Scholars Say Trump Went Afoul in Lumping Lee with Founders

8/17/2017 - Associate Professor of History Gregory Downs at AP News.

Both were great generals. Both Virginians. Both came from slave-owning plantation families.

Is it really so far-fetched to put Robert E. Lee in the same category as George Washington, as President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday?

Many historians say yes.

For some, monuments to those founding fathers “force us to contemplate the centrality of slavery to the making of the nation,” said Gregory Downs, a history professor at the University of California, Davis who studies the impact of the Civil War on the United States. But he also said the difference between the nation’s first president, George Washington, and then man who sought to secede from the nation, Robert E. Lee, isn’t complicated.

“It is obvious that traitors in arms to the nation are not equivalent to those who created it,” he said.

Read the full story at AP News.