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United States Confederate Statues, symbols, and memorials debate thread

Battlegrinder

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Contraversy over the public display of memorials to the soldiers of the CSA or the display of symbols of the CSA and what they stand forever should be seen as standing for is an ongoing debate within the US. This thread is devoted to an exploration of the issue. All I would ask is that inflammatory rethotic be kept to a minimum.
 

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Contraversy over the public display of memorials to the soldiers of the CSA or the display of symbols of the CSA and what they stand forever should be seen as standing for is an ongoing debate within the US. This thread is devoted to an exploration of the issue. All I would ask is that inflammatory rethotic be kept to a minimum.
Oh, you're no fun. :p

*puts away "War of SOUTHERN Aggression" placards*

Okay, personally... I'd say leave cemetery statues. But celebratory ones not used to directly commemorate the dead I'm fine with having removed (preferably to a museum, it is art, sometimes bad art IIRC). But given the cause they fought for and the pernicious nature of the Lost Cause Mythology, I'm not in favor of continued celebration.
 

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Okay, personally... I'd say leave cemetery statues. But celebratory ones not used to directly commemorate the dead I'm fine with having removed (preferably to a museum, it is art, sometimes bad art IIRC). But given the cause they fought for and the pernicious nature of the Lost Cause Mythology, I'm not in favor of continued celebration.
What of ones on actually historic sites, like the statue of Stonewall Jackson at Manassas Battlefield National Park? Or do these fall under your "museum" clause?
 

Battlegrinder

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What do you mean by "celebratory"? As far as I'm aware, most statues or moments just say something along the lines "dedicated to all those who lost thier lives in service to thier country blah blah blah" or something like that. That's basically what that statue at UNC said about the student and staff from that university who died in the war, should it have been protected under your standard.


Personally, I don't like the idea of removing them. Both because the stated reason is usually something like "well, I think the people who put it up a hundred years ago were racist, therefore it must go", and because it sounds like whitewashing. I lived in NC a while ago, and at the time the city of Charlotte was considering renaming Stonewall street (named for the general) into Martin Luther King Jr street, and I didn't like that kind of evidence scrubbing, "what, we used to be racist? No, no that can't be, look around the city, I bet you'll find no evidence were ever did anything bad" kind of thing. They eventually compromised by keeping stonewall but naming.....I wanna say 2nd street after King. Those statues and the history they represent happened, and I think shoving them in a museum sends the wrong message.


As for the Confederate flag, I don't think it's racist. Like any symbols, it's meaning is in the eye of the beholder, and while some people do think it's racist, it's something I view as part of my cultural heritage and I don't like the idea of ceding it over to racists.


They were propaganda pieces mostly built during the civil Rights struggle
And?
 

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Long-winded rant time, since this is a thing that always catches my opinion-screaming bone for some reason:

More education on/around existing statues would be the summation of my opinion. Perhaps with more statues to the opposing 'side' getting erected as well*.

*In a really cool twist and on a cultural sidenote, I think it'd be neat to see Confederate monuments in the North (there might be some, but I mean...somewhat commonly) and monuments to Union figures spring up all over the South (don't think there's very many of those) to cement the idea of national unity the war settled. But that's probably a pipe dream from the start on both angles.

Statues to the general 'Confederate' soldier I think should be left up and treated no differently than would a work dedicated to soldiers from any other American War--however unjust or despicable American participation or actions in those wars were. We can and should be able to divorce Americans from their leadership (until unless the statue is blatantly referential of something screwed-up. Like...something dedicated to the My Lai Massacre participants shouldn't fly, but I dunnow if any of the Confederate statuary has that sentiment to it at all), and from a wider standpoint, the 'Confederates' were Americans. To use an example, we didn't tear down the cavalry memorial at Little Big Horn because of the...questionable...nature of US engagement in that war. We engaged with those who were on the opposite side of the battle and expanded the story to include and revere their fallen as well. That, I think, is the principle this statuary should operate under--it was erected with distinctly racial undertones and as a promotion of the Lost Cause, but this does not make the generalized American who died condemnable itself (again, barring specific reference or such).

