The Bust of Grant and the Indiscriminate Destruction of Monuments

Grant statue toppled

Grant’s bust in San Francisco, toppled. The “Stop” in the street beneath Grant could not be a more appropriate message. (photo: Twitter/Joe Rivano Barros)

For some people, Ulysses S. Grant’s monument in San Francisco toppled last Friday not with a clang but with a loud “I told you so.”

“First, it’s Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, but just you wait,” those people have said. “It won’t stop there.” Their slippery slope argument forecast people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson next. It didn’t matter that the two Virginians helped found the entire country, they’ve said; the pair would be punished for being slaveholders, even though slave holding was legal and widely accepted in their day. That historical record would not be enough to satisfy the forces of presentism, which interpret past events using today’s values.

As of last Friday, according to ABC News, some 22 Confederate monuments have come down across the country—either by force or by mandated removal. In Richmond, Virginia, Jefferson Davis got yanked from his pedestal on Monument Avenue, and Williams Wickham was pulled down and burned in the city’s Monroe Park.

And from there, the slippery slope has, indeed, continued.

In Portland, Oregon, Washington and Jefferson statues were both targeted last week. “You’re on native lands,” one protester spray painted on Washington without offering to vacate those lands himself. New York City announced plans to look at its own Washington and Jefferson statues, even as it said it was taking down a statue of Theodore Roosevelt from in front of the American Museum of Natural History because the statue is racist. In Albany, New York, Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler came down from in front of City Hall because he’d owned slaves.

Christopher Columbus, who’s already been falling from grace in a kind of reputational tailspin over the last few years, found himself knocked down even more pegs. Last week, his namesake city in Ohio voted to remove his statue in front of City Hall. In Richmond, protesters threw his statue into a lake. A statue in Manhattan came under fire, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, himself of Italian descent, defended Columbus. “[T]he statue has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian American contribution to New York,” Cuomo said. While that might be true, Columbus also enslaved a lot of unsuspecting natives and gave the “New World” the gift of small pox, which killed thousands—acts, Cuomo rightly says, “which nobody would support.” I suppose it’s little wonder that Columbus Day isn’t quite celebrated the way it used to be.

Ironically, the “marble man” version of history often enshrined by statues is the very thing bringing those statues down right now. Our heroes aren’t perfect, so they don’t deserve to be honored at all, or so goes the current thinking on the streets—although I wonder how much thinking is actually involved. We’re hearing lots of loud, angry voices who are justifiably loud and angry over racial justice issues—but, in the heat of the moment, some of those voices for right are intermingled with voices of underinformed, outraged righteousness, and that’s a bad mix. Throw in a minority of people who are in it for the sheer joy of the chaos, pandemonium, and violence, and that becomes a really bad mix, especially because it undermines the legitimate message of more peaceful protestors.

Public outrage has seemed so indiscriminate that even the Lincoln Memorial appeared to be a target. For people seeking racial justice, an attack on Lincoln, the “Great Emancipator,” seemed counter-intuitive, yet images circulated widely on the web of graffiti-marred marble walls spray painted with “BLM” and other slogans. The Park Service, though, quickly debunked those images as fake, apparently fabricated by right-wing agitators trying to stir up additional animosity against the protesters. The incident added another troubling wrinkle to a complicated story.

In the midst of all this chaos, I don’t know anyone who had Ulysses S. Grant on their bingo card of destruction. Grant won the Civil War, which brought an end to slavery. Had there been no victory, the Thirteenth Amendment, which formally ended the South’s “peculiar institution,” would’ve been a moot point. Grant was also the most vigorous Civil Rights president until Lyndon Johnson, and his work to suppress the KKK was particularly important.

In his memoirs, Grant asserted in no uncertain terms that

The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery. For some years before the war began it was a trite saying among some politicians that ‘A state half slave and half free cannot exist.’ All must become slave or all free, or the state will go down. I took no part myself in any such view of the case at the time, but since the war is over, reviewing the whole question, I have come to the conclusion that the saying is quite true….

Grant did marry into a slave-holding family, though, and he himself owned a single slave, a 35-year-old man named William Jones, whom Grant freed. (Jones was, as Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site points out, the last enslaved person owned by a U.S. president.) During the war, Grant also exhibited some anti-Semitism with General Order 11, which expelled Jews from their homes as a supposed war measure. Years later, as president, he set a much more sympathetic tone.

