Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are best known for their careers in leading the Confederate Army. Few people know anything about them beyond battles fought and wars lost. History is written by the victors, and the victors have essentially extinguished all perceived importance of these two fallen leaders. However, both were not only soldiers fighting for a lost cause, but also educators. Both taught many of those who would fight alongside and against them in the war that ripped the United States of America in half. While the two had similar backgrounds and military careers, their careers in education were vastly different.
Both Lee and Jackson grew up in Virginia and aspired to have military careers from early ages. They both attended West Point, graduated near the top of their classes, and had fought admirably in the Mexican-American War (“Stonewall Jackson – Educator, General”) (“Robert E. Lee”). After the Mexican-American war, Jackson and Lee began their education careers, Jackson as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, and Lee as a superintendent at his alma mater of West Point. Despite commanding the side that eventually lost the civil war, Lee and Jackson were highly respected and largely successful military leaders who have had resounding impact on education and battle strategy.
A professor at the Virginia Military Institute, Jackson taught Natural and Experimental Philosophy (Gwynne, 127). This class was considered one of the most difficult when he took it at West Point, but Jackson enjoyed it and thrived in the course, despite having little prior education, and thus made the class no easier for his own students. In fact, even gifted students were known to fail his class. Jackson also ed...
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...r classes in the same manner in which they led their troops. Jackson was the silent and stoic “Stonewall”, unwavering in his course and unwilling to compromise. Lee was the as the leader who stressed the need for good conduct and a swift peace, no matter the victor. Both men, while confederate leaders, fought not to protect slavery, but to remain loyal to their southern home. To this day, Jackson’s battle strategies are studied for their genius and hundreds of thousands of students major in diverse fields, following Lee’s education model. It is true that most people will only remember them as the captains of the losing team, the leaders of the wrong side. However, either Lee or Jackson impacts nearly everyone in one way or another. While Lee may have led a lost cause and Jackson may have died for it, their legacies live on, in their home of Virginia and the world.
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