1. Education
Martin Kelly

Robert E. Lee, Confederate General

By January 19, 2011

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Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807. He was the son of Revolutionary War hero "Light Horse Harry" Lee. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and then proved himself in the Mexican-American War. Robert E. Lee actually opposed the U.S. Civil War until Virginia decided to secede from the Union. He then chose to fight for his home state and was appointed to be a General in the Confederate Army by President Jefferson Davis. Lee was put in charge of the Army of Northern Virginia. Even though he was on the losing side of the war, he was seen as a southern hero and eventually lauded in the north for his valor and military tactics.

Comments

January 19, 2007 at 2:05 pm
(1) S L Blackwelder says:

Lee was a great man that was also a great general. Humility and dignity was his trade mark. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson executed one of the most brillant campaigns of war the world has ever witnessed. Lee was the master planner and Jackson the executer. The “friendly fire” death of Jackson brought an end to this amazing partnership and doomed the Southern States in their quest to win the Second War of Independence.

January 20, 2007 at 7:39 pm
(2) Pamela Steele says:

God bless Geneal Lee……. His duty was but to God, family and Virginia.
If only there more like him in the world today……….

January 24, 2007 at 2:08 pm
(3) jenn says:

he was a man of great valor and extreme reverence… if it wasn’t for “stonewall” jackson’s death, then the outcome of the civil war would’ve been different, no?

January 25, 2007 at 11:17 am
(4) Dave says:

It may be of interest to many to learn that Robert E. Lee is the only cadet, EVER, to have completed the entire course of study at West Point with no demerits. He was known as the “Marble Model”.

January 25, 2007 at 11:58 am
(5) John Noble Landon says:

I, too, admire Lee greatly, but I find it so disheartening that most of the comments so far express wishes that the Unite Staes would have lost that horrible war!

January 25, 2007 at 12:13 pm
(6) Brian says:

Lee made his mistakes, as all military commanders do in some fashion or another. The war has been lost and it’s important to look at what we have gained, yet, there will always be a part of me and I would imagine most southerners that wishes we won the war. The current state of our nation speaks volumes to the failure of Federalism and Unionism.

January 25, 2007 at 9:14 pm
(7) william cormeny says:

Robert E. Lee did not have a great president behind him, did not have a great quartermaster corps, even a great transportation head. He had no naval protection and few skilled diplomats.
He discouraged and avoided the possibility of a guerilla war by surrendering. No one doubts his integrity,humility,and courage. Unlike many Union generals he did not seek the glory.This is why he has served as a model for southerners through the ages.

January 24, 2008 at 6:53 am
(8) David Johnson says:

A great honorable man whose VA roots through his own family and those of his Wife through George Washington, made him stay with the south. One of the better field leaders in US History, with exception to Gettysburg, the Seven Days and Petersburg, all mistakes mostly due to a lack of manpower and impatience. Was slavery the made issue?…..if not then why is it mentioned in nearly every southern states articles of secession? It was the cause of nearly five years of bloodshed

January 25, 2008 at 9:42 am
(9) Raymond Woods says:

Here we go with the slavery BS in an article about the Great General Lee. FYI Mr. Johnson the North benefitted more than the South from Slavery. Where did the cotton come from that made the greedy New England textile merchants with the child labor and inhuman working conditions rich?? What about the Irish and others in squalid tenements who had it worse than slaves? It IS a shame Stonewall perished when he did as the pair would have certainly made a difference at Gettyburg and who knows from there. Yes, John, there are still many people who wish the outcome was different including myself. I do still salute the stars and bars.
You live in our hearts and minds forever General Lee.(a Pittsburgher)

March 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(10) Emily says:

If Robert E. Lee would have led the Union side they would have one much faster and not so many people would have died. This would have happened because Robert E. Lee had such good tactics. He he wouold have only done that we wouldn’t have slaughtered as many as we saw in the Civil War.

