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Publius / Jan. 19, 2016

Robert E. Lee

Remembering the birth of a great military commander.

Today we take a moment to remember the birth anniversary of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), one of the greatest military commanders in American history. He was also a great man of faith who gave his all for the cause of Liberty and states’ rights.

There were many honorable men of the Confederate States of America, whose objective was, first and foremost, the protection of states rights, and decidedly not the continuation of the abhorrent institution of slavery. For a better understanding on the issues of the day, read this perspective on Abraham Lincoln, which was not included in your grade-school civics class. The honor we give these men has its roots in the founding of this great nation.

Mark Alexander notes in his essay, “Lincoln’s Legacy at 200,” that “the causal case for states’ rights is most aptly demonstrated by the words and actions of Gen. Lee, who detested slavery and opposed secession. In 1860, however, Gen. Lee declined President Abraham Lincoln’s request that he take command of the Army of the Potomac, saying that his first allegiance was to his home state of Virginia: ‘I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and save in defense of my native state … I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.’ He would, soon thereafter, take command of the Army of Northern Virginia, rallying his officers with these words: ‘Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace shall find him a defender.’”

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