Statues to Confederate leaders should also be adjusted to be more referential of their status as Americans and emphasize their correct or incorrect actions as appropriate and as would best serve a full picture of the Civil War. Lee and Davis, as notable examples, could be better built-up for the manner in which they advocated peaceful reintegration of the South with the Union rather than the portrayal as servants of a 'Lost Cause' as I'm given to understand most stuff does now (and, by extension, we could use existing statues to point out how the statuary sprung from this malformed mythology of a Lost Cause that had as its goal white American rapproachment with each other at the expense of former slaves and how screwed-up that was). Heck, we could use some emphasis on figures like Albert Pike (who I don't think has a monument Huh, he do. I done learned something today!) and the Confederates probably necessity-driven, less-egregious-than-the-North's diplomatic engagement with and representative apportionment in their government to Native tribes. Meanwhile there's the statues to Forrest and I'm sure other Confederate figures that could be better added onto with emphasis of their association with groups like the KKK or generally shitty opinions on black people--especially as windows into how pervasive such was and how that played-in and was exploited by the Lost Cause myth as well with plenty of apologism and acceptance from northern individuals.

Essentially...The existing statues and monuments mostly got erected to promote the Lost Cause (when they weren't 40s-60s or later creations opposing civil rights), but they still commemorate Americans--we could do well to emphasize how ahistorical and ignorant the Lost Cause myth is and how unjustified the Confederate cause was, but we can use the monuments created to do that--and keeping them public provides a greater emphasis than removing them or placing them into museums would.
Plus, we could build statues of Grant alongside of Lee, perhaps with inscriptions showing Appomatox, or of Lincoln alongside Davis, or any number of combinations which can specifically and just thematically emphasize the common American status of those involved in the war.
 

HistoryMinor

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What do you mean by "celebratory"? As far as I'm aware, most statues or moments just say something along the lines "dedicated to all those who lost thier lives in service to thier country blah blah blah" or something like that. That's basically what that statue at UNC said about the student and staff from that university who died in the war, should it have been protected under your standard.


Personally, I don't like the idea of removing them. Both because the stated reason is usually something like "well, I think the people who put it up a hundred years ago were racist, therefore it must go", and because it sounds like whitewashing. I lived in NC a while ago, and at the time the city of Charlotte was considering renaming Stonewall street (named for the general) into Martin Luther King Jr street, and I didn't like that kind of evidence scrubbing, "what, we used to be racist? No, no that can't be, look around the city, I bet you'll find no evidence were ever did anything bad" kind of thing. They eventually compromised by keeping stonewall but naming.....I wanna say 2nd street after King. Those statues and the history they represent happened, and I think shoving them in a museum sends the wrong message.


As for the Confederate flag, I don't think it's racist. Like any symbols, it's meaning is in the eye of the beholder, and while some people do think it's racist, it's something I view as part of my cultural heritage and I don't like the idea of ceding it over to racists.




And?

And keeping them up maintains the whitewashed propaganda you that you think is a fair acompli. Most statues don't go up at battle sights, they go up by courts and parks and city centers. As for the flag, it's weird how that isn't the stars and bars. It's the war flag of slaver traitors we beat. It symbolizes continued resistance to the government and civil rights.
 

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What of ones on actually historic sites, like the statue of Stonewall Jackson at Manassas Battlefield National Park? Or do these fall under your "museum" clause?
Yes. I should've specified "historical site" as well. Clearly meant to commemorate the event.

What do you mean by "celebratory"? As far as I'm aware, most statues or moments just say something along the lines "dedicated to all those who lost thier lives in service to thier country blah blah blah" or something like that. That's basically what that statue at UNC said about the student and staff from that university who died in the war, should it have been protected under your standard.
As HistoryMajor noted, some of those memorials were erected by groups like "United Daughters of the Confederacy", some IIRC aren't even in the former Confederate states or even in states that had significant numbers of people who fought in the Confederacy, and are meant to be celebratory of the "heroism" of the Confederacy's soldiers. Who primarily fought to maintain slavery (even if some individual soldiers and even generals, like Cleburne, didn't have those motives).

Personally, I don't like the idea of removing them. Both because the stated reason is usually something like "well, I think the people who put it up a hundred years ago were racist, therefore it must go", and because it sounds like whitewashing. I lived in NC a while ago, and at the time the city of Charlotte was considering renaming Stonewall street (named for the general) into Martin Luther King Jr street, and I didn't like that kind of evidence scrubbing, "what, we used to be racist? No, no that can't be, look around the city, I bet you'll find no evidence were ever did anything bad" kind of thing. They eventually compromised by keeping stonewall but naming.....I wanna say 2nd street after King. Those statues and the history they represent happened, and I think shoving them in a museum sends the wrong message.
I don't want to erase history, but at the same time, when we name a street for someone, or raise a statue to them in a public park or place (courthouses, buildings of government, plazas, etc.), we are commemorating them. We're holding them up to others and saying "See this person? This person did something great and we are immortalizing them so we'll always remember them". And doing that for a cause that was so manifestly unworthy of such memorial is saying you're okay with that cause (and indeed they often were, as the Lost Cause mythology began to build after Reconstruction).

