Keep Lee at Washington & Lee University

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
You seem hung up on the concept of “betrayal.”

Washington and the Founders betrayed England. Everything you mentioned in your post regarding the Confederacy could apply to them as well.

In your mind, betrayal is acceptable as long as those who do the betraying win.
Not hung up on a perfect example.

Washington and the Founders rebelled against England for reasons far different than the Confederacy ever did.

In my mind, the Confederacy and Lee betrayed the Founders and the United States for one of the worst reasons a people ever did.

In trying to read my mind, you have made a very wrong conclusion on my expressed views.
 

Cycom

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Location
Los Angeles, California
Not hung up on a perfect example.

Washington and the Founders rebelled against England for reasons far different than the Confederacy ever did.

In my mind, the Confederacy and Lee betrayed the Founders and the United States for one of the worst reasons a people ever did.

In trying to read my mind, you have made a very wrong conclusion on my expressed views.
Betrayal contingent on it being the right kind of betrayal. And winning. Got it.
 

DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
Betrayal contingent on it being the right kind of betrayal. And winning. Got it.
Yeah, I don't think you've got it. Is there any government, in any country, in the last couple centuries, that you think that betrayal would be the right and noble action to take?

And the flip-side: Is there any government, in any country, in the last couple centuries, that you think that betrayal would be wrong and immoral?
 

Cycom

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Location
Los Angeles, California
Yeah, I don't think you've got it. Is there any government, in any country, in the last couple centuries, that you think that betrayal would be the right and noble action to take?

And the flip-side: Is there any government, in any country, in the last couple centuries, that you think that betrayal would be wrong and immoral?
Yes to both. Hindsight, and my own values, have shown me instances of rebellions in whose reasons and outcomes I’ve agreed with.

You guys say Lee betrayed his country. Others say he was loyal to his native state.

You want to call him a traitor. Fine. But since the differentiators you create for “good” and “bad” rebellions are whether you personally agree with them and that they won, this discussion essentially turns into a giant op-ed.

The men of the American Revolution were traitors. But they won, so they get a free pass.

Except that Washington owned slaves. Still a hero in your eyes or back to being a traitor?
 

DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
The men of the American Revolution were traitors. But they won, so they get a free pass.

Except that Washington owned slaves. Still a hero in your eyes or back to being a traitor?
They were traitors to England, not to the US. That makes a difference to me as an American. And they had a noble cause.

Washington is a hero, imho. But a hero with flaws, like many of his time.

Lee was a traitor to the US, when every other regular army colonel from Virginia stayed loyal to the US. And Lee fought for a horrible cause.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

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Location
Ohio
Yes to both. Hindsight, and my own values, have shown me instances of rebellions in whose reasons and outcomes I’ve agreed with.

You guys say Lee betrayed his country. Others say he was loyal to his native state.

You want to call him a traitor. Fine. But since the differentiators you create for “good” and “bad” rebellions are whether you personally agree with them and that they won, this discussion essentially turns into a giant op-ed.

The men of the American Revolution were traitors. But they won, so they get a free pass.

Except that Washington owned slaves. Still a hero in your eyes or back to being a traitor?
Every action any person or persons take is judged as moral or immoral by others. This is especially true for wars/rebellions. If our founding fathers had rebelled against England primarily to protect slavery I would judge their rebellion as immoral, whether they win or not. Also if the founding fathers had not spent almost ten years protesting and petitioning the Crown for a redress of their grievances and immediately resorted to armed action I would also judge our revolution more harshly.

Let's leave the slavery issue aside for a moment. If the southern states had rebelled for some other purpose besides the perceived threat to slavery that they (rightly) believed the republican party represented, I would still judge the southern fire-eaters rebellion as less moral than the founders. Why? Because unlike our founding fathers the southern fire-eaters had full representation in the body politic. They had not spent years trying to address their grievances through the body politic they belonged to. They started their rebellion because a party they didn't like won a free and fair election in which they participated, an election that would be held again in four years.

As the DOI states, "governments should not be changed for light and transient causes..." I can't think of many causes more light and transient than a party you don't like winning an election in a constitutional republic with a robust system of check and balances.
 

Cycom

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Location
Los Angeles, California
They were traitors to England, not to the US. That makes a difference to me as an American. And they had a noble cause.

Washington is a hero, imho. But a hero with flaws, like many of his time.

Lee was a traitor to the US, when every other regular army colonel from Virginia stayed loyal to the US. And Lee fought for a horrible cause.
I get your first point, and I actually share your sentiments. As an American, I too of course see the cause of the Founders as noble. Washington is indeed a hero, but I wouldn’t call being a slave owner a “flaw.” Washington, like so many others, was a product of his time, just like Lee.

Again, I completely disagree that he was a traitor. My firmly held opinion.

Ultimately, this must tie into the W&L situation. Folks want to change the name of the university because of a legacy of “racism” and “white supremacy.” If that’s the case, and you support their cause based on their criteria, then you might as well throw Washington under the bus as well.
 

DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
Washington is indeed a hero, but I wouldn’t call being a slave owner a “flaw.” Washington, like so many others, was a product of his time, just like Lee.
But Washington was aware enough to become uncomfortable with slavery. So he knew there was a moral problem with it but was a bit wishy-washy in coming to terms with that moral problem. That's why I would describe him as flawed. He wrote this in 1786:

There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for this abolition of [slavery] but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, & that is by Legislative authority.​

We'll just have to disagree about Lee. He not only turned against his country, but also spoke out post-war against extending civil rights to the freedmen. In my opinion, he was not anything close to Washington's level.
 

Cycom

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Location
Los Angeles, California
But Washington was aware enough to become uncomfortable with slavery. So he knew there was a moral problem with it but was a bit wishy-washy in coming to terms with that moral problem. That's why I would describe him as flawed. He wrote this in 1786:

There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for this abolition of [slavery] but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, & that is by Legislative authority.​

We'll just have to disagree about Lee. He not only turned against his country, but also spoke out post-war against extending civil rights to the freedmen. In my opinion, he was not anything close to Washington's level.
He was indeed wish washy. He was a slave owner nearly his entire life. He had slaves beaten for various reasons, but wasn’t a cruel slave owner. He freed his slaves as part of his will. So yes, while this is far better than other slave owners, he was still a man of his time. You’ve provided important nuance to him, and that is critical.

Nuance is also important when discussing Lee. From what I’ve read about this, he also was not a cruel slave owner and he freed his own slaves.

The issue of “betrayal” isn’t key to the W&L debate at all. It’s the racist and evil men who owned slaves during that time when owning them was either ok or less frowned upon. This the crux. They want to change the name of the university because both were slave owners.

I’ll end this by repeating what I wrote in my previous post:

If that’s the case, and you support their cause based on their criteria, then you might as well throw Washington under the bus as well.
 

Cycom

Sergeant
Joined
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Location
Los Angeles, California
Every action any person or persons take is judged as moral or immoral by others. This is especially true for wars/rebellions. If our founding fathers had rebelled against England primarily to protect slavery I would judge their rebellion as immoral, whether they win or not. Also if the founding fathers had not spent almost ten years protesting and petitioning the Crown for a redress of their grievances and immediately resorted to armed action I would also judge our revolution more harshly.
You may have judged it as immoral, just as some during that time did. I’m not questioning your moral code or convictions, only that we are partly beholden to our circumstances, regardless of our own thoughts.

Let's leave the slavery issue aside for a moment. If the southern states had rebelled for some other purpose besides the perceived threat to slavery that they (rightly) believed the republican party represented, I would still judge the southern fire-eaters rebellion as less moral than the founders. Why? Because unlike our founding fathers the southern fire-eaters had full representation in the body politic. They had not spent years trying to address their grievances through the body politic they belonged to. They started their rebellion because a party they didn't like won a free and fair election in which they participated, an election that would be held again in four years.
I don’t know enough yet about the secession discussion to confidently respond to this, but I respect your viewpoint.

Thank you and @DanSBHawk for discussing this civilly.
 

edfranksphd

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Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Nothing has changed. If you are from the North, or descended from such, Lee is an unmitigated traitor, w/o question & Lincoln is a hero who preserved the Union, 8 million dead nothwithstanding (prorated), and secession was a threat to the viability of the entire Union, even if only 7 states had seceded (as was the status ante-Lincoln's volunteer call-up). If you are from the South, or descended from such, Lee is patriot, a brilliant general whose only crime was unwillingness to serve in an army that would launch an invasion to suppress a perfectly legal secession by the deep South, and later fought to defend the independence of the 11-state CSA, the goal of which was never to threaten to viability of the Union per se. The near secession of New England during the War of 1812 never seems to be mentioned by these devout patriots of the Union. Never. How convenient. Their cause wasn't, of course, to preserve slavery; just to preserve the immense wealth they accrued from trading with the blockaded French Empire of Napoleon, contra US law and UK law. How noble...
 
The near secession of New England during the War of 1812 never seems to be mentioned by these devout patriots of the Union. Never. How convenient. Their cause wasn't, of course, to preserve slavery; just to preserve the immense wealth they accrued from trading with the blockaded French Empire of Napoleon, contra US law and UK law. How noble...
There was no "near" secession of New England before, during or after the War of 1812. A handful of disgruntled politicians who couldn't bring secession discussions before any state legislature or get a hearing at the Hartford Convention is probably the reason it's not much talked about except by modern day pro-Confederate advocates trying to justify the secession of the Southern States.
 