May 29, 2008 at 8:28 am
(11) kayla~ confederates! says:

General Lee was a great man! he was brave and worthy to be the general of the confederates. Even though he lost the war he won a place in History as one of the greatest generals! :)

January 26, 2009 at 9:40 am
(12) Ric Barnett says:

Perhaps Lee’s greatest legacy, shared with U.S. Grant is that America healed from the great civil war and was not quagmired in the hate and violence that plagues so many other parts of the world. A wonderful Christain gentleman who released his slaves before the war ever started… it wasn’t about slavery but that idea has been previously rejected by revisionist historians.

April 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm
(13) Andrew says:

Are you guys CRAZY? your actually telling me you wish the south has won? Listen I was born in Alabama, raised in Texas. I’m a complete southerner but do u serriously think we should still have slavery?

May 7, 2009 at 5:24 am
(14) Rob says:

If the CSA would have won the war(and assuming they would not have fought again) slavery was going to eventually die out. Some historians say that it would have only taken 10-15 years. Some say it would have taken around 60. But slavery would be gone. A gradual emancipation of slaves was certainly the best answer and that is what most people wanted including southerners. It should be noted this how relatively close to how northern free states emancipated their slaves, over a long period of time.

May 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm
(15) Jannett Lee says:

Ok here is the issue..Robert E. Lee was a great man. That much is obvious. And i think its fascinating that we have the same last name! Anyways besides the fact of what a brave and great general he was..that doesn’t change the fact that he was fighting for the Rebels. Yeah i love the south i live in Texas for crying out loud, but i do not agree with the fight for slavery. It was wrong and cruel. And who ever said this would be better if the south had won…well you need to really start thinking about what would have happened to this country. Im glad the north won no matter how much i love my home sweet home the south. The outcome of the civil war was very good. This country has accomplished so much more by staying together. And Im happy with our flag today…we dont need the Rebel flag…we are so much better than that!

September 17, 2009 at 11:57 pm
(16) jeremy says:

i’m from canada and you from Texas don’t even know your own history the war wasn’t over slavery.The Confederate battle flag is the coolest flag ever and anyone that looks at it as racist or hate is igornit to dislike something they know nothing about

October 2, 2009 at 7:24 am
(17) Rob says:

If you think the war was not about slavery, you are a fool. If there were no slaves, I am 100% certain that there would have been no rebellion. You can spin it however you want, but the war was really all about slavery.

Robert E. Lee led the largest terrorist movement in this nation’s history. All of you who are claiming he is some kind of great person need to get some perspective.

Approximately 364,511 United States soldiers died in this war. At least 100,000, and many would tell you more like 250,000, terrorist rebels also died. Had Robert E. Lee chosen to fight for his country, both numbers could well have been much lower. Instead, he decided that defending the institution of slavery was the better cause.

As one of the primary leaders in the biggest terrorist movement in American history, Robert E. Lee is one of the most evil Americans in history. He killed thousands in the name of protecting white “rights” to own black people. You are actually completely insane if you honestly believe, after some reflection, that Robert E. Lee was a “great man.”

October 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(18) KENNY says:

Rob, you must be a terrorist yourself. How dare you call one of the most revered Generals of the war a terrorist. He did not want ot fight at all. He was against slavery himself and only fought because his home land was being attacked by McClellan. I would defend my own state too if it came down to it. YOU, sir, need some perspective.

November 8, 2009 at 9:48 am
(19) Tera Gram says:

I was born and raised in the north. Though slavery was an issue in the war, it was not the key issue. People of the North didn’t treat African Americans any better than the people of the South. Sometimes it was worse. The key issue was the succession of the South. By succession they were braking up the United States, weakening it and making it vulnerable. The North was trying to keep it intact and strong, slavery was but a side issue. Some people say how could General Lee have fought for the South and therefore slavery. It is so easy to ask that now, we have never been put in that position. We like to think we would take what we consider the honorable route whatever we may consider that to be. General Lee fought to preserve his home and family. Would you do any less? Those were different times and Lee was human after all and wasn’t perfect. Personally I am glad the Union is intact and slavery is no more. I may not agree with General Lee’s politics but I do believe he was a man to be respected. It is possible to respect your enemy.

December 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm
(20) Tanner says:

The South was not well equiped enough to fight the Union army. Its funny how they thought they could win seriously. An alot of people associate the Rebel flag with rasicm because even after the war the South was still finding ways to treat blacks like slaves.