Apparently, though, those were tarnishes enough on Grant’s reputation to merit him some good old fashioned vigilante justice in San Francisco. For good measure, protesters also toppled statues of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the National Anthem, and St. Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary. San Francisco’s archbishop rightly protested that protests were being hijacked by violence.

Grant-Golden GateThe Grant monument located in Golden Gate Park, consists (consisted) of a bust sculpted by Robert Schmid, which sat on a granite base originally cut by convicts from Folsom Prison. As I recounted in my book Grant’s Last Battle, “The stonecutters union balked, and controversy erupted. The base was recut. Controversy also rose over the monument’s $8,000 price tag. Because of all the trouble, dedication dates are hard to pin down: 1894, 1896, and 1904.”

I hope the city reinstalls Grant’s bust atop its pedestal. He did, after all, save the country—no small thing. That his views on slavery evolved over time, as did his attitude toward Jewish people, are both credits to him, as well. Isn’t that the exact sort of character development we hope to see in people as they learn new things, see new points of view, and have new experiences? It’s called growth. It’s called wisdom.

Did Grant have flaws? Sure. All of these historical figures did. We all do. Do any of us want to be defined by our shortcomings, or would we rather have people see the good in us? Aren’t we all complex individuals? For that same reason, we need to take the time to understand the complexity of these bronze-cast people in the context of their own times and places. What can we learn from them? What can we learn about them? And from those things, what can we learn about ourselves? 

That’s not to say all statues should remain up, just that each deserves individual consideration. Each statue—like the people they represent—is a product of the time it was raised, and each raises its own set of questions today. (See my piece last week for more on this.)

A community has the right to decide what it wants to do with its statues, but those are discussions for level heads and less-heated tempers, after open conversation, with decisions by officials held accountable by elections.

Even as I write this, other monument struggles continue to unfold. In D.C.’s Lafayette Square, police stopped protestors on Monday from tearing down an equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson. States are considering bills to evict Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol’s statuary hall. A court fight is unfolding in Virginia over the fate of Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue even as ropes still dangle from Jeb Stuart’s statue following an unsuccessful attempt to pull it over. The slippery slope continues downhill.

To some, this all feels like revolution. If protestors follow due process, then change will never come, they say. They must seize the moment.

But vandalism is still vandalism. Mob rule is not democracy. Revenge is not justice. It is possible to support both peaceful protest and due process. It is possible to look at people—past and present—as individuals and not as stereotypes.

Mob rule does not reflect public opinion—and often reflects public ignorance.

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31 Responses to The Bust of Grant and the Indiscriminate Destruction of Monuments

  1. Charlie Herbek says:

    Chris, your pandering to parts of Grant’s past is unnecessary as the mob psychology you intellectualize with hears nothing. All you need to do is repeat in capital letters your last paragraph again and again.
    And add this line from Samuel Johnson, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to go nothing. And that’s the bottom line we confront.

  2. Mike Peters says:

    How far removed from slavery is any public figure? If we use the game Six degrees of Kevin Bacon as a blueprint, the net catches most, if not all, public figures. If you’re a vet, it can be spun that you served a country grounded in slavery. Sad …

  3. John Pryor says:

    There is nothing “indescriminate” about the monument desecration taking place. When intellectual and non career lightweights see their validity created by destruction, it doesn’t matter what is destroyed. It’s just ironic to see those who shrugged off the wanton destruction of so called “Lost Cause” icons suddenly snapped awake.

  4. scott s. says:

    If the problem is systemic, no amount of repentance can redeem it. Lincoln’s “new birth of freedom” can’t be realized. The only proposed solution is the entire removal of the existing order. Novo ordo seclorum indeed. Tearing down statues is just an opening salvo.

  5. William Anderson says:

    It has been a designed and coordinated plan by some hard core revolutionaries. And they recruit the mob. I recall reading that the Bolsheviks intentionally recruited what they called “useful idiots” to their cause during the Russian Revolution. Anybody smell books burning? Is that next? Probably, if American political leaders of character don’t start saying no. I guess they finally had enough in Seattle.

  6. Henry Fleming says:

    “Mob mentality” is right. California was a Union state. My first thought was that the press was making excuses for these people who tore down Grant’s statue because, I thought, the mob didn’t know any better that Grant sent men to their death to destroy slavery, it was the nearest Civil War statue they could find. I may have been wrong, maybe there was planning involved, in my mind, the mob felt any Civil War statue will work for their purposes> And why stop there, if Grant can be targeted, Black Jack Pershing is likely in the cross hairs.

