Robert E. Lee Was No Hero

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

Richard Cohen takes a hatchet to the reputation of southern general Robert E. Lee in an opinion piece in the Washington Post:

It has taken a while, but it’s about time Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War. The South, of course, was defeated on the battlefield in 1865, yet the Lee legend — swaddled in myth, kitsch and racism — has endured even past the civil rights era when it became both urgent and right to finally tell the “Lost Cause” to get lost.

Now it should be Lee’s turn. He was loyal to slavery and disloyal to his country — not worthy, even he might now admit, of the honors accorded him.

I confess to always being puzzled by the cult of Lee. Whatever his personal or military virtues, he offered himself and his sword to the cause of slavery. He owned slaves himself and fought tenaciously in the courts to keep them.

He commanded a vast army that, had it won, would have secured the independence of a nation dedicated to the proposition that white people could own black people and sell them off, husband from wife, child from parent, as the owner saw fit. Such a man cannot be admired.

But he is. All over the South, particularly in his native Virginia, the cult of Lee is manifested in streets, highways and schools named for him. When I first moved to the Washington area, I used to marvel at these homages to the man. What was being honored? Slavery? Treason? Or maybe, for this is how I perceive him, no sense of humor? (Often, that is mistaken for wisdom.) I also wondered what a black person was supposed to think or, maybe more to the point, feel. Chagrin or rage would be perfectly appropriate.

Still, even I was not immune to the cult of Lee. I kept thinking I must be missing something…

[continues in the Washington Post]

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  • Tony79stark

    Ok. I find this article offensive as hell. Guess that don;t matter much since I am a white man in an America that caters to the so called “minority”. Yes, Robert Lee owned slaves. Blah blah blah. So did General Grant oh yeah, and America’s beloved Abraham Lincolin. Yeah, thats right. Lincolin and his whole damn family before him were all slavers. General grand said these words. A quote: “If I thought this war was to abolish savery I would lay down my command and offer my sword to the other side.” I am sick of American media trying to blame the South for this whole countries atrocities during that time period. Slavery existed for over 300 years in this country BEFORE the Civil War. Not ONE SINGLE ship that carried a slave to this country flew a Confederate flag on it’s mast. So, I wish these damn Hippies would get off thier “America is great” high horse and come back down to reality. The winner of the war writes and manipulates the truth to look like a hero. What? Oh yeah, your country wouldnt lie to you now, would they? Laughable.

  • Tony79stark

    Ok. I find this article offensive as hell. Guess that don;t matter much since I am a white man in an America that caters to the so called “minority”. Yes, Robert Lee owned slaves. Blah blah blah. So did General Grant oh yeah, and America’s beloved Abraham Lincolin. Yeah, thats right. Lincolin and his whole damn family before him were all slavers. General grand said these words. A quote: “If I thought this war was to abolish savery I would lay down my command and offer my sword to the other side.” I am sick of American media trying to blame the South for this whole countries atrocities during that time period. Slavery existed for over 300 years in this country BEFORE the Civil War. Not ONE SINGLE ship that carried a slave to this country flew a Confederate flag on it’s mast. So, I wish these damn Hippies would get off thier “America is great” high horse and come back down to reality. The winner of the war writes and manipulates the truth to look like a hero. What? Oh yeah, your country wouldnt lie to you now, would they? Laughable.

    • Andrew

      Waahh, waahh, waahh. Get over it.

    • Boandlukeduke

      My car also find this articel very insulting

      • Roscoe P Coltrane

        lol i’ll get you duke boys guh guh guh

    • Tuna Ghost

      Yeah white males in America have so damn hard, all these people thinking they’re minorities just because there are significantly less of them than there are of you and the vast majority of the culture was built for and still proceeds to cater to white males. Shit, how you even find the courage to get out of bed and face this awful reality is inspiring

    • hunter349

      Both you and this article are not reflective of reality.

      You are completely wrong about Lincoln. What you said is a complete factual fallacy. He never owned slaves. His wife’s father did. His grandfather (also named Abraham Lincoln) was never proven to but is generally assumed to have owned slaves as a large Virginia land owner. President Lincoln’s father Thomas Lincoln was openly against slavery in the public record when he lived in Kentucky. Lincoln owned a general store that he bought at age 23 then at 25 went on to be the postmaster of his town and do survey work. He was a state house member then practiced law, then became a US house member and finally became president. He owned slaves at no time in his life. He is even said to have avoided hunting and fishing because he did not want to kill animals.

      I am a Virginian, and not just that but from Richmond, Virginia. I know full well the history, admiration, and and reverence given here to the confederacy and Lee in particular. The high school I went to was named after general Lee and Jefferson Davis (president of the confederacy). I have lived on streets named after historic confederates and adorned with giant statues to their memory. Throughout my entire education and life I heard the distorted tales of “states rights” and “northern aggression”. The reality is many who live in the south, have family history here, and are fond of the new southern identity do not want to admit the issue of slavery as the major factor of the war. Even when formal state secession documents from my state of Virginia and all other seceding states listed slavery as the primary cause. It’s not easy to admit especially given our modern ethical feelings and it’s relatively recent practice that slavery was such a staple of the southern (and northern either directly or indirectly) way of life.

