Limited Protesters push to take down Confederate monuments from Gettysburg

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
I wonder how attendance would change, if all the Confederate monuments were removed. What percentage of actual park visitors, you know, paying customers, not protesters, feel their visit was ruined, or a negative because Southern units who engaged in the battle have monuments to their service in the park..?
At least I can report the good news that Gettysburg visitors are not "paying customers," because the park is free. 😁
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
The movement to remove Confederate Monuments from places like Gettsyburg, is even more absurd than removing them from downtown areas in various Southern cities, like monument ave in Richmond for example. While I disagree, the argument could be made some of them are a distraction, or hinder traffic, etc.

Nobody has their life altered by a monument in a National Park they never visit, or see in person. Positively, or negatively. How many of the folks that are on the removal bandwagon have never entered Gettysburg, & never will, regardless of what is displayed..?

I've been a broken record on this subject but, I can't help it. This movement is about modern political ideology, not reality.

I wonder how attendance would change, if all the Confederate monuments were removed. What percentage of actual park visitors, you know, paying customers, not protesters, feel their visit was ruined, or a negative because Southern units who engaged in the battle have monuments to their service in the park..?

I'd love to know that actual numbers of The new Museum of the Civil War in Richmond, vs. The Museum of the Confederacy. I'd bet they aren't flattering. Perhaps that is the goal. It's much easier to revise history when folks aren't interested in it to begin with. More so when you remove most of the symbols, & monuments to such.

People forget, it's one thing to read a book, or learn about an event. It's quite another to see/feel/experience a battlefield, giant granite, or marble monument, & speaks volumes to how folks felt about the memory of such. Our National monuments to Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, & the War memorials of WWII, Vietnam, Korea, etc... are "moving". Moving as in inspirational, & stand as permanent (at least previously thought so), reminders of the significance of those people, & events to our shared history. Most are examples of exceptional people, & or moments in time.

It will be a sad day for us all, when the only thing supposedly worth memorializing is the present day, & current political winds of the day.
If the Confederate monuments are removed from National Battlefield Parks, I would urge that the Parks be sold, proceeds used to pay down the Federal debt, and employees laid off in order to reduce deficit spending
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
If the Confederate monuments are removed from National Battlefield Parks, I would urge that the Parks be sold, proceeds used to pay down the Federal debt, and employees laid off in order to reduce deficit spending
While I think the removal of Confederate monuments from National Battlefield Parks would negatively impact visitors' experience, I don't think eliminating the parks entirely is the right way to go.

Could you elaborate a bit on your reasons for suggesting this.
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
If the Confederate monuments are removed from National Battlefield Parks, I would urge that the Parks be sold, proceeds used to pay down the Federal debt, and employees laid off in order to reduce deficit spending

Removing them will be an expensive exercise in itself. Once removed then you are likely to see less visitors and thus the land value (and revenue from it) will be lower [see CWT Thread (where costs associated with removals in Monument Avenue were mentioned at Post #154)] plus loss in income across the communities near the parks from decreased visitor expenditure.

And then there's the aesthetics of it, how horrible to see a battlefield that has all of one and none of the other to say nothing of the fact that many are the resting place for former veterans (some marked, some not). Selling them off to private developers to then cover the battlefields in housing, car parks and whatever else takes their fancy sounds terrible and the ultimate erasure of historical places associated with the Civil War.
 

KianGaf

First Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Don’t agree with this at all. I can along to a certain degree monuments being removed in larger city centres but it has to have its limits. To cancel history by removing monuments Willy nilly is not right in my book. The story of the confederacy is an integral part of the American story from the outside looking in. The ACW is a huge piece of what makes America what it is and shouldn’t be forgotten. I reckon e pluribus unum doesn’t mean we all think the same or act the same, it’s about diversity.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Viper 21
This part of your above post is excellent. It is worth sending to others.

"It's much easier to revise history when folks aren't interested in it to begin with. More so when you remove most of the symbols, & monuments to such.

People forget, it's one thing to read a book, or learn about an event. It's quite another to see/feel/experience a battlefield, giant granite, or marble monument, & speaks volumes to how folks felt about the memory of such."
 
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KianGaf

First Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Viper 21
This part of your above post is excellent. It is worth sending to others.

"It's much easier to revise history when folks aren't interested in it to begin with. More so when you remove most of the symbols, & monuments to such.

