- Jul 8, 2015
Well said.Robert E. Lee is the Hector of American history.
Like Hector, he was an excellent military leader, beloved by his men and feared and respected by his enemies. Like Hector, he was a model of personal behavior and a fine father and husband. Like Hector, he was driven by a sense of duty and fought to protect his homeland.
Yet the cause he served was unjust. The Trojans would not return Helen, though Hector rightly thought this was wrong. Similarly, the South could not abide even the possibility of a threat to slavery and so seceded, though Lee rightly thought this was wrong. Both men fought with the strong belief, perhaps the subconscious certainty, that the ultimate doom of their cause was sealed from the beginning.
For all its bravery, the gods decreed that Troy had to fall and be destroyed. It had to happen, if the Greeks were to rise to their proper place in the grand order of things. Similarly, Lee and the Confederate cause had to be defeated if America was to meet its own historical destiny and take its proper place in the world.
We can admire him, but we can't look away from the fact that Lee was an enemy of the United States and, had his cause triumphed, the United States would have been shattered and the sickening evil of slavery would have continued.
I might add that Lee had an overdeveloped sense of class loyalty, believing that the financial/social interests of his friends and relatives were the same as the interests of his country.