      The civil war and surrounding events were a vastly complex mixture of politics and public sentiment. General Lee did own slaves. So did George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and many other land owning Virginians and Americans. It can be understood at this time in history looking back why some may say traitor. However, you do have to take things into perspective. At the time of the civil war the United States had been a country for less that 100 years and as with many fledgling countries there were splits and heated disagreements as well as chatter of culturally and economically different areas forming their own nations.

      Lee was not a man who promoted the cause of slavery as a necessity for secession. He was a member of, trained, and studied with the US military. He even gave a speech to a group of soldiers in which general Grant was one of them. At appomattox court house where Lee surrendered to Grant general Grant even remarked to Lee about seeing him give his speech and how he had always had great respect for him. After surrendering General Lee was asked by many to take his troops to the Blue Ridge mountains and keep fighting. He refused, and spent the remaining weeks of the war as well as the following time in his life to mending the scars between the north and south. Lee was very torn on the issue of secession and the war. He is known to have spoken against secession and was quoted as not feeling that slavery alone should split the country. Wen the time came to choose sides he chose his homeland (as many of us would) of Virginia and by association the south. Politicians and the populist fervor they called the south to arms with was what lead the south to war. Their hatred of Lincoln and his open anti slavery stance they said (and correctly) would drastically change the southern way of life and economy. Lee was far more complex and interesting a historical figure than this article gives him credit for and whenever such broad descriptions of a man (such as this article gives) are used it is a disservice to history and a distortion of reality. In the case of this article it distorts in the opposite direction but much the same way that many southern apologists do.

      After the civil war Lincoln’s policy was not to punish the south but allow them to keep their pride. The south was not evil, nor were it’s people the vast majority of whom did not own slaves. They were simply on the losing side of a war and with respect to the issue of slavery on the wrong side of history. I know and understand full well the desire to connect with ones heritage and to not want to feel that by association ones self is connected to the least desirable aspects of that heritage. But to deny reality and to change history to soothe that feeling is an injustice to those we teach it to and an injustice to ourselves for not allowing the lessons we have learned as a people to be learned and passed on to future generations to build upon.

      The end. :)

      • Tuna Ghost

        Well god damn that was a beat down. Good stuff

    • sonicbphuct

      correct – america caters to minorities. So, your offense is duly not noted.

  • Zombibeard

    This Mr. Cohen posts no citations, nor does he back up any of his claims. He’s best just left ignored so he can revel in his own ignorance.

  • Zombibeard

    This Mr. Cohen posts no citations, nor does he back up any of his claims. He’s best just left ignored so he can revel in his own ignorance.

  • Andrew

    Waahh, waahh, waahh. Get over it.

  • Boandlukeduke

    My car also find this articel very insulting

  • swabby429

    Regardless of the slavery issue, General Lee led a mutinous insurrection against the nation he had vowed to defend by swearing to his oath upon his service to the United States Army. Pure and simple, he was a traitor.

    I think the fascination springs from our love of outlaw type characters. Bonnie and Clyde. The James Gang. etc.

  • swabby429

    Regardless of the slavery issue, General Lee led a mutinous insurrection against the nation he had vowed to defend by swearing to his oath upon his service to the United States Army. Pure and simple, he was a traitor.

    I think the fascination springs from our love of outlaw type characters. Bonnie and Clyde. The James Gang. etc.

    • Hadrian999

      it depends on how the country was defined, when the us was founded it had no real federal government and functioned as a organization of independent nations, the constitutional convention set up the civil war, it was inevitable, slavery was a big question but the real question was is the usa a a collection of states or is it a top down imperial sort of organization. Personally I would rather look up to someone willing to lead an insurrection rather than than someone who is ruled by blind obedience.

      • Tuna Ghost

        hmmm I (and unless I’m very much mistaken, the majority of academics) would disagree that this was the “real” question or cause of the civil war. Many will say “it was about state’s rights”, which is true in that it was about state’s rights to own slaves.

        • Hadrian999

          slavery was the flashpoint but if you look at the period of time just after the revolution many people didn’t want any kind of empowered federal government. slavery was an very interesting questing full of hypocrisy on both sides but it really boiled down to power and the federalists and the parties that grew out of the federalists wanted all power to flow from the federal level, anti federalists wanted to be a association of free states. ignoring that and making it seem like the federal government was fighting for human rights sounds a lot better than keeping local vassal governments in line. if the north really cared about the plight of slaves they would have treated slave produced cotton and rice like blood diamonds but instead they were happy to profit off slave labor while pretending to be moralists.

          • ArgosyJones

            This is a load of shit. At the time the southern state governments and newspapers saw things much more clearly than southerners are inclined to today. Slave states, through the fugitive slave act, and others, were more than happy to have a top down government control things, as long as it was done their way. They were also more than happy to extend slavery to new territories, and use the federal army to add new slave territories to the union.

