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Sat Aug 26, 2017, 01:47 PM

The Myth of the Kindly General Lee

The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.


Jonathan Bachman / Reuters
ADAM SERWER
JUN 4, 2017 POLITICS

The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed.

Memorial Day has the tendency to conjure up old arguments about the Civil War. That’s understandable; it was created to mourn the dead of a war in which the Union was nearly destroyed, when half the country rose up in rebellion in defense of slavery. This year, the removal of Lee’s statue in New Orleans has inspired a new round of commentary about Lee, not to mention protests on his behalf by white supremacists.

The myth of Lee goes something like this: He was a brilliant strategist and devoted Christian man who abhorred slavery and labored tirelessly after the war to bring the country back together.

There is little truth in this. Lee was a devout Christian, and historians regard him as an accomplished tactician. But despite his ability to win individual battles, his decision to fight a conventional war against the more densely populated and industrialized North is considered by many historians to have been a fatal strategic error.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Myth of the Kindly General Lee (Original post)
MrScorpio Aug 2017 OP
Lifelong Protester Aug 2017 #1
dalton99a Aug 2017 #2
underpants Aug 2017 #5
HughBeaumont Aug 2017 #3
underpants Aug 2017 #4
customerserviceguy Aug 2017 #6

Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Sat Aug 26, 2017, 02:03 PM

1. A good read.

Thanks for posting.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Sat Aug 26, 2017, 02:08 PM

2. The day white Virginia stopped admiring Gen. Robert E. Lee and started worshiping him

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/08/22/the-day-white-virginia-stopped-admiring-gen-robert-e-lee-and-started-worshipping-him/

The day white Virginia stopped admiring Gen. Robert E. Lee and started worshiping him
By Steve Hendrix | August 23



The canonization of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee began shortly after 5 p.m., May 7, 1890, on the docks of the James River in Richmond. That’s when at least 10,000 citizens clamped 20,000 hands on ropes and hauled three huge crates a mile and a half up to the empty tobacco field above the city now known as Monument Avenue.

Inside the boxes, fresh from the sculptor’s studio in France, was the massive statue that would soon loom over not just the skyline of Richmond but the psyche of Virginia: the noble Lee mounted on his horse. It was a many-handed moment of popular acclaim that lifted Lee to new heights of esteem and helped germinate the growing perception of him as “the Commonwealth’s greatest son,” said historian Edward Ayers, who teaches at the University of Richmond.

“Lee had certainly been celebrated at the time of his death” 20 years earlier, Ayers said. “But in 1890, this was a remarkable public display that really began to put him at the top of the pantheon for white Virginians. People saved pieces of those ropes for the rest of their lives.”

In the 127 years since that day on the docks, Lee memorials have become fixtures across the country, especially in the South. Now they are coming down — often at night. In the wake of violence at a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville — a gathering meant to protest the planned removal of a Lee statue — images of the general have been removed from pedestals from Texas to North Carolina to Baltimore.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Sat Aug 26, 2017, 03:30 PM

5. I drive by it all the time.

Living in Richmond we are literally surrounded by the Lost Cause.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Sat Aug 26, 2017, 02:10 PM

3. I had to use this article on a cousin (by marriage) who revised history.

Freaking Ohioans defending the treasonous Confederacy.

UNbelievable.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Sat Aug 26, 2017, 03:26 PM

4. Excellent article. I'm immersed in the Lost Cause

as are many here in Richmond. We drive down Monument Ave. regularly mostly focused on getting around the traffic circles. The traffic circles are around the monuments of Lee Stoewall Maury Jeff. Davis and Arthur Ashe <-- that's a whole other story.

My stepfather receives the Lost Cause publications (monthly Civil War magazines) and keeps them in the bathroom. I really give no shits about the left flank operation of Gen. ___ at the battle of ____.

I drive by A. P. Hill's monument regularly. Local legend is that he's actually buried there.

If Mayor Storey epreally proceeds with removing the monuments from Monument Avenue there is going to be a shitstorm here that will change the city.

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Response to underpants (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 26, 2017, 05:02 PM

6. Who among us

wants to be told that their ancestors are all evil people? Especially if that sentiment is followed by considering the descendant evil by association.

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