Lee and Longstreet post war relationship


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Jul 21, 2015
The thread starter hasn't posted in this thread since April and in 2 pages,the thread has already drifted into a discussion about Reconstruction...I think. Hard to tell. Thread moved to a somewhat more appropriate forum.
Sep 17, 2011
Can you point to a law that bars whites from voting? Disqualifications of certain Confederates is not the same as a racial ban. Unlike pre-Reconstruction bans on Blacks voting.

Terrorism isn't defined by race, terrorism over politics is as much terrorism as terrorism over race.

As voter disenfranchisement over politics is still as much disenfranchisement as it would be over race.

Race is one issue of the period, it isn't a trump card to ignore all other issues. The issues that are most important to most people are those that concern them.
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Aug 28, 2020
I posted this a few months ago, but I think it merits repeating for this thread.

In 1867 Longstreet was living in New Orleans and in June of that year he announced his intention of working with the Republicans to restore Louisiana to the Union through their power. Longstreet wrote a letter to Lee asking for Lee's endorsement.

Lee responded by letter to Longstreet and I quote the response as it appears in Clifford Dowdey's book "Lee - A Biography".
"While I think we should act under the law and according to the law imposed upon us, I cannot think the course pursued by the dominant political party the best for the interests of the country, and therefore cannot say so, or give them my approval. This is the reason why I cannot comply with the request in your letter. I am of the opinion that all who can should vote for the most intelligent, honest, and conscientious man eligible for the office, irrespective of former party opinions, who will endeavor "to pass laws" as beneficial as possible to the interests, prosperity, and liberty of all classes and conditions of the people."

IMO, Lee was stating in a very nice way, his disapproval of the scalawags and carpetbaggers that infested much of the South in the post war years.

Longstreet wanted to be admired and loved across party lines post war, but he also wanted to be directly involved in politics. Lee was virtually the only Southern officer to achieve the kind of cross party lines admiration in his day that it felt like Longstreet was seeking though he didn't understand how Lee accomplished it.

To achieve bipartisan respect in America one has to be either completely apolitical or be able to somehow be political and apolitical at the same time. Very few Americans were able to achieve the second of those two options once the country was at peace. Washington in his time was able to naturally do that as Lee was able to in his time.

The post war fight over who screwed up Gettysburg was a microcosm of this issue. Lee personally took all blame for Gettysburg and absolved his subordinates to a level that generals on either side really didn't do. The post war fight between Early and Longstreet over Gettysburg was really a proxy for a war that Lee himself didn't want to engage in post war of one party vs another. The pitch battles post war over what really happened at Gettysburg in the end reduced in stature each side who participated.

In the post war years the people who decided to draw Lee into their fights with others tended to be reduced by the experience including a faction in Congress who wanted to use Lee as a proxy for their battles with others over Reconstruction.

Those wanting to resist Congress' Reconstruction policy and men like Longstreet wanting to support it each did call upon Lee to support their sides and he tended to demure. He overall seemed to feel everyone in the South was suffering after the war and that the political parties were targeting voting blocs for themselves rather then trying to actually help the people.