Robert E. Lee: Slavery, Secession, and the Choice He Made

Today is Robert E. Lee’s birthday.  I find him to be an extremely interesting figure and a compelling biographical subject.

Much is said about how Lee viewed slavery and secession and how he came to resign his commission and join first the Virginia forces and then the Confederate army.  Much of that commentary in the past has been preoccupied either with crafting a Lee in terms to make him an admirable hero worthy of worship, a fine and fitting representative of “the South,” or in undermining that quest.  In the latter endeavor the intensity I have seen displayed should in my estimation be directed at people other than Lee himself.  Too often the debate over Lee is really a debate between Lee’s admirers and critics that is at least as much about themselves as it is about Lee … I’d say more so.

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