A Comparison Of Stonewall Jackson And Robert E. Lee

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Educators in Arms 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.…show more content…
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 educated VMI cadets in artillery, drilling them for hours each day about tactical use of weapons (Gwynne 128). In the classroom, Jackson made use of an unusual method of teaching. Instead of lecturing the class, he had his students give speeches about the material, interjecting when they were wrong or simply not quoting their textbooks word for word (Gwynne 129). This made him immensely unpopular with students, as many failed and Jackson refused to explain materials more than twice. If students didn’t understand, he’d kick them out of class. Students had such an intense dislike for Jackson that a student once tried to drop a brick on him (Gwynne 130). Not wanting to know which of his students had attempted what he considered to be incredibly and unforgivably cowardly, Jackson refused an investigation. However, regardless of any and all disrespect in the classroom, he was revered for his accomplishments in the Mexican-American War, even by students that otherwise hated him. Many of his formerly disrespecting students later fought alongside him and grew to admire his…show more content…
Lee”). By 1855, he had returned to military service, where he would remain through the Civil War’s entirety, fighting for American forces in the Mexican-American War until 1861, when he resigned to lead the Confederate Army in the Civil War (“Robert E. Lee” Washington and Lee University). Lee had been offered command of both Union and Confederate forces, but chose the Confederates, as he was a Virginian. After the war and much consideration, he accepted the position of president of Washington College. Lee was focused on expanding educational opportunities. By bringing a law school to Washington College, increasing emphasis on the sciences, as well as adding programs in business and journalism, Lee essentially created the concept of college majors. He also imposed an honor system, stressing that every student “ought to be a gentleman”, which is followed closely and revered by students and staff of the college to the present day (“Robert E. Lee” Washington and Lee University). After his death, Washington College became Washington and Lee University because Lee had had such a positive impact on the university (“Robert E. Lee”). Despite his many accomplishments in war, Lee would be better remembered for his legacy on education. He was a highly skilled military leader, yet he led the losing side. Seeing defeat for what

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