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The Day They Took Old Dixie Down

Right now, the City of New Orleans, which has been removing statues of Confederate generals, will is taking down the last one [1]: a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee that has stood over Lee Circle, near the French Quarter, since 1884.

As a general rule, I am against taking down monuments. To me, it’s about erasing history, and that is not something we should do, even if the history is painful. I believe we should look upon our monuments, and contemplate their meaning. Why did people once revere this man, or this event? Why was this monument built? Were the people wrong to build it? What does it say about our collective history? How have we changed? Who are we, anyway?

Taking down the monuments in New Orleans will help erase cultural memory of the Confederacy. But it will not change history. For better or worse.

But I do not have a lot of emotion about these particular monuments. The city of New Orleans began by removing a monument to a white supremacist rebellion, and that was an unambiguously good thing, in my estimation. Then they took down a statue of Jefferson Davis, and one of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. I would not have done that. Davis and Beauregard fought for the wrong cause, but that doesn’t make them non-persons. Still, I can live with their exile from public view.

The removal of the Lee statue, though, strikes me as a serious and unnecessary wound. I think it a blessing that the Confederacy lost the war. Lee fought for a bad cause. But Lee, for all his sins, was a complex figure, one worthy of honor — again, despite his sins. Very few men we honor with statuary are saints. I would have left the Lee statue alone, had it been up to me. He is a tragic figure who represents an unforgettable part of American history. For over 100 years, the statue of Lee, and his name, have been part of the city’s fabric. Until today. This is all on Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

On the other hand, I put myself in the place of black residents of New Orleans. Lee and the others fought for a government that wished to keep their ancestors enslaved and brutalized. That too is a severe wound. This is why though I regret that they’re taking the Lee statue down, I don’t grieve it. If this is the price white people pay for the sin of slavery, then so be it.

But here’s the thing: taking down the statues will embitter some white New Orleanians while doing absolutely nothing at all to make life better for black New Orleanians. Look: [2]

Just a few miles from where crews took down the statue of Gen. PGT Beauregard in New Orleans, shots rang out 5 times in less than 10 hours.

The first shooting came around 5 p.m. when a man was murdered in the front yard of the Mount Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church in the 3700 block of Louisa Street.

Pastor Darrick Johnson said it just goes to show how times have changed in his Ninth Ward community.

“I was totally surprised because that has never happened in the 50 years of existence of this church, it has never happened in front of this church,” Johnson said.

The other shootings happened between 5 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., in the 1800 block of Forstall Street, at the corner of St. Claude Avenue and Alvar Street, in the 1200 block of Feliciana Street, where a man was gun downed and killed in the door way of a home and in the 2200 block of North Galvez Street.

A man who did not want to be identified heard the shots on North Galvez.

“Innocent people getting hit,” he said. “There’s just too much, you know what I’m saying.”

All of the shootings happened in the NOPD’s Fifth District in the Seventh and Ninth Wards.

“It was really within a nine-hour span that all of the shootings happened,” WWL-TV Crime Analyst Jeff Asher said. “It was a lot of violence concentrated area. “Five shootings in one (police) district is really a rare thing.”

Go ahead, give Lee Circle a new name. Call it the Shabazz Roundabout, if you like. Does that do anything to relieve the violence and misery of black New Orleanians? This is like the old, bitter Chris Rock joke about how streets named after Martin Luther King go through the worst parts of town. Erasing history will do nothing to make the present better. If this is a victory, it’s a Pyrrhic one.

 

229 Comments (Open | Close)

229 Comments To "The Day They Took Old Dixie Down"

#1 Comment By Viriato On May 22, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

@Luc Lalongé: “Or move all those statues to a specific area and call it ”Memory lane”?”

Believe it or not, that’s what they’ve done with many statues of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The “memory lane” area is in Cihu, and is called “Garden of the Generalissimos.”

#2 Comment By Mark On May 22, 2017 @ 5:44 pm

Textbooks and museum displays document history just fine and hopefully more fairly than these monuments. That was never their purpose! They are not there to provide a historical record, they are there to celebrate the lost cause and they function as rally cries for those still working to keep the lost cause alive.

Getting rid of the segregated water fountains hardly erased the history behind them. Neither did this. History will not document the grave injustice of removing the monuments, but the grave injustice they celebrated and those they help perpetuated. Future textbooks should read,

“It wasn’t until May of 2017 before these monuments were removed.”

