However, it’s worth noting that Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general whose statue was at the center of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, “opposed monuments,” a biographer of the general told PBS.
“It’s often forgotten that Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments,” said Jonathan Horn, who wrote The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, told PBS.
Horn told the news organization that Lee actually believed that the country would heal quicker from the Civil War if there were not monuments to the side that ultimately lost.
“Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker,” Horn said. “He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive.”
While one of the most “honored” figures at the center of the Confederate monument debate may not have wanted them, a recent poll found 62 percent of Americans are in favor of keeping Confederate statues and monuments up as a reminder of history. Currently, there are over 700 statues and monuments honoring the Confederacy in the United States.
You can read all of PBS’s story here.