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A not-so-noted abolitionist speaks

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, May 30, 2011.

  1. PatsFanInVa

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    According to April 1865, by Jay Winik, before every army of the Confederacy had even surrendered, a not-so-well-known abolitionist stated, "I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished."

    I am not surprised.

    The guy was Robert E. Lee. Now I'm surprised.

    Lee said plenty of racist crap before and after, by the way. But for his time, especially given that he just led a determined, no-holds-barred war for his state and his region, this is astonishing stuff, to me.

    If Winik's to be believed, Lee really was the U.S. officer who simply could not let his state of Virginia fight without him, at least on one level. And apparently he had not love for "the peculiar institution."

    I'm not a civil war buff, but just saw the History Channel version of April 1865, and thought, I wonder how many confederate-flag-waving Bubba types get this layer of Lee's mind.

    PFnV
  2. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Learn something new everyday ... well history is not my strong suit anyways.

    Lee fought for the freedom and independence of the south after refusing to serve for the Union army. Would be interesting to know how many actually fought for slavery as opposed to fighting for a free south. We were conditioned as children to believe it was all about slavery. Then again some of us were conditioned to believe in Adam & Eve for what it's worth.

    However ... I investigate now that you bring it to light. :cool:

    Robert E. Lee on Slavery


    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  3. DarrylS

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    The perception of Lee is much differently geographically, in the South many of the larger towns all have Lee Blvds etc. in NOLA there is a statue of Lee in Lee Circle, he is facing north.. reminding all of the War of Yankee Agression.

    It was easier for us to be taught that the South was bad, and the North was good and noble, except they sanitized the details to make the story more palpable..

    Also interesting that some of our greatest generals who saw so much death, always seem to yearn for peace..
  4. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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  5. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    Oh, poor persecuted harry...

    Here are a few qurstions for you to ignore, or to attempt and fail to answer:
    1) What do you know about Braun?
    2) What do you know about his methods in obtaining and compiling these quotes?
    and, most important, 3) what conclusions do you draw from what you've posted? You claim "it is what it is" -- so in your opinion, what exactly is it?
  6. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    F-ck him I don't even know who he is, I know what I know thats all I need to know, for now.

    Eggs have no business dancing with stones.......................:confused:
  7. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    so you know nothing about the guy

    Presumably you know nothing about his methods.

    But you do know what you know... so what conclusions do you draw from what you've posted? You must have had some reason for posting it... didn't you? if so, what was it?
  8. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    I will guess very few -- just like folks who invoke the founding fathers when it suits their whims, they probably know very little about the man they supposedly look to as support for their points of view.
  9. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hey Harry, why don't you start your own thread w/that one?

    I'm interested in the historical portrait of Lee, and the historical reality of Lee. While I can see that in your the link you posted is "other historical surprises," it's not actually in any way related.

    Here's a hint: It's different to say that a few out of a million were found -- and particularly if this character you're linking to has methodological issues (as Chico says.)

    It's quite another to say that the most significant figure in the confederacy was, in fact, anti-slavery.

    The war was about the self-determination of the South; that was a given. Yet the self-determination of the South subsumed the perpetuation of slavery.

    The layers to Lee's identity and loyalties are, to me, fascinating.

    What's not fascinating is someone trotting out a "black folk wanted to be slaves!" argument, in 2011.

    PFnV
  10. 363839

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    And so did President Lincoln...in case you don't know that already.
  11. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    Did you not read the rest of the post?
  12. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What makes you think I didn't?
  13. TheSolderKing

    TheSolderKing Rookie

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  14. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    Not sure why you would bring up Lincoln in light of patsfaninva's entire post.

    Regardless, I won't help derail the thread a 2nd time.

    Any thoughts on the thread topic? I found it interesting, as I don't know much about Lee. I did think he was a reluctant leader but that's about all I know about him other than the obvious.

    Need to start reading up on the Civil War. Maybe that will be 2012's topic...
  15. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I mentioned it to further dilute PFiVa's back hander on the General by being a little more specific than he was apparently willing to be regarding the who else was "like this" at the end of his statement.
    btw-I did hit the like button on his post.
    I have seen on this very board General Lee's character drug through the mud and when I read PFiVa's post, I truly thought it was refreshing to
    see an advocate for the left recognize a good and honorable man even if he did fight for the Confederacy.
    Furthermore, Chico. If anyone is going to post about Robert E Lee, they had best be prepared to talk about the civil war and all the participants especially when you want to comment on his character.
    The only derailment of this thread is in your own head.
  16. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    So bringing up weaknesses along with strengths is a "backhander"?