#3 Comment By Stephen Cataldo On May 22, 2017 @ 5:54 pm

The tweet that got me here was “Don’t excise the bad parts of our history. Remember them.” And I think that makes sense. My great-grandparents were murdered by Nazi Germany. Today, in front of the house where my grandmother spent her childhood, is a little plaque. Whoever lives there now walks past this, not in a museum, but daily. America has ducked reality on slavery – and much of our more recent history. And ducking reality does not create healthy conservatism. Taking responsibility would mean wondering why patriots (however you want to define that, but hopefully including yourself) didn’t expand the soldier-on-a-horse monuments to include more of history before the liberals or groups that had faced slavery at the hands of the soldier decided to knock down the horse. “Don’t excise the bad parts of our history. Remember them” needs be applied now, not wait till people want to remove symbols related to oppression and then complain. In my circles, the liberals know more texture, balance and detail of American history than the conservatives — that’s not a recipe for moving forward successfully.

[NFR: How, exactly, has America “ducked reality” on slavery, at least over the last 50 years? How will we know when we have adequately faced up to reality? — RD]

#4 Comment By Mark On May 22, 2017 @ 5:58 pm

“helped perpetuate.”

Sorry.

#5 Comment By David On May 22, 2017 @ 7:01 pm

Now that the memorials to the confederacy are gone, New Orleans faces a decision about what replacements to install. My family has lived in the deep south since before statehood, and I live in New Orleans now. I am fully in my rights when I insist that we should have memorials to help us remember the lost cause. But I also maintain that we must tell the actual truth about it, not some version of the Big Lie. So, let the planning begin!

First, why not a monument to confederate draft evaders? The confederacy allowed the sons of the wealthy to buy their way out of conscription and hire “Substitutes” to serve in their places. Somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 did so; their descendants walk the streets of the South even today. There are lots of images that could suit, but I’d vote for an effigy of a splayed-out comatose drunk wearing a string tie and seersucker, a draft waiver sticking out of his pocket, the guilt and shame written across his face, in testimony to his cowardice. The caption: “Look away.”

Second, we should celebrate the genius of the confederate financial powers, which saw their “dollar” trade at .017¢ by war’s end, plunging the South into decades of debt, dependence, and underdevelopment. I recommend a statue of an ordinary farmer, squatting, and reaching back to wipe his bottom with a greyback. The caption: “Never forget!”

Third, I’d like to give a well-deserved place of honor to confederate Deserters. About 100,000 southerners, who began their service marching behind the Stars and Bars, later realized that the Planter’s War was a foolish and hopeless enterprise, and they ran away from the lines. Good for them! Of all the confederate military, they actually did something worthy of commemoration. I suggest that we commission a sculpture of an ordinary soldier in a tattered and ill-fitting uniform, grinding his kepi into the dirt under his heel. The caption? “Good riddance.”

And finally, since I am a generous man, I’d also recommend that we celebrate the modern neoconfederate, those dead-enders and sore losers of our own day. Why not, perhaps, a larger-than-lifesized bronze of a two-year old lying on his stomach in mid tantrum, crying and spitting, kicking and screaming, and pounding the dirt with his fat little hands?

#6 Comment By Zeno On May 22, 2017 @ 7:11 pm

Dept. of Spiritual Progress, Baby Steps div.

May 22, 2017

Today, Ms. Sandra Embry resisted the temptation to pray for the destruction of a large American city, and the death of all the democrats and unwhite people therein. Congratulations, Sandra! The angels are smiling tonight.

#7 Comment By kijunshi On May 22, 2017 @ 8:07 pm

Now to give a slightly more general comment…

I suspect that there’s a reason the wounds of the South run as deep as they do – deeper than race, deeper than identity politics. We keep ping-ponging back and forth between smug Yankees scoring cheap-n’-easy moral points while ignoring their own racial crimes, and white Southerners, so triggered, fiercely defending America’s equivalent of the Nazi regime. None of this gets us anywhere as a country.

But what we won’t discuss – what, I think, would be traumatic for all Americans to discuss – was that a large portion of the American economy – centered on but not limited to the South – was founded on the principle that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING up to and including human life and moral decency, could and should be put on the table to increase the profits of rich men.

