History Professor Destroys GOP Senate Candidate's Racist Myths About Robert E. Lee and the Civil War
Among the numerous white supremacists running for higher office this year is Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in the special election for Thad Cochran's old seat.
McDaniel, an attorney, talk show host, and state senator with longtime support from the Tea Party, has a history of toxic racial views. He has consorted with neo-Confederates, and in his previous run for Senate in 2014, he accused Cochran of "voter fraud" because black people voted for him in the primary — as if they were synonymous.
On Wednesday, McDaniel took things further by posting a glowing defense of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee to Facebook.
"Here's the irony," he wrote. "Robert E. Lee was the most decorated soldier in the U.S. Army. He was a man of unimpeachable integrity. Lincoln offered him command in the Union Army, but Lee refused only because his loyalty was to Virginia. Lee opposed both secession and slavery. And yet to the historically illiterate left, a man who opposed both slavery and secession has come to symbolize both slavery and secession."
This is an odd characterization of a man who both owned slaves and led an army of traitors who opened fire on U.S. troops in the name of slavery and secession.
But McDaniel did not go unchallenged. In fact, Kevin Gannon, a history professor at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, posted a scathing rebuttal on Twitter to McDaniel's historical revisionism:
Hi there-Civil War historian here. So, uh...this is really, really far from "The Truth." Got a minute? /1 https://t.co/p0p714upiy— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440264.0
2/ Lee certainly did not believe slavery was wrong. In an 1856 letter to his wife, he said "The blacks are immeasur… https://t.co/bM6GNA9Gjd— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440308.0
4/ If you read Elizabeth Prior Brown's biography of Lee, you'd learn that Lee broke up every family on his plantati… https://t.co/8bAJOVZ0Wx— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440368.0
Gannon then proceeded to debunk McDaniel's assertion that Lee opposed secession.:
6/Bear in mind that Lee forsook the oath he took to the Constitution and Union when he left the US Army, *where he… https://t.co/HaxjzY5GND— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440368.0
Then, Gannon proceeded to debunk one of the primary "Lost Cause" myths: that Lee's cause, and the cause of the Civil War generally, was not slavery:
8/Don't just take my word for it-read Virginia's secession ordinance, condemning the federal govt for actions taken… https://t.co/6neXzyS03q— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440408.0
10/I'm not going to relitigate secession, because it's crystal clear from the documents and other evidence from the… https://t.co/YFPyoUxKAc— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440409.0
12/To deny that someone like Bob Ed Lee supported slavery or secession is to buy into the post-Civil War propaganda… https://t.co/REH6dDhaQp— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440468.0
14/The local chapter of the Freedmen's Bureau repeatedly charged Washington College students with abducting and rap… https://t.co/2i9FC5fuAs— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440529.0
16/What @senatormcdaniel is doing here is giving you the santized version of Lee, the "marble man" myth-it's an ima… https://t.co/7Uxwu0E0Cl— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440582.0
18/But to do so, to deny Lee was a supporter of slavery and secession, is to deny that the Civil War occurred becau… https://t.co/jxsFIIz2Lk— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440656.0
Gannon closed out with this thought:
19/ So, @senatormcdaniel, you have a curious way of defining "The Truth," but I suspect you're more interested in d… https://t.co/fXHy02xGVS— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon)1534440657.0