Did you have a choice of where you were born? Did you have a choice as to your parents? Did you have a choice as to what year you born? Did you have choice as to what culture you were born into? Did I?
The answer to all these questions is of course not. All of us, regardless of ethnic origin, economic status, country of origin came into this world at a time and place and into a family and culture of not our own choosing.
Whether you are a theist or atheist or something in between everyone recognizes that’s just the way it’s always been.
Think for a moment how your family upbringing has influenced you. Think of how your education has helped shaped you. Think of how your faith (or lack there of) has shaped you. Think of how your culture and peers have shaped you and still seek to shape you. Each one of us is influenced and shaped by numerous factors that are current to our time and place in history.
Today, the far left wanna be Marxists are on an unholy crusade to cleanse us of all aspects of our history that they find offensive. This is illustrated by the demands to take down statutes of not only Confederates but also remove paintings that feature George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. These men either held slaves or fought for a cause that held to slavery. Therefore, argues the left, let’s erase them as if Washington or Jefferson had nothing to contribute to the founding of the nation.
The presumption of their “judges” is that these men should have known better; they should have been ahead of their times; they should have, should have, should have….but because they did not we need to erase them from our history lest anyone think slavery\racism is a good thing.
The self appointed left wing judges judge historical people of the past by standards they would never apply to themselves. One hundred years from now people from that time will look back and wonder how could people of our time and place believe in, fill in the blank.
Willful ignorance of US and world history is the main culprit. This can be laid at the feet of Marxist professors that do not teach history in any kind of objective manner.
The judges reduce those who came before us to card board cut outs without understanding much, if anything, about the times, culture, families, faith or other factors that shaped them in their time and place. The self-righteousness of the judges is disguised as the moral high ground as if they had lived in such and such a time and place they would be different because they are so enlightened.
Consider the letter below. It’s from a Confederate soldier to his wife during the Civil War. Take the time to read it.
This Confederate soldier died at Gettysburg. He served in a North Carolina Regiment. He loves his wife and is grateful to God for the small plot of land they own in North Carolina. He wants to come home; yet feels duty bound to remain with his comrades.
He makes note of Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation to raise an army to force the seceding southern states to remain in the Union. The Lincoln proclamation was the catalyst for more southern states to secede since they could not abide by an invasion of their fellow southern states.
Right or wrong, that’s how the southern states viewed their relationship to the federal government. Most level headed historians agree that slavery was the catalyst for the Civil War but States Rights was the bigger issue. Lincoln himself said that if he could avoid war he would not eliminate slavery. (This does not mean Lincoln was for slavery. He was not. It simply means he believed holding the Union together was more important at that moment in time and many if not most Northern soldiers felt the same way.)
The Confederate soldier in his letter says the proclamation appears noble and yet states, that he would not fight if the argument was just about keeping another man in bondage. He says he’d walk away and that God knows his heart.
Judging from his words (actual evidence) he does not appear to support slavery and it is quite certain he did not own any slaves himself. Yet he fought for North Carolina, a State that seceded from the Union. How do we interpret this?
At the time of the Civil War people in general were far more loyal to their individual states or lcoality than they were to far away Washington D.C. Today Washington dominates the news cycle. This was not the case in 1861 when mot people did not wander more than 10 miles from their homes. This is a significant fact that is nearly always over looked when discussing the motives of the average Confederate soldier and even their generals. Robert E. Lee for example fought for Virginia after being offered command of the entire Union Army!
None of that justifies slavery; slavery of any type is horrible and a manifestation of man’s total depravity. What I’m saying is context and actual motive should matter when judging people of the past. Like this soldier writing to his wife many southern soldiers would not fight to keep others in bondage; but would fight for hearth and home. That is a big difference.
While I am not certain if General James Longstreet ever said this I think it captures what many southerners believed. In the movie Gettysburg, (1993) Longstreet is discussing the causes of the Civil War with a British officer who is traveling with the Confederate Army. Slavery is mentioned (Britain abolished slavery in the early 1800’s). Longstreet says, “we should have freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter.” I do believe the words capture the sentiments of many southerners of the time. You can see this clearly in the North Carolina soldier’s letter to his wife.
He goes on to state in almost prophetic terms what was at stake in his mind. He fears what many of us fear today-a federal government with too much power as well as a government that would one day deny the gospel! He laments the taxation and coercion that would result should the south lose the war. Many southerners viewed the Civil War as the Second War of Independence-a reaction to what they believed to be a tyrannical government akin to King George III during the American Revolution..
The Confederate statues that can be found in many of the southern states are interpreted by the Marxist left exclusively as representing the defense of slavery. I get that but that view does not allow for a deeper conversation about substantive issues regarding State’s Rights, the role of the Federal Government and just exactly how much power the Federal Government should actually have.
The soldier would die at Gettysburg where there is a monument to the North Carolina Confederates who died there. He, like other Confederates fought for his state, his small plot of land and his fellow soldiers who were in the same situation as he. The monument is to their bravery so why can’t we just leave it at that and learn from our past?