Washington and Lee have a lot in common. The slavery issue is what is probably driving this issue. But, also (I'm not saying more, less or equal) both could very easily be considered traitors to their nation. With Lee we get into the state vs. nation issue, and in modern times this is harder for us to understand but was probably a fair argument in 1860. With Washington there are more complicated issues relating to international law that basically end up with him being ok because his side won, an answer that is generally rejected by non-classical thinkers in internaitonal relations. I'd be interested in any thoughts about this.
I'm willing to bet that the debate will come down to personal feelings about the role of the federal government. While I might say that Washington fought for the United States, and Lee against it, others may argue that Lee fought for the Unites States that Washington fought for, and against a nation that was simply called the United States. I happen to disagree on the underlying issue in this argument (related to the legitimate role of the federal government), but I understand it.
posted on 05/13/2003 6:35:56 AM PDT
For me it breaks down like this: Washington fought for self-government. Lee fought on one side of a dispute between parties to the compact that Washington helped create. Indeed, without Washington there is no Constitution, possibly no liberty in America. Without Lee, there is some other General leading the Army of N. Va.
The proper place for disputes between states to be settled under our system is in Congress, or in the courts. Secession is illegitimate.
posted on 05/13/2003 6:44:28 AM PDT
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