    Eh, if you have a reflexive need to defend racism, see my last post re derailing the thread. Even better, start a thread on racism and the Civil War.
  17. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Sorry---cross-posted with the Mr....we both watched the same program.
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  18. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Here is some information you need to know about this board, most will not click on you tube video's to make a point, make your momma proud argue the point, using cohesive sentences.. not gibberish.

    Most do not pay attention to what happens on the View.... they are not elected officials.
  19. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Just to put that part to rest - yes, I did know that Pres. Lincoln, and every other public figure at the time, did make what would now qualify as racist statements.

    At that time, however, there were a range of attitudes as follows, sort of in concentric circles of what we'd call "enlightenment" now (with the exception of some very few of us, I would hope):

    1) the most enlightened on the subject -- from my reading, exclusively a handful of African Americans --dared to imagine the "races" were for all intents and purposes equal, but for the history of who had enslaved whom.

    2) Those who would abolish slavery thought that no race had the power over another that slavery insisted on. They might have been racist, but they were still radically ahead of their time circa 1860 -- and still, actually, in 1865, in terms of much public opinion. This was the camp of Lee and Lincoln c 1865.

    3) Those who thought slavery was evil, but should go away on its own, or very slowly. This was the camp of Lee and Lincoln c 1860. This opinion was not available c 1865.

    4) Those who thought slavery was the natural order of things, that blacks were inherently inferior to whites, and that it was the right of the slaveholders in the U.S. to hold slaves. This was the attitude of much of the South both c. 1860 and c. 1865. It was also the attitude of Hitler in the mid-20th century, although he concerned himself with particular types of Europeans, such as Slavs -- and so, it is presently the ideological "ideal" of much of neo-nazi "white supremacist" thinking today, however they enumerate their intermediary goals.

    So again the Lincoln-didn't-live-in-1975 point doesn't surprise me. Was he a good man? Yes. Did he do the right thing? Yes. Initially he preferred Union, with slavery, to civil war in order to abolish it. Once war was upon him, he moved far left on the slavery issue. Was he also a man of his time? Again, yes.

    Lee also said things about how African Americans preferred leisure to the press of decisions and events, and this sort of thing -- without considering the role of living a whole life as a slave in one's sorting out of life options. Reduce a people to slavery, and you'll likely search in vain for "self-starters."

    Regardless, he had plenty to say about the "natural character" of the "negro race," etc.

    But after the war - and this goes to Winik again - Lee did what seems eerily similar to some of what we saw a hundred years later.

    In a Virginia church in 1865, out of the separate black section, a black man rose, walked to the communion rail, and knelt.

    It was the first time that had happened.

    He stayed there alone for what seemed like an eternity.

    Then a white man rose, walked to the rail, and knelt.

    Another long time passed. Then one by one, the rest of the church, black and white, did as the whites had always done, and went up to receive communion.

    The white guy, again, was Lee.

    And again, this is what's surprising and intriguing to me. I've never given too much thought to the apotheosis of Lee in the South. I figured he was their local "sour grapes" war hero, and made bigger than life for no other reason than he was the most representative character for the genteel old south.

    But I was just plain wrong. Or rather, we both were just plain wrong, in most cases.

    Yes, he was a man of tremendous honor and expansive spirit. ("I surrendered to Lincoln's goodness as much as to Grant's greatness.")

    But he was also a man capable of recognizing what was right, even though he fought for things he believed his honor demanded.

    He wasn't some "sanitized," conjured-up character representing the South's right to do as it wants, white supremacism, etc. He was a man who saw his "nation's" birth as a cause he was duty-bound to fight for, even if it was undertaken in support of something that was deeply wrong.

    And for me, he wasn't just a conjured-up character who knew how to view battle lines but had no insight into history or humanity.

    That's what I find fascinating about him... that, and how thoroughly he embraced his re-found citizenship and love for country after the bid for Southern independence was over.

    Sorry, I do go on.

    PFnV
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  20. TheSolderKing

    TheSolderKing Rookie

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    relax


    it was a joke:rofl::rofl::rofl:

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