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Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 1:37:35 AM   
Zap


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I enjoyed this video. Park ranger gives his observations of the "person" Robert E. Lee Post War. I like that he tries reveal the complexity of the man.https://www.c-span.org/video/?471440-1/robert-e-lee-war

< Message edited by Zap -- 6/28/2020 1:55:52 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 6:47:53 AM   
warspite1


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Well as someone who knows little of that period (other than high level) but always keen to learn, I thought this okay - but a little disappointing.

I got from this that Lee seemed keen to move on once the war was lost, and to accept the defeat (he signed the oath). But got no real feel for his innermost thoughts, how he saw the United States - and particularly the south - moving forward, how he felt about his part in the Civil War, his motivations for the action he took and - in the aftermath of defeat - whether he believed he was right. Did he take the action he did subsequently to save his own skin and (perhaps) that of his family, or did he do it because he thought it best for the southern states, or because it was best for the United States? This just left me with a load of questions to be honest.

I heard a few stories - at least one apocryphal? - that showed him as a kindly man but ultimately after one hour and ten minutes I don't feel I know much, if anything, more about the man that I did at the start.

Another bone of contention; as a speaker, if you are going to use the "Sword of Damocles" in a speech it's perhaps a good idea to actually know what it is and how to pronounce it!

_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 8:35:57 AM   
goodwoodrw


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I'm no expert on American history, but what little I have read on Lee suggests he fought for Virginia not the CSA. If Virginia had of been in the Northern Coalition he would have led the Union, would I be correct on seeing it this way?

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 8:46:23 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: goodwoodrw

I'm no expert on American history, but what little I have read on Lee suggests he fought for Virginia not the CSA. If Virginia had of been in the Northern Coalition he would have led the Union, would I be correct on seeing it this way?
warspite1

Interesting. Perhaps someone knowledgeable on the US Civil War will add their insight. Seems strange though - and I only say this because that would mean he would have no personal interest in the politics of his state and who/what he would be fighting for - only that his state declares for one side or the other and he would follow.....

Also, if that was his avowed position, then why would he have become such a revered figure to the South post the war?


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 6/28/2020 8:49:46 AM >


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England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 10:57:16 AM   
goodwoodrw


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I believe his passion was Virginian politics

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 11:01:11 AM   
Trugrit


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: goodwoodrw

I'm no expert on American history, but what little I have read on Lee suggests he fought for Virginia not the CSA. If Virginia had of been in the Northern Coalition he would have led the Union, would I be correct on seeing it this way?
warspite1

Interesting. Perhaps someone knowledgeable on the US Civil War will add their insight. Seems strange though - and I only say this because that would mean he would have no personal interest in the politics of his state and who/what he would be fighting for - only that his state declares for one side or the other and he would follow.....

Also, if that was his avowed position, then why would he have become such a revered figure to the South post the war?



Well, his situation was not uncommon, not just in America but in history.

In WW2 there were plenty of Germans who were not Nazis and fought for Germany.
They did not support that governments policies. Their home was there.
After the war they did not go unloved by their countrymen.

You don’t need to support any specific policy to fight for your friends.

It is hard to stand by when friends and their families, many who also don’t support those policies,
are being killed just because of where they live. No other factor is necessary.

After the war the people loved General Lee because he loved them.

WW2 German military dead estimated around 5.3 million, missing or dead.
Estimates of combined military and civilian German war dead range from 5.5 to 6.9 million.
The vast majority of those people were not monsters. They deserve respect.

Lee deserves respect.
He did not go without respect even by the Union soldiers who fought against him.

Once again….
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
...John 15:13


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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 11:08:52 AM   
Don60420

 

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“He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward.”

Benjamin Harvey Hill on Robert E. Lee

(in reply to Trugrit)
Post #: 7
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 12:03:11 PM   
Zap


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From: LAS VEGAS TAKE A CHANCE
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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Well as someone who knows little of that period (other than high level) but always keen to learn, I thought this okay - but a little disappointing.

I got from this that Lee seemed keen to move on once the war was lost, and to accept the defeat (he signed the oath). But got no real feel for his innermost thoughts, how he saw the United States - and particularly the south - moving forward, how he felt about his part in the Civil War, his motivations for the action he took and - in the aftermath of defeat - whether he believed he was right. Did he take the action he did subsequently to save his own skin and (perhaps) that of his family, or did he do it because he thought it best for the southern states, or because it was best for the United States? This just left me with a load of questions to be honest.

