Gilbert_Stuart_Williamstown_Portrait_of_George_WashingtonBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the call for the removal of the statue of George Washington in my hometown of Chicago.  This is not the first such call to remove statues of confederate figures or those who supported segregation. The most recent such removal was the removal of the statue of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney due to his authorship of the Dredd Scott decision.  There have been demands that monuments and the names of slave-owning founders be removed.

Here is the column:

George Washington may have survived the winter at Valley Forge, but he may not see the end of the summer of Charlottesville. Bishop James Dukes of Chicago’s Liberation Christian Center and others are calling for the removal of his and Andrew Jackson’s statues and and stripping of their names from parks. Dukes insists that these monuments are “a slap in the face and it’s a disgrace” for African Americans given their history as slave owning presidents.

The bishop’s call for the removal of our first president’s statue is the latest effort to strip away the names of historical figures over ties to slavery or segregation. There is a movement to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson (who helped establish Princeton as a world academic institution) from buildings and schools, due to his support for segregation. The University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson, but last year, University President Teresa Sullivan was denounced by students and faculty for merely quoting our third president in a public message because he was a slave owner.

The call to remove Washington’s statue came less than a day after President Trump asked whether Washington would be next in the movement to remove statues like the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville. The statement drew the ire of CNN’s Jim Acosta who described the notion as absurd and said it was “taken as a sign that the president perhaps needs a refresher course and needs to go back to History 101.”

220px-US_Navy_031029-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams_(1735-1826),_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)-crop220px-BenFranklinDuplessisHistory is precisely where this controversy should begin and end. Washington is rightfully condemned for his ownership of slaves. There were contemporaries like John Adams, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton who were outspoken critics of slavery. Franklin called slavery “an atrocious debasement of human nature,” while Adams referred to it as a “foul contagion in the human character.” These visionaries not only saw a great evil but answered the call of history to stand steadfastly against it.

However, before Mayor Rahm Emanuel sends in the bulldozers into Washington Park, it is worth considering a few facts about our first president’s history with slavery. Washington inherited a number of slaves at age 11 and received more slaves in his marriage to Martha Custis. However, he gradually came to oppose slavery. On the interim, Washington tried to assuage his guilt by refusing to sell slaves that would break up families, telling an associate that it was “against my inclination…to hurt the feelings of those unhappy people by a separation of man and wife, or of families.”

150px-seal_of_lafayette_collegeAfter the war, Washington continued to discuss ways to convert his plantation from slaves to tenants at the suggestion of his close aide (and outspoken opponent of slavery) Marquis de Lafayette. By 1786, Washington wrote his friend Robert Morris, “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of [slavery].”

In the end, Washington was the only one of nine slaveholding presidents (and the only slaveholding founder) who freed his slaves upon his death. Washington freed as many of his 317 slaves as possible. Some 123 slaves were his to emancipate while neither he nor Martha could free the so-called “Custis Dower slaves” (who remained property of the heirs to the estate of Daniel Parke Custis, Martha Washington’s first husband). He further ordered that all of the elderly or sick slaves would be supported by his estate for the rest of their lives.

So where does this leave us? With a complex and flawed figure who practiced a great evil while belatedly coming to reject it. He finished his life allied with his more enlightened colleagues but this is no reason to forgive his prior history. However, that is the point of history. It is never some neat narrative divided cleanly between demons and angels. Washington was a great leader who held a nation together through sheer leadership and stands as one of the few leaders in history to refuse to become a monarch himself.

Curiously, Dukes does offer a concession. Washington Park and Jackson Park could be formally named after former Mayor Harold Washington and civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson or singer Michael Jackson. It is unlikely to convince those who view these statutes as not simply reminders of past leaders but past struggles in an evolving society. The same cannot be said for Michael Jackson. “Thriller” may be the best selling album in history, but the Battle of New Orleans still has more of a hold on history.