January 19, 2010 at 1:37 am
(21) BM says:

Someone said that the war was about slavery. Another said it was about secession. Yes these contributed to the war. But the number one reason is the almighty doller. Cold hard cash. And I was born and raised in the North, but R E Lee is one of my heros and was a very great man.
Also if secssion is ilegal, why do we then have 50 states? Look up the forming of the state of West Virgina and how after the war was over the state of VA asked them to come back into the fold and they said no. And guess what, the US govt said it was ok for them to remain a state. So how is it ileagal for the South and not for WV?

January 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm
(22) chuck907 says:

Sure, Lee was a great soldier. But being a great soldier does not make the person a great man. Ghengis Khan was a great soldier and military strategist. However, he can hardly be called a great man in the sense of being a man of honor and integrity. Khan killed many to achieve his selfish goals of dominance over and enslavement of other people.

It disturbs me to see so many commentators who wished the South had won the Civil War. It is also disturbing to see so many who believe the war was not about negro slavery. The war was fought for the sole reasons to either preserve slavery or abolish it.

When Lee became the general for the Confederate States of America (CSA) he had t take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the CSA. Here is a provision of the CSA Constitution:

3. The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

Now, tell me the civil war was not about negro slavery. Now, tell me that Lee was not sworn to uphold and defendant the CSA constitutional “peculiar institution.” Now, tell me Lee was a “great” man.

January 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm
(23) Webbeam says:

Contrary to the comments, the secession of the states was not based on the slave issue. At least, not entirely. It was a struggle of power that had gone on since the end of the revolutionary war. It was a struggle between the states and the federal government regarding who had the higher power to rule. Each state wanted to be master of their own laws. Including, but not limited to, the slavery issue. The Federal government wanted to be the law of the land and create laws that would supersede what contradicting laws were created by each state.

The south became inflamed at the idea that some representing the federal government were trying to abolish the nearly free labor they enjoyed since the establishment of the early American colonies. After all, it was major component of the southern agriculture at the time. But there were other rights on the table as well.

It may be interesting for some to learn that while most slaves were black and were held by whites. There were also some Native Americans and free blacks who held slaves; there were a small number of white slaves as well. I will concede that the majority were indeed black.

I am not a black person. My ancestry is white. But my first ancestor coming into this country was also a slave. As well as the three generations that followed. I am simply stating for the record that slavery touched every color of the rainbow at one time or another in the history of the world. The liberation of slavery should be celebrated by all.

I do not believe any reasonable person responding to this article feels we should revert back to slavery today. I can understand why some feel the General was a great man and others see him as a man trying to protect a cruel tradition that he himself felt was wrong.
Each person should ask themselves if they would have put aside some of their principles in order to uphold others? It must have been a hard choice to make.

January 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm
(24) allyson says:

wow that is so cool i love it not

January 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm
(25) topcat says:

chuck907
“It is also disturbing to see so many who believe the war was not about negro slavery. The war was fought for the sole reasons to either preserve slavery or abolish it.”
*****************************************

Nope…

Lincoln was doing all he could to preserve slavery right up to about January 1, 1863…and even then was going to preserve it in Union controlled areas.

The ‘Glorious Crusade against Slavery’ sounds nice but that ain’t it…
The war -as all wars- was about dominion and power.

January 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm
(26) Sandi says:

There is not doubt that Robert Edward Lee was a great man. There is a reason that Washington College was renamed Washington Lee.

Lee had an impressive military career beginning with his never to be equalled record at West Point, through his service in the Mexican American War, his work as an engineer, and his capture of John Brown. That is not what makes him great.

His service in the CSA is also impressive, from his work protecting Richmond, to his incredible daring at Chancellorsville, to his grace at Appomattox. That is not what makes him great.

After the war, Lee wanted to see the country reunited. He encouraged Southerners to think of themselves as Americans again and to raise their children loving this country. There is even a story that after the war ended and he lost his military command, Lee was in church on a Sunday. A black man kneeled to receive communion, and the church was stunned – though slavery was dead, segregation and racism was still alive. Lee walked up and kneeled next to the black man, and the entire church followed his example. Still, that is not what makes him great.

