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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Lee and Jackson - Southern Cavaliers, Heroes and Gentlemen

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lee and Jackson - Southern Cavaliers, Heroes and Gentlemen

By James W. King 

There was a land of cavaliers and cotton fields called the Old South. Here in this world gallantry took it's last bow. That civilization is now Gone With The Wind and was portrayed in the epic 1939 movie bearing that title. Two of the gallant knights of the Old South who played major roles in the WAR FOR SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE (aka Civil War) were Robert Edward Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. Lee was born Jan.19,1807 at Stratford Westmoreland County Virginia and Jackson was born Jan.21,1824 at Clarksburg Virginia (now West Virginia). Both men served in the Mexican War and U.S. Commander Winfield Scott described Lee as the best soldier I ever saw in the field. 
A Culture War began about 1830 between the North and South. The North became increasingly Socialist along the lines of Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx politically and liberal in religion espousing Atheism, Unitarianism, Transcendentalism and other isms. The South adhered to the Constitution and Bill of Rights as established by  America's founding fathers who were primarily Southern gentlemen from  Virginia and remained Orthodox Christian. Northern violation of the Constitution and Yankee greed, intolerance, hypocrisy, and aggression caused the Southern States to secede from the Union and seek Independence from the tyrannical, despotic, and dictatorial North who was increasingly treating the South as an agricultural colony and forcing the South to pay 75 to 85% of the money to operate the Federal Government via an unfair sectional tariff. The upcoming Morrill Tariff increased the tax rate to 50%. 
Both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were destined to play major rolls in the South's valiant and heroic struggle to achieve INDEPENDENCE against overwhelming numbers and resources.  The great English author Charles Dickens wrote "the Northern onslaught against Southern slavery is a specious piece of humbug designed to mask their desire for the economic control of the Southern states". There were 10 causes of Southern secession one of which was slavery, but it was already a dying institution before the war and most educated Southerners were in favor of orderly graduated emancipation. 
Secession was not treason and was legal by the 10th Amendment and all early attempts were by the Northern state of Massachusetts in 1803 and 1814. Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Salmon Chase stated in 1867 "If you bring these leaders (Confederate) to trial it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not a rebellion. What the North won on the battlefield will be lost in a court of law".
Both men were devout Christians and their greatness can best be judged by the positive statements made by Northerners who were their former enemies in battle and by later U.S. presidents and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who called Lee "the most noble American who ever lived". In 1880 E. Benjamin Andrews president of  Brown  University and a former Union veteran said that "any father when asked who he would want his son to emulate would answer Robert E. Lee if he were wise".  U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower promoted Lee as a role model for American youth and said "a nation of men of Lee's caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul". When the CSA army went into Pennsylvania Lee refused to commit barbaric atrocities in retaliation for what the Yankees had done to Southern civilians especially women. Post-War a Northern insurance company offered Lee $50,000 for the use of his name. Lee desperately needed money but he declined saying "my name is my heritage and about all I have left and it is not for sale".
The late Franklin D. Roosevelt, America's 32nd president, spoke at the unveiling of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Statue in DallasTexas, on June 12, 1936 and said, quote, “I am happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of Lee. All over the United States we recognize him, as a great general. But also, all over the United States, I believe we recognize him as something much more than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen".  British Army Field Marshall G. Joseph Wolseley met Lee during the war and stated “I judged Lee to be made from a different mold and of finer and superior metal than other men". Stonewall Jackson was of the same quality. 


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