The fact is that we often learn as much from the failures as we do the triumphs of historical figures. Washington ultimately proved to be an early transitional figure in our ugly history of slavery. Washington himself described his desire at Mount Vernon “to lay a foundation” for a “rising generation” with a “new destiny” other than slavery.

150px-GWUlogoFor my part, I am proud to teach at the George Washington University, whose charter was paid for by Washington himself as part of that same final testament. Of course, that does not mean we could not make other improvements. Another school in Washington is named after a British king, George II, who kept our nation under colonial oppression. After all, the moonwalk and robot dance steps did have a transformative impact on my generation… and “Jacksontown University” has a nice ring to it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.


  1. The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

    You couldn’t.

  2. The full text of the South Carolina Declaration of Secession for those that still believe that the root cause for the Civil War wasn’t slavery:

    Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

    The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

    And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act. . . .

    In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

    The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

    This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.

    The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

    The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

    These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

    We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

    For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the *forms* of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

    This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens [editor’s note: this is refering to former slaves or their descendants]; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

    On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States. . . .

    We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.

    Adopted December 24, 1860

    1. Risible sophistry, LS. The Constitution held that fugitive slaves had to be returned to their owners. The free states were dilatory in their compliance even after The Fugitive Slave Act. Therefore the secession from The Union was supposedly all about the rule of law and supposedly had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery.

      Once again, LS, risible sophism.

      1. Oops. Sorry LS. “. . . for those that still believe that the root cause . . . WAS NOT slavery.”

        I’ll clean my eyeglasses better next time.

        1. “Risible sophistry,…”

          To be sure.


          I like it.

          “I’ll clean my eyeglasses better next time.”


          And don’t forget the “fog factor” in your next equation.

          1. George, I thought LS was taking your position. LS was NOT taking you position. I apologized to LS. I will not apologize to you on that count. Maybe on some other count on some other day. Meanwhile, be advised, George, that gloating is not a virtue, either.

            1. Enough “Affirmative Action Privilege” as incoherence and hysteria.

              “LS was NOT taking you position.”

              Whatever that means.

              Is “loquacious” a virtue?

              Stick to the facts; eschew the ad hominem.

              1. What is really sad about this, is that there are substantive issues that can be addressed. To wit: a demonstrable shut out of black people, by name, in the post war housing projects and subsequently they were excluded by name from buying publicly guaranteed housing or even having it sold to blacks after the original purchase. Since home ownership is the #1 goal of those who want to go from poverty level to lower middle class, excluding by name, as the government and the banks did, black people from participation, this definitely harmed that community and kept them back from prosperity. HEY BLM DONKEYS..this is actionable by law! and guess what..fair Americans..which is only about 98% of them..would most likely support a legitimate way to redress this grievance. So here’s another idea..try getting a lawyer and using the COURTS instead of being used as street agitators over some statues . If you follow my advice you might end up being impressed with how the Rule of Law is capable of delivering justice to all. There is no reason that government should not set up a housing program that would allow blacks (ONLY AMERICAN BLACKS, NOT MEXICANS OR OTHER POC) the people who were redlined out of the original programs, that gives the benefits equal to the original program.
                This is especially heartbreaking when you realize that these programs were AFTER WW2 when blacks were right there fighting alongside all of America..that makes the ACTUAL INSTITUTIONAL RACISM in this case truly deplorable.
                There is already case law in Pigford v. Glickman.
                This reminds me of the old blonde joke where the blonde prays every night to win the lottery. After a week of praying she hears a voice from heaven that yells ‘Help me out, buy a ticket”.

      2. The CSA seceded, availing itself of its natural and god-given right, an act which is not restricted by the Constitution. We can know that secession was and is the right of all states as the act obtains freedom and Britain, Catalonia, Scotland, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Virginia and every state in the former Soviet Union availed themselves of it.

        Every subsequent act of adversity and hostility toward the CSA by Lincoln was illegal and unconstitutional.

        Lincoln conducted an illegal war of aggression against a foreign, sovereign state, issued an unconstitutional Emancipation Proclamation as there are no “secession” powers provided for in the Constitution, illegally confiscated legal private property and unconstitutionally suspended Habeas Corpus as a heinous tyrant and dictator.

