This is the basis of a harm-based argument against Confederate monuments. Civil Rights Activist Argues To Keep Confederate Monuments Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta and African-American civil rights activist, says … You would not have chosen to consider the French as a people of yesterday, as a nation of low-born servile wretches until the emancipating year of 1789. Though many of the arguments defending Confederate monuments are weak, I’ll admit I don’t feel strongly about removing them. A Lincoln statue in Chicago was burned. The statues must go because they remind us constantly of a past that needs only to be overcome and forgotten. Why We Should Keep The Confederate Monuments Right Where They Are Tearing down Confederate statues, or any monuments from our history, will … Keep reading for all the pros and cons of removing Confederate statues. John Oliver Dismantled Every Argument for Keeping Confederate Monuments "States' rights" is a cop-out. Many of America’s founders — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson — owned slaves. Others, advocating for the monuments’ removal, call them an offensive reminder of … Civil War in three waves. One columnist in Philly even argued for tearing down a statue of Frank Rizzo, who served as police commissioner and mayor in the late 1960s and ‘70s. It’s a mistake not because there was anything noble about the Confederacy or its raison d’être, which was slavery, but because there is something noble—and, for a free people, necessary—about preserving our history so we can understand who we are and how we should live. Even so, some conservatives are willing to let the things go. They could clash with counter-protesters who plan to meet them there. Monuments to the failed Confederacy were mostly erected many decades after the US Civil War. All this sounds crazy, but jumping from Confederate statues to Lincoln to Rizzo follows a certain logic. Nearly a quarter of Southern white men in their twenties were killed or died from disease. Social justice activist Tami Sawyer, who founded Memphians for the Removal of Confederate Monuments, says the argument that the monuments need to … In the wake of Charlottesville, a chorus of media outlets, political activists, and random people on the Internet have called for the removal or destruction of Confederate statues in cities across the country. Speaking on Memorial Day in 1884, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a Union veteran who saw a great deal of action, talked about the importance of transmitting the emotional weight of the war from one generation to the next, and he specifically mentions the role of monuments: “I believe from the bottom of my heart that our memorial halls and statues and tablets, the tattered flags of our regiments gathered in the Statehouses, are worth more to our young men by way of chastening and inspiration than the monuments of another hundred years of peaceful life could be.”, For Holmes, it was also the duty of Civil War veterans themselves to convey the significance of the war to posterity. ... have called for Confederate monuments to be removed from ... applied this argument… [6] Monument to Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate States Army. The words "Black Lives Matter" spray painted on a monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Va. June 25, 2015. Here’s where.. On Tuesday night, protesters in Richmond tore down the third Confederate statue in recent weeks. NPR’s sites use cookies, similar tracking and storage technologies, and information about the device you use to access our sites (together, “cookies”) to enhance your viewing, listening and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR’s sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR’s traffic. The modern-day American Left isn’t as bad as all that, but its ideology about the past is more or less the same. ... My strongest argument against keeping these monuments in public would be that we should follow what Germany did after World War 2. In some cases, any monument would do. Perhaps not all of them need be preserved, but giving into the iconoclasm of the Left, with temperatures running high, will mean we lose far more than we gain by hiding these physical reminders of our nation’s troubled past. Rather, Confederate monuments were intended “to celebrate … the re-subjugation of the formerly enslaved and their progeny into the economic peonage and racial caste system of Jim Crow.” The recent spread of iconoclasm was never just about Confederate monuments or even statues. The argument to remove the monuments is one of sensitivity: in 2017, should a black American drive by their state’s capitol building, walk into their nearest shop, and visit their favorite park only to see a Confederate flag or a Confederate monument, and be reminded of its dark history? But as the veterans of the war began to die, there was a renewed push for reconciliation between North and South, and with it an outpouring of filial piety. He said, “the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have protested the removal of Confederate monuments. So the monuments reflect more than one current of early twentieth-century America. We must confront our past, not whitewash it. The Confederate-Monument Controversy Is a Democrat-vs-Democrat Question By Kevin D. Williamson. But if we know the history, why can’t we see them in a different light? Though the rhetorical question “when does it stop?” commits