John Randolph, cousin of Thomas Jefferson and an influential model of statesmanship for the Agrarians, could defend the extraordinary position of an inherited Southern worldview in response to a confidant’s query about his attendance at a religious gathering:
I was born and baptized in the Church of England. If I attend the Convention at Charlottesville, which I rather doubt, I shall oppose myself then and always at every attempt at encroachment on the part of the church, the clergy especially, on the rights of conscience. I attribute, in a very great degree, my long estrangement from God to my abhorrence of prelatical pride and puritanical preciseness; to ecclesiastical tyranny…. Should I fail to attend, it will arise from a repugnance to submit the religion, or church, any more than the liberty of my country, to foreign influence. When I speak of my country, I mean the Commonwealth of Virginia. I was born in allegiance to George III; the bishop of London (Terrick!) was my diocesan. My ancestors threw off the oppressive yoke of the mother country, but they never made me subject to New England in matters spiritual or temporal; neither do I mean to become so, voluntarily.
Nourished by daily labors in the fields, it was the properly ordered agrarian community that produced a more stable and wholesome environment for families and workers than industrialism could offer.
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