I mean, it’s one thing to import West Africans, a race more resilient to tropical diseases than most others, to labor in your swampy fields (Britain and other European countries can be pointed at as establishing the slave trade pre-Independence). That’s one type of crime. But changing the laws to make slavery a permanent condition inheritable through the mother, and establishing a credit and banking system based around the cash value of human beings, therefore creating a cash incentive for rape? Rape that the master could and often did perform himself–as the 1/3 ratio of European Y chromosomes among African-American men proves beyond all doubt–and profit from it?? This is quite a different sort of crime.

Instead of the mere sin of slavery, something which can be justified (however awkwardly for our times) through the Bible, these laws provided a monetary incentive for adultery, and a cash reward for a man to sell his own children to be worked to death. Even the Romans would have been appalled. Roman culture (the background noise of the New Testament) allowed for slaves to be freed at the master’s pleasure, with full citizenship as a result, and didn’t blink an eye at a multi-racial society (though they had no patience for multi-culturalism). The profit motive was allowed to be superseded, in other words, by love, however rarely. No such thing was permitted in the American South–in order to maximize landowner profit, all freeing of slaves was strongly discouraged, and a whole ideology that blacks were “lesser” than whites was created to justify it.

The ridiculousness of the racial justification was already becoming clear by the outbreak of the Civil War – you can read contemporary accounts of rewards offered for escaped slaves, describing them as “red-headed with freckles”. How much West African heritage does a red-head with freckles have? Perhaps this underlies the increasing sensitivity of the southern states to even the slightest political set-back, such as denying the system’s spread to new states – not only was their wealth at stake (mind you, speculation on the slave markets was the only source of wealth threatened by this), but the fragile social system they’d created as well…

We focus with near-hysteria on race when the Civil War is discussed, and in one way the apologists are right – the whole thing really wasn’t quite about race. Having African peoples be the target of these policies was completely incidental; they just happened to be strong in the right ways and all-too-conveniently available. If the natives of this continent had been more resistant to smallpox, we’d have enslaved them instead using the exact same legal framework.

The true crime was, of course, the willingness to twist, subvert and outright throw away the long-held sacred values **of that era and that culture** in the name of profit. Not even the politically correct public schools delve into this aspect, partly because it’s hard to explain the profit motive of rape to elementary school children. But also because this is what we, as a country, have never been willing to face with eyes open.

Here’s a question: when will America, North and South alike, take a gook look at which of our own sacred values we are willingly taking a sh*t on today for the sake of the ever-higher profits of rich men? I think this would be a far more productive conversation than the screeching about race, slavery, the Civil War, and about who has the moral high ground. Enough of all that b—s—. What are we compromising **today**??

#8 Comment By Harvey On May 22, 2017 @ 9:29 pm

RD writes: How will we know when we have adequately faced up to reality?

This line gives me a bit of a chuckle, coming on the very day that the US Supreme Court invalidated 2 North Carolina voting districts. Go to the NY Times article on the decision and marvel at the shape of the 12th District.

#9 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 22, 2017 @ 10:09 pm

I give it 5 years max until the Washington Monument in DC is taken down. The American Bolsheviks are rapidly gaining ground.

How much are you betting? I’ll take that one on.

Sure, Jefferson and Washington were slave-owners, but history records their great reluctance at the practice. Both men strongly believed that the practice should come to an end. We have the recorded writings and speeches of the CSA leadership that CLEARLY indicates that slavery was the only real motivating factor, that all others were derived from that conflict.

A truer word was never said.

Columbus: The Italian-American thing came later. Columbus had been almost forgotten for 300 years. (The continent was named after Amerigo Vespucci, right?) The infant Republic was looking for instant heroes, for a past, so they dredged up this faithful servant of Their Most Catholic Majesties, and made him on icon of Enlightenment Protestant Republican liberty. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

#10 Comment By Potato On May 22, 2017 @ 10:24 pm

A lot that I hold dear was lost in the Civil War. Today, there is nothing that I hold dear left in America.

I take it then that you are white.

#11 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On May 22, 2017 @ 11:36 pm

The Supreme Court building has friezes that depict Moses and Mohammad as “law-givers” whose laws influenced the US. Both were slave-owning thugs who murdered large numbers of innocent people of other faiths.
I demand that their depictions be removed from the Supreme Court.

