Janet Comenos

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20072008 Forum on Origins

Janet Comenos


College '08

The Origins of American Fascism, in Relation to John Crowe Ransom and the KKK

Although Fascism is generally viewed as existing solely in Italy under Mussolini’s rule, its origins are somewhat unclear. It can be disputed that fascist thought began in the United States, under the umbrella of a literary group of conservative nationalists called the Southern Agrarians. In particular, John Crowe Ransom, most well-known for developing the New Criticism, retained familial and personal roots in fascist circles. Did Ransom and his colleagues encourage fascism in America and abroad? If so, how can his writings support the disturbing theory that fascism really began in America?