Comments

  1. j taylor

    Well, let’s throw a new match onto the smoldering fire. Which political party tarred, feathered and killed many members of it’s opposing party who supported reconstruction? That would be the Democrats. So, using the logic displayed here, should not all Democrats be held accountable for hate crimes?

    See history is a funny thing, in hindsight and distance in terms of years, one is able to make statements without having all of the facts or truly seeing the full picture. How many of them ‘bad ole southerners’ owned slaves? The largest figure almost approaches double digits, the agreed upon figure is not even close to double digits. Most southerners were like the majority of their northern neighbors, scrapping out a living any way they could. But yet they were all loyal to their states, homes.

    That in itself is a foreign concept to most folks today. We are such a mobile society that loyalty to state is something we do not truly comprehend. Want to go see your cousin, go ride an hour on a horse and you are there. How many of us can say that? I know I can’t!

    As for racism, I’ve lived in the north and south and, shamefully, it is alive and well all over. In the north, it is much more direct, see this past weekends fiasco in Boston, in the south, it is more low key. Neither has a clean record at all.

    As for the monuments, well, how about some honesty here, name the monuments in your town. Can’t do it? Why, cause we really don’t pay attention to them. Let them be what they are, things we use as lessons for our children. Keep them as topics of discussions so slavery is kept where it belongs, out of our country.

    You do realize that in Germany, the graves of the nazi soldiers who died and were buried with the symbols on their graves exist and are used as just that, topics of discussion so that such things hopefully do not occur again. But they do not make fun or disparage the men buried there.

    One man was perfect as far as we know, and he was crucified. So let’s remember that no man is perfect and remember the lessons and teach our children accordingly

  2. Jon

    At the time when South Carolinian forces fired upon Fort Sumter, Robert E. Lee was a general the United States Army.

    According to the Constitution, the President of the USA, at the time Abraham Lincoln, is the commander in chief of the United States military forces, including the Army.

    President Lincoln ASKED General Lee if he wanted to lead the Union armies. Genl. Lee declined. President Lincoln would have been perfectly within his rights and power to have ordered General R. E. Lee to command the Union forces, but he didn’t. If the President had issued such an order, and if the General had disobeyed it, then that would very much have been treason (as well as insubordination during a time of war).

    So really, what Genl. Lee has to thank for himself not getting hung for treason was Mr. Lincoln’s own mercy in not making his request an order.

    Not that this detail will make any of the rabid Southerners happy.

    J.

    • As usual General Lee’s conduct prior to the war is mischaracterized. General Lee resigned his position in the US Army before taking over the leadership of the Confederate Forces. I am retired military and as such I am still bound by the call to service should the President request my return, but you cannot apply today’s rules to 150+ years ago. A typical military enlistee takes an oath, yes the most discussed element in this argument, but once his enlistment is up he is not bound by that oath any longer any more than any other citizen, so let’s throw that argument out to start. Once Lee resigned and his resignation accepted he was also not under any oath that he may have taken – I don’t know if military officers took an oath in those days like I did.
      I’m guessing George Washington took an oath to the King when he served the British Army don’t you think? At least an oath was implied as it was with Lee. Would you apply your logic to George Washington who I believe was often referred to with his military rank of Colonel much if not all in service to the British crown?
      What many will not accept because they cannot fathom it, is that in those days most people were in fact citizens of their states first and the United States second. It has been recounted multiple times in this discussion, but people don’t seem to be able to absorb that fact. Today, State governments do little more of note than set the district boundaries for Federal elections and the modern transient nature of our people has made states even less relevant.

  3. Bennett Reynolds

    Interesting that they focus on the Monuments, when maybe they should remove the slave markets, where the slaves were sold. Both in Charleston S.C and New Orleans, the Slave Markets are used as Farmers Markets. But then all the businesses there would have to find a new place. This is all just political posturing and has nothing to really do with our History.

  4. Lee was opposed to slavery.
    He wrote in a letter that “There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race.” He believed in gradual emancipation and preparation of slaves for lives as freemen.
    His oft-stated purpose of serving the Confederate Army was to defend Virginia. When offered command of the Union army, he told Secretary Blair “If I owned the four millions of slaves in the South I would sacrifice them all to the Union; but how can I draw my sword upon Virginia, my native state?” Far from being a traitor, he was deferring to what he regarded as the legally constituted authority, his state.
    After the war Lee told John Leyburn “So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.”
    President Dwight Eisenhower wrote “General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.”
    Robert E. Lee was a great general and a great American: he did not fight to “defend slavery” and he is worthy of monuments and honors.

    • Gary Adams

      Sorry I am on your side but Lee was pro slavery if you read the entire letter to his wife you’ll find these remarks were cherry picked. However, it changes nothing Lee certainly was not a traitor and he was against secession and regardless of why the war was fought it was clear to the Unionist, Southroners and the world he fought for Virginia. Still one of the greatest.men of our time.

      When you see articles like this and someone using his fourth grade history book you should pray for them. I always think about the definition of a racist; “A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another”. These people who make fun of the hill billy, Southerner anyone but them are the true racist.