          • Hadrian999

            the battle lines of the civil war were set at the constitutional convention, long before the slavery question ever came to a head, the south was always anti-federalist territory.

          • ArgosyJones

            The 3/5ths compromise should give a clear indication that even at the time of the constitutional convention, slavery was a sharp division between the states. I have given examples of actions by the south that contradict this rhetorical anti-federalism. They supported federalism whenever it was in the interests of the planter/slaver elite.

          • Hadrian999

            it was a big concern, it was the bedrock of the entire American economy but it is overly simplistic to say that slavery was the sole point of contention between north and south it was a symptom of a problem that continues to this day old vs. new. the south was very entrenched the old feudal manor system slavery was the new manor system in the absence of a serf class. the southern vision was for an isolationist agrarian society the north represented a manufacturing and trade based society. each saw the other as a threat both sides were heavily hypocritical about their own position but even without slavery the north and the south would have fought.

          • ArgosyJones

            Much to the contrary, the South was not really isolationist at all. The cotton plantation system depended on ready access to international markets for cotton, and the lack of industry effectively required imports of finished goods. Southern forces invaded New Mexico during the civil war. The south was neither economically nor politically isolationist, despite their agrarian economy.

            Your own discussion of the plantation system illustrates how central slaves were to the economy of the south. Slavery was not just a moral, but also an economic and social issue in the south. If the southern social system did not depend upon slavery, the conflict over the new states being added to the union would not have been so bitter, nor would the conflict over the fugitive slave laws have existed. The remaining disputes over economic policy had been and would continue to be settled by compromise.

            Secession never took off as an issue until the moral issue of slavery broke down the Democrat/Whig 2 party system along sectional lines– The Republican party was established as a frankly antislavery alternative to the Whig party, with which it shared a basic policy of industry promotion. The democrat party also fractured on sectional lines during the presidential election of 1860 and supported different presidential candidates in the north and the south. This split enabled Lincoln’s victory. Despite Lincoln’s statements that he had neither the authority, nor the inclination to abolish slavery in the southern states, the writing was on the wall.. Lincoln and the northern congressmen would support the entry of free states into the union, and eventually, the constitution would be amended to abolish slavery in every state.

            Slavery was the paramount issue of the times. This was understood by nearly everyone on both sides at the time. It is only afterward that the counterfeit issues of ‘states rights’ and ‘economics’ were foisted by southerners looking for a less odious past. Southerners prefer to gloss over the slavery issue in the same way that I tend to forget Tom Bombadil when thinking of The Lord of the Rings. It’s a better story that way.

          • Hadrian999

            one issue of slavery i find hilarious is even people who claimed the high ground in the slavery like England and northern states had no problem using slave cotton to fuel textile industry. it was never a moral issue with the north. but that’s America for you, fueled by hypocrisy sense it was colonized.

    • Biggoathorns

      some people, i.e. the South, didn’t like the idea of a federal gov’t dictating what they could and couldn’t do. Lincoln started the war, General Lee fought it.

      • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

        So true. Love how history ignores Lincoln opening fire on Fort Sumter…oops…waitaminit…

        • Hadrian999

          sort of a weak argument, the union army was essentially a foreign army holding territory inside a country. such a situation would be an act of war.

          • Butter Knife

            Except that the Union Army was holding territory that was a Union Army fort when the Confederacy was still a part of the Union. Prior to that event, the commitment the South had to secession was somewhat questionable, with many in the North and the Federal government believing that it was a (drastic, inadvisable) political stunt of which they would grow tired when they realized that it wouldn’t get them their way.

            Essentially, we viewed the South as petulant children throwing a temper tantrum. The shameful part is that we still do… partly because we’re paternalistic assholes, but partly because they ARE petulant children.

            Anyway, “The South Will Rise Again” is just as true as “The South Will Be Razed Again”, and the former shall lead to the latter.

          • Hadrian999

            the south never had the means to win, but if it happened today I doubt there would be much effort to keep the south, the country doesn’t need the south’s agriculture anymore and the south is terribly poor. honestly within 50 to 100 years i see the use looking like the Balkans with several countries

          • emperorreagan

            There are lots of people that make similar predictions, that with the decline of the US it is going break up into multiple countries. It does make sense to me, because there are very distinct regions with very little in common. The south, outside of major urban centers, definitely already feels like a different country – I actually felt more at home in Quebec than I did on the trips through the south visiting my relatives and stopping in random small towns.

          • emperorreagan

            The south, as an independent country, would be just as deranged and backwards as Saudi Arabia, in my opinion.

            Without the wealth, of course. The only wealth in the south is thousands of young men with no future that make pretty good canon fodder.

          • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

            Amen. Most people have the poop on the near run up events to the Civil War…but none of the back story that takes decades to cover. The South used the threat of secession for decades…on a myriad of issues, every time it lost a vote in Congress…resulting in countless resolutions being shelved to prevent the US from dissolving. The federal government finally stopped kow-towing to the tiny clique of aristocrats that made up most of the South’s leadership…and when they held their ground…the South attacked expecting a sudden symbolic victory that would force a truce and a favorable settlement. We can launch into the debate about how many people from each side owned slaves…but even if all of them did, it still comes down to one side being willing to relinquish the right to keep humans as property…and the other side not being interested in following suit. Either way…the South still comes away as swaggering fucktards who picked a fight, got creamed, then whined and pissed and moaned like little bitches with skinned knees for 150 years. Fuck them…historically speaking they got off light. If they think Reconstruction sucked…they should sample the rest of history regarding failed mutinies and insurrections. They got a spanked behind compared to what could have transpired.

          • Hadrian999

            I think you are over simplifying a couple of points, yes the south was run by aristocrats but in general so was the north. the north mad a lot of noise about slavery but they profited by slavery just as much as the south did. there were no goodguys in the war just 2 sets of assholes with conflicting interests

          • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

            largely true…heck, most people don’t even know that slavery remained legal in Northern states long after the war was over. The end of slavery started with the imposition of abolition on defeated Southern states…and trickled its way across the rest of the US over time.

            If I simplify for brevity, its mostly because the time it would take just to list salient details in short form would use up most of this page. Boiling it down, even when we consider that slavery was a side issue and the main fight was between mercantile interests on each side, both guilty of countless offenses and trickery…there was one side that wanted a strong unified country and was willing to relinquish “property rights” (with humans being the property) and there was one side that was disinterested in a loss of personal property (humans) and individual power in exchange for a stronger central government. I won’t call either side heroic…but the revisionist authors of Southern pseudo-history deserve every raspberry they get. If they think the Northern version of the war is simplistic twaddle, well…they’ve proven that they can surpass even that and achieve blatant fraud.

          • Butter Knife

            Most of the Northern states had state laws forbidding slavery on the books, sometimes directly (“Thou shalt not own slaves.”), sometimes effectively (“Thou shalt not own slaves unless each is given adequate housing and food, nor shall they be required to work more than 30 hours per week, plus they all get a pony.”), but regardless it wasn’t actually legal to own slaves under normal circumstances in most of the North.

            You are quite correct, however, that there was no Federal prohibition against slavery applicable to the North until well after the Civil War was over.

  • Hadrian999

    it depends on how the country was defined, when the us was founded it had no real federal government and functioned as a organization of independent nations, the constitutional convention set up the civil war, it was inevitable, slavery was a big question but the real question was is the usa a a collection of states or is it a top down imperial sort of organization. Personally I would rather look up to someone willing to lead an insurrection rather than than someone who is ruled by blind obedience.

  • Roscoe P Coltrane

    lol i’ll get you duke boys guh guh guh

  • Biggoathorns

    some people, i.e. the South, didn’t like the idea of a federal gov’t dictating what they could and couldn’t do. Lincoln started the war, General Lee fought it.

  • http://twitter.com/Marklar_Prime Marklar Kronkite

    Hey now, don’t knock Lee. If nothing else he helped those nice young fellows in the haunted tank take on the Nazis in WWII. That has to count for something.

  • Marklar_Prime

    Hey now, don’t knock Lee. If nothing else he helped those nice young fellows in the haunted tank take on the Nazis in WWII. That has to count for something.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    So true. Love how history ignores Lincoln opening fire on Fort Sumter…oops…waitaminit…

  • Anonymous

    What a waste of time. That stubby little article will not penetrate the armor of Lee’s legacy.
    Instead of shamelessly praising Grant, and trashing Lee why not examine why Lee is revered?

    Certainly it is worthy of inquiry, why is the defeated southern General an American hero and the victorious northern General and future President afforded a lesser status by many Americans?

    Now that is an article I would love to read, maybe I should look into it myself.

  • MoralDrift

    What a waste of time. That stubby little article will not penetrate the armor of Lee’s legacy.
    Instead of shamelessly praising Grant, and trashing Lee why not examine why Lee is revered?

    Certainly it is worthy of inquiry, why is the defeated southern General an American hero and the victorious northern General and future President afforded a lesser status by many Americans?

    Now that is an article I would love to read, maybe I should look into it myself.

    • Tuna Ghost

      Well, Grant was an alcoholic and his administration was so rife with corruption it was ridiculous

    • Butter Knife

      Probably because people in the South care far more about the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) than those in the North, and he was on their side? Perhaps also because we hold Lincoln up as the philosophical paragon of the North instead of Grant, who we view mainly as a competent soldier… somewhat the inverse of our perspective on Davis and Lee.

