Confederate statues should remain historical landmarks

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Ever since the Charleston church shooting in 2015, there have been controversies around confederate statues and monuments. Many people believe that they should be taken down because they stand for hatred and racism. While that may be true for some, there is a lot of blatant hatred making people want them gone, when really they should not.

The statues being taken down are often of major confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. These characters are often criticised for defending slavery and racism, but they do not account for all the statues and monuments honoring hatred.

“My dear pastor, in my tent last night, after a fatiguing day’s service, I remembered that I had failed to send you my contribution for our colored Sunday-school. Enclosed you will find my check for that object, which please acknowledge at your earliest convenience,” Stonewall Jackson wrote in a letter home.

Stonewall Jackson was troubled by the prospect of slavery since he grew up with them and considered them a part of his family. He went so far out of his way to break the law for them so that they might have education. It is not fair to condone him for racism and hatred.

So far, from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this…”

— General Robert Lee

“So far,” General Lee wrote in a letter, “from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and suffered all I have suffered, to have this objective obtained.”

Again, a major leader in the confederacy proves that slavery was not his aim. He seemed overly pleased that slavery was ended, yet there are even arguments that Abraham Lincoln only abolished slavery to win the war. It begs the question as to why people want them taken down.

Another problem is that people can not just blame monuments in honor of the confederacy. Taking down a statue of Lee does not make leaving a Minnesota state park named after Henry Sibley, who was directly responsible for the death of some innocent 300 Native Americans, right.

“These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a May 19 speech. “They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.”

The arguments presented by Landrieu are valid for a large portion of confederates. The problem is that not all of the monuments being taken down represent the evils of slavery. Taking them down and erasing history is definitely not the solution.

There are a number of possible solutions. The first and easiest of which is simply to put plaques on the monuments stating what and why it’s there. A second idea is instead of destroying them and removing them, open a museum that presents them. That way either they are explained, or are not in the wide open.

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