      • Jeremy George

        Lee was by any account a successful general and a decent man. However, the fact is that he sided with the pro-slavery movement and took arms against his government. He should not be venerated for it.

  5. I have lived in the South the better part of my life and I think I have seen both sides of the coin when it comes to racism, regional thinking and what they call southern pride. I have lived in Texas, North Carolina and currently reside in Arkansas. Having said that, I was born in California and lived there on and off, for 15 years, so I feel qualified to say that there is some balance in what I have experienced so far. To be honest, I am a little bit of a history junkie also and have read many biographies of some of the historical figures involved. I am a lilttle surprised that there are people that want to deny history, good or bad. What shapes us is our environment and regardless of the several reasons why the civil war was fought, it is a part of our make-up and should be learned from. They say that the winners write history and that bit of history has already been written. Who are we, today, that think we are qualified to rewrite it? Racism will not go away because this is happening, it is a fact of life and only learning from past mistakes can it be minimized. Education is the key, not denial.

  6. Matt W.

    I was born and have lived in New Jersey for the entirety of my life and thus have no strong ties to the South. Further, I loathe all forms of discrimination throughout history, including that which occurred in the southern part of this very nation. However, General Robert E. Lee was no supporter of slavery. He became the Confederate General not to defend this horrid peculiar institution, but instead because he was defending his home. Therefore, I believe that this article is unfairly critical against General Lee.

    • Joseph Haverick

      Matt Lee was a very big slave holder and master, sorry but by supporting the south he supported slavery hold heartedly. Please do some more reading on the subject, Arlington National cemetery is part of the Lee plantation, the government made it into a cemetery so he could no longer stay there looking at the graves. I hate Lee as a traitor to his country.

      • Matt W.

        On the contrary, Lee supported the efforts to liberate slaves and fund their move to Liberia. I believe it is you who requires more knowledge on this subject.

  7. Every insurrection, except the US civil war, the rebels were treated harshly, even genocidal. The Union allowed the rebels to resume power, after a fake loyalty oath. The rebels even have a confederate statute in which they honor the man who assassinated President Lincoln. I felt Lee being a general and violating his military oath by taken up arms and leading the insurrection, should have been jailed or hung. The concentration camps called plantation, should have been broken up and distributed to the captives

    • What about that time that the Outlaw Josey Wales watched his men gunned down while taking that oath only to find out that scourge Redlegs was behind it all. What about that? (Just trying to instill some levity in a discussion rife with emotion)

  8. oneshot Hatemail

    Oh give it a rest. The Constitution did not grant a ‘right’ to secede, any claim to the contrary is simply a lie.
    Lee was a bigot and racist his entire life, who, when he owned slaves, hired the sheriff to do his beatings for him, so as not to soil his hands.
    Post war, he wrote to his son “Where you see the black race, all is torn down, and failing, and where you see the white race, all is built up, prospering”
    Which was A. A lie and B. a DELIBERATE lie

  9. Good grief! Where does one even begin? First of all, Doug, one cannot make sweeping judgements using the prism of today’s mores and experiences on things that happened over 150 years ago. The Federal Government was a virtual nonentity in people’s lives back then and thus there was no national identity or feelings of loyalty as it had no presence in people’s lives. Everything was local and state wide, so loyalty was to that which one could relate to back then. After all, it was the States who joined the “Union,” not the other way around and they held primacy, since they joined of their own volition. Moreover, there was nothing to say they could not leave the “Union” of their own volition if they desired to reverse or change their course to be independent (they had already fought a war to break away from the hegemony of the Britain government and were not looking for a replacement). It was Lincoln who decided to muster and use the power of the Federal Government to coerce obedience by force in massive blood-letting we call the Civil War (establishing Federal dominion to this day). The North invaded the South and the people (like Lee, Jackson and others) defended themselves and their right to decide their independence and sovereignty. As to Slavery, more than 85% of Southerners did not own a slave and thus had no stake in the matter, much less any interest in dying over it. I see no racism in this country, only those who wish to keep the notion of it alive as a political and special interest tool. Calling those who defended hearth and home “Traitors” is a miscarriage of the truth and a damnable lie and attempting to erase that part of history is tantamount to Nazi book burning (who were of course big central government Socialists).

  10. They were clearly traitors in the full meaning of the term. Absolute traitors, taking up arms against the country that schooled them, against an army that gave them everything, against a military they swore to obey and protect. Not only were they full blown traitors, but they were murderers and freaking liars like our present racist administration. Get rid of every single monument that even pretends to breath life into the notion of intolerance. Thank you for this perfectly written article!

  11. James W Scott

    If we are going to remove all evidence of slavery, we need to remove George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Tyler, and Andrew Jackson from the New United States history, but with their removal also goes the constitution. With Washington and Jackson gone, we are still
    a colony of England- (It wasn’t Great Britain then),so call up Lizzie II and see what she wants to do with
    the statues, we are her subjects not free people to do as we choose. History happens and you can act
    like it didn’t but that doesn’t change the fact that it did. Quit trying to judge people in the past by today’s
    standards

    • Peter Abelard

      We don’t want to remove ALL evidence of slavery. Just from the disgusting South.

