History Professor Destroys GOP Senate Candidate's Racist Myths About Robert E. Lee and the Civil War

Chris McDaniel tried to whitewash the cause of Robert E. Lee. An Iowa professor resoundingly schooled him.

Photo Credit: J.C. McRae/Library of Congress

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:

Gannon then proceeded to debunk McDaniel's assertion that Lee opposed secession.:

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:

Gannon closed out with this thought:

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.