    While thinking of Grant, it could be argued that had the north not had his victories in 1862 and 1863, had there not been a Grant, Lincoln, who couldn’t find a fighting general, (Kearny and Stephenson being deceased in one battle,) and who in 1864 thought he would lose the presidential election almost until the votes were counted, would have kept looking in 1864 for a general, as Meade demonstrated no great alacrity over Lee in the Mine Run campaign of 1863, which would have been sufficient political fodder to result in a one term Lincoln administration and a compromise end to the war, with slavery possibly intact for the next generation. But I digress. let me get back to the subject at hand.

    Wait til they find out Cato the elder owned slaves, they’ll be frothing at the mouth and tearing their hair trying to find his statue so they can pull it down.

  7. Douglas Pauly says:

    Soooo, they are destroying Confederate AND Union statues, monuments, markers, etc. They are attacking statues of Founding Fathers, abolitionists, explorers, the list goes on and on. Anyone notice THE common thread among them? If you answer “They’re all WHITE”, you get a gold star. This has nothing to do with history, or legacy. It is an anti-WHITE rant being carried out by terrorists and anarchists whose obvious inspiration is the Taliban. I’ll bet most of the idiots taking part in all this can’t even spell “social” OR “justice”. And yes, that includes the WHITE mobsters who appear to be a large part of any given riot. Someone (I suspect a certain political party) knows how to push these folks buttons and have the organization and funding to make it happen when they want to. This has everything to do with the upcoming elections. Period. .

  8. John Davis says:

    Yes, Chris we told you so. There is no end to this violence. They hate American and its history which they view as evil. I fear what they will do on July 4th.

  9. Robert Denney says:

    Excellent comments, Chris. For those of us who believed: “It won’t stop there”, never in our worst nightmare did we think that Jesus Christ, himself, and churches too, are now on the list.

    Like the first Civil War, the country seems to be heading to a “tipping point” because people will have had enough of the anarchy. At that point the patience and diplomacy of the silent majority will end and the shooting will begin.

    Ironic that the issue of American Revolutionary and Civil War figures, who made their mark in revolutions, might now lead us to another one.

  10. M. J. Waters says:

    Thank You Chris

    • Thelma Wright Grobes says:

      Excellent comments! We all have faults. Grant was an exception. He freed his slave and would work side by side with him before he freed him. That monument should be restored.

  11. Mike says:

    Sad that local government officials are so weak and tolerant of the domestic terrorists in our midst. Once emboldened they move on to more discrete symbols of history. Books will probably be next. They need to be stopped. They are criminals that have no respect for the property of others and put all of us in danger.

  12. JoAnna McDonald says:

    Great article Chris! Some big picture questions I have been asking myself are: How are the large groups of protestors/rioters getting organized? Who is organizing them? This takes coordination. Who is paying for all this? If BLM truly matters, why hasn’t BLM, and U.S. as a whole, demanded Chicago be put on lock down and cleaned up. I believe a toddler was murdered this past weekend in Chicago along with 14 others. Where are all the donations for BLM going? Is this about racial justice or something else, i.e. the destruction of our Republic and the oppression of the people? And what do we do, besides praying a lot. We have some hard questions to consider. Hugs to everyone!
    De Oppresso Liber

  13. So much of what is going on is just straight-up depressing. It’s horrible the direction this is all heading. Things will never be the same after this year, for better or for worse. My continual hope is that things will calm down and we can have the much needed open conversation about these things without hate flavoring our actions and words. Thank you, ECW for your insights and commentary on this era that will surely be studied by future historians as well.

  14. billhenck says:

    Both sides in this civil unrest are comparing the other side to Hitler and the Nazis. What they forget is that Hitler was only able to rise to power because of the corruption and incompetence of the Weimar Republic. I abhor the destruction of statues, particularly by mob action, but it only reflects the decay of our civic culture. People no longer trust our political and civic institutions and unfortunately the leaders of those institutions have more than earned that lack of trust. I spent 30 years of my life working in a government agency (the IRS) and the moral decay and rot within that agency over the past two decades or so was staggering. That is probably true of other agencies and institutions as well. As a country, we need our history now more than ever to show us the good that we are capable of and to show what we have overcome. Tearing things down will not add to our knowledge or help us be better people. Another commenter on this site stated that we need more history, not less. I hope we realize that in time.