    • Keith Brann

      If people want to keep monuments up for Confederate “heroes”, then shouldn’t there be monuments for Benedict Arnold also?

        • Larry Donaldson

          There are actually two statues commemorating General Benedict Arnold’ brilliant victories over British force. Both are located in the state of New York. One in Stillwater, NY, known as the “Boot Monument” due to Arnold’s broken leg that occurred during the Battle of Saratoga in which he basically saved the American Revolution, and the other on Valcour Island, Lake Champlain, New York. The one thing about this battle was that Arnold built a fleet of small ships and sailed against the British battle fleet and soundly defeated them! The only Continental Army general to do so! This had far aching effects for his tactics, plans, and construction of ships on the shores of the lake led to the Battle of Put In Bay, Lake Erie in which Commodore Hazard Perry soundly defeated much better equipped and in two cases larger British Naval ships along with the cutters, brigs, and sloops of the British fleet!
          There is a third monument paid and built for an American who had it installed in Arnold’s grave site located in London, England. It was a politically tactful statue and plaque recognizing Arnold’s accomplishments as a American Continental Army general and yet also states of his service after he defected to the British forces.

    • I most certainly can and will judge these people by today’s standards. Righteousness and morals have no time limit. Just ask John Brown. And the removal of these monuments go beyond the support of slavery. Most of them were erected in defiance of African Americans new found freedoms during Reconstruction. A defiance that eventually led to multitudes of massacres against African Americans then finally Jim Crow laws. Don’t speak on things you have little knowledge about.

  12. Max

    See , I was right , we are doomed to argue this till Kingdom Come , and it’s coming , Ying and Yang, Left n Right , Good n Bad, good luck every body ,” A House Devided Will Not Stand”.

    Every Slave Owner was offered a 1000 per slave.when they signed the Declartion , only Franklin and Adams had a clear vision, they all passed on that , the rest is what this Nation can never overcome…..Sad……..
    Where are the Great statues for those two ?
    I know , their just wrapped up in our 20 trillion dollar dept we can never pay…..

  13. silmply put if slavery did not exist in the South there would be no hollerin’ about States Rights of course it was about states rights the right to enslave people

  14. Harry

    Lee didn’t want to destroy anything. The states of the Confederacy had entered the Union voluntarily and sought only to leave it in the same way. The reason they weren’t permitted to do so was because the funding of the federal government depended on confiscatory levels of tariffs levied on goods coming into Southern ports.

  15. Charles Coleman

    “The difference in a patriot and a terrorist is ‘winning’.” This quote has been most recently attributed to Osama bin Laden, but at different times in history has been attributed to Mao, Fidel, Mugabe, Gandhi, Rizal, Marti, and on… The oldest reference I have heard to that quote was in South Carolina in 1779 when Lord Cornwallis was reprimanding an over-zealous Lt. Tarleton for his murder of the families of suspected patriots. The difference in the Southerners of 1781 and those of 1865 is “winning”.

    To refer to the antagonists in America’s deadliest conflict as a “splinter group” is an understatement. They were the whole board.

    When the Confederate armies surrendered to both Grant and Sherman in April of 1865, the terns were quite generous. The soldiers on the losing side got to keep their horses, rifles, and side arms. They didn’t even have to swear an oath of allegiance. They had to promise they wouldn’t fight any more. Even at that point in the conflict the winning side was focused on reconciliation.

    Regarding the flag, what the Confederates were required to surrender were their swords and their flags. My grandfather, who had a grandfather who fought at Gettysburg, was very specific when I was growing up. By flying, wearing, or in any other way, displaying that flag, I was compromising my ancestors’ honor in defeat. I have promised him in my youth that under no circumstances would a display that flag without the permission of its owners, the United States of America.

    Regarding the war being fought over slavery, like you I believed this was so. But in my later hears I quit accepting history from the historians and started doing my own research. What I found out was that according to Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, the importation of slaves was prohibited. I agree, this was not enough, but it was a start, and it was a start that came two years before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in Southern states only, and four hears ahead of the Thirteenth Amendment. In their memoirs, both Vice-President Alexander Stephens and Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin addressed slavery as archaic and demonic and favored a plan being circulated that would have eliminated it within two generations. Too long, I agree, but proposed by people who were trying to maintain some semblance of an economy while addressing the most urgent of social issues. The Confederacy had one percenters then just like we Americans do now. And in both situations they are convincing us to participate in wars that only perpetuate and increase their elite status.

    The monuments in New Orleans, Raleigh, Richmond, and a hundred other cities were allowed as a gesture of reconciliation. If the time for reconciliation has passed, then let’s by all means push them down and let the winners finally write the history they want. If the spirit of reconciliation is still as alive in 2017 as it was in 1865, then let’s build something that will benefit us all and quit tearing down.

    • An interesting perspective and commentary, thank you. I would add, however, that it was illegal to import slaves to the US already, before the South seceded. Still it is an interesting point that you make. I believe this may have been in deference to England and other European countries where Slavery (and the importation thereof, was illegal. The South hoped to gain recognition from these countries and did so from England to some degree.

