Lee was, above all else, a traitor to his country
Gen. Robert E. Lee was a traitor, not a rebel, not a patriot. He betrayed his oath as an officer and a member of the United States military. R.E. Lee and those members of the U.S. Army that followed him and took up arms were traitors, guilty of high treason by their actions. Revisionists who try to paint R.E. Lee and those officers who took up arms as misguided patriots whose actions resulted in a four-year Civil War that cost more than 600,000 American lives need to stop trying to justify their acts of treason.
Abraham Lincoln’s refusal to punish those officers and elected officials for treason “With malice toward none and charity for all …” resulted in more than a hundred years of continued abuse of former slaves and little reconciliation for those who suffered the most.
Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the separate but equal approach by any standard are a stain on our history that is still felt today. Believing that the kid-gloved approach worked ignores the actions of those whose treason split the nation, ignoring the actual history of R.E. Lee and his partners in their treason to assuage the destructive effects of their acts, is to justify feelings of solidarity with traitors such as these and finding common cause with their contemporaries, who proudly embrace the Confederate flag and neo-Nazis.
At the end of World War II those responsible for starting the war found reconciliation at the end of a rope.