Was Robert E. Lee a Traitor?
From: mlandree@hotmail.com
Chuck, hope all is well – thanks for your newsletter!  I thought I’d send this email I sent out to some friends.  Mike
I’ve been thinking hard about a comment a friend of mine made – he actually threatened bodily damage to the other men (and could have done so since he is a deputy sheriff and a big guy) for saying that Robert E. Lee was a traitor.  I had to think hard about this as we all know this not to be the case, but rather demagoguery to advance a lie.  If Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and all the other honorable men who left the US Army to fight for the South were traitors, doesn’t that make George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and their peers traitors also?  The one distinction is that the southern states voted to secede from the Union and then the citizens ratified that vote.  In 1776, a faction of the Colonies voted to secede from England, but the body politic did not ratify the vote.  I liken those who fought for the Union as Tories during the Revolution as both fought to deny those citizens the right to determine their own destiny and enslaven them to a tyrannical master.  If we believe in representative governments and republican principles, then we must believe as Thomas Jefferson stated that it is the responsibility of the people to break the bonds of tyranny when THE people determine it is within their best interests to do so.  “The people” is defined as a majority, not a faction.  I have heard that only 1/3 of the Colonists supported breaking from England while another 1/3 supported King George and another 1/3 kept out of it completely.  If, like during the Revolution, only a faction of the people resist against the government, then it is truly a civil war, which our Revolution was.  It just happened to be successful; otherwise we would be cursing those rebels in our English accents.  But when the people, en masse, in a sovereign government body, voted and ratified the vote to secede and form a separate union, then there is no longer civil war, but rather war between two or multiple sovereign nations.  We must always make this distinction as the war of 1861-1865 was not a civil war, but a war between the states – a war between sovereign nations with the Northern States the aggressors.  As to whether Robert E. Lee was a traitor, well, for one thing, he was living up to his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States by refusing to usurp the Constitution as Lincoln and the radical Republicans did.  I tend to believe he was a patriot just like Washington and Jefferson – dedicated to the principles of freedom and republican government.  I hope this serves you and others who believe as we do when confronted by such jackassery. 
Sic Semper Tyrannis!
Mike Landree