I heard a few stories - at least one apocryphal? - that showed him as a kindly man but ultimately after one hour and ten minutes I don't feel I know much, if anything, more about the man that I did at the start.

Another bone of contention; as a speaker, if you are going to use the "Sword of Damocles" in a speech it's perhaps a good idea to actually know what it is and how to pronounce it!






Yes, if only we had the journalist with todays insights asking those questions of him. I think the state of reporting was only interested in bare facts in 1865. And there weren't as many reporters/journalist as we have today. Your point brings out the state of american journalism in 1865. Little to none, also reporters suffered from the 1865 american culture its "state of mind", so to speak. I mean, you have a lot of great questions that were not asked of him. How deeply did Robert E. Lee reflect after the war. That will go unanswered.
But at least the attempt by the presenter to bring some humanity to the figure of Robert E. Lee was made. The questions you raised, I would have liked to see asked of many a Confederate general.
As it is we can only piece "as best we can" the material we have and conjecture. What is important to me is we see him as a man not a saint nor great sinner but an honorable general. Worthy of having a statue put up of him as a honorable General and man.

< Message edited by Zap -- 6/28/2020 12:08:02 PM >

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 8
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 12:25:37 PM   
warspite1


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From: England
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Well as someone who knows little of that period (other than high level) but always keen to learn, I thought this okay - but a little disappointing.

I got from this that Lee seemed keen to move on once the war was lost, and to accept the defeat (he signed the oath). But got no real feel for his innermost thoughts, how he saw the United States - and particularly the south - moving forward, how he felt about his part in the Civil War, his motivations for the action he took and - in the aftermath of defeat - whether he believed he was right. Did he take the action he did subsequently to save his own skin and (perhaps) that of his family, or did he do it because he thought it best for the southern states, or because it was best for the United States? This just left me with a load of questions to be honest.

I heard a few stories - at least one apocryphal? - that showed him as a kindly man but ultimately after one hour and ten minutes I don't feel I know much, if anything, more about the man that I did at the start.

Another bone of contention; as a speaker, if you are going to use the "Sword of Damocles" in a speech it's perhaps a good idea to actually know what it is and how to pronounce it!






Yes, if only we had the journalist with todays insights asking those questions of him. I think the state of reporting was only interested in bare facts in 1865. And there weren't as many reporters/journalist as we have today. Your point brings out the state of american journalism in 1865. Little to none, also reporters suffered from the 1865 american culture its "state of mind", so to speak. I mean, you have a lot of great questions that were not asked of him. How deeply did Robert E. Lee reflect after the war. That will go unanswered.
But at least the attempt by the presenter to bring some humanity to the figure of Robert E. Lee was made. The questions you raised, I would have liked to see asked of many a Confederate general.
As it is we can only piece "as best we can" the material we have and conjecture. What is important to me is we see him as a man not a saint nor great sinner but an honorable general. Worthy of having a statue put up of him as a honorable but not torn down because he was a racist.
warspite1

So he didn't commit his thoughts to paper either - correspondence or diary perhaps? That is a shame - but then he didn't live long after the end of the war.



< Message edited by warspite1 -- 6/28/2020 2:21:29 PM >


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 12:44:00 PM   
Don60420

 

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"We can learn to accept that they were flawed individuals yes, but moreover were people of their time."

Quite true, just as we all are. People are good about picking out flaws in others but poor at noting their own flaws. If we are going to continually indict the past for not being the present, we will learn little from the past, except using it as a club to be wielded in current political strife. Understanding the past should be our goal as war gamers. What we do with that understanding may, or may not, lead to political action, but the understanding must definitely come first.

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 12:53:17 PM   
VPaulus

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

If we remove all statues and change names of buildings/streets/places JUST because person x no longer fits with what is acceptable now, then we will be left with nothing. Why?

There is a debate that needs to be had. But this needs to be done soberly, calmly and with views from all sides listened to, in order that a consensus be found. I hope so, otherwise this subject will remain a festering sore that won't go away.



And we won't have it here. This is now a politicized issue and as you all know we don't discuss politics here.


< Message edited by VPaulus -- 6/28/2020 12:56:08 PM >

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 2:13:04 PM   
Orm


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Why didn't General Robert E. Lee surrender, with his army, earlier? I suspect that he knew, long before his surrender, that his position was untenable.

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 2:22:44 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: VPaulus

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

There is a debate that needs to be had. But this needs to be done soberly, calmly and with views from all sides listened to, in order that a consensus be found. I hope so, otherwise this subject will remain a festering sore that won't go away.



