Oppressors Do Not Deserve Monuments

The city of New Orleans has begun the removal of four monuments of Confederate figures from the Civil War. Some residents protesting the removal think that the history of the city, and of the country, is also being removed. The figures are important to remember to help prevent a repeat of these events, but a monument erected to praise their actions is not the appropriate way to do this.

Some residents also say that the figures, two generals from the war, the president of the Confederacy, and the group that led an uprising against the postwar government, were just people fighting for their rights, specifically states’ rights, and not for slavery.

These people were fighting for states’ rights so that the states could legislate certain issues by themselves, separate from the federal government. So, it’s probably just coincidence that they wanted these rights badly enough to secede and go to war for them right after the federal government abolished slavery.

Keeping their states’ rights meant keeping their slaves. States’ rights in this context is essentially a euphemism for slavery. Even if soldiers didn’t agree with slavery, but fought for states’ rights, they were fighting for the right to own slaves. They are not heroes, they are oppressors. Their flag does not deserve to be flown. They do not deserve monuments.