The debate over removing Confederate statues continues to rage. People on both sides vigorously defend their position, pointing out disturbing facts about the Founding Fathers and the founding of America as reasons why the Confederate monuments aren’t so different from Revolutionary monuments. On the other side, opponents of the statues argue that they celebrate white supremacy.
Why are Confederate statues being removed? Arguments for why Confederate statues should be removed include the Confederacy's shameful history of treason and white supremacy, as well as the original purpose of these statues, which was to intimidate Black Americans while celebrating white power. In fact, even Robert E. Lee opposed Confederate statues.
Arguments for why Confederate statues should not be removed include pointing out the dark sides of other celebrated American heroes, like Washington and Jefferson, as well as the politicization of the statues when there are more important problems. Keep reading for all the pros and cons of removing Confederate statues.
Pro: Celebrating Traitors Is Never Okay
Yes, it’s important to remember even the most shameful parts of our nation’s history. But there’s a difference between remembering and memorializing. These statues were designed to celebrate the Confederacy. They were erected in the Jim Crow era to terrify Black Americans. And they promote white supremacy and racism. Every Confederate honored in a statue or monument took up arms against the government of the United States. They are, by definition, traitors. And just like we don’t celebrate Benedict Arnold, we shouldn’t celebrate Confederates.
Con: These Arguments Are About The Modern Political Climate, Not History
Many of the Confederate statues have been standing for a century. They’ve been a hot button issue for decades. However, the major impetus to remove these statues has only really caught on in the last few years. That says more about how politically divided our nation has become than about the statues themselves. As Ben Shapiro aBen Shapiro argues in The Daily Wire, “everyone is trying to use the issue of Confederate monument removal as a club to wield against political opposition, and as a broadening mechanism for their own movements.” Or, as John Daniel Davidson writes for The Federalist, “tearing down statues is always about politics and power.”