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General Lee was/is not an American Hero

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posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 02:45 PM
Please read the entire article before posting

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.


I really hope this thread does not devolve into racist ranting, but I wanted to post this and possible have some relaxed, civil discourse with some that stand up for General Lee. I am from the northern U.S., and have noticed that many people on ATS seem to hold Confederate ideals in high regard and I've never understood why.

Feel free to fill me in with your point of view, but be sure not to:

-Name call
-accuse anyone
-stray off topic
-attack anyone personally

I look forward to talking with all of you.
edit on 29-4-2011 by Skerrako because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 02:49 PM
I disagree, General Lee was a hero.

It is too bad the South lost, and it was the end of the rights of the states.

The civil was was not about slavery it was about states rights. If you think it is the other way around you bought the BS propaganda hook line and sinker.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 02:59 PM
reply to post by Skerrako

You have obviously not watched the proper amount of "Dukes of Hazzard".

The General Lee was the hero of the entire show! Show some respect. BAM!
edit on 29-4-2011 by notsofunnyguy because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 02:59 PM
reply to post by downtown436

I disagree, General Lee was a hero.

It is too bad the South lost, and it was the end of the rights of the states.

The civil was was not about slavery it was about states rights. If you think it is the other way around you bought the BS propaganda hook line and sinker.

I know the war was not fought directly slavery, but it did have some bearing on it. Slavery was crucial to the economy of the South, and the southern states were correct in their assertion that the federal government could not interfere with their rights.

But don't human rights trump state rights?

I realize that even if the South would of won, within 30 years slavery would of been abolished anyways ( the U.S. following suite with the rest of the world). But General Lee was not wise enough to see that State rights and human rights we're not one and the same, and hiding behind cover of States rights to preserve slavery and the southern economy is not a heroic act.

IMO, of course

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:01 PM
reply to post by notsofunnyguy

You have obviously not watched the proper amount of "Dukes of Hazzard".

The General Lee was the hero of the entire show! Show some respect.

Your right I haven't, but I don't think a fictional movie would have much bearing on my personal ideology

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:01 PM
I agree with you that in "today's standard's" he is not a hero. If you read "A people's history of the United States" you get an entirely new perspective on some of the characters in American History,

The problem is, he has been elevated in the mythology of the US into a great hero of his time.

I guess you could possibly give him some leeway for being a product of his time, but that is a far stretch from making him a hero.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:05 PM
Are you trying to say that the North wasnt led by other slave owners? Cause they were slave owners too, and in fact it was many years into the abolition of slavery before it was completely eliminated in the north or the south. Gen Lee was a wise man and a hero who actually had not planned on fighting for the south, he did not get involved until virginia decided to join the south. You should read his biography it is very interesting and would give you a different view than just that of an article. He was well respected by members of both the millitary and the academic community after the war and was head of a university untill his death.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:10 PM
Could anyone please lend a link for me to better understand how this war was mainly about states rites? I have read plenty on the war, and of course the very act of slavery falls under states rites during the time, so it is impossible to say it was about slavery without also acknowledging states rites, but I would like an educated article or history of the beginning of the war that mentions other states rites that were violated so seriously to cause the death of hundreds of thousands of American men.

I am not saying it is not true, I just have never in my education read credible evidence to suggest such, yet almost every argument regarding reasons for the civil war begins with, “not about slavery, about states rites” so I ask, was it just the rite of states to allow slavery, or was there some other issue that would be so strong financially or morally to excuse beginning a violent response?
Please answer in either a link, or with some of these reasons I have yet to learn. I am not trying to persuade or even argue, just learn.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:24 PM
Try this for starters:

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:41 PM
The Civil War was fought because the Founding Fathers avoided the issue in favor of expediency. They thought the greater good would be served by establishing a united country and without the South, that wasn't going to happen. (Bear in mind that the United States of America did not establish slavery; Great Britain did. The US inherited what had been going on for over 150 years, since 1619.) So effectively they turned the problem over to their children, much like today we are turning over massive debt to our children.

