Limited Protesters push to take down Confederate monuments from Gettysburg

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Two of the 11 confederate state monuments were put up in Gettysburg on the 100th anniversary in 1963. Those of South Carolina and Florida.

South Carolina invited Governor George Wallace of Alabama as a speaker. In the previous few months, Wallace had stood in the door of the University of Alabama protesting desegregation, and police dogs and firehouses had been used on civil rights protesters in Birmingham. Medgar Evers had been murdered in Mississippi the month before.

Both Wallace and the South Carolina speaker, Congressman John May, talked about "states rights," while their respective states were fighting forced integration that summer.

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/i...ysburg-slavery-Civil-War/stories/202007050011
https://ncph.org/history-at-work/cold-war-civil-rights-at-gettysburg/
 
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Cycom

Corporal
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, California
The cause that the southern rebels initiated and fought a rebellion for was the protection of slavery. ,
Yes, slavery was a big, likely the biggest catalyst in the events surrounding the ACW.
It matters not one iota what the reason an individual confederate soldier believed they were fighting for
Yes it does, unless you’re arguing that honoring the dead on both sides (they were all American) and preserving history is somehow beneath us.
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.
What you personally don’t have a problem with is irrelevant. We have loads of people demanding the removal (through mob like means or otherwise) of a myriad of historical monuments because they “feel” that they glorify a cause which offends them. Keep pushing this and they’ll come for those markers too.
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
That’s fine and all, and I can understand their sentiments. War brings out much in people. These quotes show one side. Here are some others:

“We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment.”

“We are born on the same soil, breathe the same air, live on the same land, and why should we not be brothers and sisters?”

-NBF

A rebel, former slave holder, former tripleK member who displayed the power of redemption. Why would anyone take his statues down?
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
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Location
South Carolina
Two of the 11 confederate state monuments were put up in Gettysburg on the 100th anniversary in 1963. Those of South Carolina and Florida.

South Carolina invited Governor George Wallace of Alabama as a speaker. In the previous few months, Wallace had stood in the door of the University of Alabama protesting desegregation, and police dogs and firehouses had been used on civil rights protesters in Birmingham. Medgar Evers had been murdered in Mississippi the month before.

Both Wallace and the South Carolina speaker, Congressman John May, talked about "states rights," while their respective states were fighting forced integration that summer.

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/i...ysburg-slavery-Civil-War/stories/202007050011
https://ncph.org/history-at-work/cold-war-civil-rights-at-gettysburg/

I've been to the South Carolina monument at Gettysburg. That's my home state, and I was proud to see that memorial standing there. I would not want the men from South Carolina left out when so many other States were memorialized on that battlefield.

http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.co...s/confederate-state-monuments/south-carolina/
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I've been to the South Carolina monument at Gettysburg. That's my home state, and I was proud to see that memorial standing there. I would not want the men from South Carolina left out when so many other States were memorialized on that battlefield.

http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.co...s/confederate-state-monuments/south-carolina/
The inscription:

South Carolina
That men of honor might forever know
the responsibilities of freedom.
Dedicated South Carolinians stood
and were counted for their heritage
and convictions. Abiding faith in the
sacredness of States Rights provided
their creed. Here many earned
eternal glory.


I don't think that wording is going to age well. Perhaps something more mournful and somber to commemorate the dead would have been more appropriate. It's words like these, that imply the confederate cause was honorable, that are going to have problems.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
The inscription:

South Carolina
That men of honor might forever know
the responsibilities of freedom.
Dedicated South Carolinians stood
and were counted for their heritage
and convictions. Abiding faith in the
sacredness of States Rights provided
their creed. Here many earned
eternal glory.


I don't think that wording is going to age well. Perhaps something more mournful and somber to commemorate the dead would have been more appropriate. It's words like these, that imply the confederate cause was honorable, that are going to have problems.

