a peculiarnminority, standing athwart the preordainednmainstream of Americanndevelopment. Thus, when one hadnexplained satisfactorily the origin andnnature of the peculiarity, one had explainednhow the immense and bloodyncivil conflict at the center of our historyncame about.nThough such an approach has longnbeen axiomatic and unexamined, therenare several things wrong with it. Tonbegin with, it makes little sense to treatnthe South, at any time prior to the CivilnWar, as a minority. In territory, population,nand political and cultural influencenthe South was an equal and oftenna preponderant part of American developmentnduring all this period.nBut the main flaw with the approachnis that it undertook to explain thenpeculiar while leaving the standard ofnnormalcy undefined and undescribed.nIt was simply assumed that the Northnwas a kind of universal and unquestionablennorm against which all else was tonbe measured. (This is the same attitudenwith which Americans approach relationsnwith foreign nations.) But thennorm itself was never postulated, whichngave a strange context to examinationsnof the South, which was deemed to benun-American but was always measurednwith an elastic ruler. Proslavery, alongnwith another fine recent book, AnnenNorton’s Alternative Americas: AnReading of Antebellum Political Culture,nat last shifts the attention to wherenit should have been all along—tondescribing the nature and developmentnof the North. While they do not pro­nvide all answers, these books ask thenright questions, and open new groundnfor more realistic ways of looking atna vitally important period in Americannhistory.nThis historical revisionism is importantnnot because it revises old sectionalncontroversy, and not because it makesnit no longer possible to comfortablynassign all evil to the region below thenPotomac, segregated from a shiningnand uncontaminated America—nNEWFROMnTWAYNEnPUBLISHERSnThenConservativenMovementnPaul Gottfried and Thomas FlemingnAppearing in a crucial presidenti