To end the Uncancelled episode on Robert E. Lee with the most important lesson that Robert E. Lee’s life teaches us is that an individual’s decisions matter was a disappointment. Douglas Murray seemed unprepared and offered no insightful commentary. Jonathan Horn exceeded expectations. The program is meant for those who don’t know much about the history of Lee and have never thought deeply about his cancellation.
The basic history and facts of Lee’s life are presented accurately from my less than expert perspective. There is balance in the presentation and Horn does decent job showing the complexity of Lee’s life and discussing the context of his times. Horn explains how loyalty to state was something that may be hard to understand today, and Lee had deeper state connections than many.
Horn was passionate about Lee being a great military leader even though it is popular today for historians to second guess his overall strategy. His strategy was correct. The South could not use Washington’s tactics of retreat and delay. The Union army was too close, and the North grew stronger as time went by. His only chance was to win enough in the short run to change Northern public opinion.
That Lee would not continue the war with gorilla war tactics was discussed as was his indictment for treason and Grant coming to his defense by threatening to resign. They spent a great deal of time on the last five years of Lee’s life, and both were impressed with his attitude and actions towards reconciliation.
The most powerful insight of the program is the perspective that Lee is not the history being cancelled. The fact that much of the country held Lee in high regard in the 20th century is the history being erased.
If you were hoping for a vigorous defense of Robert E. Lee and what he traditionally stood for, you will be disappointed. On balance though, the program subtlety shows the stupidity and weakness that characterizes erasing history.