View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2007 07:01 pm
 PM  Quote  Reply  Full Topic 

Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

  back to top

I don't think for many officers that resigning their commissions was an act of convenience, but rather an act of conscience. I also think they took their Federal oath seriously. It's all part of the agony that is our Civil War, an agony that is at once both singular and awful in every respect. Also, we must be careful not to apply our 21st century sensibilities against 19th century virtues. For many, a man considered his state to his his "country," as Susan noted. That concept might not make much sense to us now, but it was no doubt very real then. If you can accept that premise, then imagine living all your life in the southern state of your birth and suddenly waking up one day to find that essentially you were living in two countries at once without taking a step in any direction. Where does your loyalty lie then? With your home? With your family? With your country? Tough choices. What's convenient about that? It goes directly to what Pryor was saying when she wrote, "What is patriotism? Who commands our first loyalty? Can loyalty be divided and still be true? And who decides truth anyway?"

Who, indeed.

One man's loyalty is another man's betrayal. That's what is at the bleeding heart of the Civil War. Now, with nearly 150 years of hindsight, it might be easy to suggest Lee betrayed his oath. Not quite so easy to say that back then.

 Close Window