  15. Curt Thomasco says:

    Chris, I am glad to see that ECW has finally gotten around to understanding the genie that has been let out of the bottle. If I recall correctly your website a few months back had a forum among your webmasters debating the removal of Confederate Statues – the majority of which were for removal if I remember correctly. However I fear it is too late. Daily I see more and more groups like the National Trust for Historic Preservation, academic groups issuing statements calling for the removal of Confederate Monuments. The very groups that should be protecting them. I can’t believe that these groups would be that naive to not see this expanding beyond Confederate memorials – which I am still opposed to. Politicians, Sports Figures, the Media, Corporations are tripping over themselves to wipe away as fast as they can anything that might be viewed as offensive by BLM. I expected that — but groups with an interest in the Civil War, our history and preservation such as yours I did not expect them to cave and give in to the growing chorus for removal. I see you posted a piece about how will you approach Gone With the Wind and its revision – possibly banning- with your kids in 15 years – possibly lamenting the desctruction of our national heritage which I see daily and the position ECW took a few months ago? I refuse to give into these thugs tearing down our past – even though no one in power seems to have the Moral Courage right now to do so. In the long run we will see how this moment will be judged and who is on the right or wrong side of history. It is not okay for a mature society like modern American democracy to revise or erase history that is painful. That is the purview of ISIS, the Taliban, Maoist China, Soviet Russia etc., I hate being in the I told you so camp….but I knew this is where we were headed when the first monuments in New Orleans by mayor Mitch Landrieu after Dylan Roof murdered African Americans during the Church shooting of 2015. I am not denying their is real injustice being done in America right now to minorities, I would prefer to see substantive change in equality and policy, rather than merely a movement dismissing symbols in a feel good moment. I sincerely hope in the future this forum takes a new look at the fact that they have a real platform particulalry for the those 40 and under and your voice carries a certain amount of Moral Authority when posting on which Monuments stay, which Monuments go, which deserve context, etc., in the future.

  16. Martin says:

    Great article Chris, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better keep your powder dry and a prayer in your heart!

  17. Edward S. Alexander says:

    My thoughts on what’s motivating the monument destruction – and I don’t support this attitude but am speculating based on what I’m seeing.

    A peaceful monument discussion happened after the events in Charlottesville three years ago. I will only speak to its effect in my own city. 2018 Richmond’s monument committee recommended removing Davis and adding context to the others. The city did none follow through.

    Now, while you could say two years is not a lot of time and people could be more patient, everyone is understandably irritable right now with coronavirus. Many protesters feel we are in a worse place as a country now than we were last time we talked monuments. Angry with city leadership, police, the president, they don’t care whose monument it is anymore. It’s a rejection of the overall state of the country and its happening everywhere.

    That does not justify their actions in Richmond or San Francisco, but I think we should consider that it is not ignorant targeting of Grant (mistakenly thinking he’s a Confederate general) or deliberate targeting for the short time he owned William Jones.

  18. Bob Ruth says:

    Over zealous activists who want to tear down statues of Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Columbus, Grant, et. al. don’t represent the vast majority of people who oppose statues honoring Confederate generals and leaders.

    Of course, ECW’s Lost Causers latch on to the extremists as representative of the entire movement to remove Rebel statues from public venues. Hogwash. Don’t let them divert us from the main argument:

    Confederate statues should be removed from public spaces because Rebel leaders wanted to dismantle our blessed United States of America so they could expand the evil practice of human bondage. They not only were slave owners, they were traitors. That’s it. That’s the whole enchilada

    • Mike Maxwell says:

      Yes, of course… Teddy, Ulys and George… they just got in the way of the well meaning mob. Merely an inconsequential example (or two, or three… ) of Friendly Fire.
      No cause for alarm…

  19. Linda Owens says:

    The destruction of our country and its history needs to be stopped. It’s treason, not and expression of disgust. It’s gone so far, that these moronic people are just looking for anything that represents America and our history. Their only cause is to tear down our nation, in order to create their chaotic socialism. Its no more than treason and a coup to take over with their agenda. God help us and our great country! They need arrested, charged and locked up.

  20. John Pryor says:

    And the beat goes on. Andrew Jackson’s statue attacked, and Colonel Hey, of all people, in Madison, Wisconsin. I taught my Norwegian exchange student about him. Barbarians.