Perhaps it's not fair. Perhaps we should honor the courage of men who fought for their neighbors and comrades against invaders even if the cause they ultimately represented was hypocritical and utterly abominable. But sometimes you just can't separate it. And so if you leave those statues up, you're saying that yes, you and the people of your locality endorse the cause as well as the men who fought in it.

As for the Confederate flag, I don't think it's racist. Like any symbols, it's meaning is in the eye of the beholder, and while some people do think it's racist, it's something I view as part of my cultural heritage and I don't like the idea of ceding it over to racists.
It was raised in a war to keep racial slavery intact. After that the anti-civil rights movement in the South turned it into a banner of pride for them. It's a tainted symbol and it's going to be a long time before you can fix that.

That taints them. They're not there to immortalize honorable men who fought for their homes. They were built as silent reminders of the South's racial power structure, to remind both whites and blacks of their place, to inspire the former to "resist" outsiders trying to force them to change their ways and to intimidate the latter into resigning themselves to their inferior place. To not "be uppity".
 

FriedCFour

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They were propaganda pieces mostly built during the civil Rights struggle
Not all of them are so.



I would say it would be pretty valid for a cherokee to have pride in this guy given he had pretty pragmatic reasons to side with the confederacy and I think there is something admirable to have the last man fighting the Union be one of your people.
 

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Not all of them are so.



I would say it would be pretty valid for a cherokee to have pride in this guy given he had pretty pragmatic reasons to side with the confederacy and I think there is something admirable to have the last man fighting the Union be one of your people.
Understandable, yes.

Personally my favorite Confederate general, aside from Longstreet, is Patrick Cleburne.
 

HistoryMinor

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Not all of them are so.



I would say it would be pretty valid for a cherokee to have pride in this guy given he had pretty pragmatic reasons to side with the confederacy and I think there is something admirable to have the last man fighting the Union be one of your people.
Where is this placed?
 

Battlegrinder

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And keeping them up maintains the whitewashed propaganda you that you think is a fair acompli.
I don't see how that's the case, actually. Last I checked most people learn about history from school and the media (which are very clear on the CSA being the bad guys and almost entirely silent on the subject, respectively), not by wandering around town and deciding that various dedication plaques were the one true source of all knowledge.

Most statues don't go up at battle sights, they go up by courts and parks and city centers.
I'm assuming when you say "most statues" you mean "most confederate statues", but the former is more accurate. If a town has any kind of statues or memorials to anything, they're usual in town centers and the yard around the courthouse and city centers. Confederate stautes being placed there is rather unsurprising.


As for the flag, it's weird how that isn't the stars and bars. It's the war flag of slaver traitors we beat. It symbolizes continued resistance to the government and civil rights.
According to you. I don't share that opinion, and in fact yours is the minority view last I checked.
 

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Understandable, yes.

Personally my favorite Confederate general, aside from Longstreet, is Patrick Cleburne.
Ive got a soft spot for pretty much any stand against hopeless odds and fighting to the bitter end. Saigo, the 189 at the Vatican, march of the 10,000.
 

HistoryMinor

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I don't see how that's the case, actually. Last I checked most people learn about history from school and the media (which are very clear on the CSA being the bad guys and almost entirely silent on the subject, respectively), not by wandering around town and deciding that various dedication plaques were the one true source of all knowledge.



I'm assuming when you say "most statues" you mean "most confederate statues", but the former is more accurate. If a town has any kind of statues or memorials to anything, they're usual in town centers and the yard around the courthouse and city centers. Confederate stautes being placed there is rather unsurprising.




According to you. I don't share that opinion, and in fact yours is the minority view last I checked.
People learn through culture, which is malleable and politically loaded.

Sure it's the minority view, but it's also the historically accurate view. The public is frankly ignorant and misinformed about these things. The second and third Confederate flag did incorporate the saltire, but at that time it was becoming increasingly clear that the war effort was doomed. Interested there was also a white field included which was supposed to stand for the "white race", which further demonstrates the racist nature of the cause.
 

Battlegrinder

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As HistoryMajor noted, some of those memorials were erected by groups like "United Daughters of the Confederacy", some IIRC aren't even in the former Confederate states or even in states that had significant numbers of people who fought in the Confederacy, and are meant to be celebratory of the "heroism" of the Confederacy's soldiers. Who primarily fought to maintain slavery (even if some individual soldiers and even generals, like Cleburne, didn't have those motives).
Yes, I'm aware sometimes shitty people put them up for shitty reasons. I don't see that as relevant, art and symbols exist independently of their creator and take on thier own meaning. I'm sure some portion of them are objectionable even on thier own merits, but that's a decision to made on a case by case basis, not a blanket condemnation because of who wrote the check.

