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The Removal of the Confederate Statues
"It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it." - Robert E Lee
A hot topic right now in the United States is the removal of Confederate Statues. In case you don't know, the Confederacy became a part of the United States in the late 1800's. It separated from the Union in order to keep slavery (they were afraid the Union would get rid of slavery when Lincoln became president). A Civil War then occurred, and it was the bloodiest war the U.S. has been in. With 600,00+ casualties. The two main leaders that everyone suddenly has an issue with right now are Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. They have such an issue with them in fact that they are removing any statues of them and are even changing school names if their names are in it. I do not believe that these statutes should be taken down.
The first reason is that they showcase a very important part of history. To many people, (me included) history means a whole lot, especially the Civil War. It interests me to see what others thought in the past. Does it mean that everyone needs to agree what was done in the past? Of course not! In fact, I believe we learn directly from history. In history, we see what things need to be avoided to have a successful world. If these statues are removed, generations from now can't ask while walking in the park, "Mommy, who is that man on the horse.". Children will grow to be ignorant of what happened in the past, and if children learn from a young age that slavery is wrong, it can be avoided in the future.
My second reason may be the most important one. Why are these two men targeted? Why not George Washington as well? Why not Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and all of the African Americans that owned slaves (yes, they owned slaves as well). George Washington is praised constantly (for good reason!) but he owned slaves. Benjamin Franklin owned slaves (and he gets to keep his face on currency). Abraham Lincoln said he didn't want to get rid of slavery in its entirety. Andrew Jackson killed thousands (look up 'Trail Of Tears') of Native Americans, but he also gets to stay on currency. The most important of all of this though may be the simple fact that African Americans themselves owned slaves! They almost owned as many as the white men. You will find that all of this is conveniently left out when the removal of these statues comes up. But why? It doesn't really seem fair. If you were to do some research on these men, you would learn the Robert E. Lee did indeed own slaves (but that was the norm in those days) but he was not known as a cruel master, in fact, his slaves admired him so much they saved his house. Lee also did not join the war on the Confederate side to keep slavery, he fought on the Confederate side in order to be on the side of his beloved Virginia.
“If Virginia stands by the old Union,” Lee told a friend, “so will I. But if she secedes (though I do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution), then I will follow my native State with my sword, and, if need be, with my life.”
Virginia succeeded from the Union and Lee went with it. He said the toughest decision he ever made in his life was denying Lincoln when asked to join the war on the Union side.
"What a cruel thing war is... to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors."
What you have to remember is that Robert E. Lee was not pro slavery in any means.
"In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution is a moral & political evil in any country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages."
Now onto the topic of Thomas Jonathan Jackson (or as you would more likely recognize as "Stonewall Jackson"). He was raised in a slave owning family. But he never once owned a slave himself (remember, he is the "bad guy"). In fact, he broke many laws to create a school in which slaves could learn to read and write in addition to learning about Christ. He loved this so much that even when he was gone fighting in the war he sent his paycheck to the school to keep it going. He only joined the war on the Confederate side because he loved Robert E. Lee like a brother. He couldn't even think of betraying him.
Finally, if you believe these statues need to come down, you also must think that the Constitution should no longer be used. The Constitution is a pro slavery document. If you were to read it, it says that slavery is allowed, obviously, a bill was added to get rid of slavery, but the constitution itself states that slavery is allowed. The reason why slavery was allowed into the Constitution is the fact that some states refused to sign it unless slavery was allowed (you see, at first slavery was banned in the Constitution, they changed it in the final draft). This does not make the Constitution a bad document, in fact, it makes it a document that should be learned from.
In finality, if you do not agree with what the statues stand for, that is your right. But actually learn history. If you learn more about these men, you learn that they were not bad people at all, but simply men put into the wrong situation. If you still do not agree with these men, that is your right! But just because you do not like something that does not give a group of people the right to ruin something that isn't directly hurting anyone.