Well, that is the usual version we get together with how he was against slavery, didn't own slaves, was the perfect general and so on...In my humble opinion, I think Lee thought of himself as a Virginian first as opposed to a CSA nationalist. Just a thought. David.
This suggests that he was not a southern nationalist at all.http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/People/Robert_E_Lee/FREREL/4/17*.html#Acton_letter
It will be remembered that in 1861 Lee knew little about the constitutional involvements of secession. In one of his few known references to the subject, he confused the preamble of the Articles of Confederation with that of the Constitution of 1787. He went with Virginia on her secession because his whole background, his training, and his social and family ties led him to feel instinctively that his first allegiance, at a time of tragic but inescapable choice, was to her.17 He held that in her secession Virginia carried him with her. As he fought for the Southern cause, however, he came to see its meaning. Sacrifice clarified it. One cannot say when or how — whether it was by his own reading, or through the debates in winter quarters, or from the contagion of political belief — but Lee absorbed the Southern constitutional argument and was convinced by it. "All that the South has ever desired," he wrote in January, 1866, "was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved; and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth."18 Speaking of his own course, he wrote: "I had no other guide, nor had I any other object than the defense of those principles of American liberty upon which the constitutions of the several states were originally founded."19 To a friend in the West he wrote in 1869 what in 1866 undoubtedly was his opinion: "I was not in favor of secession, and was opposed to war; in fact . . . I was for the Constitution and the Union established by our forefathers. No one now is more in favor of that Constitution and that Union; and, as far as I know, it is that for which the South has all along contended. . . ."
By that token what did officers and men from Virginia see themselves as? Did they see themselves not being from Virginia?In my humble opinion, I think Lee thought of himself as a Virginian first as opposed to a CSA nationalist. Just a thought. David.
No. I would think they would see themselves first as Virginians depending on the individual. For example, if I was living during the time of the civil war since I was born in Pennsylvania I certainly would see myself as a Pennsylvanian first as opposed to someone simply from the North. When turning down command of U.S. forces didn't Lee say that he would never raise a sword to his native Virginia? David.By that token what did officers and men from Virginia see themselves as? Did they see themselves not being from Virginia?
When Lee said that he was most likely thinking he would not raise a sword against his fellow slave owners. Yet George Thomas a slave owning Virginian did not resign his commission and became a Major General in the Union Army.No. I would think they would see themselves first as Virginians depending on the individual. For example, if I was living during the time of the civil war since I was born in Pennsylvania I certainly would see myself as a Pennsylvanian first as opposed to someone simply from the North. When turning down command of U.S. forces didn't Lee say that he would never raise a sword to his native Virginia? David.
I've read your post several times, and I don't understand where the racial part of the equation is coming from. Can you elaborate?Yet, by joining the CSA, Lee cut himself off from almost all close family and those relations were never repaired. I'm starting to see a more racist aspect to all this then I ever considered before.
By a more racist outlook I mean more of what Gary Gallagher talks about - maintaining the status quo as in the following paragraphs by G.G.I've read your post several times, and I don't understand where the racial part of the equation is coming from. Can you elaborate?
Yes, Southern Patriot is a good description. It's vague, as it needs to be.Of course Lee was a Southern nationalist - he became one the moment he resigned his commission in the US army and signed up to serve in the CSA. I do hope no one is confusing the term with anything modern. Maybe it's more accurate to call Lee a Southern patriot.
I think it's because the social system he was talking about was the aristocracy he came from. A place like Arlington could not exist without slaves to bring in money to support it. His Virginia class was mellow and much older than the Deep South, like Mississippi. They were more likely to be newly rich, newly upper class people like Forrest! This class didn't particularly like Lee's class, either. Whichever it was, though, they both depended on slavery to maintain this social structure. And, he did wish the fire-eaters would put a sock in it...I'm also confused by Lee defending "the social system" because in other things I've read, but can't put my hand to at the moment, he wasn't fond of the deep south planters and fire-eaters driving policy.
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