      It probably doesn’t help matters that Lee’s Confederate Army was the last of it’s kind: a semi-feudal force, comprised largely of irregular volunteers, outfitted with heirloom weapons, and led by large-land-owning aristocracy (who also provided most of the funding and logistics); it was romantic, noble, and utterly archaic. Meanwhile, Grant’s Union Army was largely comprised of conscripts, outfitted with mass-produced weapons, and led by a rising technocratic-political elite (who also provided most of the funding and logistics); it was mechanistic, crass, and the basis of every modern Western military since (Japan tried something of a hybrid in WWII… it didn’t work so well)… and laid the foundation of the modern military/industrial complex to boot.

      • MoralDrift

        Thank you, excellent comment

    • Hadrian999

      honestly i think it’s because people love a rebel and hate a yesman, not to mention the fact that grant wasn’t that great of a general and was tainted by scandal during his presidency

    • E.B. Wolf
  • Hadrian999

    sort of a weak argument, the union army was essentially a foreign army holding territory inside a country. such a situation would be an act of war.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Yeah white males in America have so damn hard, all these people thinking they’re minorities just because there are significantly less of them than there are of you and the vast majority of the culture was built for and still proceeds to cater to white males. Shit, how you even find the courage to get out of bed and face this awful reality is inspiring

  • Tuna Ghost

    Well, Grant was an alcoholic and his administration was so rife with corruption it was ridiculous

  • Tuna Ghost

    hmmm I (and unless I’m very much mistaken, the majority of academics) would disagree that this was the “real” question or cause of the civil war. Many will say “it was about state’s rights”, which is true in that it was about state’s rights to own slaves.

  • Hadrian999

    slavery was the flashpoint but if you look at the period of time just after the revolution many people didn’t want any kind of empowered federal government. slavery was an very interesting questing full of hypocrisy on both sides but it really boiled down to power and the federalists and the parties that grew out of the federalists wanted all power to flow from the federal level, anti federalists wanted to be a association of free states. ignoring that and making it seem like the federal government was fighting for human rights sounds a lot better than keeping local vassal governments in line. if the north really cared about the plight of slaves they would have treated slave produced cotton and rice like blood diamonds but instead they were happy to profit off slave labor while pretending to be moralists.

  • Anonymous

    Both you and this article are not reflective of reality.

    You are completely wrong about Lincoln. What you said is a complete factual fallacy. He never owned slaves. His wife’s father did. His grandfather (also named Abraham Lincoln) was never proven to but is generally assumed to have owned slaves as a large Virginia land owner. President Lincoln’s father Thomas Lincoln was openly against slavery in the public record when he lived in Kentucky. Lincoln owned a general store that he bought at age 23 then at 25 went on to be the postmaster of his town and do survey work. He was a state house member then practiced law, then became a US house member and finally became president. He owned slaves at no time in his life. He is even said to have avoided hunting and fishing because he did not want to kill animals. Some claim that he was offered slaves as part of a dower

    I am a Virginian, and not just that but from Richmond, Virginia. I know full well the history, admiration, and and reverence given here to the confederacy and Lee in particular. The high school I went to was named after general Lee and Jefferson Davis (president of the confederacy). I have lived on streets named after historic confederates and adorned with giant statues to their memory. Throughout my entire education and life I heard the distorted tales of “states rights” and “northern aggression”. The reality is many who live in the south, have family history here, and are fond of the new southern identity do not want to admit the issue of slavery as the major factor of the war. Even when formal state secession documents from my state of Virginia and all other seceding states listed slavery as the primary cause. It’s not easy to admit especially given our modern ethical feelings and it’s relatively recent practice that slavery was such a staple of the southern (and northern either directly or indirectly) way of life.

    The civil war and surrounding events were a vastly complex mixture of politics and public sentiment. General Lee did own slaves. So did George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and many other land owning Virginians and Americans. It can be understood at this time in history looking back why some may say traitor. However, you do have to take things into perspective. At the time of the civil war the United States had been a country for less that 100 years and as with many fledgling countries there were splits and heated disagreements as well as chatter of culturally and economically different areas forming their own nations.

    Lee was not a man who promoted the cause of slavery as a necessity for secession. He was a member of, trained, and studied with the US military. He even gave a speech to a group of soldiers in which general Grant was one of them. At appomattox court house where Lee surrendered to Grant general Grant even remarked to Lee about seeing him give his speech and how he had always had great respect for him. After surrendering General Lee was asked by many to take his troops to the Blue Ridge mountains and keep fighting. He refused, and spent the remaining weeks of the war as well as the following time in his life to mending the scars between the north and south. Lee was very torn on the issue of secession and the war. He is known to have spoken against secession and was quoted as not feeling that slavery alone should split the country. Wen the time came to choose sides he chose his homeland (as many of us would) of Virginia and by association the south. Politicians and the populist fervor they called the south to arms with was what lead the south to war. Their hatred of Lincoln and his open anti slavery stance they said (and correctly) would drastically change the southern way of life and economy. Lee was far more complex and interesting a historical figure than this article gives him credit for and whenever such broad descriptions of a man (such as this article gives) are used it is a disservice to history and a distortion of reality. In the case of this article it distorts in the opposite direction but much the same way that many southern apologists do.