Now you say that General Lee fought for slavery, therefore he was no hero. But you say that in context with your own culture that has taught you since infancy that salvery is wrong. The fact is that had you lived in 1850 there is a very good chance you wouldn't think that. You are condemning the past from the comfortable armchair of the future, which is a pretty easy thing to do.

My family came over from England about 1620 to Jamestown. My Great times a zillion grandfather was named Dr. John Woodson. He established a plantation in Virginia. He bought some of the first slaves. So did my other relatives. In time "the family" moved to Tennessee where they continued to own slaves. During the early part of the Civil War my family was actually on the side of the North. Tennessee was a split state. When the Confederate Army came to call to recruit the men, they ran away and hid in a cave. Only their slave, Fanny, was left behind. The southerners put a rope around her neck and told her they would lynch her if she didn't tell them where the menfolk were. She refused.

After the Emancipation Proclamation Fanny was "free," but she had nowhere to go, so she stayed with the family until she died. Slave owners were required by law to keep slaves in room & board and provide for their healthcare. After the proclamation many slaves were simply abandoned and became homeless. Fanny wasn't the only one who was "kept on." There were many. I have no idea how Fanny was treated. I can only surmise through her own actions in defending the men from southern conscription. She sounds like a pretty brave woman to me.

So we sit up here in the 21st century and condemn our forefathers. The same thing actually happened at the time. The first anti-slavery act in Great Britain was 1807, but it really didn't get eradicated until 1833 with the Slavery Abolition Act, but even this was a bit fake because former slaves became "indentured servants" in an "apprencticeship" program. It took several more years to get full emancipation. Meanwhile Great Britain made political points by pointing out that the United States still had slavery. Of course they made out the US to be morally corrupt, conveniently leaving out a couple of facts. First, Great Britain brought slavery to the colonies and made it firmly established in the 150 or so years prior to the revolution. And second, Great Britain supported the South in the Civil War, afraid its source of slave-produced textiles, especially cotton, would be cut off.

I don't know how long Homo sapiens has been around--perhaps a quarter million years. In all that time it's only the last 150-200 years that western countries have outlawed slavery. Every society past the 1800s had slaves, all the way back to the beginning. So when you condemn people who owned slaves or who were "for" slavery, you're condemning just about everyone who ever lived, the last few years, a drop in the bucket, being a partial exception.

I also don't know what the future will condemn about us. Will some future young adult sit in his Jetson's style easy chair and condemn us because we eat meat? Will the nuclear familiy be laughed at as an aberration? Will people who have hair--anywhere--be considered a brutish throwback? Will there be a movement for emancipation of our robots, who are being considered sentient beings? How lonmg will it be before AI's get the right to vote? Who knows for what we will be condemned, for it will be something we take for granted today.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:42 PM
The article isnt bad. The actual war started when the army of south carolina demanded the federal army to leave Ft. Sumter, SC. The state had seceded and they felt this land belonged to them, the federal troops refused and Jefferson Davis ordered a bombardment of the fort. It wasnt a major skirmish and their were few injuries but immediately the people of the north demanded war and Lincoln obliged by ordering up 75,000 troops for war.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:57 PM
150 years after it happened, the Civil War is still one of the most politicized and controversial topics in U.S. history. From the small handful of "Southern patriots" that still exist to the much more prominent academics and journalists who have been carrying out a smear campaign the last year or so. It was a war that had a lot of baggage leading up to it. Decades in the making. It was about states rights AND slavery. It was about 2 very different views of the world and 2 very different ideals of society and government. Mostly, though, it was about 2 different factions of extremely rich people who had very different economic interests and disagreed (due to personal economic interest) on what actions the government should take concerning the economy.

