Myth of a kindly General Lee

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When hinting to an article, could you please give a short abstract? From the title of this thread I feel inclined to roll my eyes and move on, rating the article as just another attempt to throw dirt on Lee. I'm just too lazy to follow the link to a potentially longwinded article. If you want me (and maybe not only me) to read the article, please provide a teaser so that I (and maybe not only I) will bite...
Otherwise I think I'd be with @RobertP

Oops... @RobertP 's post was obviously deleted, therefore my last sentence doesn't make sense anymore. It had expressed a certain feeling that we had heard of accusations of Lee before...:D
 
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O' Be Joyful

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Thanks for the link kepi. But we need a taste of the article to really get the party started.

The myth of Lee goes something like this: He was a brilliant strategist and devoted Christian man who abhorred slavery and labored tirelessly after the war to bring the country back together.

There is little truth in this. Lee was a devout Christian, and historians regard him as an accomplished tactician. But despite his ability to win individual battles, his decision to fight a conventional war against the more densely populated and industrialized North is considered by many historians to have been a fatal strategic error.

But even if one conceded Lee’s military prowess, he would still be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of human beings as property because they are black. Lee’s elevation is a key part of a 150-year-old propaganda campaign designed to erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one. That ideology is known as the Lost Cause, and as historian David Blight writes, it provided a “foundation on which Southerners built the Jim Crow system.”

There are unwitting victims of this campaign—those who lack the knowledge to separate history from sentiment. Then there are those whose reverence for Lee relies on replacing the actual Lee with a mythical figure who never truly existed.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/
From what I have read so far the author makes some correct observations. But, IMO he also is leaving himself open to critcism by using some shakey history himself. One should not attempt to puncture myths if you can also be attacked for using supposition. Best to be on solid ground.

Now, back up the Popcorn Wagon.:smile:
 
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wausaubob

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Lee was mythologized upward and Grant was denigrated, in the press, to promote Democratic politics.
Democratic politics was critically dependent on the denial of suffrage to African Americans.
Everything depended on negating the abolition of slavery as the vast historical accomplishment that it was, and denouncing Reconstruction and everything about it.
The most telling piece is characterizing the Gould-Fisk attempt to corner the gold market, as a Grant scandal.
It was a scheme cooked up by two powerful, but completely amoral financiers, who had plenty of allies in New York, and who were protected by Democratic Tammany Hall judges, when the scheme failed. Grant's Treasury Secretary saw how the scheme was working, and busted the corner.
 
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Tin cup

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There has always been way too much deification of the man, for far too long. He fought on the side that chose illegal secession and war, for perpetuating slavery. Some folk need to wake up to that fact.
The one thing I do admire him for though, is his stance towards the US Government after the war.

Kevin Dally
 

Bee

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There has always been way too much deification of the man, for far too long. He fought on the side that chose illegal secession and war, for perpetuating slavery. Some folk need to wake up to that fact.
The one thing I do admire him for though, is his stance towards the US Government after the war.

Kevin Dally
An excellent examination of the phases of how the myth of Lee developed after his death:

https://studycivilwar.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/the-generalship-of-robert-e-lee-part-two/
 

diane

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An excellent examination of the phases of how the myth of Lee developed after his death:

https://studycivilwar.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/the-generalship-of-robert-e-lee-part-two/
I think it's interesting that it developed AFTER his death. Lee was the last person in the world to consider himself a candidate for sainthood! One little known story about him was this: Some time after the war he received a gift of a tea cozy and afghan from a foreign admirer. This was accompanied by a letter gushing over his magnificent generalship and greatness of character - absolutely someone prepared to kiss his feet if they ever got the chance. It struck that perverse streak of humor in Lee - he put the tea cozy on his head and wrapped the afghan around him like a Roman cape, then started dancing around the room, completely mocking himself. Two hoi paloi ladies who were visiting abruptly got up, their faces as sour as green apples. The mother sternly and primly said to her daughter, "Come. We must leave the general to his childishness!" They swept out the door in high fashion - never mind, we know the way - and Lee just laughed all the more. Not one bit sorry to poke a hole or two in their hero worship!
 
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kepi

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When hinting to an article, could you please give a short abstract? From the title of this thread I feel inclined to roll my eyes and move on, rating the article as just another attempt to throw dirt on Lee. I'm just too lazy to follow the link to a potentially longwinded article. If you want me (and maybe not only me) to read the article, please provide a teaser so that I (and maybe not only I) will bite...
Otherwise I think I'd be with @RobertP
I'm not in here enough to keep up with all the "rules". I was told once before to not post directly from an article.
I just found it interesting & figured others might as well.
 
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Something about a "pony".:D Ooops donkey.
Well, it's good to read something nice about Longstreet for a change, but the context is wrong. There was no contrast between Lee and Longstreet. As opposed to the slanting article, Lee was not the evil brute, nor was Longstreet the secret abolitionist. Both had their values, both were products of the times and conditions they lived in and both had to cope with changed conditions after the war - trying to live their lives accordingly, which must have been much more difficult than it reads after 150 years. Both deserve our respect.
 
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wausaubob

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I think it's interesting that it developed AFTER his death. Lee was the last person in the world to consider himself a candidate for sainthood! One little known story about him was this: Some time after the war he received a gift of a tea cozy and afghan from a foreign admirer. This was accompanied by a letter gushing over his magnificent generalship and greatness of character - absolutely someone prepared to kiss his feet if they ever got the chance. It struck that perverse streak of humor in Lee - he put the tea cozy on his head and wrapped the afghan around him like a Roman cape, then started dancing around the room, completely mocking himself. Two hoi paloi ladies who were visiting abruptly got up, their faces as sour as green apples. The mother sternly and primly said to her daughter, "Come. We must leave the general to his childishness!" They swept out the door in high fashion - never mind, we know the way - and Lee just laughed all the more. Not one bit sorry to poke a hole or two in their hero worship!
You could easily expand on this because after the Civil War, Lee exhibited strong indications that he regretted his military education.
 

Yankeedave

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I doubt much can be dug up on lee that will change some people's opinions. That being said if davis got half as much from his other leader's as he got from lee...well anyway.
 
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diane

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You could easily expand on this because after the Civil War, Lee exhibited strong indications that he regretted his military education.
He wanted to be a doctor, actually, but the family had only enough money to send one kid to Harvard. Guess he could thank his wastrel father for his ending up a general! (Actually, I like Light Horse Harry a lot but father of the year he wasn't...:redface:) However, way later down the road, Lee had the opportunity to make some changes in education. When he was president of Washington College, he added classes and subtracted useless classes as his goal was to diversify opportunities available to graduates. When he went to West Point it was engineering or the noble cavalry - period!
 
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I'm not in here enough to keep up with all the "rules". I was told once before to not post directly from an article.
I just found it interesting & figured others might as well.
@kepi no problem, post whatever you think will interest us. It's just that I always like to know what awaits me when opening an article, and I also like to know what the poster thinks of an article he is hinting us to. You did nothing wrong, I just need to be lured in a little more :smile:.
 
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