    After the civil war Lincoln’s policy was not to punish the south but allow them to keep their pride. The south was not evil, nor were it’s people the vast majority of whom did not own slaves. They were simply on the losing side of a war and with respect to the issue of slavery on the wrong side of history. I know and understand full well the desire to connect with ones heritage and to not want to feel that by association ones self is connected to the least desirable aspects of that heritage. But to deny reality and to change history to soothe that feeling is an injustice to those we teach it to and an injustice to ourselves for not allowing the lessons we have learned as a people to be learned and passed on to future generations to build upon.

    The end. :)

  • Butter Knife

    Except that the Union Army was holding territory that was a Union Army fort when the Confederacy was still a part of the Union. Prior to that event, the commitment the South had to secession was somewhat questionable, with many in the North and the Federal government believing that it was a (drastic, inadvisable) political stunt of which they would grow tired when they realized that it wouldn’t get them their way.

    Essentially, we viewed the South as petulant children throwing a temper tantrum. The shameful part is that we still do… partly because we’re paternalistic assholes, but partly because they ARE petulant children.

    Anyway, “The South Will Rise Again” is just as true as “The South Will Be Razed Again”, and the former shall lead to the latter.

  • Sonicbphuct

    I just don’t understand why I can’t have a Hitler High School, because he was obviously a courageous and fantastic leader. Along those lines, when I think of a Stalin Drive or Stalin Memorial Way, it just warms my insides because of his amazing capacity to unify so many under a common theme; he was, after all, a brilliant politician. Certainly, whenever someone does something “Brilliant, Genius, Brave” or what have you, they deserve Honor, regardless of their dubious morality.

    So, a toast to those Amazing People of Humanity who accomplished so much – just nothing anyone actually wanted accomplished – here’s to Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin! Here’s to Lee, Buchanan & Bush! Here’s to Kim Jung Ill, for being able to keep over 24 million people in rapt hunger, here’s to Jim Jones – who else could have gotten 900 people to kill themselves? To all those greats, I offer you schools, statues, cultural institutions … that you might share with your peer General Robert E. Lee, defender of Slavery, treachery and leader of 600,000 dead – your “Lost Cause” be one day achieved, even if your lost cause is humanity’s gain.

  • sonicbphuct

    I just don’t understand why I can’t have a Hitler High School, because he was obviously a courageous and fantastic leader. Along those lines, when I think of a Stalin Drive or Stalin Memorial Way, it just warms my insides because of his amazing capacity to unify so many under a common theme; he was, after all, a brilliant politician. Certainly, whenever someone does something “Brilliant, Genius, Brave” or what have you, they deserve Honor, regardless of their dubious morality.

    So, a toast to those Amazing People of Humanity who accomplished so much – just nothing anyone actually wanted accomplished – here’s to Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin! Here’s to Lee, Buchanan & Bush! Here’s to Kim Jung Ill, for being able to keep over 24 million people in rapt hunger, here’s to Jim Jones – who else could have gotten 900 people to kill themselves? To all those greats, I offer you schools, statues, cultural institutions … that you might share with your peer General Robert E. Lee, defender of Slavery, treachery and leader of 600,000 dead – your “Lost Cause” be one day achieved, even if your lost cause is humanity’s gain.

    • Andrew

      Don’t forget Alexander the Great! After all, he was Great!

  • Sonicbphuct

    correct – america caters to minorities. So, your offense is duly not noted.

  • Butter Knife

    Probably because people in the South care far more about the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) than those in the North, and he was on their side? Perhaps also because we hold Lincoln up as the philosophical paragon of the North instead of Grant, who we view mainly as a competent soldier… somewhat the inverse of our perspective on Davis and Lee.

    It probably doesn’t help matters that Lee’s Confederate Army was the last of it’s kind: a semi-feudal force, comprised largely of irregular volunteers, outfitted with heirloom weapons, and led by large-land-owning aristocracy (who also provided most of the funding and logistics); it was romantic, noble, and utterly archaic. Meanwhile, Grant’s Union Army was largely comprised of conscripts, outfitted with mass-produced weapons, and led by a rising technocratic-political elite (who also provided most of the funding and logistics); it was mechanistic, crass, and the basis of every modern Western military since (Japan tried something of a hybrid in WWII… it didn’t work so well)… and laid the foundation of the modern military/industrial complex to boot.

