Here’s Why General Robert E. Lee Has Been And Always Will Always Be an American Hero

A lot of people on Facebook are not going to like what I have to say. And you know what? That’s perfectly OK with me. In fact, I’m used to it. I’m a red Yankee living in the blue state of New York. And I have a big bone to pick with leftists, liberals and basically my entire generation…because you need a serious history lesson.

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Robert Edward Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Major General Henry Lee III, Governor of Virginia, and his wife, Anne Hill Carter. He lost his father, “Light Horse Harry” when he was only eleven years old.

But that did not hold him back or turn him into a troubled kid. Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class at West Point without earning a single demerit. He served in the Mexican-American War under General Winfield Scott and captured John Brown and his band after their raid on the US arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to remain loyal to his family and his home state, even after the Union offered him a senior position as commander of Union troops. He easily could have joined the Union and abandoned his home. But Lee had tremendous pride in his home state and his family.

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General Robert E. Lee, outnumbered and under-equipped, led an Army of Northern Virginians to victory after victory on the battlefield in defense of his homeland during the War of Northern Aggression against the Union.

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Eventually, General Lee grew tired of defending his homeland. So, after years of bloodshed, watching thousands of young boys on both sides die, he decided to invade the North. His plan was to outflank the Army of the Potomac and make an end run on Washington in order to force the Union to sue for Peace.

His growing hubris at the time would ultimately prove to be his undoing as forcing a fight at Gettysburg would cost him 1/3 of his army including many veterans and doom the Confederacy as they did not have near the manpower of the Union and would be unable to recover from the heavy losses sustained. Lee surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By the time he surrendered after nearly 4 years of battle, Lee had assumed supreme command of the remaining Southern armies. As a result, after his surrender, the rest of the confederate quickly fell.

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What Americans today don’t understand is that it wasn’t until after the Civil War that people considered the United States singular… “The United States is…” vs. pre-war “These United States are.” The America we know today would not be what it is if it were not for the bloodshed by two opposing forces. So, why is it that the Civil War is only remembered as the war on slavery, when Lee might argue that it was a battle for homeland?

General Robert E. Lee was a Virginian’s Virginian. His family had centuries old roots in Colonial Virginia and was part of the aristocratic support for the Revolutionary War with his father commanding men into battle while his cousins were drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence alongside Thomas Jefferson. His home was Virginia. And when his home voted to leave the Union he followed suit to serve to protect his home as his forebears had done before him.

Virginia was his true nation and General Lee was a patriot through and through, doomed by his duty. It is quite a shame that Virginians today have turned their back on the tradition of freedom General Lee fought all his life to protect and have allowed his image to be twisted by the media into one of hate and oppression. Especially given the evidence to support that Lee was actually not pro-slavery.

Robert E. Lee with his wife, Mary Anna Lee

In 1856, Lee wrote a letter to his wife that read:

“…In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.

— Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Lee, December 27, 1856”

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Pulitzer prize winning biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman documented one of the few detailed analyses of Lee’s life. He wrote:

“This [opinion] was the prevailing view among most religious people of Lee’s class in the border states. They believed that slavery existed because God willed it and they thought it would end when God so ruled. The time and the means were not theirs to decide, conscious though they were of the ill-effects of Negro slavery on both races. Lee shared these convictions of his neighbors without having come in contact with the worst evils of African bondage.

Douglas Southall Freeman, c. 1916

He spent no considerable time in any state south of Virginia from the day he left Fort Pulaski in 1831 until he went to Texas in 1856. All his reflective years had been passed in the North or in the border states. He had never been among the blacks on a cotton or rice plantation. At Arlington, the servants had been notoriously indolent, their master’s master. Lee, in short, was only acquainted with slavery at its best, and he judged it accordingly. At the same time, he was under no illusion regarding the aims of the Abolitionists or the effect of their agitation.”

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