An Indian American who is one of the world’s leading experts on the Civil War and slavery in the U.S., history professor Manisha Sinha has been one of the most sought after voices in the recurring and recent debate over removing Confederate statues. She shares why she believes we should take them down.
As a Civil War historian, it seems that I have been fighting against the myth of the Lost Cause throughout my career. The notion that the Confederates fought for states’ rights and honor rather than for slavery and that the Confederacy lost the war merely because of the superior numbers of the Union is ubiquitous, especially in the South. Historians have long contested these entrenched falsehoods by pointing out that the southern states that seceded from the Union in 1860–61 mentioned the perpetuation of slavery specifically in their Ordinances of Secession. The Confederacy fought, as Union General Ulysses S. Grant put it, for one of the worst causes in human history. I am against the indiscriminate taking down of all statues, including those of slaveholding Founding Fathers. But Confederate statues deserve to be taken down.