The South's so-called property rights struggle constituted the enslavement of 4 million people. The plantation economy divided families through the sale of children and utilized the whipping-post.
After West Virginia was formed, there was outright southern hate for the new Mountain State.
Consider southern contributions to the postwar Reconstruction Era after the Union victory: Continued subjugation of African-Americans, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, widespread racial violence and public lynchings.
One hundred years ago when the Confederate monument was dedicated, the South still harbored institutional obstruction to equal opportunity for African Americans, barriers to voter rights, segregation, Jim Crow, and pervasive racial prejudice. It reached its political zenith with George Wallace and its ethical low with James Earl Ray.
No, the southern cause was not one to be glorified. Those who sought southern glory were rewarded with the destruction of their country.
Fredrick Douglass put it best when a statue to Robert E. Lee was unveiled. He said Lee's motivations were tragically wrong, ignoble and dishonorable.
Lee, who turned down command of the Union Army, could have become president had he remained loyal to the nation to which he swore allegiance (and one his father, decorated Lt. Col. Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee, fought for during the Revolutionary War).
Lee, who was unwavering in the cause well after the war's end, witnessed the dissolution of his family, the loss of his wife's fortune and good name, and conversion of his Arlington plantation into a national graveyard.
U.S. Grant said the southern cause was "one of the worst for which a people ever fought and one for which there was the least excuse."
Courageous souls in Wheeling righted the wrong of Virginia's secession by forming a great state draped in honor by none other than Abraham Lincoln.
Let's take down the Confederate Memorial and tell the Sons of Confederate Veterans who gather each year in Richmond to come and get the statue of Stonewall Jackson or West Virginians will bury it once and for all, as we did their cause 148 years ago.
Swint is a commercial property broker in Charleston.