Depoliticizing the Confederacy

Well, it looks as if the monument to the Confederate soldiers in Louisville, Kentucky,  might not be removed.

Of course, one justification for such monuments, and for retaining them even today, is that they are a testament to “courage” and the ultimate sacrifice that these soldiers made (although the one in Louisville is “capped with a statue of Jefferson Davis.”).

Fair enough, I suppose. But consider what I wrote in Loathing Lincoln (page 107): “as historian Kirk Savage has explained, by glorifying military heroes such as Robert E. Lee, the UDC [the United Daughters of the Confederacy] ‘depoliticized the Confederacy,’ and ‘the story of the Lost Cause became a glorious military record rather than a political struggle to secure a slaveholding nation.'”

So, remember the courage of soldiers, sure. But why can’t that be done by placing the statue in a museum? What, specifically, do Americans gain by allowing these monuments to the stand?

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