Lee and Reconstruction


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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I'm having difficulty understanding your point. You quote Grant criticizing Lee for "behaving badly" but you won't say what the bad behavour is.

Edited.
I have posted several items from different scholars showing various public acts by Lee. I suggest reading the thread.
 

Bruce Vail

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I have posted several items from different scholars showing various public acts by Lee. I suggest reading the thread.
I did read. Since the only public act by Lee prior to publication of the Lewsiton article was his Congressional testimony, I guess that must be what you are talking about.

I see nothing in the testimony that can be fairly described as "behaving badly."
 

War Horse

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I'm having difficulty understanding your point. You quote Grant criticizing Lee for "behaving badly" but you won't say what the bad behavour is.

Are you just trolling the Lee fanboys for fun?
What I’m getting from all the very informative posts, is this. Lee’s underlying feelings towards the loss of the war, state rights, the United States Goverment, the negro race and the Northern enforcement of reconstruction rules on the south were anything but acceptable to Lee. Deep down inside he was bitter and resentful. So restentful it came to the surface in private correspondences, private conversations and unfinished essays. He could not do all that he potentially could have to support the effort because he was unhappy with the entire situation. Grant recognizing Lee’s halfhearted efforts made the comment Lee was behaving poorly. The truth be known, the man was incapable of championing a cause he was quitly seething about. At least that’s my take so far. I have read two biographies on Lee that have not given the reader even a glimpse of this side of Lee. The Marble Man had been placed on his pedestal and there he remains untarnished, beyond scrutiny. Good thread so far. I’m enjoying all the interaction.
 

Harvey Johnson

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Longstreet was talking about General Lee to the newspapers in 1866.
Hey, Reb.

Perhaps like me you find it odd that after six pages of comments condemning Lee of failing to support Reconstruction that nobody mentions his May 1869 meeting with President Grant when he pledged to support the Fifteenth Amendment granting the vote to adult black males in all the states.
 
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I did read. Since the only public act by Lee prior to publication of the Lewsiton article was his Congressional testimony, I guess that must be what you are talking about.

I see nothing in the testimony that can be fairly described as "behaving badly."
What I am talking about?

You mean what Grant was talking about. Perhaps your argument is with Grant.
 

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Hey, Reb.

Perhaps like me you find it odd that after six pages of comments condemning Lee of failing to support Reconstruction that nobody mentions his May 1869 meeting with President Grant when he pledged to support the Fifteenth Amendment granting the vote to adult black males in all the states.
"No account of what they discussed was ever recorded. There was some reason to think that Grant hoped to get Lee's ideas of what Federal policy should be in the South under his administration, but that was to remain speculation. Grant's secretary, Douglas, called the visit 'merely one of courtesy,' and Lee's son Rob said years later that 'neither General Lee nor the President spoke a word on political matters.' "[Charles Bracelen Flood, Lee: The Last Years, p. 210]

It appears the claim of Lee making a pledge to Grant is a fabrication.
 

Harvey Johnson

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"No account of what they discussed was ever recorded. There was some reason to think that Grant hoped to get Lee's ideas of what Federal policy should be in the South under his administration, but that was to remain speculation. Grant's secretary, Douglas, called the visit 'merely one of courtesy,' and Lee's son Rob said years later that 'neither General Lee nor the President spoke a word on political matters.' "[Charles Bracelen Flood, Lee: The Last Years, p. 210]

It appears the claim of Lee making a pledge to Grant is a fabrication.
According to Grant biographer Adam Badeau who practically lived with Grant for years, Lee's son Rob was not present at the meeting and neither was Douglas.

Ron Chernow claims that Lee did, in fact, state that he favored the Fifteenth Amendment at the meeting and cites William Hesseltine as his source. Hesseltine cites a May 3, 1869 article from the New York Tribune.
 

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According to Grant biographer Adam Badeau who practically lived with Grant for years, Lee's son Rob was not present at the meeting and neither was Douglas.

Ron Chernow claims that Lee did, in fact, state that he favored the Fifteenth Amendment at that meeting and cites William Hesseltine as his source. Hesseletine cites a May 3, 1869 article from the New York Tribune.
Apparently no one else was there, and as Lee didn't do anything to support the 15th Amendment, it appears to be a fabrication, unless you want to claim Lee lied to Grant.
 

Harvey Johnson

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Apparently no one else was there
Badeau says Grant's ambassador to Great Britain was present.

and as Lee didn't do anything to support the 15th Amendment, it appears to be a fabrication, unless you want to claim Lee lied to Grant.
Please cite a source verifying that Lee failed to vote for the Virginia government that approved the Fifteenth Amendment.
 
