America's Second Civil War - by Pat Buchanan (Full text)
“They had found a leader,
Robert E. Lee — and what a leader! … No military leader since Napoleon has
aroused such enthusiastic devotion among troops as did Lee when he reviewed
them on his horse Traveller.”
So wrote Samuel Eliot Morison
in his magisterial “The Oxford History of the American People” in 1965.
First in his class at West
Point, hero of the Mexican War, Lee was the man to whom President Lincoln
turned to lead his army. But when Virginia seceded, Lee would not lift up his
sword against his own people, and chose to defend his home state rather than
wage war upon her.
This veneration of Lee, wrote
Richard Weaver, “appears in the saying attributed to a Confederate soldier, ‘The
rest of us may have … descended from monkeys, but it took a God to make Marse
Growing up after World War II,
this was accepted history.
Yet, on the militant left
today, the name Lee evokes raw hatred and howls of “racist and traitor.” A
clamor has arisen to have all statues of him and all Confederate soldiers and
statesmen pulled down from their pedestals and put in museums or tossed onto
What has changed since 1965?
It is not history. There have
been no great new discoveries about Lee.
What has changed is America herself. She is not the same country. We have
passed through a great social, cultural and moral revolution that has left us
irretrievably divided on separate shores.
And the politicians are in panic.
Two years ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the giant statues of
Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson on Richmond’s Monument Avenue “parts of our
heritage.” After Charlottesville, New York-born-and-bred McAuliffe,
entertaining higher ambitions, went full scalawag, demanding the statues be
pulled down as “flashpoints for hatred, division, and violence.”
Who hates the statues, Terry? Who’s going to cause the violence? Answer:
The Democratic left whom Terry must now appease.
McAuliffe is echoed by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate
in November to succeed McAuliffe. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie wants Monument
Avenue left alone.
The election is the place to decide this, but the left will not wait.
In Durham, North Carolina, our
Taliban smashed the statue of a Confederate soldier. Near the entrance of Duke
University Chapel, a statue of Lee has been defaced, the nose broken off.
Wednesday at dawn, Baltimore
carried out a cultural cleansing by taking down statues of Lee and Maryland
Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and opposed
Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus.
Like ISIS, which smashed the
storied ruins of Palmyra, and the al-Qaida rebels who ravaged the fabled
Saharan city of Timbuktu, the new barbarism has come to America. This is going
to become a blazing issue, not only between but within the parties.
For there are 10 Confederates
in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, among them Lee, Georgia’s Alexander Stephens,
vice president to Jefferson Davis, and Davis himself. The Black Caucus wants
Mount Rushmore-sized carvings
of Lee, Jackson and Davis are on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Are they to be
There are countless
universities, colleges and high schools like Washington & Lee named for
Confederate statesmen and soldiers. Across the Potomac from D.C. are Jefferson
Davis Highway and Leesburg Pike to Leesburg itself, 25 miles north. Are all
highways, streets, towns and counties named for Confederates to be renamed?
What about Fort Bragg?
On every Civil War battlefield,
there are monuments to the Southern fallen. Gettysburg has hundreds of
memorials, statues and markers. But if, as the left insists we accept, the
Confederates were traitors trying to tear America apart to preserve an evil
system, upon what ground do Democrats stand to resist the radical left’s
What do we do with those
battlefields where Confederates were victorious: Bull Run, Fredericksburg,
“Where does this all end?” President Trump asked.
It doesn’t. Not until America’s
histories and biographies are burned and new texts written to Nazify Lee,
Jackson, Davis and all the rest, will a newly indoctrinated generation of
Americans accede to this demand to tear down and destroy what their fathers
And once all the Confederates
are gone, one must begin with the explorers, and then the slave owners like
Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, who seceded from slave-free
Britain. White supremacists all.
Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay of
Kentucky and John Calhoun must swiftly follow.
Then there are all those
segregationists. From 1865 to 1965, virtually all of the great Southern
senators were white supremacists.
In the first half of the 20th
century, Woodrow Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of a rigidly
segregationist South all six times they ran, and FDR rewarded Dixie by putting
a Klansman on the Supreme Court.
While easy for Republicans to
wash their hands of such odious elements as Nazis in Charlottesville, will they
take up the defense of the monuments and statues that have defined our history,
or capitulate to the icon-smashers?
In this Second American Civil War, whose side are you on?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the
author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and
Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”