Robert E. Lee is an interesting historical figure, and your comments are somewhat paradoxical at least for me, an perhaps a bit biased too in a way that misses the salient features of what most people believe the American Civil war ‘was about’ regardless of if my ‘concept’ of what the causes of the civil war were ‘qualify as such’.
Character references for Robert E. Lee perhaps could not be made to support the thesis that he was a loyal federalist and was a fervant Virginian patriot that also felt more in common with any state that supported slavery as a matter of coincidence, yet it would be disingenuous to advance the notion that in the absence of slavery in the southern states the confederacy would have been formed in order to have the opportunity to war upon the northern states.
Alternatively Robert E. Lee, in spite of being ‘just’ a Virginian patriot perhaps with a strong admiration for George Washington, might have felt that by falsely leading, or rather misleading the south into a series of nominal defeats he could keep the union together. Mr. Lee perhaps was aware or believed that some die-hard supremists, firmly established would not yield ground without a fight.
In considering these people, it is interesting to compare them with the present generation that outsources, globalizes, decays national infrastructure and loses comparative advantages in education, transport, fuel technologies and so forth while building a vast budget deficit. That generation seems to have little regard for national energy indendence, nor for the U.S. environment, it’s borders and etc. in their willy nilly abandonment of democratic conservatism for a pure liberal economic globalism that jettions any sort of meaningful patriotism at all-Adam Smith did not feel it very necessary to state that national interests are to be served by capitalism instead of displaced by capitalism.
I appreciate your taking the time to respond to this point about history however; many would have no interest at all. In my recent bike journey through Virginia I crossed a place of a battle between Grant and Lee at a railroad junction north of Richmond that Lee sought to hold, and that Grant wished to take returning from the ‘wilderness campaign’ in order to facilitate logistics and personnel supply objectives. Encountering extensive defensive earthworks/bunkers manned by Lee’s forces, Grant quit the battle after a couple of assaults and moved on to ward the Chesapeake some dozens of miles distant for maritime resupply I believe.
While General Lee may have learned from his mission as a member of Scott’s march to Mexico City during the Mexican War (?), the earthworks use and value for defender’s advantages were not lost on Grant. In recent reading of the third battle at Ypres during 1919, the author-a Mr. Wolfe, made the valid point that the planners of the First World War campaigns failed to learn from the past about how to deal with the new weapons that plagued the infantry and slaughtered cavalry from defensive position that even artillery had difficulty penetrating. The trench warfare went on 4 years of course, and countless lives were lost by the millions as offensives could not pass defensive earthworks.
Eventually it was discovered that tanks on dry ground might break through the lines of machine guns and pill boxes, but General Haig nearly to the last believed the right method was human wave assaults following days of artillery bombardment, gas attack etc to gain some ground and eventually horse cavalry could plunge through and flank the enemy wreaking havoc. Fifty years after the American civil war the best Generals of the non-American participants of world war one could not learn the simple lesson that Ulysses Grant learned quite swiftly in a couple of days. I think he was a much better general than General Lee, who had no reasonable plan to stop the northern industrial or manpower capacity, and instead relied on domination of poor whites and enslaved blacks to prop up an elitist ruling class that sought to retreat not only from the union but from the global war on human slavery and serfdom, which had each become fully eclipsed by industrialization, communications, transport and political advances that could not allow subjugated humanity to be a drag on people better off attempting to win their rights civilly against wealthy corrupters of capitalism that sought to transform it into an anti-democratic monopoly as conservative as monarchy if it were possible.
If I recollect Robert E. Lee attended West point, which was an American institution, and hence he might have had a bit of loyalty toward the union sufficient to overwhelm his tendency toward treason or sedition rather if he had been a bit more inclined toward humanitarianism.
Today the Department of Defense has a British HQ’d company building the Bradlye Fighting vehicle, and elements of the joint strike fighter and much more. The DOD has a major premise that defense implements should be built in America, and in a global environment in which Boeing sells jets to Asia instead of to Europe by a factor of 4 to 1, and cell phones are global and cheap, the natural self-interest of liberal capitalists is to invest abroad and create a global sales and production market minimizing the U.S.A. to one puny element albeit with a lot of history and fairly well of people flooded by immigrants. The government unfortunately doesn’t invest or encourage sufficient investment in national infrastructure and technologies that liberate America from foreign debt. The role of the government is to keep the nation from freign indebtedness and corrupting permanent foregin alliances that negatively impact sovereignty. Perhaps Mr. Lee’s sort of sedition is obsolete in the modern global social structure moving toward one dictatorship of Satan (a Christian point of view), or at least of a proletariat with an elite cadre of corporatist leadership in a warming world-who can say–yet at least Robert E. Lee was aware of his sedition I should think, and of the implicit pimping of human life that ownership of others entails.
One might find legal arguments about the causes of the civil war not coincident with the actual causes, and then argue that some abstract desire for secession by an American state was going to be tested in the laboratory of war and death as id Mr. lee were some sort of satanic lunatic, instead of a strong supporter of slavery and a ancient southern oligarchy that sought to retain it’s traditional domination of black slaves through terror. Of course I am not an authority by any means on the civil war, and just clep exam’d American history I without studying for it, having received the general American education and occasional forays into that subject.
As a citizen of the far west the civil war was of course far removed, and more recent history in addition to that of the Nez Pierce and other native groups, George Vancouver, Yamamoto, Jedediah Smith, the Boeings and other individuals of note were of more historical interest as far as they had been prominent in local history instead of the Lee’s and others of the failed confederacy. In the state of Washington though, cherry pie was highly valued on Washington’s Birthday.