    • Soldiers did not keep their rifles and/or muskets which were surrendered by the Army of Northern Virginia (as was the artillery). Officers kept their side arms which would include pistols and swords. Non coms were also issued swords (generally) and I think they also were allowed to keep their swords. .

  16. Charles Watson

    If an American were in the forces of Nato, and Nato attacked America, with whom should he side. At that time, most people felt more connected to their state that to the United States. Even the American Army was made up of units of the state militias.

  17. All Confederate soldiers were pardoned in 1868 by President Andrew Johnson. All Confederate soldiers were declared U.S. Veterans by a Public Law passed by Congress in 1958. Traitor? No. U.S. Veteran? Yes. This makes moot the argument that Lee was a traitor. He was pardoned in 1868.

    • William Hale

      NO, Lee and the rest are STILL traitors, they betrayed their country as did Benedict Arnold, who was at least following his wife, Lee had no such excuse except the gross stupidity of southern fireeaters who didn’t care what the US Constitution said, they believed that they were better than blacks, better than northerners and would do whatever they liked. The fact that they were pardoned, does not mean that their OFFENSE for which they were pardoned never occurred, they are still traitors and should be treated as such. In fact, what they were were traitors and their behavior very similar to a 2nd grader who wasn’t picked for the team and took his ball and went home!

      WHale

    • Robert Ingram

      Not one leader of the Confedrate nation was arrested and charged with treason. Why because it wasn’t illegal to seceed . The Constitution allowed this option, it was Lincoln that engaged in a illegal war to forge the southern states into returning to the Union. To the argument that it was about Slavery, if that was all it was about then we could of rejoined the Union and kept the slaves under law by the Corwin admendment !

  18. John Kelley

    What the author of this article fails to realize, or they realize it and didn’t feel like mentioning it, is that at the time of the secession of the Southern States, it was “States Rights” that was the battle cry. The Federal Gov’t was usurping the governing power of the states by passing laws that it felt were “right” and then expecting the state to fall in line and obey laws that the “those northerners” were forcing on them. Folks of the South loved their states and that is what was important to them. Their HOME STATE. A big federal gov’t hundreds, even thousands of miles away had no idea what the working class was going thru. Slavery, while part of what the Agri-South was looking to maintain, was also legal in Northern states, but that point is never discussed. It was a different time and different society. Ignoring the past, our history, or trying to change it to suit your agenda, doesn’t change it. We need to have the visual reminders of where we were, where we came from so we don’t go back there.

    • The MAIN issue that EVERYONE is forgetting is that they took up arms against the Government of The United States of America just because they didn’t agree with what the government said or did didn’t give it the right to FORM their own GOVERNMENT with a President and a ARMY to oppose the RIGHTLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT IN POWER,yes you can say the times were different but even if you can say Lee and others were just protecting their States and didn’t believe in SLAVERY they still wore the COLORS of the said New Government and were willing to make their own laws,just say if the SOUTH had won do you believe they would have believed in RECONCILIATION no because they still enacted BIAS against people of color even after losing the war in VIOLATION of the Constitution of The United States.do you believe they would have STATUES of Grant and other UNION HEROES spread out in states the SOUTH had won,stop being naive and read your HISTORY,if the NORTH wanted they could have done a lot more to the SOUTH after the war and made the leaders of the SOUTH that rose up against them ACCOUNTABLE for their actions that TRAITORS usually got SHOT or HUNG but no they wanted to keep the PEACE and let them return home,but they still continued their DEFIANCE by still not abiding to the LAWS of THE LAND so they subjected their states with their own laws to keep people of color in place and dared the FEDERALS to stop them..Removing these MONUMENTS are way past due.

  19. Charles Watson

    Lee’s actions were based on a code of honor that you could not remotely understand. It’s very easy to attack the dead for what people believed two hundred years ago. If Lee were so evil, he would not have been held in such high respect by almost all who opposed him.

  20. Bill

    Lee was a Virginian first, Unionist second. It looked like Virginia would remain in Union. In fact, Virginia originally called a constitutional convention to decide if the state would leave the union or secede. The original vote was to remain in the union. It was not until Lincoln called for troops from Virginia to march and put down the “rebellion” that Virginia reversed course and voted to secede.

  21. Richard Hunt

    The question is whether we are again trying to ignore history and thus doom ourselves to repeat it. Should we forget that – despite those who write the history books claiming otherwise – this was a state’s right issue for which the trigger, but not the entire reason, was slavery? Slavery WAS wrong, OK, I agree with that. But are we not still arguing about big central government vs. smaller distributed government? The ACA was a centralized government law for which the replacement would decentralize parts of health care management. Are we THE United States or THESE United States? Never have two letters made more of a difference.

  22. Mark Shaner

    M. SHANER 5/8/17 1;30 P.M. The South is a piece of history that was here from 1861 to 1865 it needs to be here as a testamont that history lives an not to die. future generations shill need to learn about what happened back then, instead of cleaning the slate of what happened back in those hard times.And they need to bring back the Confederate Flag that also goes with that time frame\. and is part of the American Civil War.

