Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 1) >> ''That Feel and Touch of the Elbow": William Gilmore Simms and the Whig Interpretation of History >> Page 31

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Page 31

Secondary Scholarship | 2008
Transcription delineated this distinct view of progress as ,his own adopted hometown lay in
ruins. The perspective that "local association takes from all the charms" is
misguided and inevitably "leads to absenteeism," and eventually "to the neglect
of all domestic improvements." Moreover, the absence of local connectedness
"that feel and touch of the elbow" produces "egotism and vanity" and makes
human progress impossible. "The first step" toward true progress, therefore, "is
to make a people stationary." Home is the reference point of progress. For
Simms and his Carolina readers, progress took on the paradoxical form of smoke,
rubble, and utter defeat.28 Nothing could be further from a whig view.

28 James E. Kibler, "An Essential Simms Essay - - - `Look at Home,' The Simms Review 7 (1999),