I don't want to erase history, but at the same time, when we name a street for someone, or raise a statue to them in a public park or place (courthouses, buildings of government, plazas, etc.), we are commemorating them. We're holding them up to others and saying "See this person? This person did something great and we are immortalizing them so we'll always remember them". And doing that for a cause that was so manifestly unworthy of such memorial is saying you're okay with that cause (and indeed they often were, as the Lost Cause mythology began to build after Reconstruction).

Perhaps it's not fair. Perhaps we should honor the courage of men who fought for their neighbors and comrades against invaders even if the cause they ultimately represented was hypocritical and utterly abominable. But sometimes you just can't separate it. And so if you leave those statues up, you're saying that yes, you and the people of your locality endorse the cause as well as the men who fought in it.
I understand that too a point, but not entirely. When they were eracted, some of these statues did no doubt represent an endorsement of that cause. But some portion (and every example I've managed to find) says nothing about a cause or a person, just a regret about the lose of human life.

During some research on similar situations overseas, I looked into how Germany memorializes their dead, and it's actually somewhat similar, though more personal, it's usually a specific memorials to the fallen of a given town or village. They also have national memorials, though that's not specific to soldiers and honors "all victims of fascism and militarism", which I guess works, but feels a bit wish-washy "all lives matter" kind of question dodging. I I bring this up because if this was a debate between redesigning these statues to not specifically honor dead confederate soldiers vs leaving them be, I might have some slight issues with replacing or altering them but I'd generally approve. But since it's usually about "leave it be, get rid of it entirely, or get rid of it and replace it with one honoring unionists from the town"....I think you can see why I have the opinion that I do.

As for honoring individuals specifically, that's a bit easier to handle, everyone, even poeple who have done great things, is flawed and did bad stuff to. Lincoln suspend habis corpes and basically kept several states in the union by declaring martial law, that doesn't mean we should tear his statutes down. There is obviously a point where the bad outweighs the good, but that debate should take place on a basis other than "anyone who ever put on a grey uniform is automatically terrible".

It was raised in a war to keep racial slavery intact. After that the anti-civil rights movement in the South turned it into a banner of pride for them. It's a tainted symbol and it's going to be a long time before you can fix that.
It's been 150 years, and given the faction of people saying "no it means racism and only racism and will never not mean racism" has only been getting louder lately, it seems to me that if there's a time to fix it, it's now or never.

People learn through culture, which is malleable and politically loaded.
Yes, but I don't see how that's relevant or supports your point, the last few times I recall seeing the Confederate flag in media that used it to mean one of to things:
"This character is from the American south"
Or
"This character is a rebel and stand up to The Man".

While the CSA, on the handful of occasions they show up, have been unambiguously portrayed as bad guys.

So what's the problem?
 

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Meanwhile there's the statues to Forrest and I'm sure other Confederate figures that could be better added onto with emphasis of their association with groups like the KKK or generally shitty opinions on black people--especially as windows into how pervasive such was and how that played-in and was exploited by the Lost Cause myth as well with plenty of apologism and acceptance from northern individuals.
Nathan Bedford Forest is a vert c


Plus, we could build statues of Grant alongside of Lee, perhaps with inscriptions showing Appomatox, or of Lincoln alongside Davis, or any number of combinations which can specifically and just thematically emphasize the common American status of those involved in the war.
[/QUOTE]

Nathan Bedford Forest is a complex figure. There was a large number of Blacks in his cavalry brigade. At his going away speech, he was effusive in his praise of them; describing them as "the finest of Confederates." Yes, he was a founder of the KKK, but he reportedly tried to disband it when it started to go crazy. It obviously didn't stay disbanded, eh? He was one of our earliest civil rights activists; launching a number of civil rights suits at his own expense. When he died, over 5,000 Blacks attended his funeral. OTOH, before the War, he was a slave trader. The peri bellum period is very complex.
 

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Yes, he was a founder of the KKK, but he reportedly tried to disband it when it started to go crazy. It obviously didn't stay disbanded, eh? He was one of our earliest civil rights activists; launching a number of civil rights suits at his own expense. When he died, over 5,000 Blacks attended his funeral. OTOH, before the War, he was a slave trader. The peri bellum period is very complex.
My understanding was that the original idea of the KKK was much closer to being a "Confederate Veterans association with silly hats and titles" than what it later morphed into... That KKK was eventually quashed too, from my understanding, and the Second KKK from the early and mid 20th century was an entirely different beast that was just using the same name, looks, and titles specifically as a reference to the first... again until they were destroyed in the late 20th century and fractured into numerous little local KKK chapters without any real central organization and no real political power.

