Robert E. Lee 's Life

1237 WordsJan 13, 20165 Pages
There are so many differing views on Robert E. Lee, which may be the reason so many historians find him intriguing, however, he still remains very much something of a mystery. Many earlier works, beginning in the late 19th and until the mid-20th century, Lee has often been portrayed as nearly saint-like, nearly clairvoyant with his defensive actions. Modern historiographies of Lee vary from the earlier works written as they seem to look more into the man, rather than the legend. Earlier biographies of Lee interpret him to have been born in near perfection, a noble and honorable man, as well as a brilliant soldier. His childhood is either not mentioned or described as carefree and happy; his opposition to slavery is described as whole-hearted and intense; and his marriage to Mary Custis is often written as a wonderful and idyllic relationship. His working relationship with his war-time staff is frequently said to be completely agreeable and his military judgment is said to be splendid and sound. When defeat came, it was rarely said to be Lee’s fault but because others on his staff were to blame or because he was overwhelmed by forces beyond his control. These earlier biographies simply demonstrated Lee to be a completely flawless human man. Take for example, R.E. Lee: A Biography, authored by Douglas Southall Freeman. Leading historiography for over thirty years, Freeman’s work was considered to be the most authoritative work on Lee. Winner of the 1934 Pulitzer, Freeman’s

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