  21. The Confederate monuments are no more racist than the Union monuments. They are a reflection on history, taken out of context by protestors and politicians trying to use hate for personal gain. That is why HISTORY MATTERS!!! You cannot take what happened in the past within the context of those times and conditions and apply present day values and judgments to past events and artifacts. Nor can you be selective depending on the people involved. If today’s protests are to be applied to Confederate monuments on the basis of racism and slavery, where will it end? Is the Jefferson Memorial next? What about the Washington Monument? Slavery was a condition of the times and definitely NOT the sole prerogative of the Confederacy. Using all things Confederate for the benefit of racial justice is a slander against all Americans whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy and the ideals that were sacred to them, their civil rights to declare their independence against an oppressive government and to defend their sovereign states and homeland against the violence and destruction of an invading army.

    Slavery was not created by the Confederacy. It goes back to ancient times when a person could be sold into slavery simply for offending one in power, particularly true in ancient Greek and Roman times. Nor was it racist, it was simply “to the victor go the spoils.” Black African slavery was started by the tribes of Africa wherein the conquering tribe sold off members of the defeated tribe into slavery. In the Americas, it existed in all the colonies and by extension following the Revolution, in all the states. As it became institutionalized in the agricultural South, Blacks as well as Whites owned slaves. One of the earliest slave owners was a black Virginian tobacco farmer named Anthony Johnson. William Ellison, a wealthy black plantation owner and cotton gin manufacturer in South Carolina, owned 63 black slaves, the largest slave owner of 171 black slave owners in South Carolina. In the 1830 census, black slave owners owned a total of 12,760 slaves. In the slave trade, the slaves brought to America from Africa were purchased from black slave owners. [Do your own search — “black slave owners”]

    Don’t forget, the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Dred Scott decision of March 8, 1857, found that blacks, whether slave or free, were not citizens under the law and could not sue for rights in federal court. While they were at it, the court declared the Missouri Compromise null and void as a violation of the Constitution. There could be no such thing as free state and slave state. It was simple, black people were not citizens under the law.

    Slavery is NOT the sole creation of the Confederacy. Nor is it the sole cause of the war or reason for which the Confederate armies fought. While the first shots fired were from Confederate batteries on Fort Sumter, the war began as an invasion of Southern States and for the most part was of armies in the South defending against invading armies from the North, trying to defend their homeland against military aggression. A minute few owned slaves and nearly no one cared about defending slavery, their primary concern being to defend their homeland, homes, and families. From the Northern perspective, the war began as an effort to maintain the Union. From the Southern perspective, economic issues (only one of which was slavery) brought about by the United States Congress passing economic laws favorable to Northern industry and draining Southern financial resources, caused a belief that the only solution was to secede and form their own nation independent of Federal rule, a concept enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. As the war went badly for the North, slavery became a political tool by means of The Emancipation Proclamation. That’s not to say the proclamation wasn’t right or needed. But timing is everything.

    As for the flag, the flag against which most protest is not the Confederate national flag. It’s the naval ensign version of the Confederate battle flag designed using the cross of Saint Andrew, which for some signified freedom and independence from oppression and tyranny, and the thirteen stars representing the thirteen states that were considered to make up the Confederate States of America (two of which – Kentucky and Missouri – never did secede.) Its unique design made it easy to recognize and to rally around. It was not a racist flag. The racist identity was created over a hundred years later when Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and mass murderers used it for their own divisive means, again taken out of the context of historic times, a travesty against those who fought under it.

    And so it has come to pass, that the Confederate flag and the monuments that memorialize those who lead the fight on behalf of their nation or remember the fallen in a thousand different cemeteries, are no different historically than the Queen Ann flag or the Star Spangled Banner or the Minuteman statue or the cemetery monument to Clarence McKenzie, a drummer boy accidentally killed by friendly fire, or the Jefferson Memorial. They are all part of that vast history that is the American Story. To use them today in such a vile manner is a bold-faced lie and should be loudly condemned be all citizens and political leaders who truly care for and respect The United States of America.

    Those who suggest this could possibly be an anti-white movement from the likes of ISIS and the Taliban, do have a point as this whole affair spins out of control and has gone well beyond a Confederacy thing. However, in at lease one documented case, the local police arrested ten people responsible for violent rioting — all were white, all were from out of town, all had connections to the KKK, none had anything to do with protesting against police brutality, and most of the destruction and looting was against black businesses. It does not help when governors and prominent public figures start to promote the degradation of our history by ordering the removal of statues, memorials, or official portraits from statehouses. Nor does it help when people of authority stand back and allow the violence to unfold. Our history is not perfect, there are many embarrassing and just plain wrongful actions taken by our government and our people over the centuries. As others have said, that does not mean you selectively remove all references to offensive history. HISTORY MATTER!! It must be protected and preserved less we forget it and repeat it. THIS IS EVERY AMERICAN’S RESPONSIBILITY!! THIS VIOLENCE MUST BE STOPPED!!