I'd not heard that other stuff about Forest. And yeah, the Reconstruction era is complicated and numerous Confederate generals were very much focused more on reintegration and making peace than even the "Lost Cause" stuff. That was actually mainly championed by Jeff Davis, not the Generals. Heck, some of the Confederate military leaders had even been against succession and were Republicans... to say their lives were rough in the aftermath is an understatement. For instance John S. "The Gray Ghost" Mosby, the infamous Confederate Raider in Northern Virginia was basically anathema to most Virginians in the post Civil War era because he was a Republican...
 

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Yes, I'm aware sometimes shitty people put them up for shitty reasons. I don't see that as relevant, art and symbols exist independently of their creator and take on thier own meaning. I'm sure some portion of them are objectionable even on thier own merits, but that's a decision to made on a case by case basis, not a blanket condemnation because of who wrote the check.



I understand that too a point, but not entirely. When they were eracted, some of these statues did no doubt represent an endorsement of that cause. But some portion (and every example I've managed to find) says nothing about a cause or a person, just a regret about the lose of human life.

During some research on similar situations overseas, I looked into how Germany memorializes their dead, and it's actually somewhat similar, though more personal, it's usually a specific memorials to the fallen of a given town or village. They also have national memorials, though that's not specific to soldiers and honors "all victims of fascism and militarism", which I guess works, but feels a bit wish-washy "all lives matter" kind of question dodging. I I bring this up because if this was a debate between redesigning these statues to not specifically honor dead confederate soldiers vs leaving them be, I might have some slight issues with replacing or altering them but I'd generally approve. But since it's usually about "leave it be, get rid of it entirely, or get rid of it and replace it with one honoring unionists from the town"....I think you can see why I have the opinion that I do.

As for honoring individuals specifically, that's a bit easier to handle, everyone, even poeple who have done great things, is flawed and did bad stuff to. Lincoln suspend habis corpes and basically kept several states in the union by declaring martial law, that doesn't mean we should tear his statutes down. There is obviously a point where the bad outweighs the good, but that debate should take place on a basis other than "anyone who ever put on a grey uniform is automatically terrible".



It's been 150 years, and given the faction of people saying "no it means racism and only racism and will never not mean racism" has only been getting louder lately, it seems to me that if there's a time to fix it, it's now or never.



Yes, but I don't see how that's relevant or supports your point, the last few times I recall seeing the Confederate flag in media that used it to mean one of to things:
"This character is from the American south"
Or
"This character is a rebel and stand up to The Man".

While the CSA, on the handful of occasions they show up, have been unambiguously portrayed as bad guys.

So what's the problem?
You don't remember Gone with the wind, birth of a Nation and the thousand and one pieces of Jim Crow propaganda.

Nathan Bedford Forest is a vert c


Plus, we could build statues of Grant alongside of Lee, perhaps with inscriptions showing Appomatox, or of Lincoln alongside Davis, or any number of combinations which can specifically and just thematically emphasize the common American status of those involved in the war.
Nathan Bedford Forest is a complex figure. There was a large number of Blacks in his cavalry brigade. At his going away speech, he was effusive in his praise of them; describing them as "the finest of Confederates." Yes, he was a founder of the KKK, but he reportedly tried to disband it when it started to go crazy. It obviously didn't stay disbanded, eh? He was one of our earliest civil rights activists; launching a number of civil rights suits at his own expense. When he died, over 5,000 Blacks attended his funeral. OTOH, before the War, he was a slave trader. The peri bellum period is very complex.
[/QUOTE]
The house negros vs slave negro dynamic is a real thing, slaves fighting on behalf of their masters isn't a new phenomenon.
 

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Bringing the argument to the correct thread.
The wehrmacht had to have been brave too, they still were serving Nazis.
I find it interesting that you equate the South in the American civil war with Nazis. Aside from the POW camp at Andersonville, I am unaware of an possible justification for this comparison.

As for your remark about 'poor southerners,' yes, the soldiers, especially later in the war were the poor because the way the laws were structured, a rich man could pay to avoid being drafted or send a slave to fight in his place.

Look, you seem to be insinuating that I support slavery or that I'm secretly a neonazi or something just because I don't think destroying our history is acceptable. What's your real problem here?
 
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