Hey hey, ho ho, Mo and Mo have got to go.

[3]

Furthermore, the Torah and the Koran promote slavery, so they should be confined to museums where they do not cause distress to people like me whose ancestors were murdered, enslaved and/or oppressed by people following these hate-filled books.

#12 Comment By Noah172 On May 22, 2017 @ 11:44 pm

This line gives me a bit of a chuckle, coming on the very day that the US Supreme Court invalidated 2 North Carolina voting districts

Black politicians favor those districts. It’s white Democrats who hate them.

#13 Comment By Donald On May 23, 2017 @ 1:27 am

Rod, you may have faced reality about slavery and the Civil War, but there are people in your comment thread here who havent. Look at Sandra Embry upthread.

And actually, though I was never taken in by the Confederate propaganda I heard growing up in the seventies, even I was a little disilllusioned when I read a biography of Lee a few years ago. He did have admirable qualities, but he was a slaver as pointed out upthread and not a kind slave owner either, even if one wishes to rate that sort of thing. If anything, the fact that this otherwise decent and admirable man could be a war criminal just illustrates how deep the moral rot was in his society and it seems clear some of your readers aren’t willing to admit that.

#14 Comment By connecticut farmer On May 23, 2017 @ 8:43 am

In re: contributor Jenkins comment “Rebellion is legitimate only when it succeeds.”

Sooo…had the Southern rebellion succeeded, would that have made it legitimate?

#15 Comment By Rob G On May 23, 2017 @ 8:48 am

“We have the recorded writings and speeches of the CSA leadership that CLEARLY indicates that slavery was the only real motivating factor, that all others were derived from that conflict.”

Well, yeah, but so what? If (and that’s a big ‘if’) secession was legal, the reason for it is immaterial in terms of the North’s use of force to keep the South in the Union.

As Kijunshi stated above, the focus on race and slavery, while certainly valid and necessary, when isolated tends to distract attention from the equally important political-economic aspects.

The tendency among liberals, whether of the right or left variety, is to declare that because the South was wrong on race/slavery it was wrong on everything else too. But really, only an ignoramus or an ideologue would believe such patent rubbish.

The fact is, liberals left and right hate the South for its overall anti-liberalism, of which the race/slavery issue serves as a condensed symbol, but also as a distraction.

#16 Comment By mrscracker On May 23, 2017 @ 11:50 am

I wonder why we never hear much about Brazil’s history with slavery? It started there much earlier & ended more than two decades after ours did. Something like 40% of all Africans shipped to the Americas as slaves ended up in Brazil. And from what I understand, conditions for slaves in Brazil & the West Indies were harsher than in North America.
Maybe because we’re not living in Brazil we don’t connect all that? Or because slavery died out there without bloodshed/war it didn’t become the same kind of issue?
You know, Toussaint Louverture is regarded as a hero in the liberation of Haiti & there are statues of him in the US & France. But he was a slave owner, too as were any number of former slaves both there & in the US. Brazil, also.
One of the wealthiest plantation owners in a nearby Louisiana parish was a Creole person of color. I heard a descendant talking about that with pride on TV a while back.
And the first chattel slave owner in the American British colonies was a free person of color. They think he may have been an ancestor of Pres. Obama’s mother.
History seems quite complicated when you think about it. At least the details do.

#17 Comment By missh On May 23, 2017 @ 12:26 pm

[NFR: How, exactly, has America “ducked reality” on slavery, at least over the last 50 years? How will we know when we have adequately faced up to reality? — RD]

Perhaps when people stop bleating “Heritage, not hate!” They know darn well that the heritage is hate, but they would never, ever admit it, any more than they would fully acknowledge the humanity of enslaved people. This is, in their minds, one more loss of power in what they see as a zero sum game.

And I say that as a native southerner, someone whose roots in the south reach back to the 18th century, and a descendant of slave owners. (I’ve decided in advance to skip the responses from white supremacist commenters who’ve never set foot in the south, but who’ve declared themselves experts on southern history and culture after diligent study at the University of Google.)