  • Andrew

    Don’t forget Alexander the Great! After all, he was Great!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, excellent comment

  • Hadrian999

    the south never had the means to win, but if it happened today I doubt there would be much effort to keep the south, the country doesn’t need the south’s agriculture anymore and the south is terribly poor. honestly within 50 to 100 years i see the use looking like the Balkans with several countries

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Amen. Most people have the poop on the near run up events to the Civil War…but none of the back story that takes decades to cover. The South used the threat of secession for decades…on a myriad of issues, every time it lost a vote in Congress…resulting in countless resolutions being shelved to prevent the US from dissolving. The federal government finally stopped kow-towing to the tiny clique of aristocrats that made up most of the South’s leadership…and when they held their ground…the South attacked expecting a sudden symbolic victory that would force a truce and a favorable settlement. We can launch into the debate about how many people from each side owned slaves…but even if all of them did, it still comes down to one side being willing to relinquish the right to keep humans as property…and the other side not being interested in following suit. Either way…the South still comes away as swaggering fucktards who picked a fight, got creamed, then whined and pissed and moaned like little bitches with skinned knees for 150 years. Fuck them…historically speaking they got off light. If they think Reconstruction sucked…they should sample the rest of history regarding failed mutinies and insurrections. They got a spanked behind compared to what could have transpired.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    This’ll put a stop to those Northern lies!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAr9uHFI_w0&feature=related

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    This’ll put a stop to those Northern lies!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAr9uHFI_w0&feature=related

  • Hadrian999

    I think you are over simplifying a couple of points, yes the south was run by aristocrats but in general so was the north. the north mad a lot of noise about slavery but they profited by slavery just as much as the south did. there were no goodguys in the war just 2 sets of assholes with conflicting interests

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    largely true…heck, most people don’t even know that slavery remained legal in Northern states long after the war was over. The end of slavery started with the imposition of abolition on defeated Southern states…and trickled its way across the rest of the US over time.

    If I simplify for brevity, its mostly because the time it would take just to list salient details in short form would use up most of this page. Boiling it down, even when we consider that slavery was a side issue and the main fight was between mercantile interests on each side, both guilty of countless offenses and trickery…there was one side that wanted a strong unified country and was willing to relinquish “property rights” (with humans being the property) and there was one side that was disinterested in a loss of personal property (humans) and individual power in exchange for a stronger central government. I won’t call either side heroic…but the revisionist authors of Southern pseudo-history deserve every raspberry they get. If they think the Northern version of the war is simplistic twaddle, well…they’ve proven that they can surpass even that and achieve blatant fraud.

  • Hadrian999

    honestly i think it’s because people love a rebel and hate a yesman, not to mention the fact that grant wasn’t that great of a general and was tainted by scandal during his presidency

  • Cm

    I live in the South and am constantly surrounded by proud Southerners who claim that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about a way of life. They chant “The South will rise again!” and “Save your Confederate dollars” at their Confederate bars. The bottom line is that even though both the North and the South had their faults and the North had different reasons for wanting to end slavery other than it is immoral, there are still millions of people all over the country that see other races as unequal and deserving of slavery. This is the real issue at hand and its quite depressing that all this time has passed since the practice of slavery yet so many of my fellow citizens think nostalgically back to the “good old days” where “blacks knew their place”.

  • Cm

    I live in the South and am constantly surrounded by proud Southerners who claim that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about a way of life. They chant “The South will rise again!” and “Save your Confederate dollars” at their Confederate bars. The bottom line is that even though both the North and the South had their faults and the North had different reasons for wanting to end slavery other than it is immoral, there are still millions of people all over the country that see other races as unequal and deserving of slavery. This is the real issue at hand and its quite depressing that all this time has passed since the practice of slavery yet so many of my fellow citizens think nostalgically back to the “good old days” where “blacks knew their place”.

  • ArgosyJones

    This is a load of shit. At the time the southern state governments and newspapers saw things much more clearly than southerners are inclined to today. Slave states, through the fugitive slave act, and others, were more than happy to have a top down government control things, as long as it was done their way. They were also more than happy to extend slavery to new territories, and use the federal army to add new slave territories to the union.

  • emperorreagan

    There are lots of people that make similar predictions, that with the decline of the US it is going break up into multiple countries. It does make sense to me, because there are very distinct regions with very little in common. The south, outside of major urban centers, definitely already feels like a different country – I actually felt more at home in Quebec than I did on the trips through the south visiting my relatives and stopping in random small towns.

  • Hadrian999

    the battle lines of the civil war were set at the constitutional convention, long before the slavery question ever came to a head, the south was always anti-federalist territory.

  • emperorreagan

    The south, as an independent country, would be just as deranged and backwards as Saudi Arabia, in my opinion.

    Without the wealth, of course. The only wealth in the south is thousands of young men with no future that make pretty good canon fodder.

  • E.B. Wolf
  • ArgosyJones

    The 3/5ths compromise should give a clear indication that even at the time of the constitutional convention, slavery was a sharp division between the states. I have given examples of actions by the south that contradict this rhetorical anti-federalism. They supported federalism whenever it was in the interests of the planter/slaver elite.

  • Hadrian999

    it was a big concern, it was the bedrock of the entire American economy but it is overly simplistic to say that slavery was the sole point of contention between north and south it was a symptom of a problem that continues to this day old vs. new. the south was very entrenched the old feudal manor system slavery was the new manor system in the absence of a serf class. the southern vision was for an isolationist agrarian society the north represented a manufacturing and trade based society. each saw the other as a threat both sides were heavily hypocritical about their own position but even without slavery the north and the south would have fought.