What makes Lee great is that his every move from West Point to Appomattox was about doing his duty. Lee did what he thought was right, no matter the cost. The night before he resigned his Union commission, he paced his room at Arlington, knowing his home, the inheritance of his children, would be taken from him. Better than most southern soldiers, he knew the war would not be quick and easy. He knew the North could fight and that they had the men and resources to do it. Still, he did what he thought was his duty, even though he was against slavery, even though he was against secession, he did his duty to his home. That was his life’s work, from West Point to Washington College, Lee did the right thing, the honorable thing. How many leaders today can say that?

January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm
(27) Sandi says:

I found this quote I thought I would share:

So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that Slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war, and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained.

General Robert E. Lee, May 1, 1870

January 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm
(28) SGTBOAT says:

Slavery was not even made an issue by the North until halfway thought the conflict. This was done more because the north needed rapid expansion of their armies, more financial support from the rich abolitionists and instituted several colored divisions after that (Glory was a good representation of this). BTW. Several Northern states were still holding slaves long after the entire south had been emancipated.
RE Lee is one of the 5 greatest American Generals ever!!!

“HELL NO, Ill never forget”
Sherman was a darned Arsonist.

Virginia boy

January 31, 2010 at 11:12 am
(29) Mike says:

I read through most of these comments and found both sides of this issue wrong to some degree. First of all (Rob) you should not be calling everyone a fool for thinking this war was not over slavery. The simple fact was slavery was legal and constitutional when the war started. If anything the South was fighting for the preservation of the Constitution, and not terriost. Lee did not fight to continue slavery, he did not like slavery himself, he was forced to choose a side and he choose to defend his home just like you and I would have done.
Another fact is there were free Blacks in the South, they were not all slaves. In the North the ‘free blacks’ were not treated any better than a slave. If the North liked them so much why were they not treat as ‘equal’ for another 100 years in the North? As for Lee fighting for his country, he was doing just that. The South formed its own country and Lee fought for it. This is what he was fighting for, not for the institution of slavery. As for your numbers, (Rob) more soldiers died on both sides of the conflict from infections and disease than from the battles themselves.
Although I liked General Lee, and believe he was a great man that commanded the respect of his men he was far from the greatest General that ever lived. Can anyone tell me of any major battle that the man won decisively? he did win some of the smaller battles, some he wasn’t even at, but the fact is that the North won most all the major battles, not Lee.
It is easy to be a sideline quarterback, but the man should not have gone toe to toe with a superior force. This close-in warfare caused the South to lose their numbers very quickly. The war was started without much forthought or preperation. Part of the problem was the South was too confident because of their better ability to fight. A lot of the credit for the South being able to hold back a superior force and in some cases beating them back should be given to the soldiers of the South, they in themselfs were superior fighters.
During the entire war the middle states were allowed to keep their slaves by Lincoln, because he did not want them being involed in the war. When Lincoln freed the slaves he only freed the ones within the waring states. As for Sherman the man was not only an arsonist he was a war criminal and a theif. The sad thing is that Lincoln actully liked the guy.

January 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm
(30) Sandi says:

Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Cold Harbor, the Seven Days Battles, and Second Manassas.

February 9, 2010 at 10:40 am
(31) michael bresett says:

Well, shucks. The only major battles that I am aware of the south winning are Fort Wagner, and Chancellorsivile, oh and the battle of Bull Run (1st)or also called the 1st battle of Manassas as wel as the 2nd with over 22,000 caasulities from both sides. I am not sure how anyone could win from that.

February 12, 2010 at 9:14 am
(32) Sandi says:

Ashley, he owned two slaves which he inherited from his mother. They were freed before the Civil War. His wife, Mary, owned slaves. The 63 slaves were freed by Lee during the war.

March 5, 2010 at 8:11 am
(33) Sandi says:

John, Lee’s home was actually his wife’s home Arlington House. It was built by her father George Washington Parke Custis, who was Martha Washington’s grandson and was raised at Mount Vernon.

