Dwight Eisenhower on Lee and Secession

K Hale

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"That was my view, that the act of Virginia in withdrawing herself from the United States carried me along as a citizen of Virginia, and that her laws and her acts were binding on me."
What more needs to be said on the subject?
 

Elennsar

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Dig 'em up and hang 'em.

No one is arguing that we should dig them up and hang them. But hanging them to begin with would have been the normal approach.

Those screaming about the evil radical Republicans and their vindictiveness ought to keep that in mind.

Ellsworth avenger said:
Ike is one my Heroes,because of my bias iv'e kept still and have enjoyed the thread.
Ike is still the last great American President.

I don't know if I agree with this, but I don't disagree with it enough to want to start an argument. What about Ike makes him one of your heroes, though?

I have a feeling I won't disagree with the reasons.
 

brass napoleon

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Eisenhower was writing about how Lee felt, not how he himself felt. The closest he comes to saying how he himself feels is this:

"He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America"

the implication being that since 1865 it's been understood that the "cause" Lee fought for was not Constitutionally valid.
 

OpnCoronet

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Except, Lee would have went with Va. Even If, the unconstitutionality of secession had been a proven fact. Would he not Still have drawn his sword in defense of Va., even IF he were convinced that his Va. was, in fact, a rogue state?
 

Elennsar

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I don't think so, but it was a decision to be made based on one's own belief system.

Or on actual law.

Now, if he felt that the actions of Virginia were the actions that mattered to him and that was his point - that he would go with Virginia and as such, what he said - that's his right. God gave man the right to make mistakes.

And I think we can agree what he did was a mistake (Arlington, if nothing else).
 

K Hale

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Except, Lee would have went with Va. Even If, the unconstitutionality of secession had been a proven fact. Would he not Still have drawn his sword in defense of Va., even IF he were convinced that his Va. was, in fact, a rogue state?
You have read what he wrote. Again I ask, what more needs to be said on the subject? What's not clear?
 

K Hale

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And I think we can agree what he did was a mistake (Arlington, if nothing else).
Lee would have to say whether or not he thought it was a mistake. Certainly we can look back and say there were terrible consequences as far as the way things worked out. But whether or not Lee made a mistake by not doing something else isn't for me to say. He may have seen other outcomes as being worse.
 

Elennsar

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Lee would have to say whether or not he thought it was a mistake. Certainly we can look back and say there were terrible consequences as far as the way things worked out. But whether or not Lee made a mistake by not doing something else isn't for me to say. He may have seen other outcomes as being worse.

Maybe. But - looking at this on a personal level - it would take a pretty seriously worse outcome to outweigh that.
 

RobertP

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Eisenhower was writing about how Lee felt, not how he himself felt. The closest he comes to saying how he himself feels is this:

"He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America"

the implication being that since 1865 it's been understood that the "cause" Lee fought for was not Constitutionally valid.

In the context of his letter, the only way to interpret Eisenhower's view is to say that in the legality of secession was settled by the War's outcome, not before. As Union Blue says, 'that's his opinion, he has a right to it.' I concur.
 

prroh

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You have read what he wrote. Again I ask, what more needs to be said on the subject? What's not clear?

Yet, his mentor, Winfield Scott, told him to his face that , although his decision was expected, it was the biggest mistake of Lee's life. I believe, based on his lifelong belief system, that Lee was acting as a Virginian, not as an advocate of the CSA.

A couple of days before the surrender, Lee told General Wise that he felt surrender would be too major a blow to deal to "the country", unless there were zero options left. This would seem to indicate that, by 1865, Lee developed into a loyal citizen of the CSA.

Eisenhower was correct, IMO, that conditions of the time were such that honorable men supported either side. There were demons, but relatively few.
 

OpnCoronet

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The Facft remains, that Lee would have resigned and fought against the United States, no matter what he thought as to the legality or even the 'rightness' of Va.'s decision. His decision was not made on rational thought, but on what Va. did; no matter what.
 

brass napoleon

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In the context of his letter, the only way to interpret Eisenhower's view is to say that in the legality of secession was settled by the War's outcome, not before.

OK, gotcha. I agree that is Ike's opinion, and I agree with Ike's opinion too.
 

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