Serious question: should we expect those putting up monuments to take the unknowable views of future generations into account when they compose the messages on those monuments? That seems unreasonable to me. They're giving us that generation's views, and I don't think they should have been expected to do anything else.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Serious question: should we expect those putting up monuments to take the unknowable views of future generations into account when they compose the messages on those monuments? That seems unreasonable to me. They're giving us that generation's views, and I don't think they should have been expected to do anything else.
"That generation?" It was 1963. It's closer to our time than to the Civil War.

What would you say if the battlefield park keeps that monument in place, but put's a bronze plaque over the carved words? The plaque might be worded more about remembering the lives lost rather than glorifying the cause?
 

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
Serious question: should we expect those putting up monuments to take the unknowable views of future generations into account when they compose the messages on those monuments? That seems unreasonable to me. They're giving us that generation's views, and I don't think they should have been expected to do anything else.

The short answer is no, which is why the statues should come down.

The long answer is that an understanding of the war as being about slavery not states rights predates the 1960s. They weren't offering their generation's views. They were giving their personal view which was meant to obfuscate the truth in order to make themselves look better. Don't conflate the views of a bunch of racist Southern governors and organizations fighting desperately to roll back the tide of Civil Rights and desegregation with those of an entire generation.

In fact, the national park service was deeply upset with the wording of the South Carolina monument in 1963 when it went up because it violated their "no praise, no blame" rule [itself worthy of interrogation]. It was a source of intense friction between the NPS and the group that funded the monument.

https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=cwifac

https://ncph.org/history-at-work/cold-war-civil-rights-at-gettysburg/

http://www.civildiscourse-historybl...ion-on-monuments-and-memory-at-gettysburg-nmp

The Gettysburg Times was so struck by the language of the monument dedication that it remarked the next day, "For a brief moment it seemed as though the Civil War might start all over again.”

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/i...ysburg-slavery-Civil-War/stories/202007050011

Of course, none of this information is posted near the monument itself. And even if it was, it's questionable how effective that would be. Edited.
 
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John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
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 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.
I do not agree with your analogy (which is both an appeal to the absurd and to ridicule). Putting up a monument to aliens isn't comparable to why the monuments at Gettysburg were erected. That people thought certain things in the past that motivated them to erect the monuments is part of our history. We don't have to agree with what they thought but it is part of our past which tells us how we got where we are today. Thus, interpretive panels would serve to teach people about how we've evolved and what people in the past thought and believed (which is part of the history of the place and several eras). The monuments do not "cover up and shut down any other interpretation of the period"; they simply exemplify one era and one interpretation (from 50-60 years ago). That such offends you is just unfortunate.
 
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Cycom

Corporal
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, California
"That generation?" It was 1963. It's closer to our time than to the Civil War.

What would you say if the battlefield park keeps that monument in place, but put's a bronze plaque over the carved words? The plaque might be worded more about remembering the lives lost rather than glorifying the cause?
I know the q wasn’t posed to me, but I would say that this might be reasonable.

I’d argue to leave everything as is but if need be then this might be a good compromise, especially if the monuments’ words are from this century.

That said, NO removal of the monuments themselves and no messing with any words on older ones.
 

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
I do not agree with your analogy (which is both an appeal to the absurd and to ridicule). Putting up a monument to aliens isn't comparable to why the monuments at Gettysburg were erected. That people thought certain things in the past that motivated them to erect the monuments is part of our history. We don't have to agree with what they thought but it is part of our past which tells us how we got where we are today. Thus, interpretive panels would serve to teach people about how we've evolved and what people in the past thought and believed (which is part of the history of the place and several eras). The monuments do not "cover up and shut down any other interpretation of the period"; they simply exemplify one era and one interpretation (from 50-60 years ago). That such offends you is just unfortunate.

We'll never agree, but at least we've all now tacitly admitted that the monuments do not tell the true story of Gettysburg.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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Location
South Carolina
"That generation?" It was 1963. It's closer to our time than to the Civil War.

What would you say if the battlefield park keeps that monument in place, but put's a bronze plaque over the carved words? The plaque might be worded more about remembering the lives lost rather than glorifying the cause?