When the Civil War, the Lee’s left Arlington House because of its proximity to Washington D.C.. Then during the war, the North passed a law requiring property taxes to be paid in person by the owner. Lee could not do that so the property was confiscated. In a move to punish Lee his home was used as a cemetary. Ironically, that move guaranteed it would be preserved for all time. His home is Arlington National Cemetary.

http://www.nps.gov/archive/arho/tour/home.html

May 31, 2010 at 11:01 pm
(34) Go the the library says:

The issue is the Mason-Dixon line, which cut the Western states in half in terms of which states could own slave and which could not. Obviously, the Southern states wanted slavery, whereas the Northern states did not.

John Brown and “Bleeding Kansas” would be a good google search for anyone that thinks this war is about state’s rights. You dumb asses, the Northern states also had individual differences between their states and wanted their own rights defended. The only thing the North shared was the issue of slavery and form of livelihood, as did the South. The North was industrial and consisted of factories and commerce; the South was agrarian and mainly consisted of farming cash crops. These cash crops got Southern plantation owners rich. Enough said. Oh, and get off the Internet, take some college classes, or go read a book for the love of God… or your country. Yeah, I like country better.

June 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm
(35) Rebecca says:

I wish there were more men like him who understand what true character is. He was a rare man even then, but I wish that character like his was taught in schools as something to aspire to.
And to any people who still actually think the war was over slavery, you really need to stop being so bitter and actually go read your history.

July 13, 2010 at 4:32 am
(36) DeRae says:

The Civil war was fought over states rights.
A lot of people do not know true history.
They only know what the education system wants them to know & believe. There are a lot of mistruths in the history books. Now (2010) there are problems in Oklahoma because of their new laws concerning illegal Mexican immigrants. The president of the USA & others are not liking the new laws of Oklahoma. Here again,
there is controversy over the rights of individual states.

January 19, 2011 at 6:58 am
(37) steve says:

i respect the history of our forefathers but, all low to middle class citizens of our once great country are slaves to the greedy rich bastards who dont care about nothing but power.

January 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm
(38) Paul says:

True, there is no question that Lee was and is still regarded as one of the great Generals. However, receiving his commission, he took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. He choose to nullify that oath and join himself to the rebellion of the “Confederate States” He was truly fortunate that he was not tried and convicted as a traitor and executed. Nuff said.

January 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm
(39) Chris says:

Considering how we are still battling today over civil and voting rights, it is doubtfull that slavery would have ended in the south had it won until very recently, if at all. Many white southerners refuse to acknowledge the humanity of African-Americans.

January 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm
(40) Edward Moore says:

England would likely have joined with the South in the war but for the South refusing to give up their “peculiar institution”, their euphemism for slavery. A morally rotten “society”, they could have abolished slavery and still kept the blacks in servitude through their racism and oppression. England would have loved a divided North America. Yes yes, I know that the entire country was racist but the South insisted on clinging to the morally debilitating official institution of owning human beings. As imperfect as this country still is, at least it is still a country. Oh yeah, by the way, the South lost the war, for all of you who seem to think it was a draw.

March 24, 2011 at 7:35 am
(41) Sandi says:

Paul, the reason Lee was not tried was because Grant gave his word that Lee and his officer would not be. When Congress began to talk of trying Lee, Grant stop forward and told them that if they did that, then Grant would resign his commission. Since Grant was the hero of the war, Congress backed down.

I do not think Lee betrayed his oath. In those days a person’s country was their state. Lee was loyal to the United States and to Virginia. When the two parted ways, Lee had to choose. It was not an easy decision for him

An interesting fact, originally Virginia did not want to secede. They only did when the Confederacy offered to make Richmond the capitol. Had Virginia still refused, the Civil War would have been vastly different. Lee would have headed the Army of the Potomac and it would have been over in six months.

Edward, but the North did not object to profiting from slavery, which they did.

March 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm
(42) liz says:

Robert E. Lee was a great man. The south has it’s own ideas on why the war was fought as does the north. Let’s all agree that we are one nation now and that even Robert E. Lee went back and told everyone that. It is a child who has an issue with it’s mother they believe they are fighting for something else than what the child thinks she is fighting for but then they understand that they are all family even with issues and they love each other and learn to deal with it. I also believe that Grant was a great man I think the way he treat Lee when he surrendered was very nice and unexpected even to Lee.

