Should we see the removal of statues like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. (1 Viewer)

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TheRealTruth

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Recently CNN aired an interview where one of the guests suggested what is in the topic.



I agree with the removal of confederate statues around the country, but should this also be done for founding fathers?
 

GrandAdmiral

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Speaking of Washington and Jefferson specifically, I'm going to say no. Records show both attempted to emancipate their slaves (Washington did for most of his at his death). What's kind of troublesome (well not really) is how the heirs disregarded the wishes. Jefferson's slaves were sold to settle debts after Jefferson died. Washington's will freed a bit of his salves (he tried before dying and met resistance). Martha eventually freed more.

Of course, I speaking from my background in history and not politics itself.
 

Farb

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I think we will need an actual ranking of sin to determine what statues stay up.
 

insidejob

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I can see why some would say to take them down, but at the same time, I think our Founding Fathers should maybe get a pass because of their other accomplishments in creating the country we call home. Those who fought to keep people in chains are no brainers to me, but with the Founding Fathers, it's a bit more tricky. I'm not sure of my opinion one way or the other actually. This is the first time I've thought about it so it's definitely open to change the more I learn about why they should be taken down. Being a slave owner at that point in history shouldn't mean your statue automatically comes down since it was a common practice that predated them even "founding" the country, IMO. Once slavery was abolished, if you fought to keep slaves, you never should have had a statue in the first place.
 

Farb

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This post made me think of something unrelated to statues but still in the vein of holding those in the past accountable for their actions. Not sure if this will come out correctly but here it goes: What about art itself. If a statue of insert historical name(I can't think of a historical figure that everyone would agree with having displayed) and the actual sculptor owned slaves or something, should the statue be taken down because of the creator or does this only apply to the subject?
 

CoolBrees

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I don’t think it is that hard to be honest. If you (the subject of a statue) were one of the losers that fought and lost to the United States, after you seceded and took up arms against the Nation, then no statue or hero treatment in the history books for you.

You (again confederate loser) are a traitor to the US and should be treated as such. your descendents should be ashamed of you not given public memorabilia.

you want to look at civil war stuff? Go to a museum.
 

Saintamaniac

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This post made me think of something unrelated to statues but still in the vein of holding those in the past accountable for their actions. Not sure if this will come out correctly but here it goes: What about art itself. If a statue of insert historical name(I can't think of a historical figure that everyone would agree with having displayed) and the actual sculptor owned slaves or something, should the statue be taken down because of the creator or does this only apply to the subject?
So let's look at Hitler. Hitler was actually a decent artist who created several paintings that had artistic architectural value. When you look at those paintings, it's hard to believe that the person who created them was such an evil man. The art itself is not evil. The creator of the art was. Should that art be destroyed? IMO, no, there is nothing realized in destroying the art. There is nothing evil or untoward about the art. A master piece created by an evil individual is still a masterpiece.
 

Farb

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I don’t think it is that hard to be honest. If you (the subject of a statue) were one of the losers that fought and lost to the United States, after you seceded and took up arms against the Nation, then no statue or hero treatment in the history books for you.

You (again confederate loser) are a traitor to the US and should be treated as such. your descendents should be ashamed of you not given public memorabilia.

you want to look at civil war stuff? Go to a museum.
Cool. But what about the founders, particularly those that held slaves?

As far as sins go for removal we have:

1. Owning/participating in slaves/slave trade- kind of. Unless they meant well toward the end?
2. Taking up arms/revolting/going to war against the Federal Government
 

Saintamaniac

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Cool. But what about the founders, particularly those that held slaves?

As far as sins go for removal we have:

1. Owning/participating in slaves/slave trade- kind of. Unless they meant well toward the end?
2. Taking up arms/revolting/going to war against the Federal Government
IMO, there is a distinct difference with removing confederate statues meant to honor traitors who took up arms against this country and whose statues were erected with an intended purpose of intimidating and reminding blacks of their place in society after reconstruction and statues dedicated to memory of the people who were responsible for the creation of the actual country we live in. If I'm not mistaken, there is no statue dedicated to Benedict Arnold. The closest thing is a statue of his boot.

 
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brandon

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This post made me think of something unrelated to statues but still in the vein of holding those in the past accountable for their actions. Not sure if this will come out correctly but here it goes: What about art itself. If a statue of insert historical name(I can't think of a historical figure that everyone would agree with having displayed) and the actual sculptor owned slaves or something, should the statue be taken down because of the creator or does this only apply to the subject?
I could see it. Michael Jackson’s music has been somewhat canceled for his personal problems.
 

CoolBrees

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While everyone agrees slavery is abhorrent, it is still a part of American history - the part that belongs in museums.

Again, I think the line is drawn at traitors. That is just my opinion. To me, it just doesn’t seem real complicated.

I feel like this is the “slippery slope argument that was used against marriage equality. Where we reach for a ridiculous hyperbolic equivalency, like what about people marrying a cow?

The argument seems to be promulgated simply because there is no other reason outside of the “slippery slope” to argue for the preservation of statues of traitors to our country.

