As a historian, my instinct was to preserve Confederate monuments, but I changed my mindRoundup
tags: historians, statues, Confederacy, monuments, Confederate Monuments
Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney is Associate Professor of History and Interim Director of the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas, Arlington.
For over a century, monuments dedicated to Confederate icons and the Confederacy have spread lies about the cause of the Civil War. The massive building campaign of the United Daughters of the Confederacy between the 1890s and the 1930s spread the myth that Confederate leaders and soldiers had fought for a "just cause" of freedom and liberty similar to the principles and ideals of our nation's Founding Fathers.
Moreover, Confederate monuments were symbols of the mythical "lost cause" that asserted that the values and principles for which Confederates fought a bloody Civil War were right and just. Thus, when the Confederacy lost the war, all of us lost our last opportunity to defend ourselves and to resist an oppressive federal government that continues to usurp our rights and freedoms.
Of course, none of this is true.
Confederate leaders and soldiers fought to defend slavery. The neo-Confederates and the defenders of Confederate monuments repeatedly cite the fact that in 1860 only 25 percent of southerners owned enslaved African-Americans and that slavery was not the most important cause of the Civil War. Nevertheless, when all of the southern states wrote their secession ordinances and justifications for committing treason against the government of the United States, these documents did not list "state's rights," "tariffs" or "economics" as their rationale for secession. Instead, they called it as they saw it: The defense of slavery was the reason they were forced to secede from the United States.
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