April 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm
(43) GPO says:

It was the opinion of many of his peers at the start of the war that he was an overblown desk officer. I think too much credit was given to him. Longstreet was a better than Lee, had Longstreet’s suggestions been used during and before Gettysburg the south probably would have ended up winning somewhere to the southeast. This cant be overlooked because if the south would have won, it probably would have brought recognition from England. The thought that other officers of high rank would have gone north if Lee did is nonsense. If Lee had stayed in the Union army he would have been in command of the same army Mcdowell was, and due to how green that army was probably would have come out no better against Beauregard/Johnston, since they were in a defensive role, with no need to move green troops on the battlefield.

April 11, 2011 at 5:59 am
(44) Rob says:

No, all of you who are denying that the Civil War was about anything other than slavery are just wrong. You have bought into the historical revisionism that has been going on ever since the war ended.

It is hard to come to grips with the fact that the southern states would start a war for such an awful reason. It is truly shameful. So it is understandable that people even in the present day would furiously scramble to find any other reason that might make the war seem less awful and stupid.

I know you who are in denial do not think you are wrong, and I know that your teachers and certain apologist history books may be the bases for your beliefs, but they, and you, are wrong.

The states that seceded did so because they read the writing on the wall. The Republican Party was founded shortly before the war in large part because of the slavery issue, in part by anti-slavery activists, and was the only available political party for those who were anti-slavery to any degree. Its official platform was to stop the spread of slavery at the time Lincoln was elected. When the Republican Lincoln was elected, that spurred secession, but it wasn’t because they didn’t like his beard–it was because they didn’t like the views they perceived he and his political party generally had regarding slavery.

The point about the U.S. not “making slavery an issue” until the middle of the war is completely irrelevant to whether the Civil War was about slavery. The South started the war, and they did so because of slavery issues.

April 11, 2011 at 6:01 am
(45) Rob says:

“Before and during the war, almost every Southern political leader explicitly said the Southern states seceded to protect slavery. Perhaps the most famous statement came from Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens. In 1861, in Savannah, Georgia, Stephens bluntly declared that slavery was ‘the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution.’ He said the United States had been founded on the false belief that all men are created equal. The Confederacy, in contrast, had been ‘founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural moral condition.’ ” – Charles Oliver from his review in Reason magazine of Charles Adams’s book When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession (taken from another article at this website, at http://atheism.about.com/b/2004/07/30/was-the-civil-war-about-slavery.htm)

” ‘Probably 90 percent, maybe 95 percent of serious historians of the Civil War would agree on the broad questions of what the war was about and what brought it about and what caused it, which was the increasing polarization of the country between the free states and the slave states over issues of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery.’ ” – http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/of-course-the-civil-war-was-about-slavery-26265/

April 11, 2011 at 6:02 am
(46) Rob says:

And from the same website:

” ‘One hundred and fifty years ago Christmas Eve day, everyone knew why South Carolina was seceding because they said so — it’s a wonderful document,’ ” said James Loewen, a sociologist and co-editor of The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader.

“Four days after South Carolina seceded on Dec. 20, 1860, the state adopted a second document titled ‘Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.’ Loewen considers the record, central to his new collection, one of the five most important documents in the history of the country, launching as it did a seminal chapter in America’s ongoing struggle to define itself.

” ‘So why does nobody ever read it?’ he asked. ‘Everybody knew [secession was] about slavery. This document is all about slavery.’ “

April 11, 2011 at 6:03 am
(47) Rob says:

And Robert E. Lee was fighting to defend his state–this is true. He chose loyalty to his state over loyalty to his country. But his was a state that chose to join a war against its country in the name of the right to perpetuate and spread slavery. That does not make his actions acceptable in any way. Nazi generals, I’m sure, would tell you that they were just being loyal to their country, but that doesn’t make what they did any less awful. Lee would have been the U.S.’s main general had he accepted the post, and had he done so, the war in all likelihood would have been much shorter and much less deadly. The North had an issue until Gettysburg with incompetent generalship and losing to Lee, and Lee’s many early victories for the South were a crucial factor in making the war as long as it was. The fact that he used his talent in defense of such an awful cause is what makes him the most reprehensible historical figure in American history.