  • ArgosyJones

    Much to the contrary, the South was not really isolationist at all. The cotton plantation system depended on ready access to international markets for cotton, and the lack of industry effectively required imports of finished goods. Southern forces invaded New Mexico during the civil war. The south was neither economically nor politically isolationist, despite their agrarian economy.

    Your own discussion of the plantation system illustrates how central slaves were to the economy of the south. Slavery was not just a moral, but also an economic and social issue in the south. If the southern social system did not depend upon slavery, the conflict over the new states being added to the union would not have been so bitter, nor would the conflict over the fugitive slave laws have existed. The remaining disputes over economic policy had been and would continue to be settled by compromise.

    Secession never took off as an issue until the moral issue of slavery broke down the Democrat/Whig 2 party system along sectional lines– The Republican party was established as a frankly antislavery alternative to the Whig party, with which it shared a basic policy of industry promotion. The democrat party also fractured on sectional lines during the presidential election of 1860 and supported different presidential candidates in the north and the south. This split enabled Lincoln’s victory. Despite Lincoln’s statements that he had neither the authority, nor the inclination to abolish slavery in the southern states, the writing was on the wall.. Lincoln and the northern congressmen would support the entry of free states into the union, and eventually, the constitution would be amended to abolish slavery in every state.

    Slavery was the paramount issue of the times. This was understood by nearly everyone on both sides at the time. It is only afterward that the counterfeit issues of ‘states rights’ and ‘economics’ were foisted by southerners looking for a less odious past. Southerners prefer to gloss over the slavery issue in the same way that I tend to forget Tom Bombadil when thinking of The Lord of the Rings. It’s a better story that way.

  • Hadrian999

    one issue of slavery i find hilarious is even people who claimed the high ground in the slavery like England and northern states had no problem using slave cotton to fuel textile industry. it was never a moral issue with the north. but that’s America for you, fueled by hypocrisy sense it was colonized.

  • Butter Knife

    Most of the Northern states had state laws forbidding slavery on the books, sometimes directly (“Thou shalt not own slaves.”), sometimes effectively (“Thou shalt not own slaves unless each is given adequate housing and food, nor shall they be required to work more than 30 hours per week, plus they all get a pony.”), but regardless it wasn’t actually legal to own slaves under normal circumstances in most of the North.

    You are quite correct, however, that there was no Federal prohibition against slavery applicable to the North until well after the Civil War was over.

  • Thejakeyl88

    Wow this article is complete slime, and is full of disguised hatred, its an ego-trip for the author. Who knows nothing of history, and focusing on race during the civil war, and ignoring the major reasons for the wear, economically and politically, just to get a point across is immature, arrogant and ignorant. Go try to sway some 1st graders like the rest of the Government, so sick of opinionated you know whats coming off as “news” worthy or unbiased research, what a crock.

    • Tuna Ghost

      …and focusing on race during the civil war…

      hahahahahahahahahahhahaahha oh lord this is funny. You’re a professional, aren’t you?

  • Thejakeyl88

    Wow this article is complete slime, and is full of disguised hatred, its an ego-trip for the author. Who knows nothing of history, and focusing on race during the civil war, and ignoring the major reasons for the wear, economically and politically, just to get a point across is immature, arrogant and ignorant. Go try to sway some 1st graders like the rest of the Government, so sick of opinionated you know whats coming off as “news” worthy or unbiased research, what a crock.

  • Thejakeyl88

    Hunter349, nice try, we’re so proud your a virgin. Err, Virginian. How about one not-so selfish person starts off their rant without using “YOU ARE SO WRONG! BOTH OF YOU HERE I AM SO SMART I WILL SET IT STRAIGHT.” Everyday its just one post after another of people “setting others straight” and the next one is the next genius setting the previous straight…. I bet no one even READS other peoples comments, they come here post, smell their own you know what, (aka read their own posts for a smile and egotrip) and then logoff. Humans are not only predictable, but quite pathetic in their repetitive, computeresque (i know) behavior. So many people on egotrips with ALL the answers. Give me a break.

  • Thejakeyl88

    Hunter349, nice try, we’re so proud your a virgin. Err, Virginian. How about one not-so selfish person starts off their rant without using “YOU ARE SO WRONG! BOTH OF YOU HERE I AM SO SMART I WILL SET IT STRAIGHT.” Everyday its just one post after another of people “setting others straight” and the next one is the next genius setting the previous straight…. I bet no one even READS other peoples comments, they come here post, smell their own you know what, (aka read their own posts for a smile and egotrip) and then logoff. Humans are not only predictable, but quite pathetic in their repetitive, computeresque (i know) behavior. So many people on egotrips with ALL the answers. Give me a break.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Well god damn that was a beat down. Good stuff

  • Tuna Ghost

    …and focusing on race during the civil war…

    hahahahahahahahahahhahaahha oh lord this is funny. You’re a professional, aren’t you?

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