All posts by ecthompsonmd

General Lee – To Honor or Not to honor

It is not a surprise to any American that there are statues coming down all over the south. Why? Is this wrong? Are we really losing our history?

So let’s agree that all statues are not the same. For reasons that are not clear there was a statue of Chief Justice Roger Taney in Baltimore. ¬†Whether he was a great jurist or not, he wrote the Dred Scott decision. He can never live that down in my opinion. Thankfully, his statue was removed last week.

Most of the fuss over statues surrounds Robert E. Lee, the commander of Southern forces during the Civil War. Lee was/is a very interesting character. Let’s all agree that he was a brilliant military mind. He did stuff on the battlefield that was supposed to be a no-no but not only did he do it, he did it well. His men loved him.

When you hear people talking about Lee they talk about only the great military stuff. There were times when southern forces captured northerners. Sometimes the prisoners were simply shot. Almost all Black prisoners were shot. Lee did nothing that I know of to stop this practice. When Lee put on a Southern uniform and took up arms against the United States. He became a trader. Taking up arms against the US if you are a US citizen is treason. Lee knew this.

In my opinion, if you have to honor those that fought in the Civil War, honor the foot soldiers that were poorly equipped and barely fed. They fought against the North because they thought that their way of life was going to be taken away from them. Honor the foot soldier. They understood courage and sacrifice.

Finally, let’s discuss the reason for the Civil War because there is a ton of misinformation about why the war was started. One of the best lies was that the war was started over “State’s Rights.” This is a fig leaf. The war was started over a state’s right to continue the institution of slavery. The first state to leave the union was South Carolina. In their reason of leaving the Union was very clear. It wasn’t about some nebulous State’s Right. It was …. “increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery.” There it is in black and white (no pun intended).

I really don’t care if you want to have a statue of Robert E. Lee or Nathan Bedford Forrest just understand what those men stood for while they were living. Sure you paint a picture of honor and glory but I know that they were all treasonous traders who embraced and fought to keep slavery alive and well.