It is sad to see the amount of revisionism and denial on this message board. Robert E. Lee was a traitor to his country, leading a war for an incredibly awful cause, and deserves only our scorn and contempt.

April 11, 2011 at 6:09 am
(48) Rob says:

Apparently this won’t allow comments with URLs in them.

So I can’t say the website. But here’s my post that was supposed to come before the one that starts “And from the same website,” except without URLs. Google it. Then maybe find some real nonrevisionist historians to read.

“Probably 90 percent, maybe 95 percent of serious historians of the Civil War would agree on the broad questions of what the war was about and what brought it about and what caused it,” McPherson said, “which was the increasing polarization of the country between the free states and the slave states over issues of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery.” That’s James McPherson, a Princeton Civil War historian and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history Battle Cry of Freedom.

And from another website whose URL I guess I also have to omit (just Google it):

Before and during the war, almost every Southern political leader explicitly said the Southern states seceded to protect slavery. Perhaps the most famous statement came from Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens. In 1861, in Savannah, Georgia, Stephens bluntly declared that slavery was “the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution.” He said the United States had been founded on the false belief that all men are created equal. The Confederacy, in contrast, had been “founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural moral condition.”

That is by Charles Oliver, writing for Reason, reviewing Charles Adams‘ book When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession

This is not controversial stuff, except for revisionists. If you’re denying this truth, you are wrong.

April 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm
(49) James Bean says:

Robert E. Lee was a disgusting traitor who should have been hanged. He was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Calling him a great man is tantamount to saying Charles Manson was a Christ figure.

May 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm
(50) Travis says:

German general Erwin Rommel(the desert fox) was a great soldier and tactician, but you can’t ignore what he defended, either by design or default.
To say that southern secession wasn’t a defense of slavery is to ignore the words of confederate president Jefferson Davis. (By the north’s action of surrounding slave states with non-slave states)- “thus rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars,… With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North to the adoption of some course of action to avert the danger with which they were openly menaced.” There you have it, Southern secession was about protecting their ownership and investment in slavery.

May 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm
(51) Chrystal McDowell says:

@John the one thing about the Civil war is that the United States both won and lost that war. If the South had won, it would still be America. We were at war with ourselves. My Grandmother being a Lee (I say this in referance to General Lee), I grew up hearing stories about the south and my Grandfather being a McDowell (I say this in referance to General McDowell), I grew up hearing stories of the North. Families fought families, that’s the saddest part of this war. General Lee, was a great man and honestly brave for taking on a larger army and still believing in his army, state, president, and so on. No matter what side you believe should of won, you have to respect General Lee for all that he stood for.

June 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm
(52) brandon says:

Gen. Robert E. Lee was a great man. and if wasnt for the accidental battle of gettysburgh and stone wall jacksons death, the outcome surely would of been a lot different. The war is over and we cant help but wonder about it but their is no sense in getting in an arguement about it, the north won as much as it saddens me to say that it is true. No one can change that and if lee could accept it then so can I.

June 26, 2011 at 6:44 am
(53) R says:

As a kid I believed the Civil War was was all about abolishing slavery, and Honest Abe, and so on. This was the History I was TAUGHT in second grade, and even in Sunday school. An even softer claim was that the Civil War was about individual state rights and “Less Big Government” and such as I was TAUGHT in Seventh grade Civics. Then there is also always the middle ground to settle on dollars and cents. Not black, nor white, but green actually. It seems eerily similar to the politics of today. But the fact is that SLAVERY was the driving force behind the Civil War at every turn, just unfortunately NOT AT ALL intended to benefit slaves. When you choose to pussy-foot around the subject of slavery as it relates to the Civil War, you shame your ancestors (no matter which), and you are in denial.