Frankly it is weird that we ever erected them in the first place. Who puts up and honors statues of war losers?
 

JimEverett

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Frankly it is weird that we ever erected them in the first place. Who puts up and honors statues of war losers?
There are a lot, actually.
But I don't really disagree with what you are saying. I cringe every time I enter a courthouse where there is some Confederate monument/acknowledgment. I mean, you are putting that up at a courthouse?????
 

GrandAdmiral

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Cool. But what about the founders, particularly those that held slaves?

As far as sins go for removal we have:

1. Owning/participating in slaves/slave trade- kind of. Unless they meant well toward the end?
2. Taking up arms/revolting/going to war against the Federal Government

Plenty of the Founders wanted to abolish slavery. Jefferson's original Declaration of Independence railed against slavery.

The best way I can explain it is this... our Constitution in it's original form is a compromise on slavery. Look at Madison's notes on the convention and the actual Articles itself and it's riddled with mentions of slavery without actually mentioning it (i.e., the three-fifths clause). Actually, if you look at all the major political conflicts prior to the Civil War, the end result was always a compromise to keep the South from blowing a gasket and trying to secede.
 

Saintamaniac

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Who puts up and honors statues of war losers?

IMO, there is a distinct difference with removing confederate statues meant to honor traitors who took up arms against this country and whose statues were erected with an intended purpose of intimidating and reminding blacks of their place in society after reconstruction
 

insidejob

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This post made me think of something unrelated to statues but still in the vein of holding those in the past accountable for their actions. Not sure if this will come out correctly but here it goes: What about art itself. If a statue of insert historical name(I can't think of a historical figure that everyone would agree with having displayed) and the actual sculptor owned slaves or something, should the statue be taken down because of the creator or does this only apply to the subject?
If the artist is one of the main symbols of whatever country his statue represents, then, yeah, they should probably take it down. If it's just some artist who made cool art but isn't something you think of when you think of whatever fictional country we're talking about, he probably wouldn't have a statue in the first place, but if he did, I think in 2020 it'd be at least worth discussing taking it down.

Context matters too and this is just too broad of a hypothetical to even attempt applying enough context to in order to determine if the statue should remain or come down.

I think - generally speaking - it should only apply to the subject that is the statue, not the person that sculpted it, unless they fit the scenario I described above.

(I wasn't totally clear with what you were asking after my first few readings of your post but figured it out at the end.)
 

Farb

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I haven't had an issue with anything that has been said so far. I agree especially about courthouse and government building for the large part.

My question about the artist themselves is rather vague and I can't think of a real world example so I guess it was a very broad high level discussion. Maybe Hitler and his little post cards but even then, I don't see anyone putting his 'art' on the side of building as a mural or something (maybe this has happened. I don't).

One issue that is real world is a monument to the soldier. I have seen through Europe and America some type of memorial to the local fallen soldiers from that particular town, county or what have you. Should those be removed too or at least the part of the memorial that pertains to the civil war? I can see both sides but I can't really say what I think is correct on that one. I think I would be ok with those remaining up.

Edit: Maybe a real world example would be John Newton the slave trader that repented and created the song 'Amazing Grace'. He has a statue outside in London somewhere, I think on a church ground.
 
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cuddlemonkey

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I haven't had an issue with anything that has been said so far. I agree especially about courthouse and government building for the large part.

My question about the artist themselves is rather vague and I can't think of a real world example so I guess it was a very broad high level discussion. Maybe Hitler and his little post cards but even then, I don't see anyone putting his 'art' on the side of building as a mural or something (maybe this has happened. I don't).

One issue that is real world is a monument to the soldier. I have seen through Europe and America some type of memorial to the local fallen soldiers from that particular town, county or what have you. Should those be removed too or at least the part of the memorial that pertains to the civil war? I can see both sides but I can't really say what I think is correct on that one. I think I would be ok with those remaining up.

Edit: Maybe a real world example would be John Newton the slave trader that repented and created the song 'Amazing Grace'. He has a statue outside in London somewhere, I think on a church ground.

H. P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu mythos, was an unapologetic racist. That might make a good example.

The way I view it is that you can separate the art from the artist. It's quite easy to say, "The Cthulhu mythos created by Lovecraft persists to this very day, influencing many generations of creators. The man himself was a repugnant butt crevasse, but that doesn't lessen the impact of his work."

A more recent example might by J. K. Rowling's transphobic statements. Daniel Radcliffe (the actor who played Harry Potter) made a statement through The Trevor Project (a group that works in crisis intervention doe LGBTQ youth). The statement said, in part:

"To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not butt area that too much."
 

insidejob

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H. P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu mythos, was an unapologetic racist. That might make a good example.

The way I view it is that you can separate the art from the artist. It's quite easy to say, "The Cthulhu mythos created by Lovecraft persists to this very day, influencing many generations of creators. The man himself was a repugnant butt crevasse, but that doesn't lessen the impact of his work."
I'm down with this. If the creator of a piece of art or statue turns out to be a horrible person, put a plaque or something on the statue explaining just that and how it doesn't make a difference in what the art/statue stands for.
 

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