the slippe… Let them stand as a memorial of our ancestors who died, a challenge to understand their time and its troubles, and a warning for the present day. Indeed, the fact that these statues were erected in prominent public places is itself a powerful lesson in American history—a testament to our turbulent past that would be diminished if they were removed to a sanitized display in a museum. Not every statue or piece of public art has to comfort and console us. Why shouldn’t we view them as we should, as a haunting and cautionary tale? Keep Confederate monuments, but put their horrific history on center stage While Trump is far from right, he is not totally wrong. For the Left, the Confederacy is just a small part of a much larger problem, which is the past. That would be fine advice if it were true that this is really just about local authorities making democratic decisions about statues. He is not interested in the history of the statues themselves, the people or events they depict, or “what political affiliation may have been assigned to them in the decades since they were erected.” Don’t be fooled by the therapeutic language about causing pain. Tearing down Confederate statues, or any monuments from our history, will not change the past. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire… we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after.”. A Moral Argument for Removing Confederate Monuments in Two Parts. That is part of why these memorials and statues are important. Keep reading for all the pros and cons of removing Confederate statues. After the Civil War, there was little fanfare about Confederate heroes, and monument-building was minimal. GAZETTE: What about the slippery slope argument? A crowd gathers at the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis after it was pulled down off of its pedestal on Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA., on June 10, 2020. Most of them were built a half-century after the war, as the Civil War generation was beginning to die off. Steve … (Yes, even if that’s not what the Stars and Bars means to you personally, that’s what it is). John is the Political Editor at The Federalist. Everybody remembers the history. But sure enough, later in the week the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC was vandalized with spray paint. The fate of Confederate monuments is far from sealed, but the political cage-match has overshadowed the point and obscured the discussion. Contrary to comments from President Trump and others characterizing the removal of Confederate monuments as rewriting history, their removal corrects history. A more mature society would recognize that the past is always with you and must always be kept in mind. Even if some conservatives sympathize with those who want to remove Confederate memorials—and plenty of prominent right-of-center writers clearly do—there’s no need to join them because the iconoclasm sweeping the country, says Williamson, “mainly consists of local authorities making democratic decisions about the disposition of public property,” and thus “there is a case for political quietism in this matter.”. There are three main arguments for ... An example of this is from Colorado’s addition in 2002 of a plaque about the Sand Creek Massacre near its state Civil War monument. Confederate monuments on public land make black people feel unequal in the eyes of the state, that they are second-class citizens. In his tweets, Trump made an argument that white nationalist groups themselves have used for keeping Confederate monuments in public. The current debate over taking down Confederate monuments gives me a … Hence the statement issued Thursday by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray calling for the removal of all “symbols of hate, racism and violence that exist in our city.” Murray is at least consistent, as he includes not just Confederate symbols but also a well-known statue of Vladimir Lenin. There's no statues of Hitler in plain sight. You began ill, because you began by despising everything that belonged to you… If the last generations of your country appeared without much luster in your eyes, you might have passed them by, and derived your claims from a more early race of ancestors. And for as much as Lost Cause mythology adorns so many of these monuments, their purpose was also to convey to future generations why so many people kept fighting, for years and in the face of staggering casualties. Confederate monuments are falling, but hundreds still stand. “The Left’s vandalism is intended mainly to get a rise out of the Right, in the hopes of getting some Republican to wrong-foot himself over a racial question,” he writes. About Kevin D. Williamson June 14, 2020 6:30 AM. A monument to fallen Confederate soldiers in downtown Gainesville was brought down on August 14, and carried away by workers hired by … But the Confederate general Robert E. Lee himself never wanted such monuments built. The values these monuments stood for, he says, included a “glorification of the cause of the Civil War.” White women were instrumental in raising funds to build these Confederate monuments. Arguments for why Confederate statues should not be removed include pointing out the dark sides of other celebrated American heroes, like Washington and Jefferson, as well as the politicization of the statues when there are more important problems. The people who defend these Confederate monuments frequently argue it was really