People forget, it's one thing to read a book, or learn about an event. It's quite another to see/feel/experience a battlefield, giant granite, or marble monument, & speaks volumes to how folks felt about the memory of such."

It’s an excellent point. It’s hard when you have passion for history to realise some people don’t have any interest in it. It’s amazing how some people would build on a battlefield for example while others would treat it as hollowed turf and maintain it with respect.
 

Lincoln56

Private
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Location
Texas
Painted on Portland's Oregon Historical Society exterior wall, "No More History."
Surprised they could spell 'History' since they appear to know nothing about it or why it's important to be preserved. People acknowledge both the good and the negative aspects in each other - the same applies to their country. Continue to build on the positives, gain strength and wisdom from them. And learn from the negatives so as to not repeat them.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
Painted on Portland's Oregon Historical Society exterior wall, "No More History."

Makes me want some of us to shout “WE TOLD YOU SO!”
I did say I told you so. These people have a depraved agenda that includes erasing our history. To avoid violating the rules I'll just leave it at that (but do think I can add that they aren't just peaceful protesters; they have a much bigger agenda).
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I'd just remind people that just as you can stereotype your opponents, they can stereotype you. Neither stereotype is going to be very flattering.
 

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
At the risk of being pilloried, I think there is some context needed here. The article is incredibly scarce on details. It reads, "A group rallied at the battlefield on Friday to push to take down 12 Confederate monuments that they say are a painful reminder of slavery and racism. They were met with counterprotesters who argue the monuments are an important piece of history."

I believe this is a reference to the monuments put up in the 1960s and 1970s to extoll the virtues of Confederate soldiers that fought at Gettysburg. The Mississippi State Monument, for example, reads, "On this ground our brave sires fought for their righteous cause" and was dedicated in 1973. The 1963 South Carolina monument reads, "Dedicated South Carolinians stood and were counted for their heritage and convictions. Abiding faith in the sacredness of States Rights provided their creed.” All of the state monuments on Confederate avenue in fact went up in the 1960s and 1970s. These don't advance any history whatsoever, just the lost cause myth. One could even argue they do a disservice to history by obscuring the truth of the events.

I don't think unit markers are being targeted. I don't think interpretative historical signs are being targeted. I don't think the visitors center is being targeted. You can still visit the battlefield and learn about what occurred there. No one is trying to wipe the existence of the Confederacy away. A group is trying to eliminate monuments that were designed to extoll a specific interpretation of history that covers up the role of slavery in the war.

I think those 12 specific statues that do not serve an historical function are being targeted.

Let's not jump to conclusions.
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Since this is Federal land it would make sense to write your representative in congress with some solid reasons on how monuments on Civil War battlefields like Gettysburg contribute to the visitors' experience. You could add that they also help paint the post war story of the veterans. In effect the battlefield is an outside museum that people can choose to visit or decide to stay away from.
 

Cycom

Corporal
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, California
@Zack

Referencing the monuments erected in the 1960’s & 70’s, you mentioned that “these don't advance any history whatsoever, just the lost cause myth.”

You’re likely correct, but unfortunately the people who clamor the most for the removal of monuments care little and less for the historical nuance you brought up. Anything that can offend them either currently does, or will in the future. They will eventually ask for the removal of the innocuous.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
What is the Lost Cause myth?

The CSA fought and lost. Is that a myth? Men and women on both sides of the conflict died for A CAUSE. What cause? I dont know each participants thoughts and objectives. Honoring 'that cause' - whatever it might be - appears to me honest remembrance of ancestral Americans. So does attaching a negative association with 'The Lost Cause' mean that no matter the reason for their sacrifice - North or South- it should be considered less than heroic? When L.J. Jones was killed at the Rose Farm on July 2, 1863 he was fighting for 'a cause'. I dont know his cause for enlisting and fighting But that personal 'cause' cost him his life and it cost Martha a husband and it cost his 5 children a father.
In my opinion, monuments and graves and memorials - North or South - represent the soldier and the soldier's family that lost a loved one---- no matter the 'cause'
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
At the risk of being pilloried, I think there is some context needed here. The article is incredibly scarce on details. It reads, "A group rallied at the battlefield on Friday to push to take down 12 Confederate monuments that they say are a painful reminder of slavery and racism. They were met with counterprotesters who argue the monuments are an important piece of history."

