The 20th-Century Rise of the Confederate Soybean

The Emergence of Plants Named ‘Jackson’ and ‘Lee’ Tell a Larger Story of How the USDA Catered to White Farmers

If you were a devoted reader of Soybean Digest in the middle decades of the last century—likely a farmer who was either growing soybeans or seriously considering it—you might have witnessed a quiet invasion taking place on the series of maps printed in conjunction with the magazine’s annual review of new soy cultivars.

Cultivars, or “cultivated varieties,” are variants of domesticated plants adapted to specific uses, climates, and soils. Soybean Digest printed the names of varieties recommended for specific locations over an outline map of the U.S. that extended far enough …

Jefferson Davis’s Lesser-Known Nemesis | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Jefferson Davis’s Lesser-Known Nemesis

Henry Stuart Foote and the Confederate President Supported Slavery—But Loathed One Another

On Christmas morning, 1847, six important men assembled at a large boarding house in Washington, D.C., ostensibly for casual, after-breakfast conversation. In the parlance of the era, it was a …

Why Has America Been So Reluctant to ‘Own’ the South?

A Preeminent Historian Explores How a Region Central to U.S. Identity Gets Written Out of the National Narrative

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding distinguished professor in the history of the American South at the University of Georgia. He has published 13 books and many articles …

The South Carolina Monument That Symbolizes Clashing Memories of Slavery

In Charleston, Black and White Poeple Have Viewed the Bronze Likeness of Racist Ideologue John C. Calhoun From Radically Different Angles

In the center of Charleston, South Carolina, in a verdant green space that plays host to farmers markets, festivals, and sunbathing undergraduates, stands a monument of John C. Calhoun, the …

The Sarcastic Civil War Diarist Who Chronicled the Confederacy’s Fall

Raised in Plantation Privilege, Mary Boykin Chesnut Was Unprepared for the Trauma of War and Defeat

“February 18, 1861…. I do not allow myself vain regrets or sad foreboding. This Southern Confederacy must be supported now by calm determination and cool brains. We have risked all, …

How the South Recast Defeat as Victory with an Army of Stone Soldiers

Confederate Monuments to Nameless Infantrymen Were Less About Celebrating History Than Reestablishing Social Order

Monuments to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders have long been controversial, but monuments to nameless Confederate soldiers, those lone stone figures in public places, are far more …