The Robert E. Lee Statue and Revisionism of History
On September 8, the Robert E. Lee statue at Allen and Monument Avenues in Richmond, Virginia was removed. It was sawed into pieces in order to transport it by truck and then taken away to an undisclosed location. The pedestal remains on site. It took over a year and many legal battles to get to this point.
Upon posting this announcement online because a lot of people were following this, someone immediately bellowed that this was "revisionist history." Bullshit. To quote Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Removing a statue is not revisionist history. History will still say that the statue was there up until it was removed. That is accurate. Once you start changing when it was there, that it was there, what was there at a particular time, now that's revisionist history!
You want to talk revisionist history? Here's some things from history that have either been deliberately hidden or people have been taught incorrectly:
- Thomas Jefferson fathered a family with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves. It was proven in 1998 to be a member of his family by comparing DNA tests of one of her descendants to that of Jefferson's family. He was the only one that would have such access to her so that would eliminate any other member of his family.
- The George Washington "I cannot tell a lie" story was made up after his death by Parson Weems who idolized him. It was in his book A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of General George Washington but much of it was either exaggerated or made up to make Washington look better. Most of his books were like that.
- Christopher Columbus was so violent and tyrannous that the natives would kill themselves instead of tortured by him for locations to non-existent gold. He was arrested and taken back to Spain to explain himself to the king. He was stripped of his position as governor but allowed to return. Oh, he also never found what is now the continental United States either. the closest he got was Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
- The world was discovered to be round instead of flat back around 240 BC by Eratosthenes. He also calculated the circumference to within 15% of the actual value. Europeans believed that the earth was round but believed it to be much smaller than his estimate.