I believe this is a reference to the monuments put up in the 1960s and 1970s to extoll the virtues of Confederate soldiers that fought at Gettysburg. The Mississippi State Monument, for example, reads, "On this ground our brave sires fought for their righteous cause" and was dedicated in 1973. The 1963 South Carolina monument reads, "Dedicated South Carolinians stood and were counted for their heritage and convictions. Abiding faith in the sacredness of States Rights provided their creed.” All of the state monuments on Confederate avenue in fact went up in the 1960s and 1970s. These don't advance any history whatsoever, just the lost cause myth. One could even argue they do a disservice to history by obscuring the truth of the events.

I don't think unit markers are being targeted. I don't think interpretative historical signs are being targeted. I don't think the visitors center is being targeted. You can still visit the battlefield and learn about what occurred there. No one is trying to wipe the existence of the Confederacy away. A group is trying to eliminate monuments that were designed to extoll a specific interpretation of history that covers up the role of slavery in the war.

I think those 12 specific statues that do not serve an historical function are being targeted.

Let's not jump to conclusions.
I would argue that removing any statues is, in fact, removing history (literally). All the statues reflect, in part, how people at various times felt about the war and the battle and those who fought it. The "Lost Cause" is part of that history, like it or not. As has been said by others, the battlefield is an outdoor museum and it reflects years of changes. Perhaps some interpretive signs would be appropriate but not removal. As has also been said a number of times, you can bet that if some statues get removed they'll be back for more. I'd argue that's what's happening now: the removal crowd has kept expanding what they want removed and is now at Gettysburg.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
What is the Lost Cause myth?

The CSA fought and lost. Is that a myth? Men and women on both sides of the conflict died for A CAUSE. What cause? I dont know each participants thoughts and objectives. Honoring 'that cause' - whatever it might be - appears to me honest remembrance of ancestral Americans. So does attaching a negative association with 'The Lost Cause' mean that no matter the reason for their sacrifice - North or South- it should be considered less than heroic? When L.J. Jones was killed at the Rose Farm on July 2, 1863 he was fighting for 'a cause'. I dont know his cause for enlisting and fighting But that personal 'cause' cost him his life and it cost Martha a husband and it cost his 5 children a father.
In my opinion, monuments and graves and memorials - North or South - represent the soldier and the soldier's family that lost a loved one---- no matter the 'cause'
The cause that the southern rebels initiated and fought a rebellion for was the protection of slavery. It matters not one iota what the reason an individual confederate soldier believed they were fighting for, the rebel government was fighting to protect slavery from the threat, they perceived, of the black republicans.

I have no problem with markers showing were the rebel units were located but there should be no monuments or statues that glorify, or could be perceived to glorify, a bunch of traitors to the United States who rebelled for one of the worst causes humans have ever rebelled for.

We should have listened to the views of Union veterans when it came to confederate monuments-

“Simply mark the Rebel lines of battle in the Gettysburg fight – But not one word of commiseration – not once sentence in praise of heroic deeds done in a bad cause.” T. D. Cunningham 56th Pennsylvania

: “We are heartily in favor of marking the Rebel lines but we want the Government to do that work not Rebels. You know that they do not care for History when they erect their monuments it is to honor their dead and vaunt their Rebellious acts. We don’t propose to have that.” J. L. Shook G.A.R. Post 88
 

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
@Zack

Referencing the monuments erected in the 1960’s & 70’s, you mentioned that “these don't advance any history whatsoever, just the lost cause myth.”

You’re likely correct, but unfortunately the people who clamor the most for the removal of monuments care little and less for the historical nuance you brought up. Anything that can offend them either currently does, or will in the future. They will eventually ask for the removal of the innocuous.
History is not a monolith. It is always changing, always evolving. Every time an historian puts pen to paper they are literally rewriting history. That’s what active engagement looks like - finding new sources, examining new narratives, exploring new contexts. Reframing events to see if there is something hidden in plain sight behind the known narrative. If historians weren’t rewriting and re-examining history it would be a very boring subject indeed.

I think you mischaracterize those who want to remove confederate monuments. It is not a knee jerk reaction, designed to condemn an entire piece of history into nothingness. Rather, it is an attempt to do exactly the opposite. Our understanding of the confederacy has been shaped by the counter-narratives produced from the days the war ended clear through its centennial. Jefferson Davis literally wrote a history of the war. Many confederate officers and politicians argued vociferously their understanding of the cause and the war and what it meant. They did so in order to advance certain narratives in the context of certain political and social movements of their time. And in the process, they suppressed other narratives that didn’t fit their world view - in particular the realities of slavery and the extent to which it was integrated into everyday life. But there are other ways to understand that history, and freeing ourselves from the narratives handed down through generations leads to a much deeper wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped.