        That the CSA, as an act of diplomacy and courtesy, provided a rationale and notice for its definitive act of secession is entirely immaterial and has no bearing.

        The CSA needed to provide no justification.

        The CSA needed only to secede.

        Lincoln’s opposition to slavery should have be pursued in the free markets using economic tools such promotion / marketing, boycotts and divestiture.

        The true perpetrators of slavery were cotton consumers.

        1. George, one cannot secede from The Union and claim protection for oneself under that Union’s Constitution any more than one could be in breach of a contract one had signed and claim a tort for oneself under the terms and conditions of that same contract which one had breached.

          1. Just like the false status obtained by parasites from unconstitutional “Affirmative Action Privilege,” the CSA had no need for false “protection” as an autonomous and sovereign nation.

            That is not even a point; much less a moot point.

            The United States of America seceded from Great Britain. Period. The act was concluded upon the issuance of the American declaration. Like “Crazy Abe” Lincoln, Great Britain insanely attacked America’s natural and god-given right to secession and sovereignty with violence.

            Every Communist must grasp the truth; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” – Chairman Mao.

            Britain/”Brexit, Catalonia, Scotland, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Virginia and every nation in the former USSR are all sovereign and autonomous nations with absolutely no need for existential justification from you or any other exogenous source.

            1. Quite loquacious, George; but you dodged the question.

              Did The Confederacy have any legitimate claim upon The Constitution of the United States of America from which they seceded?

              Did the signers of The Declaration of Independence have any legitimate claim upon The English Constitution of 1689 from which they declared their independence?

              Why did The British execute Patrick Henry for treason while The Union granted Confederate, secessionists rebels amnesty?

              If the Confederacy had no need for “false protection” under The U. S. Constitution, then how is it, George, that The Union prosecuted an “illegal and unconstitutional” war against the CSA?

                1. Mespo, who, then, said, “I regret that I have only one life to give for my country?”

                    1. Thanks. Mespo. My brain is jukebox cross-wired to a pinball machine. Every time the pinball hits two consecutive cushion a letter button and a number button are pushed on the jukebox and out pops the remix version of several golden oldies.

                      P. S. Don’t get old.

  3. People who wish to concemn Washington do not realize that the first priority was saving our country from tyranny. It took time for the issue of slavery to be addressed. Washington did more than any other person to fight for this country, not because he had property, not because he owned slaves, but because he loved the ideals of freedom. I have a page on FB, This Day in the American Revolution, a day-by-day blog of what important events, and in the process have read a lot of his correspondence, to generals, to Congress, to other people fighting both military and political battles, and the fact that he was able to pull victory out of all the in-fighting and lack of morale, lack of equipment, lack of men against the greatest army on Earth is no small feat. He did that so that men could live free. Without George Washington we would have no America.

  4. A line of demarcation is necessary, IMO. Those monuments erected to honor Confederate military personnel should go down because: 1. they fought against their own country to preserve the bondage of humans deemed inferior to them; and 2. the Confederacy LOST the war. Who erects statutes to a group of insurrectionists who LOST a war? It is very clear that those monuments were erected as a statement of white supremacy. For this reason, they need to go. We are more enlightened now. The monuments can be placed in a museum or someplace else where people must specifically seek them out to view them, but not in front of public buildings or in public parks where people are forced to view them, because what they stand for is un-American.

    As to Washington and Jefferson who did own slaves, it’s a different analysis. They were nation-builders. They stood up to England’s tyranny to establish a new nation based on democratic principles. Incidentally, they owned slaves, but they didn’t fight to keep other people in bondage: quite the opposite. Their slave ownership, and the wrongness of it, needs to be acknowledged, but that fact is incidental to everything else they stood for.

    1. It is very clear that those monuments were erected as a statement of white supremacy. For this reason, they need to go. We are more enlightened now.