I would not be in favor of any changes to the monument itself. I could tolerate an informational plaque, but I honestly don't see any of that as necessary. Is it likely that many people coming to the park are going to be swayed by the words on the monument? I doubt it. If we were living in a day where common sense ruled, people would see what was written, understand that the words represent a different generation than ourselves, and move on.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Sergeant
Joined
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Location
Ohio
"That generation?" It was 1963. It's closer to our time than to the Civil War.

What would you say if the battlefield park keeps that monument in place, but put's a bronze plaque over the carved words? The plaque might be worded more about remembering the lives lost rather than glorifying the cause?
I think that is a great idea. Maybe something like- "The men from South Carolina may have fought honorably for their cause but as Ulysses stated "that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse."
The rebels that took control of the southern states from 1861-1865 did so for the cause of protecting slavery. They and all those that took up arms against the duly elected government of the United States were traitors. Though they were all eventually pardoned.

Just make a bronze plaque with that wording over top the current wording. It is much more historically accurate than the current inscription.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I would not be in favor of any changes to the monument itself. I could tolerate an informational plaque, but I honestly don't see any of that as necessary. Is it likely that many people coming to the park are going to be swayed by the words on the monument? I doubt it. If we were living in a day where common sense ruled, people would see what was written, understand that the words represent a different generation than ourselves, and move on.
Okay. But it's not about "common sense." If it was, then it would be just about acknowledging and commemorating deaths, rather than partisans trying to push an agenda.

The fact that southerners can't settle for acknowledging the tragedy and sacrifices of the war, and instead want to try to spin the war, is why the monuments are coming down.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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Location
South Carolina
The fact that southerners can't settle for acknowledging the tragedy and sacrifices of the war, and instead want to try to spin the war, is why the monuments are coming down.
No, that's not why, but going into the actual reasons would go beyond limited modern politics, so I'll say no more. Suffice it to say, no amount of modern understanding of the war applied to them will make these monuments acceptable to those who want them torn down.
 
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mo
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.
Then in reality none of the state monuments advance any history, and every states should be removed.........

Though if it indeed is those 12, Maryland's recognised Marylanders on both sides.

But if you think a Virginia state monument recognizing Virginians fought and bled there, advances no real history.........neither would a Pennsylvania monument noting Pennsylvanians fought and bled there........
 
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Location
mo
I think that is a great idea. Maybe something like- "The men from South Carolina may have fought honorably for their cause but as Ulysses stated "that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse."
The rebels that took control of the southern states from 1861-1865 did so for the cause of protecting slavery. They andSsedss all those that took up arms against the duly elected government of the United States were traitors. Though they were all eventually pardoned.

Just make a bronze plaque with that wording over top the current wording. It is much more historically accurate than the current inscription.
The historical fact is both sides equally thought themselves right, both sides were equally firm in their convictions, and both sides equally bravely fought and sacrificed.

So a monument saying that a side fought and fell for a cause that they believed right is actually an rather accurate historical description regardless of side.
 
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Zack

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Location
Los Angeles, California
No, that's not why, but going into the actual reasons would go beyond limited modern politics, so I'll say no more. Suffice it to say, no amount of modern understanding of the war applied to them will make these monuments acceptable to those who want them torn down.
Probably because most modern historiography backs up those calling for the monuments' removal. Apostles of Disunion by Charles Dew, What This Cruel War Was Over by Chandra Manning, Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson, literally anything by Eric Foner but I'll highlight Forever Free because it's a great read, How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson, etc. etc. etc.

I would not be in favor of any changes to the monument itself. I could tolerate an informational plaque, but I honestly don't see any of that as necessary. Is it likely that many people coming to the park are going to be swayed by the words on the monument? I doubt it. If we were living in a day where common sense ruled, people would see what was written, understand that the words represent a different generation than ourselves, and move on.
Unfortunately, we live in an era of "common sense" in which people see the writing on the monuments, think, "huh, this is literally white supremacist propaganda," and then want to get rid of it.
 
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