Monday, March 12, 2018

General Lee and Monuments

Removal of Lee Statue
in New Orleans
On Sunday, March 11, 2018, 60 Minutes aired a story about Confederate monuments. The episode can be viewed online at The Monuments, Clones. The program discusses the usual problems with monuments --- honoring or glorifying Civil War military and public officials, removing monuments in New Orleans and Richmond, the Lost Cause, and opinions of historians on removing the monuments.

General Robert E. Lee opposed monuments and said they would only “keep open the sores of war” and the ill will war engendered, which he thought should be consigned to “oblivion.” <1>

After Lee became president of Washington College, he received many proposals for memorials, but turned them down because he thought they would “anger the victorious Federals.”

General Robert E. Lee
As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated; my conviction is, that <2>
however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.

According to Lee biographer, Jonathan Horn, not only did Lee oppose Confederate monuments, "he favored erasing battlefields from the landscape altogether.

"He even supported getting rid of the Confederate flag after the Civil War ended. He didn't want it flying above Washington College."Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker." Horn said Lee "was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive."<2>

<1>Here's what Robert E. Lee thought about Confederate Monuments, Business Insider
<2>Robert E. Lee discouraged monuments, Washington Post

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