Recently, the existence of confederate monuments has become a major point of controversy.
White nationalists, “alt-right” members and Ku Klux Klan members fervently protect these monuments, while
members of the political left fight to pull the statues down. The debate has gone beyond simple arguments and disagreements. These conflicts have turned to violence, specifically in Charlottesville, Virginia when a protester was run down and killed by a white supremacist in a car.
This is just another dark chapter in the history of racism in America, as now there are people who are fighting to keep monuments up that celebrate racism and segregation. These monuments, in essence, are tributes to the losing side of a war that tore the country apart in the name of state’s rights and slavery.
Slavery was not the only reason the war occurred, but it was a big factor, and the state’s rights argument for the war was still a flawed one. Essentially, it takes a strong, unified central government to properly run a country. A confederacy is simply too weak as a form of government, which is apparent from it being the first form of government attempted by Americans after the revolution against Britain. There’s a reason it was done away with.
Despite what your conservative relatives may tell you, slavery was an intrinsic factor in the Civil War. Confederate general Stephan Dodson Ramseur wrote before the war and the 1856 election, “… Slavery, the very source of our existence, the greatest blessing both for the Master & Slave that could have been bestowed upon us.”
Lawrence Keitt, a congressman from South Carolina, in a speech to the House in 1860 also said, “The anti-slavery party contend that slavery is wrong in itself and the government is a consolidated national democracy. We of the south contend that slavery is right, and that this is a confederate republic of sovereign states.”
What about the fact that your ancestors were traitors of their country who fought a war for backwards ideals and lost? These statues and memorials should not be present on any government land — local or Federal — because they denounce everything that America is supposed to stand for in favor of.
Furthermore, these statues aren’t even significant as artifacts of the actual war. The monuments were built mostly during the 50’s during the reign of Jim Crow laws. They glorify and propagandize a past that racists want so desperately to change.
They turn murders into heroes and idiots into geniuses, rewriting events to suit their own purposes.
If you want to remember the past, read a history book. If you want to honor your ancestors, be better than they were.