Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause

diane

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He basically went straight from the war to a job at a private university and died 5 1/2 years after his surrender. As I recall, he only ever left Lexington during that time for health reasons.

Why would he have an obligation to advance racial equality after the war?
I think Lee was still into the paternalistic view. He didn't believe the freed slaves could take care of themselves. When he testified in Congress during the inquiries about the klan he stated he didn't believed the races were equal or could live together. Don't think he was the one to promote racial equality!
 

Leftyhunter

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He basically went straight from the war to a job at a private university and died 5 1/2 years after his surrender. As I recall, he only ever left Lexington during that time for health reasons.

Why would he have an obligation to advance racial equality after the war?
To justify why Lee should be venerated by Americans because in the South until very recently there were many statues of Lee . Lee was given God like status in the South or at least that if a Saint. Some Southern states have a public holiday called Lee-Jackson Day. Why should the memory of Lee be honored if he wa not in favor of equal rights for the large AA community in the South?
Leftyhunter
 

Leftyhunter

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I think Lee was still into the paternalistic view. He didn't believe the freed slaves could take care of themselves. When he testified in Congress during the inquiries about the klan he stated he didn't believed the races were equal or could live together. Don't think he was the one to promote racial equality!
True that would be why Lee shouldn't be thought of has a Saint.
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Leftyhunter

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Saint Robert of Lee and that devil Forrest - there's definitely something at work in the psyche there!
My understanding is many Southern whites love Forrest although perhaps the younger generation doesn't even know about him. Not sure how interested young Southern whites are in their Confedrate heritage. The South as we know is becoming increasingly multi racial and diverse with Houston, Texas being even more diverse then Los Angeles.
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diane

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My understanding is many Southern whites love Forrest although perhaps the younger generation doesn't even know about him. Not sure how interested young Southern whites are in their Confedrate heritage. The South as we know is becoming increasingly multi racial and diverse with Houston, Texas being even more diverse then Los Angeles.
Leftyhunter
I think you're right there - the South was isolated and insulated for a long time. There is a true cultural and societal change going on there - it will be interesting to see what comes of it. For example, Forrest's 4x-nephew (who looks exactly like him!) supports removal of Confederate monuments. It's a time to rethink many things. Neither Lee or Forrest would have approved of monuments to them, by the way.
 

Joshism

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To justify why Lee should be venerated by Americans because in the South until very recently there were many statues of Lee . Lee was given God like status in the South or at least that if a Saint. Some Southern states have a public holiday called Lee-Jackson Day. Why should the memory of Lee be honored if he wa not in favor of equal rights for the large AA community in the South?
If we're only going to honor the memory of people who favored racial equality very few Americans will be honored, and not just in regards to the ACW.
 

Leftyhunter

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If we're only going to honor the memory of people who favored racial equality very few Americans will be honored, and not just in regards to the ACW.
Individuals can worship whoever they want but Lee worship was subsidized by Southern goverment's until quite recently plus state Lee-Jackson Holliday's in his honor. So it's not a matter of Lee being worshipped by individuals but by government entities.
Leftyhunter
 

O' Be Joyful

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I think you're right there - the South was isolated and insulated for a long time.

Mostly by "their" own choosing and internal propaganda.

It continues to this very Day, and the virus... spreads. I have been in THE U.S. Capitol twice in my lifetime--including on the House and Senate Floors-- and what happened there makes me want puke every time I see video of the attack upon It.