June 26, 2011 at 8:07 am
(54) R says:

I agree with #40, “go to the library” when it comes to the question of: “What caused the Civil War?” Kiddies: Read a darn book, yeah remember those, such as your History Book that your teacher told you to read in the first place. This is not the 1930s so a teacher is not going to give you a politically charged subject such as that, and then not give you a book or tell you to check one out from the Library. You are trying to get over on your teacher by doing neither, and you are NOT as slick as you think if you walk up in class and attempt to give your teacher some of the so-called answers that I am noticing up in here today. Reference two History books to be sure. For you Adults (some not all): Don’t state an opinion, and claim it’s a verified fact or tell a flat-out (little white) lie to get your point across. I could swear some of you folks were a*s-deep in the Encyclopedia Britannica the way you sling falsified facts around. Here’s a new idea for those of you that can’t interpret thing and re-type them: Just go ahead and plagiarize complete sentences when it comes to typing your facts, if any, and you may have a chance of delivering one correctly, especially when taking things out of context. Just copy and paste for the kids’ sake! There are kids actually using this blog for their homework and such, if not just trying to stir up a little afterschool sh*t. They already don’t want to plagiarize their homework, and now you give them nothing of value to re-word.

June 26, 2011 at 8:07 am
(55) R says:

Some of you are just bombing these kids’ brains, and they are going to remember the answers you gave them into adulthood…such as you obviously did ….and you know that’s just wrong. But hopefully they make a fool of themselves before that and learn not to listen to whatever anyone tells them, such as a lot of you do right now. And learn to get good sources for their facts. Sure there are some teachers on here but mostly NOT. A lot of you are brainwashed to hell. And most of you do not care where your source came from. SO CHECK YOUR FACTS STUPID!! And that’s IF…and only if… you got them from a reputable source, and not your cousin Billie-Bob-Joe over the walkie-talkie, or even worse, some of you had an angel prophecy to you as to the prime reason or cause…such as the one and only reason…for the Civil War. Or you were given every reason but the most obvious and common sense reason that you don’t’ need to be a History Teacher to know. In any case, because you refuse to check your facts, you are just going to believe what you want to believe anyhow, so I may as well ball the reason up, toss it in the air, and shot it with it a musket. You’re going to mangle it up by the time your brain filters it out to you anyhow. I would not play the message game with more than three of you at a time, because you would have me saying “Parlez vous francais?” by the time “Sprechen Sie deutsch?” came out the last persons mouth. Quit rewriting history because you’re lazy. If you don’t know, then don’t answer the freaking question. Nobody wants to read you saying that you THINK the answer to a specific yes-or-no-question may be NO, followed by an admission that it could also be YES, because you really have no clue.

July 16, 2011 at 3:10 am
(56) bobby says:

this is to Andrew on comment 14, the confederates did not start the war if the Yankees didn’t attack us slavery would have died of natural causes in the next 10-15 years without millions of deaths caused by northerners and not to be mean but you were taught revisionist history in other words you were told lies by your teacher.

October 12, 2011 at 7:28 am
(57) the drifter says:

All comments praising Robert Edward Lee
are true,
He and Pres Jeff Davis far outshone that dead baboon Lincoln
-don’t forget,the oaf only freed slaves-sorry-servants in the North in 1865-
as per usual-
the best side lost !

October 18, 2011 at 9:36 am
(58) chris says:

Lee is the greatest military mind of all time, bar none. Let’s be honest about one. The South stood as much a chance of beating the North as an Ant does of beating Godzilla.

That being said, one fact that I did not notice mentioned was that Lee lobbied to President Jeff Davis ( a noted racist) to have slaves fight for the South, much like they were fighting for the North, and in turn, these men would get their freedom. After several months, Davis relented and allowed slaves to fight for the South.

May 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(59) Pete says:

Robert E. Lee was one of the finest men Western Civilization has ever produced.

September 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm
(60) jeff says:

Lee was a great man? Lmao no he wasnt. He was a racist sack of crap in charge of a deluded Army of poor farmers that were fighting so wealthy slave holders could continue to inflict utter evil and depravity on people of a different color. The hero worship is mindboggling. Go visit an old plantation and ask yourself if you or anyone else should live that way to facilitate “a way of life.” Lee hated abolition. Lee loved his way of life. Lee was a symbol for everything that was wrong with the country. Romanticize him all you want I dont care, I do care he lost and badly. Otherwise hundred of thousands of people would continued to suffer under the venal veneer of Southern Gentile life, a festering a crock of diarrhea that had no redeeming qualities no matter the cut of cloth donned by a delusional old man on a horse called Traveler.

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