US Army War College Considers Removing Paintings of Lee & Jackson and that is a good thing.

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I admit it. I hate the hole Confederacy. I loathe the ‘Lost causers’, I have no love or sympathy for antebellum despite being 1/2 Southern by birth. But even without that I would have trouble honoring these Generals.

This is a question I often ask myself about the Civil War in general - why do we do such honor to those who fired upon our flags? Why do we honor people who would be considered traitors to their country?

Monuments on battlefields honoring dead enemy soldiers I can understand. The Ossuary as Verdun doesn’t care if the bones are German or French and pillars where Generals & units stood is have historical importance.

But to have people who fired on their own country? Frankly that puts them in the rank of this countries enemies and I see no reason that these Jackson & Lee should be so honored. Studied? Sure. Honored? No.

(Sorry if there is another thread on this already, I could not find one)

I agree. And let me state that the after the Civil War, the United States was much nicer to the losers than most winners are to losers in war. And I understand why that is. Americans wanted to avoid a second civil war, and they wanted to avoid a state of unending hostility and nastiness between the ex-confederacy and the rest of the nation. I think that overall, the steps taken to reconcile the South after the war were smart, though of course it’s a shame that protections for the rights of Blacks were allowed to disintegrate.

But the monuments to the confederates? Those make no sense.

Didn’t Washington fire on his own flag?

Does England have any monuments to Washington?


Sort of.

Still waiting for Virginians to get rid of Jefferson Davis Highway and Lee Highway… any day now, I’m sure.

Very interesting! A gift from Virginia, it seems, from 1924.

That’s about 150 years after the revolution, so it’s possibly OK to have Lee and Jackson memorialized as historical figures.

There is the complicating factor that the South lost. Maybe England is just more forgiving.

The War College should be paying attention to winners, not losers.

Ditch the paintings.

They have a version of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s George Washington in the National Gallery in London (original can be seen in the State Capitol building in Richmond, VA.)

I’m normally opposed to honoring Confederate leaders as well, or anyone who had fought against the United States. However if it’s just a portrait hanging on a wall I can maybe support them hanging there. Jackson and Lee are both part of the military history of the United States, good, bad, and ugly. As long as they are there as part of a historical reflection and not to honor them specifically, I could get behind it. I’m very opposed to the continuing practice of having major military bases named after Confederate leaders. One of the most notable is Ft. Bragg, named after one of the least respectable Confederate generals at that. He was essentially a failure of a military leader, at the very least we can say Jackson and Lee were extremely gifted tacticians and that commands some level of respect regardless of anything else–you can always respect capability even if you don’t respect the man as a whole.

It’s worth noting that Lee served in the U.S. Army from 1829 to 1861, and Jackson from 1846 to 1851. Lee in particular, while best known today as a Confederate, was a distinguished hero of the Mexican-American war.

It’s an American tradition, and one that’s served us well.

Civil wars are funny that way. When the opponent is part of the same group as yourself - speaking the same language, worshipping the game god, sporting the same skin color - with differences that are purely political, it seems easier to forgive grudges.

ETA: There’s also the fact that Southerners are, and long have been, over-represented in the American military.

In light of this decision, I eagerly await the US Army changing the names of: Ft. Bragg, Ft. Lee, Ft. Hood, Ft. Benning, etc…

Christ, is there a Confederate general that the U.S. military didn’t name something big after? It is strange that the U.S. honors defeated rebels as much as they do.

Also resting on soil imported from Virginia, so it’s not *exactly *in England.

That’s it. The victors do write the histories. The UK and US are separate countries with a close friendship, so it’s not that hard to let the Revolution go as a family squabble that eventually turned out well.

If the South had won independence, there might be statues of Grant in Richmond and Lee in wherever the USA capital would now be, and both nation’s war colleges would probably admire each of them equally. Statues of Lincoln and Davis, maybe not so much.

Are you sure about that? No study of the blitzkrieg, or Napolean, or Hannibal, or the American effort in Vietnam? That cuts off a lot of potentially valuable lessons and insights.

How we view history changes over time. No monuments, paintings, sculpture etc. are worthy for all time simply because someone once thought they were.

The War College example is a bit different from having public parks, highways, schools and so on named for Confederate leaders where the public is expected to tolerate seeing them constantly and paying for their upkeep.

If Lee and Jackson’s military strategies are worthy of being taught to army officers, fine. It’s hard to see why their paintings shouldn’t go into storage or be sold to the Sons and Daughters of the South Gonna Do It Agin, so they can genuflect to them on their own private property.

Should they be honoured less because they lost? Because that seems to be how Americans view their history. Victorious rebels? Yay! Defeated rebels? Boo!

But not so strange that it honors accomplished leaders from a region that has traditionally provided much of its military personnel - and whose political leaders since Reconstruction have been a susceptible to flattery as anyone. Senate committee chairs were disproportionately held by Southerners for many years, more to the point.

I think its good too. I’m never convinced by those who claim its history or heritage that we should keep these things around unchanged. Sure, learn history, but there’s no need to honor them. I think I read an article the other day that a Florida high school named after noted Confederate officer and KKK member Nathan Bedford Forrest was to have its name changed, and the typical reactionaries say their predictable stuff about history.

We can have history, we can learn about Forrest, but we don’t need statues or schools named in his honor. Having your name on a public building, unless its a sewage plant, is an honor, one that ill fits a Confederate racist

Um, yes? Seriously, how many other countries honor defeated rebels—i.e., traitors—in this manner? Cromwell won, at first. I can’t think of too many examples where someone committing treason within a country got honored the way the U.S. does for Confederate leaders. Hussain ibn Ali maybe, for certain values of “country”?

Losing has always been the greatest sin in warfare. I think ElvisL1ves has it, for the reasons why the U.S. has continued to do honor these guys. I’ve no problem with the War College continuing to hang their portraits as examples of exemplary American generalship, though, if they were honest, they’d hang Forrest’s painting too.

True, the Civil War was different. While most wars have been over essentially nothing more than whether We or They would get to stick their colored rag in some piece of dirt, a few have been about something more important, something we now see as worth dying for. Other wars can be dismissed later on as family squabbles, but the Civil War cannot - it really was a rare case where one side was generally on the side of Right, and the other the side of Wrong, and yes, there’s an element of unfairness to that but that’s still the big picture.

Even though Lee and Jackson were Americans doing what they *thought *was right and patriotic, the judgment of history is that they were not, that the cause they fought for was Wrong, and that isn’t going to change.