Nothing has changed. If you are from the North, or descended from such, Lee is an unmitigated traitor, w/o question & Lincoln is a hero who preserved the Union, 8 million dead nothwithstanding (prorated), and secession was a threat to the viability of the entire Union, even if only 7 states had seceded (as was the status ante-Lincoln's volunteer call-up). If you are from the South, or descended from such, Lee is patriot, a brilliant general whose only crime was unwillingness to serve in an army that would launch an invasion to suppress a perfectly legal secession by the deep South, and later fought to defend the independence of the 11-state CSA, the goal of which was never to threaten to viability of the Union per se. The near secession of New England during the War of 1812 never seems to be mentioned by these devout patriots of the Union. Never. How convenient. Their cause wasn't, of course, to preserve slavery; just to preserve the immense wealth they accrued from trading with the blockaded French Empire of Napoleon, contra US law and UK law. How noble...



"Notwithstanding the vast amount of calumny and reproach that has been bestowed upon the Hartford Convention by the ignorant and the worthless, it will not be a hazardous assumption to say, that henceforward no man who justly estimates the value of his character for truth and honesty, and who, of course, means to sustain such a character, will risk his reputation by the repetition of such falsehoods respecting that body, as have heretofore been uttered with impunity. No man, with the facts before him, can do this, without sacrificing all claim to veracity, and, of course, to integrity and honour. Nor will the subterfuge that the journal and report of the Convention do not contain the whole of their proceedings, save him from the disgrace of wilfully disregarding the truth. Nearly nineteen years have elapsed since the Convention adjourned, and no proof has been adduced, and nothing nearer proof, than the unsupported assertions of the corrupt journals of political partizans, of any measure having been adopted or recommended by the Convention, besides those contained in the journal and the report. If there was any treason, proposed or meditated, against the United States, at the Convention, it must have been hidden in as deep and impenetrable obscurity, as the fabulous secrets of free masonry are said to be buried, otherwise some traces of it would have been discovered and disclosed to the public before this late period. No such discovery having been made, the inference must neccessarily be, that no such treasonable practice or intention existed."
Dwight, Theodore. History of the Hartford Convention: With a Review of the Policy of the United States Government, Which Led to the War of 1812, Published by N. & J. White, New York; And Russell, Odiorne, & Co. Boston, 1833, pp. 402-403

Theodore Dwight was the Secretary of the Convention
 

danny

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Location
Hattiesburg
But Washington was aware enough to become uncomfortable with slavery. So he knew there was a moral problem with it but was a bit wishy-washy in coming to terms with that moral problem. That's why I would describe him as flawed. He wrote this in 1786:

There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for this abolition of [slavery] but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, & that is by Legislative authority.​

We'll just have to disagree about Lee. He not only turned against his country, but also spoke out post-war against extending civil rights to the freedmen. In my opinion, he was not anything close to Washington's level.
See Abe Lincoln
 

edfranksphd

Private
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
There was no "near" secession of New England before, during or after the War of 1812. A handful of disgruntled politicians who couldn't bring secession discussions before any state legislature or get a hearing at the Hartford Convention is probably the reason it's not much talked about except by modern day pro-Confederate advocates trying to justify the secession of the Southern States.
I disagree. The only reason the secession didn't get more traction is b/c Jackson's victory of New Orleans made it a moot point. The war was over, both in the US and in Europe (at the time, Napolean was defeated and imprisoned). But for New Orleans battle and the apparent demise of Nappy, secession would've been the priority of the Hartford Convention.
 

edfranksphd

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Joined
Aug 30, 2019
"Notwithstanding the vast amount of calumny and reproach that has been bestowed upon the Hartford Convention by the ignorant and the worthless, it will not be a hazardous assumption to say, that henceforward no man who justly estimates the value of his character for truth and honesty, and who, of course, means to sustain such a character, will risk his reputation by the repetition of such falsehoods respecting that body, as have heretofore been uttered with impunity. No man, with the facts before him, can do this, without sacrificing all claim to veracity, and, of course, to integrity and honour. Nor will the subterfuge that the journal and report of the Convention do not contain the whole of their proceedings, save him from the disgrace of wilfully disregarding the truth. Nearly nineteen years have elapsed since the Convention adjourned, and no proof has been adduced, and nothing nearer proof, than the unsupported assertions of the corrupt journals of political partizans, of any measure having been adopted or recommended by the Convention, besides those contained in the journal and the report. If there was any treason, proposed or meditated, against the United States, at the Convention, it must have been hidden in as deep and impenetrable obscurity, as the fabulous secrets of free masonry are said to be buried, otherwise some traces of it would have been discovered and disclosed to the public before this late period. No such discovery having been made, the inference must neccessarily be, that no such treasonable practice or intention existed."
Dwight, Theodore. History of the Hartford Convention: With a Review of the Policy of the United States Government, Which Led to the War of 1812, Published by N. & J. White, New York; And Russell, Odiorne, & Co. Boston, 1833, pp. 402-403

Theodore Dwight was the Secretary of the Convention
Do you suppose that a memoir written by a key player in the convention would admit to the reality of the chance of a push for secession absent New Orleans and absent the defeat of Nappy in mid-1814? Surely u don't consider this to be an unbiased assessment of what happened, or might have happened, or was being considered should happen at the time of the convention?!
 
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