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Bruce Vail

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What I’m getting from all the very informative posts, is this. Lee’s underlying feelings towards the loss of the war, state rights, the United States Goverment, the negro race and the Northern enforcement of reconstruction rules on the south were anything but acceptable to Lee. Deep down inside he was bitter and resentful. So restentful it came to the surface in private correspondences, private conversations and unfinished essays. He could not do all that he potentially could have to support the effort because he was unhappy with the entire situation. Grant recognizing Lee’s halfhearted efforts made the comment Lee was behaving poorly. The truth be known, the man was incapable of championing a cause he was quitly seething about. At least that’s my take so far. I have read two biographies on Lee that have not given the reader even a glimpse of this side of Lee. The Marble Man had been placed on his pedestal and there he remains untarnished, beyond scrutiny. Good thread so far. I’m enjoying all the interaction.
Thanks for this.

I guess I am starting from a different understanding than some of the others on this thread. I never considered that Lee was a supporter of Republican Reconstruction policy. And I don't think any of his better-known biographers ever made that claim either.

He was an advocate of reconciliation and a dignified acceptance of the outcome of the war. That's not the same thing as being a supporter of Reconstruction policy.
 

War Horse

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Thanks for this.

I guess I am starting from a different understanding than some of the others on this thread. I never considered that Lee was a supporter of Republican Reconstruction policy. And I don't think any of his better-known biographers ever made that claim either.

He was an advocate of reconciliation and a dignified acceptance of the outcome of the war. That's not the same thing as being a supporter of Reconstruction policy.
Exactly.
 

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Badeau says Grant's ambassador to Great Britain was present.



Please cite a source verifying that Lee failed to vote for the Virginia government that approved the Fifteenth Amendment.
No one else was there.

The lack of support from Lee is the evidence.

Kindly provide evidence of Lee supporting the amendment.

The burden of proof is on the party making the affirmative assertion. It's up to you to show Lee supporting the amendment.
 

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Thanks for this.

I guess I am starting from a different understanding than some of the others on this thread. I never considered that Lee was a supporter of Republican Reconstruction policy. And I don't think any of his better-known biographers ever made that claim either.

He was an advocate of reconciliation and a dignified acceptance of the outcome of the war. That's not the same thing as being a supporter of Reconstruction policy.
If you read the thread then you must have read my explanation of it.
 

Harvey Johnson

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No one else was there.
Repeating your assertion fails to make it true. As noted up-thread, Adam Badeau who practically lived with Grant for years, including his time as President, said that Grant's Ambassador the Great Britain was present.

The lack of support from Lee is the evidence.
For which I provided contradictory evidence.

Kindly provide evidence of Lee supporting the amendment.
Already done up-thread.

The burden of proof is on the party making the affirmative assertion. It's up to you to show Lee supporting the amendment.
You stated flatly, without qualification, in post #113 that "Lee didn't do anything to support the 15th Amendment." Until you provide a source verifying that Lee failed to vote for the Virginia government that approved the 15th Amendment I shall not spend anytime replying to you in this thread.
 
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I've read the thread and participated. It's pretty obvious at this point the Original Poster's premise is at least shaky and for the most part flat out wrong. I don't feel the need to participate further. Thanks to all for responding.
 

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Repeating your assertion fails to make it true. As noted up-thread, Adam Badeau who practically lived with Grant for years, including his time as President, said that Grant's Ambassador the Great Britain was present.
Badeau wasn't there.

For which I provided contradictory evidence.
You did no such thing.

You mischaracterized (again) a source.

"On political matters, Lee worked hard to SOUND reasonable, expressed approval of the Fifteenth Amendment, and professed to see no 'prodigious harm' in permitting blacks to vote." [Ron Chernow, Grant, p. 656]

Already done up-thread.
edited by Matt McKeon

You stated flatly, without qualification, in post #113 that "Lee didn't do anything to support the 15th Amendment." Until you provide a source verifying that Lee failed to vote for the Virginia government that approved the 15th Amendment I shall not spend anytime replying to you in this thread.
edited by Matt McKeon
 
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General Lee lost on the battlefield in a contest of strength, not in the lecture hall debating ideas. One does not change a person's mind by beating them up but by convincing them of better ideas via open dialog.

The idea that Lee's politically and social ideas would change at Appomattox is unrealistic. General Lee bled for the South, whats more he sent men who trusted and loved him, including friends and family, to die for the South. The idea that General Lee would turn around and say that all of those deaths had been for the wrong cause is asking alot and is not what he agreed to at Appomattox. He agreed that he world stop fighting and help bring the country together. That is not the same thing as supporting the POLITICAL poiciles of reconstruction or a General Grant political campiagn.

One can hardly blame General Lee for the viewpoint that the best way for the South to come back into the Union would be via moderation. His social ideas on race were racist (common for the day) and history has proven them wrong.
 



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