And we won't have it here. This is now a politicized issue and as you all know we don't discuss politics here.

warspite1

Indeed, contentious part of my post removed.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 2:24:00 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm

Why didn't General Robert E. Lee surrender, with his army, earlier? I suspect that he knew, long before his surrender, that his position was untenable.
warspite1

There is a mention of this in the talk. Sadly it was just a one-liner, rather than an explanation.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 2:34:30 PM   
RangerJoe


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George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as stated in his work, The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense.

My understanding is that Lee considered himself more of a Virginian and not as an American, which is why he left the US Army when Virginia tried to leave the United States.

I believe that after the war he wanted personal peace, as well as peace in the United States.

He did become president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia:

quote:

. . . He wrote to the trustees that he believed, "it is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony."

A new life in Lexington

Lee arrived in Lexington in mid-September 1865 and went to work immediately. Over the next five years, Washington College grew physically and financially: the faculty increased in size from four to twenty, enrollment grew from fifty to nearly 400 students, and financial contributions poured in from both southern and northern sources. Lee's personal involvement with many of his students reflected his desire to create a new generation of Americans. In response to the bitterness of a Confederate widow, Lee wrote, "Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans."


https://www.virginiahistory.org/collections-and-resources/virginia-history-explorer/robert-e-lee-after-war

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 4:45:02 PM   
rommel222

 

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Greetings to All,
Interesting articles on Robert E. Lee divided loyalty analysis:
https://leefamilyarchive.org/reference/books/bruce/03.html

https://www.historynet.com/a-question-of-loyalty-why-did-robert-e-lee-join-the-confederacy.htm#:~:text=Despite%20his%20clear%20affection%20for,him%20in%20the%20secession%20crisis.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/making-sense-of-robert-e-lee-85017563/

https://www.fredericksburg.com/lifestyles/assessing-robert-e-lees-divided-loyalties/article_bf614d39-8af2-5616-a889-e94f19f4db5f.html


(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 16
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 5:24:58 PM   
Zap


Posts: 3676
Joined: 12/6/2004
From: LAS VEGAS TAKE A CHANCE
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Well as someone who knows little of that period (other than high level) but always keen to learn, I thought this okay - but a little disappointing.

I got from this that Lee seemed keen to move on once the war was lost, and to accept the defeat (he signed the oath). But got no real feel for his innermost thoughts, how he saw the United States - and particularly the south - moving forward, how he felt about his part in the Civil War, his motivations for the action he took and - in the aftermath of defeat - whether he believed he was right. Did he take the action he did subsequently to save his own skin and (perhaps) that of his family, or did he do it because he thought it best for the southern states, or because it was best for the United States? This just left me with a load of questions to be honest.

I heard a few stories - at least one apocryphal? - that showed him as a kindly man but ultimately after one hour and ten minutes I don't feel I know much, if anything, more about the man that I did at the start.

Another bone of contention; as a speaker, if you are going to use the "Sword of Damocles" in a speech it's perhaps a good idea to actually know what it is and how to pronounce it!






Yes, if only we had the journalist with todays insights asking those questions of him. I think the state of reporting was only interested in bare facts in 1865. And there weren't as many reporters/journalist as we have today. Your point brings out the state of american journalism in 1865. Little to none, also reporters suffered from the 1865 american culture its "state of mind", so to speak. I mean, you have a lot of great questions that were not asked of him. How deeply did Robert E. Lee reflect after the war. That will go unanswered.
But at least the attempt by the presenter to bring some humanity to the figure of Robert E. Lee was made. The questions you raised, I would have liked to see asked of many a Confederate general.
As it is we can only piece "as best we can" the material we have and conjecture. What is important to me is we see him as a man not a saint nor great sinner but an honorable general. Worthy of having a statue put up of him as a honorable but not torn down because he was a racist.
warspite1

So he didn't commit his thoughts to paper either - correspondence or diary perhaps? That is a shame - but then he didn't live long after the end of the war.





He did commit some thoughts to paper and before congress after the war. Which might shed some light on who he was and why he did what he did. But he did not address slavery in this following article piece.


