Why Historical Monuments are Important

The recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia have sparked a tense debate on the morality behind certain historical monuments, specifically statues commemorating Civil War-era Confederates like General Robert E. Lee.

As conservatives, this particular debate has put us in a crossroads. Considering the hostility of the Confederacy toward both racial minorities and the Union, there is certainly a case to be made that these monuments may be better suited for museums rather than public pedestals. At the same time, it’s not hard to understand how many people living in the Southern United States could take this as an insult.

The meme to the left targets the latter sentiment, alleging that statues have no real effect on our ability to recall history. After all, weren’t Americans “destroying” history by turning a statue of King George III into musket balls to shoot at British soldiers?

The truth is the meaning of these statues supersedes their actual placement. A statue of George Washington, for example, honors America’s founding and formational heroism. It does not commemorate his status as a slave owner.

During the American Revolution, however, the statue of King George represented the fact that colonists were subjected to the will of an autocracy located roughly 3,000 miles away from its shores. By removing the statue, they weren’t negating their British heritage — they were removing a symbol of oppression.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped race-baiters like Al Sharpton from taking this debate to the next level by calling for the removal of statues of Thomas Jefferson and even George Washington himself.

~ Facts Not Memes

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