Friday, October 12, 2007

R. E. Lee and Other Heroes

Today is the anniversary of Robert E. Lee's death in 1870. Texas Fred has a commemorative post up about him. One of my favorite biographies is R.E. Lee by Douglas Southall Freeman. I have a nice edition in my home library.

R.E. Lee: A Biography: 4 Volume Set

I don't consider myself a rabid southerner although I believe the War of Northern Aggression -- a.k.a. the Civil War -- was as much about state's rights as about slavery. Slavery was the catalyst that brought the issue of state sovereignty to the test. I do fear the encroachment of the Federal government on certain areas that should be left to the states for determination. But, I do understand the need for a strong Federal government -- otherwise our country would be constantly in danger of secession.

Robert E. Lee was a strong Christian leader and one of the most brilliant military tacticians to ever wear a uniform. If he had been immediately put in command of all Southern forces rather than serving in multiple lesser capacities for the early part of the war, the result could well have been different. Jefferson Davis was slow to relinquish control and slow to recognize Lee's unique abilities.

Lee had the opportunity to serve in a position of command in either army -- North or South. It was his loyalty to his home state of Virginia that tipped the balance in favor of the South. I believe that his role in the South led to the prolonging of the war. Without his leadership the conflict likely would have been shorter and much less bloody. I believe that blood and suffering was necessary for a final resolution of the issue. If the North had quickly rolled over the South, the issue would have continued to raise its head for years to come -- resulting in additional bloody conflict. The war also cemented the relationship of the states to the Federal government and strengthened Federal control.

Robert E. Lee, in spite of the negatives that have been attached to his name by those who would tie him to the slavery issue, was a great and good man. He was a man of honor and one that should be held in high esteem by all. He was truly a hero.

This date also happens to be the birthday of my Grandmother. She also was a hero. She raised 7 kids on a dryland Oklahoma farm by herself after my Grandfather died (when my father was 12) through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. She died several years ago.


Pat Jenkins said...

great post pan. i have a passion for civil war history. i may differ a little with you on the reasons for southern "withdrawl". there is a fine line between having states rights, and then believing nobody has a right to tell you what to do. i am of the opinion the latter was their motive. this would be a great discussion to have with you. by the way what is up with franchione at a&m? you are an alum right? you didn't receive any of those emails did ya? ha ha...

Plowing and Sowing said...

Panhandle...we have traced our family history back to Robert E. Lee. My grandmother, who has passed away, was very passionate about our family history. It is pretty interesting.

On Mr. Jenkins comment about A&M...I believe Fran has his butt in a crack. Just my thoughts, nothing concrete, but after this little stunt, he will have to win all of the games from here on out to even have a chance of keeping his job. It will be next to impossible.

Panhandle Poet said...

P&S: I hope you're wrong about Fran -- I think he's a good coach.

Interesting about your family history. You need to do a post on it.

Sandy Kessler said...

I too think he's a good coach . I love all of A@ M

Anonymous said...

I AM a "true blue Southerner!" The Civil War just strikes a place in my heart that I can not explain. While I do not approve of slavery, I also do not approve of the unnecessary destruction afflicted on the South as a result of the Civil War.