"In a letter written a few months before Virginia became a member of the Confederacy, Colonel Lee expressed doubt as to the consitutional right of secession; but during his examination by a Congressional committee in 1866, when asked whether he looked on himself as having been guilty of treason, he replied that “the act of Virginia in withdrawing herself from the Union” carried him along as a citizen of Virginia, and her laws and acts were binding on him. “I and my people,” be added, “considered the act of the state legitimate, and the seceding states were merely using their reserved rights, which they had a legal right to do.” “Let each man,” be urged in an order to his soldiers issued in September, 1861, “resolve to be victorious and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace shall in him find a defender.” And near the end of the war, when his army was retreating from Petersburg, he said, in dwelling on the causes of secession: “We had, I was satisfied, sacred principles to maintain, and rights to defend, for which we were in duty bound to do our best, even if we perished in the endeavor.” Long after hostilities had closed, and he had had an opportunity to weigh the past with calmness, he exclaimed: “I fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the people of the South their dearest rights."

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 7:08:35 PM   
RangerJoe


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He had freed his slaves plus the slaves that were inherited from Mr. Custis. He freed his slaves before the war and those from Mr. Custis in 1862.

He preferred that the Union be intact but he considered himself a Virginian first, then an American. That was common in the South or anyplace without an influx of newcomers. The North had a lot of immigrants who identified with the Nation before the state.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Zap)
Post #: 18
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 7:51:47 PM   
Zap


Posts: 3676
Joined: 12/6/2004
From: LAS VEGAS TAKE A CHANCE
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

He had freed his slaves plus the slaves that were inherited from Mr. Custis. He freed his slaves before the war and those from Mr. Custis in 1862.

He preferred that the Union be intact but he considered himself a Virginian first, then an American. That was common in the South or anyplace without an influx of newcomers. The North had a lot of immigrants who identified with the Nation before the state.



Thanks. That knowledge is significant. Still no first hand knowledge as to why he did it but I'm guessing he was motivated by a good heart.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 19
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 7:53:00 PM   
Hellen_slith


Posts: 1668
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Don60420

“He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward.”

Benjamin Harvey Hill on Robert E. Lee


One doesn't have to agree or disagree w/ Harvey's quote, but one must appreciate the most excellent turn of phrase in this, from a rhetorical standpoint.

The gentlemen of the 19th c. had an excellent command of Rhetoric; but sadly, it has become almost a lost art.

I appreciate this thread; it led to search out my library for more information, these are a few of the titles that might interest you. They interest me!

Grant and Lee: Victorious American, Vanquished Virginian (Bonekemper 2008)
Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy (Rafuse 2008)
Lee and His Generals in War and Memory (Gallagher 1998)

Looking forward to checking these out next chance I get.


< Message edited by Hellen_slith -- 6/28/2020 7:55:10 PM >

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Post #: 20
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 8:56:54 PM   
Zap


Posts: 3676
Joined: 12/6/2004
From: LAS VEGAS TAKE A CHANCE
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: rommel222

Greetings to All,
Interesting articles on Robert E. Lee divided loyalty analysis:
https://leefamilyarchive.org/reference/books/bruce/03.html

https://www.historynet.com/a-question-of-loyalty-why-did-robert-e-lee-join-the-confederacy.htm#:~:text=Despite%20his%20clear%20affection%20for,him%20in%20the%20secession%20crisis.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/making-sense-of-robert-e-lee-85017563/

https://www.fredericksburg.com/lifestyles/assessing-robert-e-lees-divided-loyalties/article_bf614d39-8af2-5616-a889-e94f19f4db5f.html






thanks, Rommel222. Warspite1 a must read

In the articles you posted I found most revealing the smithsonian article in which he writes about his view of slavery. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/making-sense-of-robert-e-lee-85017563/


< Message edited by Zap -- 6/28/2020 8:58:41 PM >

(in reply to rommel222)
Post #: 21
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/28/2020 9:12:37 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 7578
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap


quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

He had freed his slaves plus the slaves that were inherited from Mr. Custis. He freed his slaves before the war and those from Mr. Custis in 1862.

He preferred that the Union be intact but he considered himself a Virginian first, then an American. That was common in the South or anyplace without an influx of newcomers. The North had a lot of immigrants who identified with the Nation before the state.


Thanks. That knowledge is significant. Still no first hand knowledge as to why he did it but I'm guessing he was motivated by a good heart.