      For anyone reading Natacha for the first time, don’t be mislead by the language in her post. Treat her reflections on enlightenment in much the same way you should view this eclipse.

      1. Olly: is this the best you can come up with? Do you have a contrary opinion, based on facts? If so, I’d like to hear it.

        1. As a society, we need to understand the actions and players at important points in history. You need to present all the players, or you don’t have much of a story. Art is not required to be a positive message to everyone. I wonder if there is a Pete Rose statue?

          1. There is a street named after him in Cincinnati, Pete Rose Way (or Avenue, I forget….). It is located right in front of Riverfront Stadium, so you can’t go watch a ballgame without driving on, or walking over it.

        2. Olly: is this the best you can come up with? Do you have a contrary opinion, based on facts? If so, I’d like to hear it.

          If you fancy we live in an ‘enlightened’ age, you’re not paying attention.

        3. Yeah, Nat, that is the best that Olly can come up with. Ignore him. He’s irrelevant.

          1. Ignore him. He’s irrelevant.

            🙂 Yeah, if that doesn’t scream enlightened, then nothing does. Brilliant!

        4. The facts of your contribution to this blog are in the archives. They are some of the most uncivil and ignorantly partisan comments I’ve seen in my time on this blog. Time and again (in the archives), many of us have attempted to bring you contrary opinion, based on facts and it didn’t make a dent in your enlightened opinion.

          So yes, that is the best I care to come up with. Thanks

    2. Lincoln said if he could preserve the Union by keeping all slaves in bondage, he would. That doesn’t sound like a war to end slavery does it?
      I have come to my own conclusions as to the underlying reasons for the Civil War and slavery per se does not seem to the main reason.

      Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. The situation with Kansas is worth considering

      1. Slavery was not the reason for the war. If it had been, Lincoln would have issued the Emancipation Proclamation at the very beginning.

  5. People are asking “Where do you draw the line?” on removing statues. I would draw a circle around the ones built in the 1910-1930 period by JimCrow white supremacists. This was 40-60 years after the end of the Civil War and the 14th Amendment. This 20th century movement was in defiance of the rapid progress of educated blacks in the South taking positions of leadership. The monuments were symbolic gestures aimed at putting educated black people “in their place”, to dissuade them from seeking public office and other positions of leadership.

    1. pb, Charles Barkley, a black man unlike yourself said, “Like most black folk, I never have thought about those statues a day in my’s wasted energy. I concern myself w/ encouraging black kids to get an education, stop killing each other, and seek economic opportunity.” It’s gone viral on Twitter.

      “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

    2. Then take down that Lincoln Memorial as well. It was also built during that time frame you list. As were numerous Civil War Battlefield parks (which literally serve no other purpose but to remind us of confederate terrorist attacks and slavery).

      There were several National Parks established during that ‘Jim Crow’ era, all of which are racist according to this idiotic conspiracy theory that monuments were sneakily built in that time period.

      Or you could just realize that it is a nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Not a fact. There is literally nothing to prove that confederate statues had racial intent, you know. No documentation.

  6. One issue that is never come up in this debate is the fact that slavery was not illegal in the historical times that our founding fathers lived. So if are we now going to become a country that goes back and punishes people for acts that some consider only reprehensible than what do we do with other actions. One could make a modern day case that if Roe V Wade were overturned to stop the deaths of pre-born citizens that the mothers who took these actions should be charged with the crime of murder. Slavery was abominable but today many people enjoy the fruits of it’s existence. That certainly is not r true of the almost 60 million people whose lives were snuffed out by abortion. 17 million of which are Black and could be descendants of slaves. Where is the moral outrage over that.

    1. You actually think it’s worse to never even be born, than to live an entire life under cruel oppression backed by violent thuggery? You’re confusing your adult moral pain with the fleeting existence of aborted or miscarried fetuses. Do you feel any outrage over the loss of some 2-3 million “people” every year who undergo fertilization but fail in the first 48 hours?