There was indeed a very small faction of abolitionists in the North whose primary desire was slave emancipation. Slavery was a major aspect of the Southern economy, so you cannot take slavery out as a major contributing cause of the war. Abraham Lincoln's opposition to the expansion of slavery was the direct reason for the secession of the 11 states that left. But most Northern advocates for war did not care about the individual plight of slaves. They were concerned with how much representation in Congress their economic concerns controlled. When new states were created (ex Kansas/Nebraska) it meant a potential power shift in the Legislature and therefore control over financial laws and economic concerns.

The Southern states tended to prefer the Jeffersonian model of the American Republic. Agrarianism, more power concentrated in state and local government, and more freedom so long as you were a white male. In Louisiana, Free People of Color actually had more social freedom and respect than Irish immigrants. That was the exception to the rule, though. In most areas of the region, White Southerners had become so fearful of a slave rebellion that they themselves were almost slaves to the system. And, although most Southern whites were not slaveholders, the economy was dependent on the slave based Plantation system.

Despite the recent trend of dilettantes denouncing him as a traitor, Robert E Lee exemplified a man torn and pulled and forced into a situation out of his control, but he did so with honor and he was effective. True, many members of the Lee family remained with the Union. How does his lack of blind obedience to his extended family members make him a coward? He was his own man. Even some harsh Yankee critics of his day conceded that he was impressive and worthy of respect. It is, frankly, ignorant folks of the 21st century applying 21st century values to a mid 19th century situation that are mistaken. There were individual acts of heroism and honor by men on both sides of the war. There were acts of cowardice by men on both sides of the war. Contemporaries of Lee, from both sides, tend to agree that he fits in the former category.

Most soldiers in the South were fighting for their homes and families. When a psychopath like Sherman marches through an area pillaging and burning everything in sight, ideals fly out the window and survival and loyalty to your home comes first.

Ultimately, the South had to lose the war. Acceptance of slavery was a thing of the past that the South just would not let go of and had to be forced. It may not have been the main reason for war (at least not on moral grounds) but it made the North's propaganda much easier. They could easily claim to have the moral high ground.

While the end of formalized slavery was necessary for the nation to move forward, the results of the Civil War actually began a process of eliminating freedom for all Americans. The 10th Amendment was weakened considerably and the banking factions came out on top. The road was laid for the domination of central bankers and centralized government. And with that comes servitude and eventually slavery or serfdom for all, or at least most.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:02 PM
I was looking for non-slavery issues.

This is from your link.

1. Economic and social differences between the North and the South.

"However, at the same time the increase in the number of plantations willing to move from other crops to cotton meant the greater need for a large amount of cheap labor, i.e. slaves. Thus, the southern economy became a one crop economy, depending on cotton and therefore on slavery. On the other hand, the northern economy was based more on industry than agriculture"...... so... slavery

2. States versus federal rights. This is exactly what I was talking about... it says the #2 reason was states rights, however it does not mention one.

3. The fight between Slave and Non-Slave State Proponents... enough said

4. Growth of the Abolition Movement.

"Increasingly, the northerners became more polarized against slavery. Sympathies began to grow for abolitionists and against slavery and slaveholders. This occurred especially after some major events including: the publishing of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Dred Scott Case, John Brown's Raid, and the passage of the fugitive slave act that held individuals responsible for harboring fugitive slaves even if they were located in non-slave states."

so... slavery

5. The election of Abraham Lincoln.

"They believed that Lincoln was anti-slavery and in favor of Northern interests. Before Lincoln was even president, seven states had seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas."

so 7 of the 13 did so before this even happened, and it also says he was anit-slavery and they didnt like that.

So you just gave me an article with zero reasons other than slavery.

Again I am not trying to argue, but that site was exactly what I am talking about. Five main reasons all beating around the bush… Slavery

If anyone can provide a link or source to credit other reasons to this war I am also looking and will post as soon as I find one.