The ones that were inherited, the will stated that they were to be freed within 5 years. He did not have to free his own but he did so. Except for the deep South cotton states, slavery was dying out.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Zap)
Post #: 22
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/29/2020 12:23:26 AM   
Anachro


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After the war, Robert Lee retired to Washington University, a small but historic university located in Lexington, VA (which is also where VMI is located, the military school Stonewall Jackson taught at). In doing so, he accepted the post of President of the College. Washington University was one of the oldest colleges in the United States, but was in somewhat dire straits at that time; Lee managed to help reform it and put it back on a bath to prosperity and was so instrumental that the university was eventually partially renamed in his honor to Washington and Lee University. While there, he implemented an honor code system which, while not unique, was certainly unusual: all students could take tests and such unproctored and were bound by a code that relied on their honor and the vigilance of fellow students; you would sign this code at the start of your four years. While some might decry the ease by which dishonorable students could break such a system, the majority of the student body did and still does abide by it and it had and has a great benefit in terms of the character and free nature of student academic life there.

In addition to this, General Lee had one main rule for students of W&L: Be a Gentleman. He is still greatly respected on campus for his character and the system he put in place, as well as his push for reconciliation post-war. You can still go to Lee Chapel today, which is a national historic landmark and the burial site of Lee (as well as his warhorse, which has been preserved through taxidermy).

Why do I know all this? I attended W&L; it's a wonderful place.

< Message edited by Anachro -- 6/29/2020 12:24:23 AM >

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 23
RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/29/2020 4:37:38 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 42460
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap

quote:

ORIGINAL: rommel222

Greetings to All,
Interesting articles on Robert E. Lee divided loyalty analysis:
https://leefamilyarchive.org/reference/books/bruce/03.html

https://www.historynet.com/a-question-of-loyalty-why-did-robert-e-lee-join-the-confederacy.htm#:~:text=Despite%20his%20clear%20affection%20for,him%20in%20the%20secession%20crisis.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/making-sense-of-robert-e-lee-85017563/

https://www.fredericksburg.com/lifestyles/assessing-robert-e-lees-divided-loyalties/article_bf614d39-8af2-5616-a889-e94f19f4db5f.html






thanks, Rommel222. Warspite1 a must read

In the articles you posted I found most revealing the smithsonian article in which he writes about his view of slavery. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/making-sense-of-robert-e-lee-85017563/

warspite1

I will take a look - thanks for posting


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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/29/2020 7:44:26 PM   
vonRocko

 

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"I did only what my duty demanded."

General In Chief Confederate Armies
R.E.Lee

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/29/2020 10:01:42 PM   
Zap


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1856 letter to his wife. The passage begins: “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.” But he goes on: “I think it however a greater evil to the white than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.”

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/29/2020 10:51:36 PM   
TheGrayMouser

 

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Lee was a conformist, and like other southerners, might have had moral or religious doubts on slavery, but in the end was content enough to preserve the status quo, and “leave it up to God”. Freeing the Custis slaves within 5 years of Custis’ death was part of his duty to execute the will, and yet he kept them working right up to the 5 years... There is no evidence ( court filings, manumission paperwork) about freeing his own slaves, and I believe his own writings are silent on the issue. I’m not saying he couldnt be an honorable man , but one also needs consider to whom he extended his honor too.

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/30/2020 12:06:48 AM   
RangerJoe


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The family was in debt plus had obligations from the will, that was why the slaves were kept working. As far as freed slaves in Virginia, they had to leave the state or they were enslaved.

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/30/2020 12:34:19 AM   
TheGrayMouser

 

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According to the 1860 census, there were slightly more free blacks in the south than the north, somethig like 260k to 250k. I am not suggesting life was better or worse, no doubt it could be more precarious and unsurprising those that could, left.

So , Lee held on to Custis' slaves as long as possible to pay for the estates debts to benefit Lees relatives? Not sure how that helps his legacy. Additionally, the slaves themselves beleived they were actually freed at Custis death and were quite bitter when it became apparant the new master was not only going to keep them as long as he could, but use them more "efficiently" then Custis ever did, separating families to maximies productivity. Several escaped, were caught and were ( if you chose to believe 6 witnesses), whipped under Lees orders. Most historians doubt Lee actually yielded the whip himself or was even present as was alleged by one witness, as it was not in his charactor, but the orders came form him certainly. So for someone whom wrote in his letters he abohred the idea of owning or running a plantation, he ended up being pretty "good" at it...So much for morality when money is at stake.

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RE: Post War Robert E Lee - 6/30/2020 1:30:08 AM   
RangerJoe


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Lee's daughters were supposed to receive money. The money was supposed to come from the sale of land/property but Lee did not want to sell the property. He eventually did sell the property.

He did have them whipped. Apparently the sheriff/constable did so and was paid.

Did you research find out how many blacks were held as slaves by other blacks?

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“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
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