Thursday, January 20, 2011

From: Patriot Post of Wednesday, January 19, 2011. This would have been the 204th birthday of Confederate General Robert Edward Lee.
Open Thread: Robert E. Lee

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today we take a moment to remember the birth anniversary of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), one of the greatest military commanders in American history. He was also a great man of faith who gave his all for the cause of liberty and states' rights, which we at The Patriot Post hold so dear.

There were many honorable men of the Confederate States of America, whose objective was, first and foremost, the protection of states rights, and decidedly not the continuation of abhorrent institution of slavery. For a better understanding on the issues of the day, read this perspective on Abraham Lincoln, which was not included in your grade-school civics class. The honor we give these men has its roots in the founding of this great nation.

Mark Alexander notes in his essay, "Lincoln's Legacy at 200," that "the causal case for states' rights is most aptly demonstrated by the words and actions of Gen. Lee, who detested slavery and opposed secession. In 1860, however, Gen. Lee declined President Abraham Lincoln's request that he take command of the Army of the Potomac, saying that his first allegiance was to his home state of Virginia: 'I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and save in defense of my native state... I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.' He would, soon thereafter, take command of the Army of Northern Virginia, rallying his officers with these words: 'Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace shall find him a defender.'"


Thank you Mark for acknowledging the life of this honorable man, whose character has been often maligned under the pen of the victorious. I encourage readers to take this time to recognize the true meaning of States Rights, and examine the words of men who were willing to give their lives for their home--their State.

The danger of unlimited Federal Government and the issue of States Rights versus the power of the U.S. Government has been lost on most of us for far to long. Now we begin to see the issue become of critical importance as Americans are forced to look to their State governments to protect them from the abuses of the Federal government-i.e. healthcare reform, student loan reform, banking and mortgage industry, salt content of your soup, etc-, as well as neglect of those areas for which the Feds are indeed responsible- defense and border control.

We all look at American history through the prism of two hundred years time, and it is difficult sometimes to understand that at the Founding and for some time after, the strong commitment to one's home State was far more developed than allegiance to the yet unproven concept of a Federal Government.

No where is this more eloquently expressed than by Robert E. Lee as he anguished over the decision to resign his US ARMY commission in order to return to his Home - his state - almost 100 years following the founding of our Federal Government.

“Now we are in a state of war which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been drawn; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet the question whether I should take part against my native State.”

“With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword. I know you will blame me; but you must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe that I have endeavored to do what I thought right.” Robert E. Lee

I would imagine that most of us consider ourselves to be Americans, but we still consider our "homes" to be the State in which we live. It is the character of our States, that in large part determines the nature of our work and leisure.

Do not mistake the present day calls for recognition of "States Rights" as a revolution against our Nation- but rather as a necessary stand against those who have usurped the Federal authority granted by the Constitution. They have been enabled by unfettered taxation which has enriched the nations coffers beyond comprehension. The huge amount of Federal taxation and confiscated wealth has created the fraudulent system in which we now are forced to send an elected representative to Washington to retrieve a portion of our hard earned wages, which should never have been sent there in the first place. This is not what the Founders intended, rather it is precisely what they warned us against.

Thanks again for recognizing Robert E. Lee as an honorable man.

It does not take long for one to do even a modicum of research to realize the greatness of Robert E. Lee. And his greatness is burnished by his continual resistence to have himself characterized as such. The essence of Lee is in the quote attributed to him: "Duty is the sublimest word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less." Since his passing there have been very, very few men who rise to the stature of Lee. Ronald Reagan comes to mind.

If Robert E. Lee were alive, he would be celebrating his 204th birthday today, January 19, 2011. This date will probably pass without much notice in the North, but many of us in Dixie will mark the day with recollections of just how great a man he was. In this regard, I offer this reprint of his Farwell to the Army of Northern Virginia. If Mr. Obama wants to end the war in Afghanistan now, this would serve as an excellent draft for his farewell speech to the troops:

"After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.

You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell."

I believe that General Lee can be understood as much by the actions of his adversaries as his own. Lee's home in Arlington was confiscated by the Union and the surrounding fields were used for the burial of Union soldiers. It was felt this would forever be an insult to the Confederate General and he would never again live in this home.

He never lived there again, yet his home has become the national shrine, hallowed ground, for America's heroes. All those who tread Arlington National Cemetery sense the strength of America, the nobleness of purpose and duty.

This was the home of General Lee and it is a true reflection of the man; somber, reflective, yet unbowed, dedicated not to self, but to duty.