      1. Please do not try to put words in my mouth. I said nothing about miscarriage nor would I. These woman are heroes that often go through great personal pain and suffering to give life to another.
        I would just make one final comment about abortion which I believe came from Ronald Reagan. “I’ve noticed everybody that is for abortion has already already born.”

  7. MLK was a homophobe and sexist. He thought being homosexual was an abomination and had no women in his inner circle. Remove all his statues.

    Actually, the way the alt left and PC change what is acceptable and not acceptable, maybe we should have environmentally disposable statues, or just do away w/ the art of statue making altogether. The alt left is insane and the Dem party and MSM are enablers.

    1. MLK was also a slut, but then again, so was JFK. Yes, we should henceforce have only inflatable statues, so that they easily disposed of when the political winds shift……Seriously, this is all just a power play by the leftists. Does anyone honestly believe that the removal of the statues in Baltimore will make one iota of difference in the lives of the blacks in that ravished city? But removing statues is cheaper and easier than dealing with the intransigent violence and poverty by a permanent underclass that simply could never survive without the handouts of a civilized nation. Had Lincoln had his way, their ancestors would have been repatriated to Africa, where they would probably have been eaten by Cheetas for lunch, or at best attempted to survive among the disease, malnourishment, tribal wars by machete wielding neighbors, only to be sold off once again by the Arab slave traders. There is a reason why no American blacks are moving to Africa, and Africans are daily risking their lives on over-crowded, leaky boats headed for Europe.

  8. Is it not interesting how articles with any reference to the American Civil War generate so much controversy and name calling. There will never be anything close to a consensus about the events of that period because America is and always been two separate nations, North and South. Be that as it may, I do not believe that tearing down Confederate memorials, burning the Confederate battle flag, etc. has anything to do with the Confederacy, slavery, etc. It is the current focus of the cultural Marxists to destroy America and start a race war.
    After demands for removal of Washington and Jefferson memorials, someone burned a bust of Lincoln. I believe the reason was that he was a racist. All these arguments about slavery are for naught. Wake up and see the forest in spite if the trees.

    1. Actually it is more like ten nations. That is, if the more than 400 native american nations are lumped together.

  9. Instead of taking down all reminders that slavery existed, we need to have this conversation of how the birth of a nation began the process of ending slavery. This really is one of the great stories in human history. It’s bad enough that our modern society seems to have little ability to empathize with the early 20th century generation; but asking them to consider anything in the context of a 17th, 18th or 19th century world is not going to happen if their deepest thinking is limited to 140 characters.

    The best recent example of how slowly government must shift a culture without backlash is the Obama presidency. The progressive movement was on pace to completely transform this nation but that pace would not include being finished in Obama’s 2 terms. Fortunately, he miscalculated or completely ignored how far along our culture was to becoming complete dependents of the state. By pushing too hard and too fast, he built his own resistance movement. So instead of an easy transition of power from one progressive regime to another, that opposition gave us Trump.

    1. Olly, I agree with you, I also would point out that our culture being dependent on corporate welfare and so-called entitlements have shifted peoples perspectives on what “dependent” means. What one group says entitlements others call incentives.

      1. dependent on corporate welfare

        Can you even define ‘corporate welfare’?

        1. Check the tax rates that Apple, Microsoft, GE, and any of the other Fortune 500 pay. Check the tax rates that local and states give profitable companies to keep jobs here. Check what the top 1% pay in federal and state tax. There are rules for them and there are rules for the rest of us.

  10. No man would want to be judged out of the context of the times in which he lived.

    1. Jim, BINGO! I taught history and understand the fundamental need to understand context. If you were to poll history teachers and professors, even though a solid majority are liberal, you would find they oppose this INSANITY. As the NPR/Marist poll done after Charlotteville showed a SOLID majority of Americans, 62% OPPOSE destruction of art/statues and that includes a majority of Hispanic, white, and BLACK people. Dem robots like the not very bright frankly/SWM just pound the identity politics drum because they have no ideas but to destroy are and Trump.

      1. Jim, I saw Charles Barkley give as great rant about this insane, Taliban destruction of art, like only Sir Charles can.

