Robert E. Lee

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Robert E. Lee

Throughout history, there have been people whose names and faces have become synonymous with the time periods in which they lived. For example, Julius Caesar is synonymous with the late Roman Republic and George Washington is synonymous with the American Revolution. Just like these two men, the name Robert E. Lee has become synonymous with the American Civil War. Not only did Lee rise to become the most important and recognizable person in the Southern Confederacy, but his honor and virtuous acts during and after the war made him a hero to modern-day Americans. Even though he fought for what many consider the morally erroneous side of the war, the virtues of his character have made him a figure in American history that should be honored and remembered.

Robert Edward Lee was born at Stratford Westmoreland County, Virginia, on January 19, 1807. Lee was the fourth of five children (the third son) of Ann Hill Carter Lee and Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee. Two children of Henry Lee’s first marriage also lived with the family (Thomas 916). Henry Lee had been a hero during the Revolutionary War and served as the governor of Virginia and a member of Congress. By the time Robert was born, his father’s fortune and estates were in shambles. Henry Lee was never very good at managing his estates and in 1809, was forced into prison due to the severity of his debts. Three years later, freed from jail, he was involved in a political brawl in Baltimore where he was beaten and disfigured for life. In an attempt to flee from debtors and reconsolidate his money, Henry Lee fled to Barbados. He died in 1818, never having seen his family again. Robert E. Lee’s older half-brother Henry Lee Jr., further dishonored the ...

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...f a Christ Figure to the defeated southerners and he provided an excellent example that good people can loose and still retain their dignity. Robert E. Lee, the perfect southern gentleman, has grown in American legend to become both a figure of interest and inspiration. His achievements before, during and after the war propelled him to win the hearts of both Northerners and Southerners throughout America’s history.



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