The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

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Should Robert E. Lee be remembered positively or negatively?

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Total Votes : 28

The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by DuceMoosolini on Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:54 pm

It's difficult for Americans to objectively evaluate the Civil War, for obvious reasons. Not helping matters is the revisionism being offered by supporters of both sides, practically from the day the war ended. But with the US concerned about rising racism, and with statues of Lee being the center of contentious public arguments, it seems like a good time to reevaluate Lee's legacy for ourselves. Was he a great general and good man, or was he a racist bastard who deserves to be scorned? I tend to lean toward the former interpretation, and I'm willing to stand by that, but I think there's plenty of room for other takes, and I'd love to hear them.


Last edited by DuceMoosolini on Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:55 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Smoother wording)
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Cold War Communist on Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:02 am

I said he was an honorable man. I believe if we continue to define historic figures in the U.S. by how they perceived the world at the time, we will end up usurping our own virtues and values.

It is important to remember that the U.S. is a country founded during a time when slavery was the norm, when racial "science" ruled the day, and when the idea of liberty, freedom, and equality was budding (not blooming).

Eventually, the right mindset won, but it was pervasive and by no means confined to one sect of the country. It makes no sense to lump together all people as horrible because they followed the beliefs of the time.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Big_Appa on Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:14 am

Lee was an honorable fighter, but I will remember him as a traitor who fought for a rogue state.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Crazy Boris on Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:02 am

I personally view him positively, say what you will about the CSA and what it's government stood for, it doesn't represent Lee. Lee was, well, by modern standards he would probably be considered racist, but so would probably everyone from his time, but I digress, Lee was personally opposed to slavery, and wished to see it come to an end, and the only reason he chose to fight for the CSA was due to loyalty to his home state of Virginia, as state loyalties in both north and south outweighed national loyalties for a lot of soldiers on both sides. Lee was, in my opinion, an archetypal Southern gentleman and more than deserves his status as a symbol of Dixie. In addition, the man's military prowess is incredibly impressive, and I would consider him among the greatest generals of all time.

Lee was a good man, and in my opinion it's a real shame that people immediately assume he was a bad person solely for his side-taking in the war. But I have noticed an uptick in anti-Southern sentiment (or as I like to call it, Dixiephobia) these last few years, so I suppose it's unavoidable...
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by EmperorTigerstar on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:52 am

Lee chose the wrong side, but was an honorable man.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Lord Yavimaya on Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:23 pm

He fought for his land, was a great general, I have nothing but respect for him. Calling him a racist would be dumb- he fought for slavery and the Union fought against it, but no doubt that most of the people in the Union were also racist. I hate the misconception that the South were all racists and the North were all egalitarian. This sort of Good Guy/ Bad Guy division happens too much in history, and it is one of the things I find in people who don't bother to look further into history and the motivation behind leaders' actions.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by King of Wurrtemburg on Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:18 pm

The man fought for a horrible cause for reasons that while making no sense today made sense in the 19th century(wanting to protect his state). I do think the man was a traitor who caused the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people(he was the one who kept the war going as long as it did, if he was on the Union side I believe it would have ended quite quickly) but we should examine his record as a general separate from that. I think the same should be true of Benedict Arnold for example, we should be able to praise good military leaders for being good military leaders without condoning the side they fought for.

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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by NearWolf58 on Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:44 pm

He was an honorable man. Lee was only doing his duty to Virginia.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by EmperorTigerstar on Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:16 am

Lord Yavimaya wrote:He fought for his land, was a great general, I have nothing but respect for him. Calling him a racist would be dumb- he fought for slavery and the Union fought against it, but no doubt that most of the people in the Union were also racist. I hate the misconception that the South were all racists and the North were all egalitarian. This sort of Good Guy/ Bad Guy division happens too much in history, and it is one of the things I find in people who don't bother to look further into history and the motivation behind leaders' actions.

On the contrary he didn't fight for slavery but to defend his state. As for other members of his family, that's a different story.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Kim Jong-un on Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:05 pm

Lee was an honorable man who happened to be fighting for the wrong cause. He joined the war on the Confederate side not because he loved slavery or hated the USA, but because he loved his state too much to allow it to be invaded. He came to the the defense of Virginia to defend its sovereignty. In short, he valued the sovereignty of the state above the unity of the federal structure.
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Cobius on Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:51 pm

I really don't understand why so many people want to destroy Confederate history and monuments. I respect Lee for his tactical prowess, and see nothing wrong with what he did. People forget that the South fought for slavery because it was an integral part of their culture and that the sudden change the north wanted would have instantly obliterated the southern states economy. They were fighting for their families, so that they could be safe and secure instead of homeless and starving. I am not justifying slavery, but magically freeing everyone would have caused decades worth of economic damage. The Civil War is a part of our hostory that we should embrace, not shun and forget about.

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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Koopinator on Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:35 am

>Reads title thumbnail   
>The Legacy of Ro...  
>Ah, The Legacy of Rome. This empire may have been the greatest in human history, It set the basis for modern civilization, and...  
  
>The Legacy of Robert E. Lee
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Re: The Legacy of Robert E. Lee

Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni on Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:04 pm

Koopinator wrote:>Reads title thumbnail   
>The Legacy of Ro...  
>Ah, The Legacy of Rome. This empire may have been the greatest in human history, It set the basis for modern civilization, and...  
  
>The Legacy of Robert E. Lee
Laughing

I voted complicated man. I respect Robert E. Lee both as a skilled tactician, and as a man who was willing to make hard choices if it was what he believed to be the Right Thing To Do. However, the two other poll options were too narrowly worded.

Misconceptions about Lee (All this is from memory, I may have the details wrong.):
1) He was a slave owner: Lee never bought a slave of his own. The slaves he technically inherited from his wife's father were, by his wife's father's will, set to be manumitted as homes could be found for them in the North, but no more than 4 years from the man's death. The reason homes had to be found for them in the North, was that by Virginia law newly freed slaves could not remain in Virginia.
2) Lee was a traitor: Lee was a man absolutely dedicated to the concept of "duty". Treason was not in his nature. He was confronted with the most difficult choice of his life, that being go to war against Virginia, or go to war against the United States. He believed there was a "Right Thing To Do" in that instance. He got it wrong, but then again, hindsight is 20/20.
3) Lee was an abolitionist: Lee did not actively campaign against slavery the way "Stonewall" Jackson did (subversively) before the Civil War. He was philosophically opposed to slavery, but didn't believe African-Americans were ready for full citizenship. He believed it would take many generations of gradually raising up the status and education level of blacks before they would be ready for the responsibilities he perceived white men of his time routinely bore.
4) Lee was a racist: This is a tough one to explain to people who are not well versed in 19th Century thinking. There was a concept at the time called "polygenesis" - the idea that different races of people were created or evolved separately (by our words, they considered blacks a different "species"). Jefferson Davis believed in polygenesis, Robert Lee did NOT. Lee was a strong believer in the biblical God, and as such, he believed all men were descended of Adam and Eve. Lee's views on racial differences were similar to those of Abraham Lincoln (who, btw, did not believe blacks should be given the right to vote). Lee did not "hate" anyone because of their skin color. He was not motivated by the political issues of our day.
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