        1. The Taliban destroyed remnants of human history going back to before the birth of Christ. It’s everyone’s history.

          1. Is everyone OK w/ Comrade Natacha defining history? I got agita just typing that rhetorical question. And here’s a stupidity embedded in Natacha’s comment where she contends, “It’s everyone’s history.” Well Natacha, if it were “everyone’s history” then why the hell are there large groups of people destroying them? It’s obviously NOT their history from their perspective, now is it?

            I’m bookmarking this stupid Natacha comment, even by her standard.

    2. As a general proposition I think you’rer correct. People should only be judged outside the context of their times in extreme cases. I don’t know if the confederate figures qualify.

      BTW–Lee was personally opposed to slavery. His loyalty was to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Maybe he misplaced his prioroties.

    3. That’s insanely irresponsible. We people living at this time in 2017 will be judged by our posterity 200 years from now. What kind of future did we design for them to inhabit? Were we conscientious and responsible, or cavalier and self-absorbed?

      1. The latter because we are adding much too much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

  11. Should our war criminal presidents be stripped of their taxpayer-funded perks e.g. huge pensions, SService protection etc,? Bushes, Clintons, and Trumpsters?

    1. Bushes, Clintons, and Trumpsters?

      LOL! I don’t blame you; I would like to forget the Obama era as well. 😉

  12. If Christians, Jews, and other folks want to demonize slave owners, why not be consistent and demonize Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who certainly owned slaves? I for one will never do that. I remember reading about God saying to Abraham, “I’ll curse those who curse you”. Or in more recent times, do we really feel the need to rename the cities of Washington, D.C., Houston, and Austin because their namesakes owned slaves? If so, why the outrage under Trump but not Obama? Answer that, please.

    1. “If so, why the outrage under Trump but not Obama?”

      Rhetorical ? 🙂

      1. Obama is the only modern President I know of who personally authorized the targeted killing of an American teenager.
        His name was Abdulrhaman al-Awlaki, he was born in the United States and was killed in a drone strike as he sat in a sidewalk cafe having dinner with friends.
        If that is not a crime, tell me what is.

        1. Again, drone strikes reduce collateral damage. They do not eliminate it. The people complaining are professional complainers, and merit no attention. Others want us to lose this war we’re in, because they’re malicious and insulated (for now) from consequences.

        2. His father Anwar al-Awlaki was a senior leader in al Queda and associated with the Fort Hood terrorist attack. He took his family and returned to Yemen, where he was fully engaged in terrorist plots against the U.S. The father was taken out in a drone strike approved by Obama, and a few weeks later, a second drone strike against a house containing senior al-Queda leaders resulted in the 17 y/o also being killed. Moral of the story: if you choose to be a terrorist, you are putting your family in harm’s way.

    2. Keep the ultimate goal in mind here. It’s not to demonize slave owners. The goal is to delegitimize the Founding Fathers and the original structures of the U.S. government. Once that is done, the push will come to create a new government.

      1. We could use an extensive run of constitutional amendments, but not for purposes they have in mind.

        What they really want, however, is eliminating the vestiges of a professional mentality among the judiciary and the vestiges of culture among elected officials which stand between them and what they want.

  13. Woodrow Wilson. The article mentions him briefly. He not only got us into WWI but he. as President, segregated the Arrmed Forces. Yes. A friggin Democrat segregated the army, navy, marines. No air force then. He was born in Virginia. He had been governor of New Jersey. He wore glasses which slipped down his nose like Chucky Shumer. If there are any statues of Woodrow Wilson near you then deface them.

    1. Ferguson, And Wilson’s OBSESSION w/ WW1 and ignoring of the health crisis in the US lead to the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918. Wilson showed us the problem w/ electing elitist college professors. Unfortunately we didn’t understand history and repeated that mistake in 2008. I admit I was complicit.

      1. Don’t be so hard on yourself about ’08 Nick. I think we were all very HOPEFUL. My cynicism would not allow me to be that hopeful. While even Pat Buchanan was enamored with BO, I had to vote my conscience and go with an independent.

