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Attacking the Past: The Removal of the Confederate Monuments

By Daniel Mallock  May 30, 2017


The recent removal of Confederate memorials from the City of New Orleans was greeted with applause by some and tears from others. Many Confederate monuments across the country are at risk. It is important to examine why this is happening, determine the logical conclusion, and ascertain whether or not the erasure and whitewashing of our history is the best path for our troubled but great country.

The Lost Cause concept which was entrenched in American historical memory by Confederate memoirists, sympathetic historians, and apologists for over one hundred years has collapsed. This idea held that slavery was not the essential cause of the Civil War and that the South’s “peculiar institution” played a small role, if any, in the coming of the war. The delegitimization and fall of the Lost Cause idea is the most significant consequence of the recent Civil War sesquicentennial

It is incontrovertible that slavery was the essential cause of the war. This was affirmed by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens in his famous “Cornerstone” speech of March 21, 1861. Referring to the new Confederate Constitution, Stephens said:

“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the ‘rock upon which the old Union would split.’ He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact.”

Almost all of the Ordnances of Secession cite the protection of slavery as one of numerous reasons justifying secession of the state.

Just after the sesquicentennial, June 17, 2015, a psychotic racist killer committed an atrocity at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina during which nine innocent people were murdered. The killer’s social media posts showed him posing with the Confederate battle flag.

Horrified and shocked at the barbaric crime in Charleston, the country turned in grief and anger against Confederate symbolism and monuments.

In December, 2015, the mayor of New Orleans declared that three Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee prominently displayed on a 100-foot pedestal in Lee Circle near the National World War II museum would all be removed. The City of New Orleans Ordinance of Removal dated December 1, 2015 accurately asserts that the Confederate monuments “…honor, praise, or foster ideologies which are in conflict with the requirements of equal protection for citizens as provided by the constitution and laws of the United States, the state, or the laws of the city and suggests the supremacy of one ethnic, religious, or racial group over another.”

That Lee, Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were slaveholders and defenders of slavery, not that they were secessionists and rebels, are the issues cited by the New Orleans removal order.

As the Lee statue was taken off its pedestal on the 19th of May, 2017, this growing movement to hold those associated with slavery accountable has not abated. That slavery was ubiquitous in the South and protected by the Constitution until the Civil War presents a dangerous problem, and puts us as a country on a dark road of revisionism and the eradication of important though unpleasant aspects of our history.

[snip]

There must be no tyranny of the living so that our past, difficult as it is sometimes to understand and accept, will not be expunged and lost. We owe this to our forebears and to ourselves to face our past not delete it; and we owe this to the future so that all can learn the lessons of history.

In September, 1870 shortly before his death, Robert E Lee wrote this in a letter:

“The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”

Our troubled history requires that we become expert at uniting contradictions. The war is over, the country is reunited, and Confederate history is American history. We can be ashamed and proud at the same time – we have no alternative. We are obligated to learn as best we can the sometimes painful lessons of our history. This is the only response that is honest, honorable, and accurate to our past and to ourselves.


Read more at American Thinker


Photo: Workers bring down the statue of Robert E. Lee in New Orleans on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Photo by Brett Duke, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)

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nancy.larned

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6 comments

  1. what irritates me is history of the Civil War is not taught with the truth. The North attacked the South not because of slavery, but for economic reasons and wanted total control of all states including the ones moving west. Dirt farmers could not afford a slave and only the Rich in the North and the South had working slaves. The democrats created slavery and started the KKK as an arm of the democrat party as an enforcer.

  2. My guess is that the main reason that portion of our history is being expunged is that so it may more easily be repeated.

  3. Why would you SJWs stop at Confederate monuments? After all, there are tons of negative things in US history from which to pick. Our formal railroad building efforts began around the time of the Civil War by President Lincoln, but was delayed by the war. These railroads were the arteries of our national lifeblood, that carried trade, supplies and people from one end of the nation to the other–they were essential to the survival of the country. They also carried the settlers who would eventually supplant the scattered Native American tribes living in the west.

    Many Chinese and Irish workers were killed along the way. Chinese laborers were the majority on the eastward push–these immigrants were not allowed full citizenship but still had to pay California taxes; Chinese workers were paid even less than their Irish counterparts. The Irish workers were predominant on the westward pushing construction, and were often preyed upon by raiding Native American tribes. According to Stanford University, the railroad did not keep records of worker deaths, but Charles Crocker testified before Congress that a “great many men were lost during construction”. Same story with the Irish workers, nobody knows just how many died during construction, but there were many, and there’s even a famous account of 57 Irish workers who died ostensibly of cholera, but there is evidence to suggest they were murdered.

    You “social justice warriors” should also examine the history of NASA, our vaunted scientific space agency that allows us to view our solar system, study our sun, learn new things about our universe. The scientific figures that headed up the new space agency were Nazi scientists brought to the US at the conclusion of WWII under Operation Paperclip. Scientists such as Wernher von Braun, Erich W. Neubert, Theodor A. Poppel, August Schulze, Eberhard Rees, Wilhelm Jungert, and Walter Schwidetzky were among the first to come to the US. Some of these scientists were essential to the development of our rocket programs, used in military applications up to the present day. God only knows exactly how many poor souls died at the hands of the Nazis, then fell victim to ordnance developed by these scientists over the years. My own family fled Europe as the Nazis took political power, so I could indeed be incensed by the fact that my beloved America utilized the talents of these monsters.

    But see, that’s the thing…while I’m offended that such things as the cruel treatment of immigrants during construction of the railroads happened, or that my country chose to protect chosen members of the Nazi party in the effort to gain military superiority, I recognize that these things are part of our history. We are who we are BECAUSE of our history, good or bad. It’s said that, if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them–how can we learn from our mistakes if those mistakes are erased from our national memory? I apologize for writing a novel, LOL, but this effort to erase history because we don’t like certain elements of it, is so offensive to me that I almost can’t contain it. This behavior is typical of tyrannical ideology the world over! I love my country, warts and all, and I will not remain silent while certain elements of society posture and virtue signal. I can’t physically go protest, but I can, and do, speak out. Thank you Oath Keepers, for giving me the platform to speak, and encouraging all oath-takers to continue the fight against tyranny even if it’s right here in America.

    1. Dear FormerWAC,
      Please do not apologize for your comment. There is no need.
      I found it to be not only very accurate and well written, but spot on point as well. I share your sentiments.
      You have obviously done your research, and it shows. Good on ya. I sincerely wish everyone that chooses to post here would do likewise.
      I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you.
      FtR,
      David

    2. Thank you for a great comment which is well though out and articulate. There’s no need for you to apologize for anything, especially when it’s all true..

    3. If you think about it, the re-writing of history is almost exclusively a one-way street. People like us (Patriot/Liberty movement) NEVER re-write history. I hated history in elementary and high school, but grew to love it in college to the extent that I was only an hour short of a minor in history. The difference was who and when vs. how and why. From what I’ve seen over the course of my life there are 3 primary reasons history is re-written: (1) to cover up mistakes by the people doing the re-writing; (2) to erase history the re-writers disagree with or find distasteful; and (3) to make it easier to repeat the history, hoping for a better outcome (why Liberalism is often referred to as a mental disorder). I sense in the not-too-distant future we may see a great deal of history repeated, and a better outcome is highly unlikely.

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