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 Posted: Fri Aug 11th, 2006 03:26 am
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James Longstreet
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I knew that Lee opposed slavery, though he owned slaves at one time in his life when he inherited his father-in-law's estate, and profited off their services to pay off his father-in-law's debt.  I knew Jackson owned a couple of slaves, but was very generous towards them, and I knew Cleburne opposed slavery.  But what about Longstreet?  I can't find anything about his views on slavery.  Were there any other CS generals who were opposed to the institution?  I would really appreciate some help.

Thanks--Casey



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 Posted: Fri Aug 11th, 2006 03:00 pm
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David White
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I'm not sure opposed slavery is the correct term here.  Cleburne didn't really oppose slavery, he just recognized it as a liablity for the south after the EP.  Same is true for many Union generals, they didn't oppose slavery either.

I can't recall for sure if he had slaves or not, he was wealthy for his time and had a big family so I assume he did.  Jeffrey Wert's book probably has the definitive answer to that.



 Posted: Sat Aug 12th, 2006 03:48 am
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James Longstreet
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Thanks for the responses.  I think I'd agree with Lee as being uncomforatable.  I mean, I should have rephrased the question; you're not going to find a CS abolotionist general.  As for Longstreet, it's frustrating not to have a definative answer.  And I think I will look into that book.

--Thanks, Casey



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 Posted: Mon Aug 14th, 2006 11:21 pm
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James Longstreet
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Calm down, it was an accident.  Sorry to committ such a serious offense.



 Posted: Mon Sep 11th, 2006 07:08 pm
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ckleisch
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It was General Cleburne that first suggested and then pushed an effort  to
have black units recruited with the stipulation the serving black members would be emancipated if the CSA won the war. It took a full year for the administration to realize the potential pool of manpower. The first active units were recruited and started drilling in Richmond in March 1865. Unfortunately, by that time it was too late, supplies were almost non-existant.
Longstreet made few public comments concerning his politics except he was a ststes rights man and felt he should follow his state wherever it went and did. such things were political decisions. Bedford Forrest and hampton were  Pro-slavery Generals. General Edward Porter Alexander owned slaves but they were free to come and go and they did go before the end of the war.

Attached, is a book reference that has data on the vary subject you seek as General Alexander had conversations with individuals from both theaters

"fighting For the Confederacy:" the Personal Recollections of General Porter Alexander " by Gary Gallaher  UNC Press  ISBN 0-8078-1848-8

Attachment: save0001.jpg (Downloaded 104 times)



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 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2006 01:35 am
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RGW1958
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Lee once wrote that Slavery was a "moral & political evil." Though his views on race, like 99% of 19th century Americans (South and North), would be considered racist by 21st century standards, I don't believe there is any question that Lee was opposed to the institution of slavery. Lee would never have supported something he viewed as morally evil. He, like many Southerners, felt trapped by a system no one really wanted. Lee would likely have agreed with the words of Thomas Jefferson: “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is on one scale, and self-preservation in the other.” He would have also agreed with his father-in-law, whose slaves he inherted, when he wrote that slavery was â€œa curse upon their section by the folly of their ancestors.” This, of course, does not excuse the blight of slavery, but we must be careful of "presentism" - judging 19th century men by 21st century standards.



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 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2006 02:28 pm
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David White
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RGW:

There most definitely is a question about Lee and his opposition to slavery, in fact he did not oppose it at all.  Otherwise he would not have tried to circumvent his father-in-law's will in an attempt to maintain his slaves past the deadline in old man Custis' will.  To say he was uncomfortable with it, is true but to say he opposed it is flat out wrong.



 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2006 04:25 pm
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RGW1958
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David:

There were financial concerns and reasons for Lee's timing regarding his father-in-law's will. The delay was not because he "did not oppose it." [slavery] Lee was opposed to slavery on moral principle, but was in the same quandry as other Southerners. The financial and political realities hindered their moral concerns. Not a justification, just a reality. See previous post.

RGW



 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2006 08:40 pm
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David White
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Okay, he was opposed to slavery until its abscence placed a burden on him personally and financially.  That is certainly the moral high ground! 



 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2006 11:13 pm
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RGW1958
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Yes, its quite easy to take that position from 200 years out. I suppose all the founding fathers were also immoral racists based on that logic. That is historic presentism and is flawed. Question, do you avoid all purchases of items made in China where slave labor is still practiced? Or, is that a personal and financial burden?



 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2006 01:29 pm
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David White
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I didn't call him a racist or impose 21st century standards on him.  The statement was he opposed slavery, I provided evidence that he did not oppose it rather he accepted it.  It is a 1 or 0, yes or no position on Lee's opposition to slavery or acceptance of slavery.  Lee accepted it, not opposed it.



 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2006 02:00 pm
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RGW1958
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We will agree to disagree. See my original post.



 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2006 02:46 pm
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David White
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Yeah, well I've known alchoholics who said whiskey was evil too and it didn't stop their drinking.  Facts are facts, your denying them won't change that. 



 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2006 08:47 pm
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RGW1958
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And neither will yours sir.



 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2006 09:17 pm
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javal1
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At this point I think the "agree to disagree" thing sounds pretty good.



 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2006 01:22 am
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James Longstreet
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I found an interesting quote that pertains to this subject.  In the book "The Confederate Ordeal", it states that when Confederate President Jefferson Davis was asked whether or not the War was being fought to perpetuate slavery, Davis supposedly replied, "This war is not about slavery.  It is about Independance."  Can anyone varify this?

Thanks, Casey



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