  23. Great article you hit it right on the nail. These southern traitors should not be honored in anyway as they were the enemy and suffered defeat. The losers deserve to be lost in history and the spoils of war go to the victor.

    • Juju

      @Joseph Jackson “The losers deserve to be lost in history and the spoils of war goes to the victor.”
      So, everyone that fought in Vietnam “deserves to be lost in history” , Right? After all we LOST THAT WAR!
      MORON!

    • So are you saying that Vietnam and Korean War veterans are losers? That they should be lost to history? Don’t bother responding as I suspect your defense of your original statement would be as moronic as the original.

  24. Jim Northland

    I’m firmly in the Union camp. However, remember that slavery was legal in the North until abolished. It wasn’t the South that changed, it was the North. The times changed and the South was resisting being ordered to change. Slavery never should have been legal anywhere.

  25. Max

    Well. If we all want to ban terrible things from our past , why not ban the Catholic Church from the US.A. for Helping Nazi Generals excape Germany, and ban all British business and flags for allowing and selling of slaves in the Caribbean. ….
    Let’s just revisit all History and let’s get the big and last one going….or the nature way , a huge Astriod and put every one on both side out of thier agony …..

  26. If slavery was not the primary reason for Southern rebellion, then it surely was a pillar of it. Why would you think otherwise after reading every single state’s articles passed to secede from the union? Slavery as a reason was mentioned more than 50 times. This argument that it was about states’ rights is a canard to cover up the evil of men who broke their oaths of allegiance to the United States and swore it to another. No matter how honerably Lee fought, no matter his actions after the war ended, he still betrayed the USA.

    • jean norton

      Look these men were not traitors, it was a different time when people held different beliefs. You can’t white wash history Stop destroying monuments to the past.

    • RMS III

      13 States issued secession ordinances. 4 or 5 of these made reference to slavery as a cause. You obviously haven’t read them and you don’t know what you are talking about. Slavery was NOT the primary cause for secession, which is why the 4 Upper South States and the 4 Border States, all slave States, remained in the Union until Lincoln attempted to invade the CSA

      • Jon

        Mentions slavery in their declaration of succession (or equivalent document):

        South Carolina – Yep. Starts in the 15th paragraph
        Mississippi – Yep, 2nd paragraph
        Florida – Yep, 4th paragraph
        Alabama – Yep, 4th paragraph
        Georgia – Yep, 1st paragraph
        Louisiana – Yep, 4th paragraph
        Texas – Yep, 3rd paragraph

        Seven for seven so far. That’s a few more than ‘four or five’. Shall I keep checking? J.

        • Jon

          Okay, there weren’t that many more and I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, so here:

          Virginia – Yep, 1st paragraph
          Arkansas – No, actually. It’s not in the declaration, but it’s in the “resolutions” referred to, specifically Section 2. Louisiana is similar – Their declaration of succession is real simple, but refers to other documents that specifically single out slavery as a reason why.
          North Carolina – Likewise.
          Tennessee – No. Similar to Arkansas. It might as well be legal boilerplate by now.
          Kentucky – Yep. 4th paragraph.
          Missouri – “seizing and destroying private property”. One wonders just what they’re talking about here. Give that one an ‘arguable’.

          So a few more than ‘four or five’, I would say. Eight specifically mention slavery in their very declarations, three specifically in ‘resolutions’ that I could find text for referenced by their declarations, and one declaration was completely bland and I couldn’t find easily online those ‘resolutions’, and one that referred to ‘private property being seized’, which probably means slaves but might not. War is hell. J.

  27. I’m from the North, though I live in NC, where I retired from the military. What really irritates me about the South is the drive to remove monuments that represent leaders and events that took place during the Civil War. For what purpose? Does anybody honestly think that removing these monuments will change what took place? Most do this for “political correctness”. We don’t want to offend anybody. Monuments are reminders. While some may find them offensive, they tell a story about our country’s past. They remind us of the actions that lead to or were the result of the events they represent. So people want to remove a monument because it represents a traitor, or a slave owner, etc.. Removing it changes nothing. You can’t hide or deny history. What you can do is look at the monument, understand what it represents, and learn from it. In the case of Civil War monuments, we see reminders of a divided Nation, slavery, and war. We learn from history not by erasing it, but embracing it and understanding what the causes were and working together to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Stop whining and crying over the presence of your monuments. Political correctness can be taken to the point of idiocy. If you want to feel good go home, lock yourself in, and read some happy fairy tales. The world isn’t always a pretty place.

    • Tina Drake

      Robert E. Lee is one of my ancestors on my mother’s side of the family….there is also a notorious pirate by the name of Sir Francis Drake on my father’s side of the family. A double whammy if you are pointing fingers, wouldn’t you say? In any case, the key word here is “HISTORY”. We learn from it, you hope not to make the same mistakes. In any case all of this comes down to all of you also being related because in case any of you have forgotten, you all are part of the HUMAN RACE. I say leave things alone and remember. There have been many horrible things done down thru history that have claimed many lives (WWI, WWII, Korean, Vietnam, …….) do we also turn our backs on that?