    • michael wiglesworth says:

      EXCELLENT COMMENTARY! WELL DONE! I totally agree with your historical premises! We need to foment momentum in S.O.S. (SAVE OUR STATUES)! I too, have written editorials to national, regional and local media to stop this madness before American history is edited out of existence because of popular political expediency and conveniently concocted rationalizations that fit fleeting protest movements. Keep up the good work…Power of the pen!!!!
      Michael Wiglesworth

  22. Robert Denney says:

    Well stated Mr. Moore. Regarding the confederate battle flag, I always chuckle when a few of the commentators on ECW refer to it as the stars and bars. To me, that immediately calls in to question the rest of what they are saying.

  23. Lyle Smith says:

    The next war monuments will be our World War I and World War II memorials. They literally celebrate and honor thousands or white supremacists and racists. Think Strom Thurmond, D-Day hero.

    MLK is in trouble too. The Me Too movement is bound to tear him down one day.

    Our education system, especially our college and university system is a disaster… as far as learning and thinking goes. It’s an awesome system for the folks that manage and run the schools. Boss Tweed would be very proud of those folks.

  24. Mike Maxwell says:

    William Barr is Attorney General of the United States. On 25 June 2020 he outlined his intentions in regard to Civil War statues: “to protect statues, landmarks and memorials on Federal land; and prosecute anyone interfering with (attacking) those objects; and with those convicted subject to a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.”
    This should end First Speech (the thug with the sledgehammer “expressing her views” while denying everyone else the right to express THEIR views.) It will then be up to elected officials and concerned citizens to determine what is to be done with individual statues and memorials.

  25. Comments from Elisha Hunt Rhodes, in 1910 on Confederate Monuments. He rose from corporal to Colonel during the Civil War. Compliments of Emerging Civil War June 24th.

    From Elisha Hunt Rhodes of the 2nd Rhode Island, author of All For the Union, from a speech given at the 44th Annual Encampment, Department of Massachusetts, Grand Army of the Republic, Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. April 6 and 7, 1910:

    We think of the reunited South, and I am not one of those who wants to find fault with what is done in the South. I pity those people. I have seen much of them since the war. I remember standing one day looking at a monument in Athens, Georgia, when a young collegian said to me, “I suppose you object to this monument being here.”

    “Oh no, I said, “if you people want to perpetuate your shame, I care little about it. You are simply telling the story to your children of how you tried to pull down the old flag and how you failed.”

    Another day I stood by the monument in Winchester, Virginia, and I read upon it an inscription which told how men had died for liberty, had died for constitution in the country. An old gentlemen asked me what I thought of it. “Oh,” I said, “The day will come when you will put a ladder up against that monument, and you will hire a colored man who once wore the shackles to climb that ladder and efface every word of that inscription, for it is false. There is no truth in it.”

    Those men were brave men, and I am willing to pay tribute to their bravery; but they did not die for liberty, they did not die for their constitution, they did not die for their country. Two, or three, or four, or five years afterward I stood in the same place, and a Confederate soldier whom I was visiting said to me, “Do you remember what you said to that old gentlemen about that inscription?”

    I said, “Yes.”

    He said, “Look at it now.”

    I said, “Yes, nature has been kind to you,” for the moss had grown over it so that it could not be read. It had been completely effaced.[1]

    I think he capped the debate.

  26. Douglas Pauly says:

    Well, the ones who have been spearheading the removal of statues and monuments from display in cities and towns and other public places insisted that they be relocated to museums or to battlefields or other actual Civil War related locations. But now, there is grumbling about any being displayed at such locations. The old adage “Give an inch and they will take a mile” is in full swing.

  27. tiredoldhorse says:

    seems to me this statue destruction is a brilliant initiative by the Trump campaign masterminded presumably, by Roger Stone. The independents are going to be so spooked they’ll all rally to the standard of the hero of Mount Rushmore – but I’m not an American so how would I know? There would appear to be a heck of a lot of white saviors getting in on the act.

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