Who was Robert E. Lee? Was he a hero or was he a traitor?

Essay by Bdon444High School, 10th gradeA, January 2003

download word file, 4 pages 3.9 1 reviews

Downloaded 62 times

Who was Robert E. Lee? Was he a hero or was he a traitor? For some, Robert E. Lee is an almost god like figure for others, he is a paradox. When Abraham Lincoln was elected President, South Carolina seceded and was quickly followed by six more southern states: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. General Winfield Scott asked Colonel Robert E. Lee to take command of the United States Army to put down the rebellion. Lee, however, offered his services to the newly elected President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. Mr. Davis accepted them and Lee was made a general in CSA service. By joining the Confederacy Lee was going against the Union. However, after the war Lee was very involved in uniting the Union again. It was said in The Hero of The South by Merrill Root that "the man who fought against the Union showed us what unity means".

(http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/1997/vol3no22/vol13no22_lee.htm) Nevertheless he was still tried for treason. However, his case was dropped when he submitted to civil authorities by signing an oath of loyalty to the Union. Lee is obviously a very controversial historical figure, but when it comes down to it he is a true American hero. In fact, that is how he more or less was viewed after the war by the entire country.

Within just a few years of the war's end, Robert E. Lee had become a mythic figure for many Southerners. In 1868, Fanny Downing referred to Lee as "bathed in the white light which falls directly upon him from the smile of an approving and sustaining God." (http://www.wfu.edu/~matthetl/south/relee.html) This saintly imagery was elaborated and reinforced by many others. John W. Daniels who served on General Jubal A. Early's staff wrote: "The divinity in...