  28. Frankie Duncan

    So by erasing our history is going to do what? Most of all the people who died fighting in the civil war never had a slave, so why would they fight and die for slavery. . So to question their honor or patriotism doesn’t seem fair.

  29. Leave Lee alone, pick on the Jefferson Davis if you must or any of the other truly problematic members of the Confederate cause. In Lee’s formative years it was the united STATES of America, in other words the states were joined to form a Union, not that states were mere subdivisions of a larger whole. Lee seen himself a Virginian first and from there a US Citizen. He did seem a little willfully ignorant of the evil his fellow southerners inflicted on the Black race, but his actual experience near slaves was the treatment was far less horrible and influenced heavily by early indoctrination he was would have been subjected to in school/family.

    Lee also surrendered (rather than fighting endless guerilla war), he worked somewhat on reconciliation and opposed secession in the first place, He truly does represent the honorable part of the Southern spirit, unfortunately this is the same spirit that foolishly allowed them to be maneuvered into supporting the evil.

  30. J. Shaw

    If we are going to remove all images of those who tolerated or supported slavery we better start removing every vestige of American history from 1776 to 1865. While we are at it, we need to remove anything British from 1607 to 1781, as under both systems allowed slavery in America. This movement to sanitize the country based on some splinter group of angry, intolerant, historical views is an absurd selective view of history.

  31. As a lifetime southerner I have to say this is a complicated issue. Yes, their are racists that will always use that flag as a symbol of white supremacy. I can only express what these monuments and that flag mean to me. I couldnt care less about Jefferson Davis. Tear it down. As for The generals and the flag all it represents to me is the fighting spirit of the southern American soldier. Politics aside. These generals were the very best tacticians America ever produced. Lees tactics are still taught at West Point. At that time in our history states rights were a very big deal. Now I understand that the right they were pissed about was slave ownership, but These generals only cared about supporting their state. Had Lee been born and lived in Marilyn he would have been fighting for the north. Gen. James Longstreet, Lees right hand man even stated that the slaves should have been freed at the beginning of the conflict in order to make it a non-issue. Not to mention it would have been easier to get support from European countries. For the average southerner that’s all it really represents and for the record I do not own and have never displayed that flag. I live in Mississippi and There isnt a single confederate battle flag flying in my neighborhood.

  32. Daryle Graham

    This article is an insult to me, and to the thousands of ordinary Southerners like me, who share a reverence for the great men and ideals that form the basis of our culture. Do you want to rewrite history and hope for a different outcome? I have studied a great deal about the history of the Civil War and specifically about Robert E. Lee, and this article is the first that has ever referred to him as a racist, although several ignorant authors have called him a traitor. I would like to point out that not a single Confederate officer or political office holder was ever put on trial for treason after the war, and every one, (including Jefferson Davis), was eventually returned to the status of U. S. Citizen. The memorials and monuments to these men serve to remind us of our past, both good and bad, and without those reminders we may find history repeating itself. Mr. Thompson, I suggest you read a history book.

  33. Mark Kimball

    Doug, you need to learn history and travel back in time to learn that the Civil War was NOT over slavery or racism. In fact, Lincoln offered to endorse slavery if the South would simply return. The war was over taxation.
    Certainly, slavery was a small part of the conflict but slavery was and still IS an issue in the world. Demonizing Robert E. Lee for his “states rights” position is foolish.
    Robert E. Lee was a Good Virginian which was the proper position of that time and probably still should be in that States were never suppose to be “beholdin'” to the Federal Government which has grown too large and powerful.

    • Jack Smith

      Mark: Go read the secession ordinances passed by each seceding state, and then try to defend your statement that slavery didn’t cause the war.,Also look at Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone” speech. Your statement is pure fantasy. Slavery, and the Republican refusal to allow its westward expansion caused the war. Go take a history course. There is much, much more–facts don’t lie. You might just learn something!

      • Allen

        MOST of the states elected officials at that time were the rich. AT that time each person had to pay a poll tax in order to vote. That “tax” was more than most people made in several months of work. The average citizen had absolutely NO say so in the affairs of the Government, even at the local level. Now, maybe some people can see that the average southerner wasn’t fighting for slavery, shoot most of them were too poor to feed themselves, much less other mouths. Many of the personal history’s I have read while researching my ancestors mentions Union solders raping the wives and daughters,animals being slaughtered and run off. Young males being shot. I would be willing to say most of my ancestors that fought were fighting to survive, they cared less about slavery. Right now today a large number of people are opposed to big government meddling in states affair’s. Are these people tratiors because they question? Are the people prosteting The current President tratiors? By the way, we have lots of information sources these people never had. To use a blanket statement such as “all southerners were traitors ” is just blatantly false. When does it stop? If we removing every sign of offense to someone, what do we have?
        Just some food for thought

    • The war was fought over slavery. The southern states left the union because they feared Lincoln was going to end slavery. Lincoln never believed he could free the slaves as it was against the constitution. Slavery did not officially end until after the war via a constitutional amendment.