about states’ rights, while those on the other side argue that the Civil War was about slavery. Confederate statues shouldn’t be vandalized, but they should go. Between the start of the Civil War in 1861 and the Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896,17 only 101 Confederate monuments … Because they honor individuals — and because many observers just see a statue of some guy without knowing the details — the monuments are not as clearly inappropriate as, say, statehouses flying a traitorous, pro-slavery flag. For the ordinary soldiers who fought and died, devotion to the Confederate army did not arise primarily from a devotion to the institution of slavery (just as most Union soldiers were not fighting primarily to end slavery) but from a devotion to their home states and a sense of honor and duty to defend them from what they considered to be an invading army. In an op-ed published an op-ed in The Atlantic titled “Take the Confederate Names Off Our Army Bases,” General David Petraeus wrote, “As I have watched Confederate monuments being removed by state and local governments, and sometimes by the forceful will of the American people, the fact that 10 U.S. Army installations are named for Confederate officers has weighed on me.” President Trump was mocked for suggesting that if we tear down statues of Lee then activists would demand the removal of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson next. A writer at Vice News called for Mount Rushmore to be blown up. Organize your paper by argument, not by source. There’s a reason Christians in Rome didn’t topple all the pagan statues and buildings in the city, or raze the Colosseum. Controversial statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Charlottesville, Virginia. Just as similar monuments to Union generals would not. These symbols, Murray says, represent “historic injustices,” and “their existence causes pain among those who themselves or whose family members have been impacted by these atrocities.”. [5] This essay introduces this type of argument. Those in favor of keeping … See details. This iconoclastic impulse is a mistake, even after the harrowing events in Charlottesville last weekend. It would even be fine if it were just about the moral preening of Democratic politicians and activists, seizing on an opportunity to shame and embarrass Southerners for gradually abandoning their party in favor of the GOP. Monuments to the failed Confederacy were mostly erected many decades after the US Civil War. A monument to General Lee in a Confederate cemetery or as part of a battlefield monument ought not to be seen as an affront to anyone. Copyright © 2021 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. Certainly, the statues were not originally meant to educate future generations about the evils of slavery and secession, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take them as such today. But it will make for a poorer, less enlightened future. Before the turn of the century, Confederate graves had for the most part not been cared for in federal cemeteries, and erecting a Confederate monument was considered treasonous. That’s why Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China torched temples and dug up ancient graves, why the Soviets sacked Orthodox churches and confiscated church property, and why various governments of France went about de-Christianizing the country during the French Revolution. Respecting your forefathers, you would have been taught to respect yourself. Does removing statues of Columbus or Confederate officials pave the way for action against monuments … In essence, the constitutional argument against Confederate monuments is that they were erected as expressions of white supremacy, and that their continued existence is a form of state-supported racism. The point of removing Confederate monuments is not just to to get rid of the statues themselves, but to develop a strong social consensus that recognizes the wrongness of the Confederacy's cause. Kevin Williamson at NRO urges conservatives to do nothing. Edmund Burke had strong words for the French during their revolution, while they were doing their best to destroy a rich past and slaughter one another in the process: You had all these advantages in your ancient states; but you chose to act as if you had never been molded into civil society, and had everything to begin anew. You can use the matrix format we learned about in last week’s assignment or some other outline format.3. ... My strongest argument against keeping these monuments in public would be that we should follow what Germany did after World War 2. Confederate monuments might be most appropriately stored and kept in museums that are responsible about contextualizing what they represent. Why We Should Keep Confederate Statues Standing. You may click on “Your Choices” below to learn about and use cookie management tools to limit use of cookies when you visit NPR’s sites. But the iconoclasm on display now is about more than anathematizing the Confederacy or scoring cheap political points against hapless Republicans. Many of America’s founders — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson — owned slaves. Iconoclasm of the kind we’ve seen this week is native to the Left, because the entire point is to liberate society from the strictures of tradition and history in order to secure a glorious new future. Florida. You can adjust your cookie choices in those tools at any time. They say we