Dr. Bradford's Memorial site

This is a memorial site for the late Dr. Melvin E. Bradford.

Son of the South, Friend to Western Civilization, and The Truest Friend to the Republic of the Framers.

Here are some random thoughts Mel penned in his lifetime:

"All our social myths presupposed some version of the corporate life--that man is a social being, fulfilled only in the natural associations built upon common experience, upon ties of blood and friendship, common enterprise, resistance to common enemies, and a common faith." From p. 136. Reactionary Imperative: Essays Literary and Political

"'Equality before the law' is in the American [political] tradition only if we remember how restricted is the scope of the law's authority in most free societies." pp. 11-12. Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative

"Americans do not wish to be governed by an omnicompetent, divinized state, so full of good intentions that it will stop at nothing to realize them." p135. Original Intentions

"In a regime of independent freeholders, commercial men, and self-governing communities (who had negotiated informally their own version of a civil compact, one they could in good heart defend 'together' without rewriting their common past and without any hope of reforming one another), such a ballance was possible: a federal balance as that term signified to them." p. 136. Original Intentions

Here is why he perfered to call himself a Reactionary...

"Reaction is a necessary term in the intellectual context we inhabit in the twentieth century because merely to conserve is sometime to perpetuate what is outragous." Preface. Reactionary Imperative

Mel Bradford although a professor of English literature, he was perhaps the best defender of the Constitution of the Framers that this Century has yet to have known. Of particular interest to students of the Constitution is his Original Intentions (Univ of Ga Press, 1994). In this book, Bradford posits his understanding of how one is to understand the original intentions of the Framers. Bradford insists that there were several intentions to be found in the Framers, representing the various and different political and social experiences of the various American colonies and not a single unifying intention as is argued by some students of the Constitution.

Bradford was also a defender of the southern tradition. Following Richard Weaver's death in the 60's, Bradford took up the banner of southern traditionalism, not only in Politics but also in Literature. He was a student of Donald Davidson, one of the original Vanderbilt agrarians. After Davidson's death, he sought to pass on Davidson's twist on the agrarianism. Following Davidson [and also Weaver], Mel Bradford studied not only literature and culture, as agarians tended only to concern themselves with, but also politics, and the politics of the his rooted heritage, the south. Mel saw himself as generally a student of rhetoric, in the classical understading of that term; and as a student of rhetoric, he tended in his understanding of great literature, to argue that we must understand the literary works within the specific cultural-political frame that the story is set within. Mel made his mark in English literature, early in his career, writing a ground breaking reading of the works of Faulkner, which stressed Faulkner's deeply Southern nomocentric construction of narrative. But being a student of Donald Davidson, made him far more political than most students of literature.

Mel understood himself to be primarily a student of Rhetoric, which allowed him to be a very astute student of political speech, be it found in official document or public orations. His understanding of the differing modes of political rhetoric led him to see the fundamental danger of Abe Lincoln's political rhetoric to the Original Regime of the Framers. Bradford ultimately argues that Lincoln does not in fact preserve the Constitution as he claims but rather Reconstructs itunder the Framework of the Equality Clause of the Deceleration of Independence. This has led him to be targeted as an enemy of equality, but his rejection of equality is to be strictly understood as a defense of republican government which cannot survive in the toxic ideological wasteland that a dogmatic adherence to equality creates.

If you would like to know more about The Defence of the Southern Tradition, then click the icon blow

Other of Mel's books are the following:

Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative (Univ of Ga Press)

Against the Barbarians (Univ of Mo Press)

A Worthy Company (reprinted as The Founding Fathers by Univ of Kansas Press)

The Reactionary Imparative: Essays Literary and Political [Sherwood Sugden Press]

Generation of the Faithful Hearted [Sherwood Sugden Press]

A Better Guide Than Reason [Originally Printed by Sherwood Sugden Press; reprinted by Transaction Press]

F. W. Shackelford's Review of Original Intentions

The memorial at The Philadelphia Society (by a Straussian, M. Platt)

Here are some of Mel's Books still in print!!

Better Guide than Reason: Federalists & Anti-Federalists

Founding Fathers: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution

Original Intentions: On the Making & Ratification of the United States Constitution

Reactionary Imperative: Essays Literary & Political

Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative

Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787

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Last Updated July 4th, 1999 by Clifford A. Bates, Jr.

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