The Issue Of Confederate Statues And Monuments In Public Places Outside Of Museums

The controversy that erupted over the Charlottesville tragedy has led to a call to remove Confederate atatues and monuments in public places outside of museums.

The descendants of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis have called for the statues of their forebears to be taken down.

A call has gone out for Confederate statues in the US Capitol Rotunda to be taken down. Bills are being introduced to accomplish this goal.

We are talking here about people who were ultimately traitors to the United States.

To compare Lee to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson as slave owners is preposterous, as we are talking about TREASON, and nothing else.

It is time to stop commemorating and honoring people who wished to destroy the American nation.

We are not expecting everyone to be perfect, but treason is something unique, and realize these and other Confederate leaders ultimately caused the death of 360,000 Union soldiers and 250,00 Confederate soldiers.

Also, realize that Jefferson Davis worked to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

So the time has come to say atatues and monuments belong in museums, but not in parks or in government buildings.

So, for example, the excellent Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia is an appropriate location for such statues and monuments, and this blogger has visited that museum and has no issue with them having such statues and memorials. I learned a lot at that museum, and appreciate that it is there, and is such a good museum in context.

Also, state history museums can have these statues and monuments, and record the history of the state, including the Civil War.

But in public government buildings, other than museums, and in parks, it is inappropriate and time to end the “worship” of people who committed treason.

Germany does not honor Nazi Germany in public places, and neither should we honor people who worked to undermine the American nation, and wished to keep slavery alive for the long term!

14 comments on “The Issue Of Confederate Statues And Monuments In Public Places Outside Of Museums

  1. Rational Lefty August 18, 2017 12:09 pm

    I hear that Stone Mountain in Georgia has Confederate generals carved into the mountain. You can’t move a mountain into a museum. What’s the best way to fix an issue like that?

  2. Princess Leia August 18, 2017 12:12 pm

    Monument debate by community leaders in our neck of the woods.

    As an alternative to removing a statue or monument to a Civil War related person or group, the entity responsible for the site should prominently post a dignified permanent marker within easy visual range of the statue or monument. That marker should have highly legible words to this effect: 

    “This location commemorates and preserves the memory of General ____/Civil War unit ______, who fought with distinction for the cause he/they believed in. However, history tells us that the cause of Southern secession was based on a profound moral flaw: the right of certain people to enslave other human beings, contrary to the basic American principle set out in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. This location does not condone or glamorize rebellion, slavery, or war. Instead it serves as a living reminder that we must learn from our shared history, even from events and causes that bother us today. It is the object of learning both sides of America’s Civil War history that enables us to honor all soldiers and to more nearly carry out Abraham Lincoln’s pledge “that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth.”   

  3. Pragmatic Progressive August 18, 2017 12:54 pm

    I agree with that article that Leia posted. I have mixed feelings about this. I feel it’s an issue that is more complicated than simply moving them to a museum. What’s next? Are we going to tear down Stonewall Jackson’s house in Lexington, which is a popular historical tourist spot? Are we going to rename Washington & Lee University? What about Gettysburg and Appomattox? I don’t want to see this going to those extremes.

  4. Ronald August 18, 2017 3:19 pm

    I agree with Princess Leia’s quoted statement.

    And we cannot wipe out all historical record of the Confederacy, and do not advocate closing down of a home or changing a university name, or getting rid of battlefields.

    But a clear cut statement as suggested is appropriate at such sites!

  5. Rustbelt Democrat August 18, 2017 4:56 pm

    I think the issue of which statues stand and which go should be a local government decision.

  6. Rational Lefty August 18, 2017 5:18 pm

    Even within the realm of Confederate monuments, there are degrees of difference. I think that memorials to Confederate dead (like the statue in our town is) or Confederate soldiers should be viewed through a different lens than those to specific Confederate leaders like Lee or Jackson or Jefferson Davis. Even if they died for a wrongful cause, all communties should have a right to mourn their dead and remember the awful cost of war.

  7. Pragmatic Progressive August 18, 2017 5:22 pm

    Agreed, Rational Lefty. Memorials to misguided leaders—many erected for political purposes during the Jim Crow era—are a different matter than the memorials to the Confederate soldiers and sailors.

  8. Princess Leia August 18, 2017 5:26 pm

    Exactly, Rational Lefty. It depends on the statue in question.

  9. Ronald August 18, 2017 6:06 pm

    I agree with all of you on the monuments to soldiers, as compared to those for Confederate leaders.

  10. Rustbelt Democrat August 18, 2017 6:11 pm

    If either the town council or the county government decides to move the one in our town, the town’s cemetery would be the appropriate place for it.

  11. Southern Liberal August 19, 2017 3:05 pm

    The progressive blog, No More Mister Nice Blog, has some polling information regarding the statues.

    I think that the terms “Confederate Monuments” or “Confederate Statues” are too broad. As Rational Lefty said, there are statues of leaders and generals, portraying them as heroic. Most of them were put up during the resurgence of the KKK at the start of the 20th Century or during the backlash against civil rights in the 1950’s and 60’s. But there are also monuments to the Civil War dead – mostly anonymous men who didn’t own slaves, and who were just as much victims of the slaveholding elite who convinced them to march off to war, to defend their “sovereign state” against the Northern aggressors. Commemorating them commemorates the great tragedy that this “brother against brother” war was. Keep them, add some contextual information, as Leia suggested, but don’t put their memorials into the same category as statues glorifying Lee and Jackson.

  12. Former Republican August 19, 2017 3:10 pm

    Southern Liberal – I was talking with some other progressives/liberals/Democrats in our community today. That’s pretty much how they felt as well.

  13. Ronald August 19, 2017 3:37 pm

    Southern Liberal, what you say makes sense!

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