We all know the chorus: Washington, dusty, muddy, tiresome Washington is the most awful place, political and other; is the rendezvous of the national universal axe-grinding, caucusing, and of our never-ending ballot-chosen shysters, and perennial smouchers, and windy bawlers from every quarter far and near. We learn, also, that there is no society, no art, in Washington; nothing of the elaborated high-life attractions of the charming capitals (for rich and morbid idlers) over sea. Truly this particular sort of charm is not in full blossom here; n'importe. Let those miss it who miss it, (we have a sad set among our rich young men,) and, if they will, go voyage over sea to find it. But there are man's studies, objects here, nevermore exhilarating ones. What themes, what fields this national city affords, this hour, for eyes of live heads, and for souls fit to feed upon them!
This city, this hour, in its material sights, and what they and it stand for, the point of the physical and moral America, the visible fact of this war, (how at last, after sleeping long as it may, one finds war ever-dearest fact to man, though most terrible, and only arbiter, after all said about the pen being mightier, &c.) This city, concrete to-day of the inauguration of the new adjustment of the civilized world's political power and geography, with vastest consequences of Presidential and Congressional action; things done here, these days, bearing on the status of man, long centuries; the spot and the hour here making history's basic materials and widest ramifications; the city of the armies of the good old cause, full of significant signs, surrounded with weapons and armaments on every hill as I look forth, and THE FLAG flying over all. The city that launches the direct laws, the imperial laws of American Union and Democracy, to be henceforth compelled, when [prodded?], at the point of the bayonet and the muzzle of cannon—launched over continental areas, three millions of square miles, an empire large as Europe. The city of wounded and sick, city of hospitals, full of the sweetest, bravest children of time or lands; tens of thousands, wounded, bloody, amputated, burning with fever, blue with diarrhœa. The city of the wide Potomac, the queenly river, lined with softest, greenest hills and uplands. The city of Congress, with debates, agitations, (petty, if you please, but full of future fruit,) of chaotic formings; of Congress knowing not itself, as its sits there in its rooms of gold, knowing not the depths of consequence belonging to it, that lie below the scum and eructations of its surface.
(snip)
We are soon to see a thing accomplished here which I have often exercised my mind about, namely, the putting of the Genius of America away up there on the top of the dome of the Capitol.1 A few days ago, poking about there, eastern side, I found the Genius, all dismembered, scattered on the ground, by the basement front—I supposed preparatory to being hoisted. This, however, cannot be done forthwith, as I know that an immense pedestal surmounting the dome, has yet to be finished—about eighty feet high—on which the Genius is to stand, (with her back to the city).
But I must say something about the dome. All the great effects of the Capitol reside in it. The effects of the Capitol are worth study, frequent and varied; I find they grow upon one. I shall always identify Washington with that huge and delicate towering bulge of pure white, where it emerges calm and lofty from the hill, out of a dense mass of trees. There is no place in the city, or for miles and miles off, or down or up the river, but what you see this tiara-like dome quietly rising out of the foliage; (one of the effects of first-class architecture is its serenity, its aplomb.)
A vast eggshell, built of iron and glass, this dome—a beauteous bubble, caught and put in permanent form. I say a beauty and genuine success. I have to say the same, upon the whole, (after some qualms, maybe,) with respect to the entire edifice. I mean the entire Capitol is a sufficient success, if we accept what is called architecture the orthodox styles, (a little mixed here,) and indulge them for our purposes until further notice.
We are soon to see a thing accomplished here which I have often exercised my mind about, namely, the putting of the Genius of America away up there on the top of the dome of the Capitol.1 A few days ago, poking about there, eastern side, I found the Genius, all dismembered, scattered on the ground, by the basement front—I supposed preparatory to being hoisted. This, however, cannot be done forthwith, as I know that an immense pedestal surmounting the dome, has yet to be finished—about eighty feet high—on which the Genius is to stand, (with her back to the city).
But I must say something about the dome. All the great effects of the Capitol reside in it. The effects of the Capitol are worth study, frequent and varied; I find they grow upon one. I shall always identify Washington with that huge and delicate towering bulge of pure white, where it emerges calm and lofty from the hill, out of a dense mass of trees. There is no place in the city, or for miles and miles off, or down or up the river, but what you see this tiara-like dome quietly rising out of the foliage; (one of the effects of first-class architecture is its serenity, its aplomb.)
The dome I praise, with the aforesaid Genius, (when she gets up, which she probably will by the time next Congress meets,) will then aspire about three hundred feet above the surface. And then, remember that our National House is set upon a hill. I have stood over on the Virginia hills, west of the Potomac, or on the Maryland hills, east, and viewed the structure from all positions and distances; but I find myself, after all, very fond of getting somewhere near, somewhere within fifty or a hundred rods, and gazing long and long at the dome rising out of the mass of green umbrage, as aforementioned.
The dome is tiara or triple. The lower division is surrounded with a ring of columns, pretty close together. There is much ornament everywhere, but it is kept down by the uniform white; then lots of slender oval-topt windows. Ever as I look, especially when near, (I repeat it,) the dome is a beauty, large and bold. From the east side it shows immensely. I hear folks say it is too large. Not at all, to my eye. Some say too, the columns front and rear of the Old Capitol part, there in the centre, are now so disproportionably slender by the enlargement, that they must be removed. I say no; let them stand. They have a pleasant beauty as they are; the eye will get accustomed to them, and approve them.
Of our Genius of America, a sort of compound of handsome Choctaw squaw with the well-known Liberty of Rome, (and the French revolution,) and a touch perhaps of Athenian Pallas, (but very faint,) it is to be further described as an extensive female, cast in bronze, with much drapery, especially ruffles, and a face of goodnatured indolent expression, surmounted by a high cap with more ruffles. The Genius has for a year or two past been standing in the mud, west of the Capitol; I saw her there all Winter, looking very harmless and innocent, although holding a huge sword. For pictorial representation of the Genius, see any five-dollar United States greenback; for there she is at the left hand. But the artist has made her twenty times brighter in expression, &c., than the bronze Genius is.