I do appreciate the answers above, however without creditable, or any, links, I'm afraid my search will continue

edit on 29-4-2011 by Fear_Fear because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:12 PM
There are many, many, many academic studies of the Civil War. If you want a reference, I'd say go to the library. There are likely several shelves chock full of books, coming from many points of view, from many different time periods. It is not an issue you can comprehend by looking up any single article or column or even 100 articles or columns. My advice, though, on studying complex historical issues: stay away from Washington Post columnists.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:24 PM
reply to post by louieprima

I think you misunderstand, however it may be me who does not understand. I am not looking for just any old information on the war per say, I am trying to get the sources that many others seem to have leading them to believe this is not a slavery issue. If you have any sources from your library, please dewy decimal that sucker so I can further my education and understand why this war was truly began if not for slavery.

edit on 29-4-2011 by Fear_Fear because: Recanting a rude statement. Apologies.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:50 PM
reply to post by Fear_Fear

And I think you are hijacking this thread. No one is required to answer your questions in the manner you demand. The OP was talking about General Lee not being an American hero because of his support of slavery. You're pushing it off into a states RIGHTS (not "rites," which are religious ceremonies) discussion.

I have a real problem with the ethnocentric manner in which condemning the past is done. I'm not picking on the OP as this is pretty much standard procedure and is done constantly, so I think it is worth pointing out. One of the first things you learn in cultural anthropology is that you never judge a culture by your own standards. The idea is to study a culture by its own standards with a view to understanding why they think like they do. Inevitably that makes you less judgmental because you often realize that people in other cultures don't have infinite choices. A southerner in 1850 who opposed slavery (and there were many) couldn't just change the entire economy any more than we can stop driving cars. The ironic thing about this is that slavery would likely have died out within a few years anyway. Economic and technological factors were making slavery uneconomical, but instead TPTB decided to fight the most costly war ever fought on Earth. There were more military casualties in the Civil War than all other wars the US has ever been involved with combined. Since several of my ancestors (on both sides) sacrificed their lives in this war, I'd kinda like to see them treated with more respect. They were stuck in a culture just like you are today. Nobody in Pickett's Charge wanted to be there.

I think we do the same thing today to each other. We don't need the buffer of history to do it. Every time I hear some shrill accusations that the Tea Party is "racist," for example, I would yell, "Prove it." Well, you can't. It's just a knee jerk reaction that serves several purposes. First, it elevates the accuser into morally high ground. If you accuse soemone else of being racist, you can't possibly be yourself. You can feel really good about yourself as a result, regardless that you have no facts to back up your assertion. Secondly, it throws the topic off. It's a verbal method of hijacking a thread making the acusee defend himself when that shouldn't be required at all. In any event I think it is really dangerous to try to take a moral high ground, because sooner or later you're going to find yourself on the opposite end of the argument.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:55 PM
reply to post by schuyler

I didn’t intend and do not intend to derail this thread. I will seek understanding elsewhere. I would like to say in closing that I would really appreciate more support from members when I am only trying to further my education. I was not looking to fight or to argue at all here. This is not the first time I have asked for information from those claiming to have knowledge I do not and been told to f off, so you know what? I will.


edit on 29-4-2011 by Fear_Fear because: For love

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 05:28 PM
This is a moral no-brainer:

If one carefully reads the op-ed the writer clearly and simply proves that Lee isn’t a hero, never was a hero, and shouldn’t be a hero in Americans eyes. He was a traitor who advocated slavery.

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.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 05:45 PM
ATS Search is your friend. There are many threads on the civil war here. Here's a good one with lots of info.
edit on 29-4-2011 by Clearskies because: spelling

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 07:05 PM
reply to post by Skerrako

Robert E Lee freed his slaves before the war. Ulysses Grant's wife retained their slaves UNTIL 6 MONTHS AFTER WAR WAS OVER!!

you are a public fool system [public school system slant, not calling you a fool) scholar huh? have you read anything unbiased about the war? i challenge you to read Jefferson Davis..

edit on 29-4-2011 by rebeldog because: spelling

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