MARCH 22, 2018
5 Reasons You Might Be Wrong About Confederate Monuments
Well, here we go again. With the temperatures warming up, looks like the Confederate monument debate is warming up too with recent discussion in Dallas, Texas about the removal and censoring of their Veterans monument (read more here). And as many may recall, the “fever” hit Missouri last year with the ironic censoring of a woman’s monument in Ward Parkway, Kansas City, and the removal of a St. Louis Veterans monument in Forest Park. Following are five reasons you, or someone you know might be wrong about Confederate Monuments, artwork, etc.
1. The Confederate Veterans Monument is NOT a monument to Slavery or Racism: Many of the monuments erected were done so by friends, families and loved ones who had lost fathers, brothers, wives and children during this bloody war. Anyone who has studied history from this time period understands this, as many first-hand documents will reveal just how difficult life could be for all people throughout the Border states and the South as a whole. Many who fought and died did so because their communities were under attack, or they had lost family members through acts of brutality by the enemy. Under martial law in places like Missouri, voter rights were denied, gun ownership prohibited, people were imprisoned on rumors, loyalty oaths were instituted, public figures were ousted from office, men and boys were gunned down on their doorsteps or hung from a tree in their yards, and freedom of religion was denied. It’s a fact that most Southern people owned no slaves at all, and ended up fighting the North because there was no third option to align themselves with. See “The Half Not Told” By Preston Filbert, “The Real Lincoln” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, or “When the World Ended: The Diary of Emma LeConte” for more accounts of this.
2. Confederate Monuments ALSO Honors African American, Native American and Hispanic Veterans: Whether it be in St. Louis, Charlottesville, New Orleans or Durham, North Carolina – attacking Confederate monuments erected in honor of those people lost in this tragic period of history is also an attack on African Americans, Hispanics, and Native American veterans who fought for the South. We all share the same history – and it’s ironic that when we should be honoring minority contributions to our communities, we’re seeking to erase them. There are records and historical documents of African Americans and Native Americans fighting in bushwhacker units (John Noland), as well as other parts of the South – like Native Americans (Cherokee Stand Watie) fighting at Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Not many records exist of this however, as in the chaos of war many such records were lost during the fall of the Southern Government. However, one good resource on this is “Black Southerners in Confederate Armies” by J.H. Segars and Charles Kelly Barrow.
3. Confederate Veterans Monuments are NOT about honoring Traitors: We often hear the dogmatic assertion that the Confederate soldier was a traitor and “satan incarnate” to the supposedly holy Union. If this is true, then George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are traitors as well, based on their act of secession from the British Empire. Additionally, during the American Revolution, Slavery was also present in society. So the case could certainly be made that the American Revolution was also a slave-holding country seceding from their parent government. For further reading, see “The War Between the States” by John J. Dwyer, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History” by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. PhD, or “The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates“.
4. History as taught from Public School, College or a Movie may not be accurate: Yeah, yeah. I get it that we all learned a cursory overview of American History sometime back in elementary school or junior high. And maybe we took a history class from some crusty professor with an axe to grind back in college. Or better yet, maybe we’ve all seen the heart-stirring propaganda from folks like Quinten Tarantino and his heavily biased and bloody “Django Unchained”. The point is, that like any period of history – nineteenth century history is complex (like today), with many different kinds of people groups and beliefs. Blanket assertions today or two-second sound-bytes discredit these people and their stories, no matter which “side” they’re on. Read and study the history in question for yourself before marching on some Orwellian crusade of eradication.
5. Censoring Confederate Veterans Monuments, Names, Artwork, etc. dishonors our Veterans: Many people who support monuments to our American heroes (which include Southern people too) are not racists, but are people who honor our veterans, our country and our communities – and also value the story of our history and learning from the past. Some of us also believe that monuments and artwork shouldn’t be censored or destroyed, as they signify the noble remembrance of hundreds of thousands of dead American men, women and children lost through the savagery of war. Veterans monuments specifically (Revolutionary War, “Civil” War, World War 1, World War 2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War, etc) are a way to remember the horrible circumstances people went through in order to build the communities we have today. Isn’t that worth remembering?