I’m strongly opposed to the removal of Civil War monuments anywhere because we must remember history as it is, not as we’d like it to be. The Civil War leaders were almost all slave owners because the economy was based on agriculture and the wealthy plantations were all worked by slaves. It’s very clear the desire to maintain slavery was the reason the South left the Union, and thus their reason for leaving was quite immoral. In that sense they were ‘bad guys’.
But I think it’s important to remember the North did not prosecute the Civil War against the South because they wanted to end slavery. If they had, it would have been the only moral reason for doing so. They were, in fact, suppressing a rebellion. I believe all people have the right to leave a nation if they so desire, and the Union opposition of succession was also an immoral action. Therefore, it is credible to also refer to the war as the “War of Northern Aggression” and the Southern leaders as heroes for defending what can rightly be called a military invasion of a sovereign nation. In that way they can also be thought of as ‘good guys.’
We like to have clear-cut good and evil with no grey area in between. It is very plain the South left the union to preserve slavery, and that is clearly an evil event. However, the Union did not fight to end slavery. The war was framed as a war against slavery only when the war was not going well for the Union and they needed to change the equation. There is no clear cut good and evil in the war, just a long and bloody conflict.
Before you do to me what everyone on the left does to someone who opposes their spoon-fed views by calling me a racist, please note I believe the treatment of blacks is this country’s greatest sin and I’m happy the end of slavery came with the war. It needed to go, and is the only thing that came out of the chain of events the Civil War began that was worth all the blood. I simply think we should remember history is much more complex than we realize and usually there is no one “correct” viewpoint. History should never be considered a conclusion. It should be the database from which conclusions are drawn, and as long as an opinion is drawn out of fact and reason, it’s as good as anyone else’s.