Of Thee I Sing.
 
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Here a short essay on Robert E Lee not flattering at all...


No. People do not go to war for abstract theories of government. They fight for property and privilege, and that was what Virginia fought for in the Civil War. And Lee followed Virginia. He followed Virginia not because he particularly loved slavery (although he certainly did not hate it), but because he did not have the moral courage to stand against his family and his clan. Lee hesitated and hung his head in shame, because he was asked to lead armies against human progress and Christian decency and did not dare refuse. He surrendered not to Grant, but to Negro Emancipation.
 

Union8448

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Here a short essay on Robert E Lee not flattering at all...


No. People do not go to war for abstract theories of government. They fight for property and privilege, and that was what Virginia fought for in the Civil War. And Lee followed Virginia. He followed Virginia not because he particularly loved slavery (although he certainly did not hate it), but because he did not have the moral courage to stand against his family and his clan. Lee hesitated and hung his head in shame, because he was asked to lead armies against human progress and Christian decency and did not dare refuse. He surrendered not to Grant, but to Negro Emancipation.
The best explanation of Lee's error was that of Elizabeth Blair Lee, the wife of naval captain Samuel P. Lee.
 

Union8448

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Lee chose the Confederates so that he would no longer be commanded by Winfield Scott and would instead would be rapidly promoted by President Davis. His main motivation was vanity.
 

5fish

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The best explanation of Lee's error was that of Elizabeth Blair Lee, the wife of naval captain Samuel P. Lee.
Please explain this notion...

Lee chose the Confederates so that he would no longer be commanded by Winfield Scott and would instead would be rapidly promoted by President Davis. His main motivation was vanity.
Wait a minute, He was going to be given the command of the Union army( or part of it, he would have been a General) and Scott knew he was not going to be fighting this war. He was a traditionalist and wanted the institution of slavery to die out on Gods time table. We have Lee's slave ledgers but the family still controls them... He only freed his slaves when the courts were about to order him to...


Do you know what Lee was doing in the first months of the war? He was not running any armies. He was checking coast defenses and later he was digging trenches around Richmond... somewhere during this time, he led a military action that failed at Cheat Mountain... He got the job because while in Richmond he had the ear of Jefferson Davis... He got the job because Gen. Joe Johnston was wounded and Lee made the most of his opportunity...

 
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