  34. Mark J. Fernandes

    I wish the folks of 2017 would stop judging the people of 1861 with 2017 standards. Prior to the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments there was no definition of citizenship in the United States. You were a citizen of your state then the United States. Robert Edward Lee was offered command of the Army of the United States. He turned it down to defend his State.

    General Lee was a person of the time. He defended his state which he felt was being subjugated by the Federal Government. I the 1800’s the Federal Government was part time and existed only to deal with the issues of interstate commerce and foreign relations. The concept of a Federal Government involved in the everyday life of people in abhorrent.

    So in 1860 Lee followed the ideals of the time and went to defend his State. Abraham Lincoln raised an army to say that the Union was forever. They fought Lincoln’s side won and now we accept the supremacy of the Federal Government. That doesn’t make Lee a traitor it makes him the recipient of History written by the victor.

  35. This is a complex issue with emotions on both sides, so I should not be surprised at the authors angry emotional response. There were no doubt plenty of villains on both sides in the civil war, but also many saviors as well.
    Slavery happened. It started many thousands of years ago and was practiced by every civil society for millennia. We don’t tear down Rome or the Parthenon or the Pyramids. We don’t denigrate the cultures and societies of many American Indian tribes who practiced slavery, although we allow them to soft sell their version of it and give them a pass for some reason. Europe was built on it although they did a better job of hiding it once it was declared illegal (not by England until the 1830’s by the way). All of this is a fact, the way it was and part of history.
    The Civil War also happened. America’s legal approval of slavery also happened, that’s right in America Slavery was indeed legal right up until Lincoln freed the slaves (only in the South by the way) and in the South it was a legal practice no matter how wrong we view it in the rear view mirror that is this issue. In those days, you were a Virginian first and a Citizen of America second if at all.
    The point is the tearing down of monuments is an effort to abolish history, little different than burning books. We don’t destroy the monuments of history no matter how uncomfortable it makes us lest we forget history. I can imagine a sci-fi version of America 100 years from now where the prospect of slavery or civil war is denied as there would be no relic, no monument, no visible history of it’s actual occurrence. Also no monument to the 8 in 10 civil war soldiers who owned no slaves nor had any prospect of such, but fought for what they saw as a war; cultural, economic and combat, waged upon them by a people as foreign to them as we would consider a person from Afghanistan or Iraq today.
    You can whine and complain about your exposure to racism due to school segregation, Jim Crow Laws, the Civil War and the chains of slavery that perhaps held your great multi-great grandparent OR you can embrace their hardship and celebrate how far you have come, how far we have come and the obstacles you have had to climb over. It doesn’t have to be at the expense of histories monuments or the memories of other’s struggles. For some it was a history of the hardship of a child raised without a father who had died in the Civil War on the side of the south who did nothing more than answer the call of his homeland.

    • All of your points are specious at best, incoheret ramblings at worst. Removing these statues from public TAX PAYER funded space is not erasing any history. There are multitudes of other media and ways to learn about these men and the terrorists that supported them. You can have all the monuments ad statues you wat on private property and private museums. As for the rest of this drivel, let’s not forget many African Americans living parents had to live through Jim Crow. A direct action that came about from past confederate supporters.

      • You see you can’t have an intelligent discussion with people like yourself. In the absence of discussion and coherent arguments are words like traitor and terrorist. There’s another group also working hard to destroy monuments they disagree with – they’re called ISIS.

  36. linclon was the traitor. He fought to subdue sovereignty of states’ rights and used slavery as an excuse when money and land were the reasons all along.

  37. I’m afraid we will forget those that betrayed America by removing their statues/monuments. Out of site, out of mind. I think a better solution is to put a plaque on those monuments explaining the truth: who they were and what they stood for. Should we destroy Auschwitz to forget about the Nazi genocide and Hitler? If we forget about the past, we are doomed to repeat those mistakes – hence our new presidential regime.

    • George P Thomas

      Auschwitz must remain not to honour the horrors of the Nazi genocide and Hitler, but to remember them … so as not to repeat them…

  38. Ron Collins

    The writer of this article – DOUG THOMPSON – is a LIAR.

    NAME ONE person that was EVER tried and convicted of treason for fighting for or supporting the Confederacy. JUST ONE. You can’t, because they were NONE. Abraham Lincoln didn’t call it treachery; he called it a rebellion. Jefferson Davis sat in prison for 2 years waiting on a trial for treason that never happened. Davis wanted the trial, but the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Salmon P. Chase – sitting in as circuit judge, as was common in those days – informed the prosecution for the U.S. that there were good chances that the U.S. would lose if the trial was allowed to take place. The U.S. dropped the charges. Then, on 12/25/1868, U.S. President Andrew Johnson issued a FULL AND UNCONDITIONAL PARDON for any and all that had fought or supported the Confederacy.

    During the Civil War, Federal officials recognized a need for new laws to deal with the rebellious acts of a large part of the Southern population. Because ‘treason’ seemed too strong a word and death too severe a penalty for many of the acts in support of the Confederate cause, the Congress of the United States passed acts on July 31, 1861 (12 Stat. 284), and July 17, 1862 (12 Stat. 589), that fixed penalties for lesser crimes of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘rebellion.’ The latter act also provided for future pardon and amnesty by Presidential proclamation to be extended “…to any persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion…with such exceptions and at such time and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.”