To remove a monument is not to erase history – in this case, it’s an action that allows these monuments to be put into their proper context. You should really read Mitch Landrieu’s speech on this. I have no idea what you think of him as an individual, and I know very little about Louisiana politics or about him – he could be a crook, a great public servant, or something in between for all I know – but this is a brilliant and moving speech. [4]

#18 Comment By Kiel On May 23, 2017 @ 12:41 pm

Keep in mind that when the Lee statue was erected in 1884, approximately 25% of the population of New Orleans was black. Those citizens could not vote against the monument’s installation or hold a position on the city council where they could advocate against the installation. They probably couldn’t even complain about the monument in public without fear of violent retribution. We all know why that was the case.

What we don’t know, and never will know, is whether this monument or any of the others recently removed would have been erected in the first place if the white citizens of New Orleans had not so effectively disenfranchised their black peers and given them no say in the matter. Or any civic decision, for that matter.

If what the black citizens of New Orleans want had mattered in 1885, they almost certainly would have preferred to build a statue honoring Lincoln or Grant. Now in 2017 New Orleans is 60% black and they want the monuments to come down. Why? Because they know, as we all do, what symbolic messages the erection of a monument to the Confederacy is meant to convey to both white southerners and black southerners. Do we or should we continue to insist that what the black citizens of New Orleans want does not matter, now that we have 130 years and more of history attesting to what happens when we don’t?

#19 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On May 23, 2017 @ 12:57 pm

Rod asks: “How will we know when we have adequately faced up to reality?”

I think the answer will be obvious–like when I know whether I am living according to my Buddhist principles or similar (I would guess) to you knowing when you are living in accord with your Orthodox Christian faith.

But I do not regard the rise of neo-Confederate ideology (and I am not saying you hold this belief)–posters have pointed out that enrollment is growing in the Sons of the Confederacy and other groups–as indicative of facing reality. Rather it is a comforting retreat into Lost Cause propaganda, wishing for the old days/ways to return.

So no, I do not see American society as having adequately faced up to slavery and its aftermath/consequences. One poster already drew attention to the racial gerrymandering in North Carolina. What about the voter suppression initiatives? Even the most conservative appellate court said that the efforts were surgically drawn to affect Black voters.

#20 Comment By missh On May 23, 2017 @ 1:06 pm

Hi Rod – I’d like to add to my previous comment. Of course southern heritage is about more than hate – not just New Orleans, but the entire south has a rich, complex history, and there are many aspects of which southerners, black and white, are justifiably proud. But for the crowd that loves these monuments and the Confederate flag, slavery, Jim Crow and white supremacy can be minimized or dismissed. That’s not acceptable.

What I probably should have said is that for these people, the heritage is power, and they’re damned if they’ll give it up, even if it was never just that they had this social and political power in the first place.

#21 Comment By JonF On May 23, 2017 @ 4:49 pm

Re: Well, yeah, but so what? If (and that’s a big ‘if’) secession was legal, the reason for it is immaterial in terms of the North’s use of force to keep the South in the Union.

It’s not a big “if” at all. Secession is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, which however does make provision for its own annulment, but only upon petition of a supermajority of states to hold a new constitutional convention. To be sure it is possible to justify extra-legal revolution, and the Founders did so in 1776: the Declaration is a long list of their assertions as to why separation from Britain was justified. By contrast the CSA’s justifications of their attempted revolution were risible: they lost an election! The Peculiar Institution was threatened! There’s a reason the fledgling US was recognized by three major European nations (France, Spain and the Netherlands) while not a single nation on Earth granted such recognition to the CSA. Mssrs. Jefferson et al made their case. Mssrs. Davis et al failed.

#22 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 23, 2017 @ 5:30 pm

Keep in mind that when the Lee statue was erected in 1884, approximately 25% of the population of New Orleans was black. Those citizens could not vote against the monument’s installation or hold a position on the city council where they could advocate against the installation.

Actually, it was not until after the election of 1896 that black voters were generally disfranchised. Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction were both much more complex than simple slogans would lead one to believe. In 1884, while the “White League” had already overthrown one elected government by force, wealthy white Bourbons and populist white hill farmers were still competing for Negro votes, either by alliance or by outright fraud.

The reason populism acquired a racist tinge is that the Bourbons stopped trying to win Negro votes and simply counted them, Chicago style, for the establishment candidate. The farmers then demanded disfranchisement, and the wealthy elites decided sure, give them that and keep everything else. But again, that was after the 1896 election, when the Times-Picayune crowed “white supremacy has been saved by Negro votes.”