      2. Wilson was the President of Princeton University, a published scholar in political science, and someone who thought outside the box in his discipline (for better or worse). BO was (it’s reasonable to wager) a patronage hire absolutely innocent of scholarly publication.

  14. There are also historical records, including letters written by Washington, that indicate he inherited the slaves he owned and sought to free them upon receipt of said inheritance. When he found that the laws of Virginia prevented him from doing so he did not give up. When, in time, he was financially able to do so he purchased tracts of land he had surveyed as a young officer in what is now Point Pleasant, WV. Upon his death he not only freed his slaves (the laws did, ironically, allow for that) he also gave them the land in WV where they could settle as free men and women. It is important to keep in mind that law-abiding men of that time were often constrained by the “majority” from doing what they believed was right.

  15. “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

    –Jorge Santayana

  16. Just as with the argument over rights and freedoms and whether or not they are privileges earned or what one is born with, the answer is not totally one way or the other. The answer is an extremely slow evolutionary paced change through education and selection. All these statues represent moments in history, however, how those moments are interpreted is a combination of imposed education through society and imposed education through locale and moment. Slavery, racism, bigotry, and other examples of the holier than thou aspect of human nature exist. To take them out of our common experience only allows them to thrive and fester underground.

    There is a massive difference between owning slaves when it was the norm and fighting to maintain that condition when the world was establishing a new norm contradicting slavery. Washington and others reflected on the need to abolish slavery but given a choice between a new country with slavery and therefore the inclusion of more ‘rebels’, or losing the war and continuing subservience to GB, they took the lesser of the two evils. This happened during WW2 with the USSR and continues today. Can we really be proud of our alliances with the extremist Islamic countries? Is there anything to admire in the Gulf States?

    The statues dedicated to those who fought against the abolition of slavery should be removed from public places and/or have added an equally impressive and informative monument to the forces that vanquished these ‘heroes’. The Civil War was a pivotal moment where right and might triumphed over evil, in a complete manner. War always brings with it atrocities. 1776 may have included atrocities on both sides due to war, the continuation of slavery as the status quo, and the destruction of that part of society that did not wish to go along with the new norm, but the reason(s) for the war were not to enslave but to garner a certain measure of freedom for the majority.

    In the end, rewriting history does not benefit the bettering of society. However, revisiting, understanding, and debating upon history does.

    1. You said, “There is a massive difference between owning slaves when it was the norm and fighting to maintain that condition when the world was establishing a new norm contradicting slavery.”

      Sooo, we should condemn Hillary and Obama as homophobes for supporting traditional marriage when the world was establishing a new norm???

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Squeek, And MLK! He was a homophobe and sexist. Bill Clinton passed the Defense of Marriage Act. His library should be incinerated!!

      2. I know you’ve drunk the Kellyanne KoolAid of pivoting to HRC and President Obama as much as humanly possible, but please, please stop.

        1. It’s funny how only the passage of time changes things. Maybe you might want to expound on the Clinton-era “three-strikes” strategy.

      3. Owning slaves was never “the norm”. Only very wealthy landowners could afford slaves, and the slaves are what made them wealthy. They couldn’t have become as wealthy without slavery–that is, if they paid white people a fair, living wage to do the same work. Like now, the wealthy who take advantage of others had the political punch to preserve their wealth.

        1. And they have better shoes than you do. And a swankier apartment. For shame.

        2. Only very wealthy landowners could afford slaves, and the slaves are what made them wealthy.

          About 8% of the households in the United States in 1860 owned slaves, or about 28% of all households in those states where slavery was legal. So, no.

  17. Nobody can escape the cruelty of History.
    Most of our ancestors were the victims of some
    Form of tyranny.
    St Patrick was that product of slavery.
    Slavery was prevalent for thousands of years
    Before the birth of this great nation.
    The evil of slavery must be revealed for what it really representsd.
    It is etched in our memories not in stone.

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