How can this work of re-examining and uncovering of history occur if our narrative is fixed to that of - say - the 1960s, when the south was in the midst of the civil rights movement and advancing a very specific version of its history to meet the political demands of that era? How can we deepen our understanding of the Civil War if it is fixed in stone in monuments that say it was a war for states rights only and not slavery?

History is not being thrown away or forgotten or trampled down. Old, politicized narratives are being thrown away in favor of new ones that shed greater light on the time period and are informed by a more nuanced and diverse swathe of sources. The older narratives advanced by statues and monuments are just as “politicized” as those which modern activists are accused of advancing. History was, is, and shall always be politicized, because objective truth is impossible to obtain.

And this is not merely philosophizing. Any time an historian decides to include or omit a certain piece of evidence they are engaging in some distortion of the “objective” truth. And our understanding is forever limited to that which has survived the ravages of time. Imagine - for example - how much our understanding of the American Revolution would have changed had Martha Washington not burned her husband’s letters after his death. Imagine if every time we uncovered a new diary or letters hidden away in a dusty archive we ignored it because it didn’t fit the story laid out in our monuments and textbooks.

We must understand that the door is always open to someone else bringing in a new perspective and new analysis and new, freshly uncovered evidence that completely changes everything we thought was gospel about history.

The end goal of monument removal is not to create a version of history where the Confederates are scrubbed from the story <Edited>. In fact, it stems from a desire to bring the confederacy to the forefront and to reveal its true motives for waging war. Incredible nuance and depth to history has been uncovered simply by moving away from the states rights narrative. We’ve seen incredible new research on why non-slave holders would go to war to preserve slavery (MASTERLESS MEN). Or how the soldiers themselves understood the ideologies of the war they were fighting (WHAT THIS CRUEL WAR WAS OVER). Or how a system of slavery woven into the social fabric of a society could propel its leaders to prefer war to abolition (OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE). Or how it was not Lincoln who granted freedom but the slaves themselves (TROUBLED REFUGE, EMBATTLED FREEDOM, etc). Or how different confederate states convinced each other to secede (APOSTLES OF DISUNION). Of course, WEB DuBois had been screaming this narrative from the rafters since the 1920s and 1930s, we just ignored it because of the pesky politics involved.

None of this history would be learned or uncovered if we were permanently wedded to the singular narrative put forward by - for example - the monuments that some want removed from Gettysburg.

And so the great irony is that, rather than proceeding from an ignorance of history, it is a desire to broaden our understanding of history that drives those who want to remove statues. Their engagement with the period should be welcomed, not feared. You cannot simultaneously chide modern generations for ignoring their history and then be upset when they study history and realize that certain voices and perspectives have been ignored. This is what engaging with history looks like.

And let’s be real for a second. Who is traveling to Gettysburg to see their favorite Mississippi State Monument on Confederate Avenue? You’re going to see Little Round Top and the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge and Devil’s Den. Maybe we should remove all monuments from all sides in order to return the landscape to exactly how it looked in 1863!


I would argue that removing any statues is, in fact, removing history (literally). All the statues reflect, in part, how people at various times felt about the war and the battle and those who fought it. The "Lost Cause" is part of that history, like it or not. As has been said by others, the battlefield is an outdoor museum and it reflects years of changes. Perhaps some interpretive signs would be appropriate but not removal. As has also been said a number of times, you can bet that if some statues get removed they'll be back for more. I'd argue that's what's happening now: the removal crowd has kept expanding what they want removed and is now at Gettysburg.

I disagree with your interpretation that the monuments in question are part of history. By that logic, if I put up a marble statue at Gettysburg saying the war was fought over ancient aliens, it can’t be removed because belief in ancient aliens is a part of our history. <Edited>. These hypotheticals might seem extreme, but so is the interpretation of history being advanced by these monuments. They are doing an active disservice to the study of history by covering up and shutting down any other interpretation of the period.

As for the slippery slope argument - the removal crowd has been very consistent in its objectives. As I said before, it’s targeting at Gettysburg specifically those monuments put up during the 1960s and 1970s to advance the Lost Cause ideology. These aren’t unit markers, they aren’t interpretive signs, they aren’t anything having to deal specifically with the events of the battle.

Thank you both for the respectful comments.
 
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