Sooo…had the Southern rebellion succeeded, would that have made it legitimate?

Had the confederacy succeeded, it would have acquired a patina of legitimacy and fait accompli that would have strongly influenced how history was written, and what the confederacy was able to become.

Had the American Revolution failed, we would all be raised to regard Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, the way Canadians regard the leaders of the Red River Revolt.

But, there are complex reasons revolutions succeed or fail. There was simply not sufficient fervor for secession in the south, nor sufficient material strength, and there was not sufficient division of opinion in the north, to allow secession to succeed. Also, it was, as General Grant observed, one of the worst causes men have ever fought for.

AFTER the fighting was over, maudlin romantic nostalgia for the “Lost Cause” was promoted by designing men who had more current purposes and found it useful. It actually became much more widespread than support for secession had been when there was actual fighting to be done.

#23 Comment By iconoclasts – and not in good way On May 23, 2017 @ 7:59 pm

I’m reading a lot of ignorant nonsense here. More than usual. Most of it from very righteous folk with mentalities remarkably similar to those who smashed up the Gandharan Buddhas at Bamiyan.

#24 Comment By Tom Andersen On May 24, 2017 @ 12:10 am

Tennessee Williams once said: “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”

It’s a shame about New Orleans.

#25 Comment By Ellimist000 On May 24, 2017 @ 1:39 am

The Supreme Court building has friezes that depict Moses and Mohammad as “law-givers” whose laws influenced the US. Both were slave-owning thugs who murdered large numbers of innocent people of other faiths.
I demand that their depictions be removed from the Supreme Court”

Jaanwar, if you know any agitating Amalekites or Sassanids that paid tax money to support the Supreme Court, please do share thier Twitter feed. 😉

#26 Comment By Rob G On May 24, 2017 @ 8:30 am

~~It’s not a big “if” at all.~~

You miss my point. It is a big “if” because scholarly opinion continues to be divided on it, and even some scholars who are inclined to think that it was illegal argue that it’s moot now, in that the argument has been settled by the war.

But the bigger point here is that in terms of “saving the Union” the reason for secession, legal or illegal, simply did not matter. The North’s intent in invading the South was to save the Union regardless.

Note that this does not downplay the slavery issue. There’s no doubt that it was a great evil, and was the South’s primary reason for secession. But there were other contributing factors, some of which still have political and economic ramifications today, and the standard narrative, which casts the entire thing in terms of slavery, tends to ignore them. This myopic view, combined with contemporary identity politics, is what produces the ignorant demonization of all things Southern, including Confederate historical figures.

#27 Comment By Thrice A Viking On May 24, 2017 @ 6:46 pm

Ellimist000, I’m fairly certain that Janwaar was being sarcastic. If we are going to relinquish all these DWMs because they had slaves – or just because they are DWMs – then why stop with Americans? That was actually a perfectly valid point by JB, IMO of course.

#28 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 24, 2017 @ 9:07 pm

This myopic view, combined with contemporary identity politics, is what produces the ignorant demonization of all things Southern, including Confederate historical figures.

That, and the fact that there were significant populations of southern Unionists. One of the things I do hold against Robert E. Lee is that he supported draconian military measures against them, as if they had a duty to commit themselves lock, stock and barrel to a rebellion against a duly elected government in an election they had participated in. (Most southern Unionists had NOT voted for Lincoln. My great-great-grandfather, for instance, was a Jacksonian Democrat, who remembered Jackson’s promise to hang John C. Calhoun from the highest tree in South Carolina if he attempted secession.)

Lee also supported conscription … a measure the confederacy resorted to a year before the federal government did. Again, insufficient numbers of young southern manhood believed in secession with sufficient fervor to actually volunteer for military service in the numbers required to resist the United States Army… so perforce, they were to be dragooned into service.

#29 Comment By dan On May 24, 2017 @ 9:41 pm

“Note that this does not downplay the slavery issue. There’s no doubt that it was a great evil, and was the South’s primary reason for secession. But there were other contributing factors, some of which still have political and economic ramifications today, and the standard narrative, which casts the entire thing in terms of slavery, tends to ignore them. This myopic view, combined with contemporary identity politics, is what produces the ignorant demonization of all things Southern, including Confederate historical figures.”

Well said.