    • Ron sounds like an apologist for a bunch of lazy, inbred “people” that fought a war that killed 500,000 Americans because they wanted to own people.

      • jean norton

        bite it caveman radio, this was 150 years ago, these men were not traitors, no one was convicted of treason- they were all pardoned

        • William Hale

          BITE IT Jean Norton! The Confederates WERE traitors PERIOD! They betrayed the country that they gave a solemn oath to defend and then took up arms AGAINST that country, that is TREASON, period! They werent tried because of legal loopholes, grant’s surrender terms and the fact that the US CONSTITUTION says that the ONLY way to prove treason is to confess in open court or have TWO eyewitnesses testify in open court as to the treasonous acts. DNA or a video tape of Robert E Lee shooting US troops COULD NOT be used as evidence in a treason case. Even if you receive a PARDON, it does NOT mean that you did not commit the act that you were pardoned for. Your statement has no bearing on the LEGAL issues at hand and are 100% FALSE!

      • One of Lincoln’s favorite songs was “Dixie,” which was sung at Appomattox during the cease fire. “Dixie” was written by a Northerner – Daniel Decatur Emmett – who was born in Ohio. Mary Todd Lincoln’s family owned slaves and several of her brothers died fighting for the Confederacy.

    • Billy Thomas

      You sir are correct. funny no one mentions lincolns wife owned slaves. they just don’t. you let somebody come kick my door down and he will die as soon as i can fire. just like they did when the aggressors came here did in 1861-1865. they were buried where they dropped. that means they were down here lookin for trouble and found it. we’re still open for business and my S&W is loaded and waiting. bring your raiding ass to here again and you will be shot again.

      • William Hale

        @Billy Thomas – If NOBODY mentions that Lincolns wife owned slaves, then how do historians and somehow even YOU know about it? If NOBODY ever ever ever talks about it? How is that possible that millions of people know it?? Use what little logic you have and try to figure that out! As to your ignorant threats, quit being an internet blowhard, the traitors of the south and all of their supposed skill, strength and combat ability got their azzes handed to them, they had as much skill and knowledge as you do, so NOBODY is scared of your threat with your S&W claims which you probably couldn’t hit an elephants rear with a barn door!

  39. It was certainly possible for persons to believe that a State had the right to withdraw from the Union. The 10th Amendment supports such an argument. It is not treason for a State to exercise a constitutional right. After the war the Supreme Court held that State’s do not have such a right, at least without the consent of the Federal Government. However, in 1860 this was an open question.

    • William Hale

      Actually, your statement is ENTIRELY false! Under the Articles of Confederation, the UNION was eternal. Furthermore, under the AoC, the 2nd article said that EACH state was still sovereign, the USC did NOT contain such a clause, therefore it no longer existed. They debated inserting such an article into the Bill of Rights to PRESERVE so called states rights, it was REJECTED. They KNEW what they were voting on and the PEOPLE, not the states, TOOK sovereignty away from the states, gave some to the Federal government, some back to the states, and KEPT the rest for themselves, the SOVEREIGN people.

      Robert E Lee KNEW that the Federal govt had the right to send troops into states to put down rebellion, so did everyone else, but LEE knew it firsthand, because his father was in charge of the US troops and the state troops of Va, MD, and PA that went into Western PA in 1793 and put down the Whiskey Rebellion, so Lee KNEW that VA leaving the ETERNAL Union based on such base lies would make him a TRAITOR to his country, the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, not the COUNTRY of Virginia.

      WHale

      • The Articles of Confederation were replaced by the Constitution. As you point out, nothing in the Constitution provides that it is “eternal.” The 10th amendment provides that those powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution “nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Since the federal government has no power regarding secession a strong case could be made that the Constitution reserved this power to the States. The Whiskey Rebellion was not secession but an uprising within parts of some states which the federal government took steps to put down with the approval of the states. Robert E. Lee directly assisted in putting down John Brown’s Rebellion at Harper’s Ferry. He commanded a contingent of U.S. Marines supporting the Virginia Militia. Obviously, the federal government could assist state’s in putting down rebellions within a state’s borders.

  40. Wouldn’t that also make George Washington and everyone in the American Revolution traitors? England owned this country when they decided to take up arms against them.

  41. agree with the above comment. Not necessary to call traitors those who sincerely disagreed in 1861 what the term United States meant. They thought it meant these United States.

  42. As many others have pointed out, Lee himself wanted the South to put aside the Confederacy’s trappings. I doubt he would have objected to statues memorializing the dead, but he did specifically object to the flag.

    • Robert E. Lee was an honorable man who gave up the opportunity ro become head of the Federal forces in order not to take up arms against his kith and kin. After his surrender to U.S. Grant at Appomattox, Lee urged his fellow Virginians to reconcile with their fellow Americans and get on with the task of binding the nation’s wounds. He did not want to continue the hate like the KKK, but to get on with life. He was greatly admired by many in the north as well as the south. It was a different time with different values.