Statues of Confederate generals : resolving the issue.


Statues of Confederate generals are to be found in many cities in the southern states of the USA. Confederate symbols are tendentious since the Confederacy was founded to keep African Americans in servitude. This was as damnable a cause as one can imagine. Partisans of the Confedrate States of America say that sécession was about preserving states rights. The trouble is that that right was the right to deny rights to others. Depriving people of liberty is ignoble. It must be admitted that some Northern states had slavery at the outbreak of the American Civil War but soon abolished it.

Let me be kind to those who wish to honour the heritage of the CSA. We should judge people by their era. Southern whites were surrounded by the notion that racism was permissble and logical. It is impossible not to be influenced by the opinions of ones peers. People fought for their community as they usually do even when their co,,unity is doing so,ething turpitidinous. If I were a southern white at the time would I have been Wise enough and courageous enough to recognise that the Confederate cause was rotten? Probably not. Good men have served foul causes out of groupthink and loyalty to their fa,ily and comrades.

  • One ought not be too sympathetic to those who are tender towards the CSA. Why should they be treated with such sensitivity? The feelings of African Americans whose ancestors were victims of the foulest crimes are not treated with such consideration. Many of those who cherish their Confederate heritage want others to tiptoe around their emotions. Yet they then ride roughshod over African American opinion. What of the northern whites who died to save the Union? It is churlish to exalt the Confédérâtes who killed these men needlessly due to obduracy. The insistence on keeping black people in the cruelest forms of chattel slavery and on breaking away fro, the USA all precipitated the Civil War. *
  • The USA battles terrrosism especially do,estic terrorism. The CSA was an illegitimate state which was recognised by no sovereign state. Secession was illegal and unconstitutional. Therefore taking up arms in defence of the CSA was unlawful violence. It was terrorisM; It is hard for the descendants of CSA soldiers to accept this. Strive to be objective and to seek the Truth however unpalatable it may be.
  • *
  • WHAT Is to be done with images of Confederate generals in public spaces? Many hav lobbied for them to be removed. They are an eyesore many say/ These images exalt racist violence and flagrant injustice. By honouring such a thoroughly dishonurable cause one perpétuâtes the notions that racism is somehow uplifting.  After the Second World War Germany removed statues of Hitler and renamed places that bore his name. In Eastern Europe many statues of Stalin and Lenin were removed in the 1990s because these men were mass murderers.
  • *I am generally opposed to removing public statues.  It is as though the past is being denied. There is a way forward. One can still acknowledge the bravery and ingenutity of these Confederate commanders while dishonouring oppression.

Images of slave rebellions leaders ought to grace these same squares. Nat Turner is a far more heroic and moral man than any Confederate commander. Turner was a real freedo, fighter. He fought in the purest cause of all and against overwhelming odds.  Martin Luther King should be there as well as images of black Union soldiers from the civil war. These men stood for humanity and dignity. Their bright honour is unimpeachable. The flag of African nationalism could also adorn such public spaces.


About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

4 responses »

  1. A thoughtful response to an uncomfortable issue. I admit to having little to no sympathy for those who wish to celebrate symbols of the Confederacy, but my (perhaps extreme) stance probably isn’t especially helpful, because by denying the past – the darker part of our history/ourselves, etc. – it’s impossible to deal with it. That’s unhealthy. Your suggestion of honouring leaders of slave rebellions at the same time, on the other hand, IS healthy. (My family is entirely southern, so this sort of stuff has come up…)

    • The CSA existed : whether it ws a legitimate is another issue. None but a sympathiser with the CONFederate cause would say that it was. The CSA WA THere for only fo years. Slavery was there in America 250 years . Slavery is far more important and Worth remembering than the CSA;

      • To my mind it is a question of a whole narrative. The Confederacy was part of American slavery. Where the statues are concerned, though, and I think their place, if any, is in a museum where they can be curated. (I certainly don’t have any sympathy with the Confederate cause!!!)

      • You are spot on in that the bakers dozen f states that seceded were all states where African-Americans were held in bondage. This most extreme form of oppression is Nothing to be proud of. It is hard to thinkf a more ignoble cause. Some Confédérâtes todayay “but my ancestor fought in the war”. This is no argument. We all have ancestors Not every forbear served worthy causes. We are not obliged to honour the causes they served. Our descendants will not be duty bound to exalt our opinions and deeds. In Romania statues of communist leaders have been removed and kept in a museum as yoiu suggested.

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