by Jim Quinn, The Burning Platform:
“True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them the desire to do right is precisely the same.” ― Robert E. Lee
I consider myself a student of history. I’ve always been fascinated by the personalities who drove events throughout history. I probably would have been a history major in college if I didn’t feel the need to make enough money to support myself and my family. I chose a business major and decided studying history would be my hobby. Over the years I’ve taken a particular interest in the Civil War. You could even call me a Civil War buff.
I’ve probably read 60 books on the Civil War, from Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote and numerous other historians. I’ve visited the Gettysburg battlefield a half dozen times, as it is only 150 miles from my home. My basement office is decorated with six prints depicting various scenes from the Civil War. One depicts Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg, another depicts Jackson leading his troops through Richmond, another depicts Grant taking command of Union forces, another shows Chamberlain leading the charge down Little Round Top, another portrays Lee and Longstreet making the fateful decision to send Pickett’s men on their futile charge into history, and the last showing the slaughter during Pickett’s charge.
I’ve even taken an executive education course in leadership where the final day is a trip to Gettysburg where a park ranger guides you through the three day battle and the professor asks you to assess the leadership shown by officers on both sides during that tide turning battle. My fascination with the Civil War isn’t based on rooting for one side or the other. I wanted to understand the motivations of the main characters and understand why and how they fought that bloody war. There were so many fateful decisions, errors of judgement, acts of courage, acts of cowardice, brilliantly bold maneuvers, and just plain good and bad luck.
Robert E. Lee, before the outbreak of the war, was overwhelmingly regarded as the finest military mind in the U.S. army. Winfield Scott offered him command of all Union forces at the outbreak of hostilities. But he chose allegiance to his state of Virginia, rather than the Federal government. He didn’t fight for slavery. He freed his slaves. He was fighting for states’ rights. He was an honorable God fearing noble man. Stonewall Jackson was an extremely religious man who waged war with a passion, but also taught Sunday School to slaves. Lee and Jackson must be viewed in the context of the 19th century rather than being judged by the standards of the 21st century.
The vast majority of Confederate soldiers who did the fighting and dying during that war didn’t own slaves. They weren’t fighting to maintain slavery. They were fighting because a foreign army had invaded their land. In 1860 this nation was more an amalgamation of states than a centralized government. States still had a tremendous amount of power and leeway to run their states the way they chose. The ever increasing power of a central authority occurred during and after the Civil War. The South were not the bad guys. Their leaders, generals and soldiers were not evil. They were Americans.
The revisionist history now being peddled by the left wing media and their non-thinking acolytes lacks a factual basis, historical context and a true understanding of history. The Civil War was the climax of decades of tension between the North and the South over states’ rights, economic policies, slavery, and a myriad of other complex issues. Examined within the context of generational theory, it was a Fourth Turning that was unavoidable. It was a crucial important event in U.S. history. It wasn’t the shameful episode portrayed by the brain dead faux journalists babbling on CNN and MSNBC.
Illegally pulling down statues of Confederate soldiers and taking videos of “brave” unemployed liberal arts major social justice warriors kicking the Confederate soldier is what passes for activism in today’s warped society. Liberal mayors and city councils across the south are falling all over themselves wasting time and taxpayer money to remove statues of Confederate generals to appease the left and make a display of how anti-racist they can be. Meanwhile, their cities are bankrupt, their infrastructure is decaying, black crime is rampant and their education systems matriculate functionally illiterate deranged snowflakes into society.
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