Since the The Southern Gentleman is what Confederate Colonel is about, I guess it’s appropriate to try to define what that means. Before we start with that though, it’s good to point out that the title of “Southern Gentleman” should be thought of as a goal, and not a destination. I suspect that even Robert E. Lee would have seen room for improvement in his own life. It’s kind of like growing up – even though I’m in my 50’s, I still see myself growing and maturing. We never really “arrive” at that destination.
Here is what I found in the book, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About The South:
Daniel Hindley was a Harvard-trained lawyer from Alabama who wrote on the subject in 1860. He described the Southern Gentleman as having “a natural dignity of manner” and “the utmost self-possession – that much coveted savoir faire, which causes a man to appear perfectly at home, whether it be in a hut or a palace.” He is “remarkably easy and natural, never haughty in appearance, or loud of voice – even when angry rarely raising his voice above the ordinary tone of gentlemanly conversation.”
I like that part about “in a hut or a palace”. It makes the point that being a Southern Gentleman has absolutely nothing to do with wealth. Any Southerner who has paid any attention to such things has met men with dirt and grease under their fingernails and grease-stained cloths, who are truly Southern Gentlemen. At the same time, there are plenty of “wannabes” who think that having money somehow qualifies one as a Southern Gentleman. The only association between Southern Gentleman and wealth is that the qualities that make one a Southern Gentleman are the same qualities of responsibility, duty, and the absolute drive to do what is right, that is valued in any society. In most situations, that translates into a higher salary or other financial compensation.