What Were Lee's Opinions on Slavery and Emancipation?

WJC

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It should come as no surprise that there are varying and often opposing views of Robert E. Lee. Although this thread encourages discussion of his opinions on two important and similarly controversial subjects, please stay on topic and respect the opinions of others.
 

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RobertP

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For thousands of years man has been adept at twisting religion to favor self-interest whenever it suited.
Rather than seeing Lee's faith that slavery was in God's hands as good-intentioned, if mistaken, piety...I can't help but wonder if that was just was more of the same. He was after all of the social class that benefited most from abolition being something only God could bring about.
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There are plenty of charlatans out there who do use religion for personal/political gain and they are very easy to spot. Lee doesn’t fit that mold.
 

civilken

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when we stopped the stories and fairy tales. Lee was a man of his time no better and no worse than others to try and approach in today's context would be impossible.I myself have never been a fan but you could probably find his way of thinking the same in Virginia as in New York I don't believe that thoughts on race were dictated by the state.
 

Burning Billy

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There are plenty of charlatans out there who do use religion for personal/political gain and they are very easy to spot. Lee doesn’t fit that mold.

To be clear I don't doubt that he sincerely believe what he wrote in that letter. I just don't think it was a coincidence that either passionate religious defenses of slavery, or the "it's in Providence's hands" buck-passing that Lee espoused, were much more popular where slavery existed. Those religious views were entwined with self-interest.

I also question whether Lee was immune from it. He was not made of marble.
 
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wilber6150

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The most anti slavery statement Lee made was a prewar remark in a letter that slavery was a "social, political and a moral evil"(maybe in different order). But in the same paragraph he opines that God will deal with it in some vague future time. Certainly R.E. Lee wouldn't be required by the Almighty to lift a finger or lose a dollar.

Anyway, I don't think that wartime Lee was thinking, as you suggest, that he would be emancipatin' like crazy, except he was waiting for some transition plan. From someone. With respect, I suggest you're assigning some thoughts to Lee he never expressed.
Do you have a source for that Ive been trying to find that statement to no avail...
 


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