shouldn’t honor a bunch of racists who fought to preserve slavery, and that it’s long past time for these painful reminders of our past to come down—stow them away in a museum or smash them to pieces, just get them off the streets. Those in favor of keeping the statues say they reflect history and are a part of the city. That they were wrong about slavery does not excuse us today from the burden of trying to understand what motivated them to fight—and what motivated them and their families to undertake a flurry of monument-building decades later as the surviving veterans began to die off. Follow him on, Why We Should Keep The Confederate Monuments Right Where They Are, the removal or destruction of Confederate statues in cities across the country. Al Sharpton said the Jefferson Memorial should be abandoned. The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his mount, Traveler, face the setting sun on Monument Ave. in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. For all the tough talk this week about the problems with these historical monuments, there hasn’t been nearly enough discussion of their history. Argument Tearing Down Statues Won’t Undo History From the Berlin Wall to Confederate monuments, destroying a historic marker means destroying a learning opportunity. Arguments for why Confederate statues should not be removed include pointing out the dark sides of other celebrated American heroes, like Washington and Jefferson, as well as the politicization of the statues when there are more important problems. Today I will be arguing that confederate monuments should stay up. The words "Black Lives Matter" spray painted on a monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Va. June 25, 2015. But they were also an outpouring of grief and remembrance for the hundreds of thousands who had died in the war. But that’s an expensive proposition. This information is shared with social media, sponsorship, analytics, and other vendors or service providers. The Confederate-Monument Controversy Is a Democrat-vs-Democrat Question By Kevin D. Williamson. Is it any wonder that decades later, as families began to bury Confederate veterans in greater numbers, there would be a push to erect memorials to that generation? A pastor in Chicago asked the mayor to remove the names of Washington and Andrew Jackson from city parks because they owned slaves. Part 1: Write the synthesis paper, arguing either for removing the Confederate monuments or keeping the Confederate monuments, supported by specific points and facts from the four sources you are using. The people who want them taken down are confusing, supporting what something stands for and letting it stay due to its historical value. About Kevin D. Williamson June 14, 2020 6:30 AM. Utilizing Confederate monuments in my classes offered students a window into the history of the war, but more importantly, it introduced them to … The values these monuments stood for, he says, included a “glorification of the cause of the Civil War.” White women were instrumental in raising funds to build these Confederate monuments. ... We … GAZETTE: What about the slippery slope argument? Last weekend, opposing protests rocked the city of Charlottesville, VA, one of the cities to most recently face controversy over Confederate monuments. Under a pious predilection for those ancestors, your imaginations would have realized in them a standard of virtue and wisdom, beyond the vulgar practice of the hour: and you would have risen with the example to whose imitation you aspired. Nevertheless, a common objection to these statues today is that because they occupy public spaces, they serve to venerate their subjects, who were of course racists and fought to preserve slavery. For Mr. Shapiro, the issue at hand has nothing to do with Confederate monuments. Of course, the monument boom across the South during the first two decades of the twentieth century came at a time of terrible race relations, mass immigration, and the pernicious influence of the Lost Cause mythos, which poisoned the South. Does removing statues of Columbus or Confederate officials pave the way for action against monuments honoring … There seem to be at least two core misunderstandings in the Confederate monument … Last month, similarly opposing protests rocked the city of Charlottesville and it is one of the cities to most recently facing controversy over Confederate monuments. They served to venerate Confederate heroes like Robert E. Lee, thereby cementing the narrative of the Lost Cause and all its misty-eyed nostalgia about the South. A monument to fallen Confederate soldiers in downtown Gainesville was brought down on August 14, and carried away by workers hired by … Sometimes, they should oblige us to grapple with our nation’s history and the vagaries of human nature. Steve Helber / … 1. Florida. Today I will be arguing that confederate monuments should stay up. Argument Tearing Down Statues Won’t Undo History From the Berlin Wall to Confederate monuments, destroying a historic marker means destroying a learning opportunity. There are several popular arguments for keeping … It's a … If you click “Agree and Continue” below, you acknowledge that your cookie choices in those tools will be respected and that you otherwise agree to the use of cookies on NPR’s sites. It’s part of the Left’s overarching critique of American constitutionalism, the goal of which is to overthrow that order. 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