Letter: Our nation’s original sin


As people debate the removal of confederate statues and memorials from public property, there are really two issues that should be examined. The first issue is slavery, the second issue is rebellion against the United States. These two issues are related but they are not the same thing.

It is a fact, many of our Revolutionary war heroes and many of our nations founders were slave owners. The most prominent example is George Washington, commanding general of the Continental Army, presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, and the first president of the United States. At various times of his life Washington owned hundreds of slaves. In his will, at the time of his death, he is the only slave holding founding father, among many, to free his slaves.

A generation later, Robert E Lee, another Virginia slave holder chose to remain loyal to his state when Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861. A brilliant general, Lee did his best to destroy the nation that Washington helped build. He, and the other rebels like Thomas “Stone Wall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis, were willing to betray the nation of their birth in order to establish another nation whose sole purpose was to protect and spread slavery.

Slavery was our nation’s original sin and I believe it is true that all men are imperfect to some degree, including men like Washington and Lee. Why should one man’s memorial stand while the others is banished. Perhaps for this reason: One man, despite his imperfections, was responsible for building a nation whose founding principle was based on the ideal that all men are created equal. The other man, because of his imperfections, was willing to destroy that same nation to prevent that ideal from ever being achieved.

James Carr, Celina