Zitate von Robert Edward Lee

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Robert Edward Lee

Geburtstag: 19. Januar 1807
Todesdatum: 12. Oktober 1870

Robert Edward Lee war bis 1861 Oberst des US-Heeres und der erfolgreichste General des konföderierten Heeres. Sein bedeutendstes Kommando während des Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieges war der Oberbefehl über die Nord-Virginia-Armee. Schließlich wurde er im Januar 1865 zum Oberbefehlshaber des konföderierten Heeres ernannt. Seinen Ruhm begründete er mit zahlreichen Siegen, die er mit unterlegenen Kräften meist durch Verlagerung des Schwerpunktes gegen überlegene Kräfte erfocht.

Nach dem Bürgerkrieg setzte er sich für die Aussöhnung zwischen den Kriegsparteien ein und war Präsident der heutigen Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Lee wird noch heute als Held verehrt, nicht nur in den Südstaaten.

Zitate Robert Edward Lee

„Die Sklaverei als Institution ist in jedem Land ein moralisches und politisches Übel. […] ein größeres Übel für die weiße als für die schwarze Rasse.“

—  Robert Edward Lee

1856
Original engl.: "In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. [...] I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race [...]" - Brief an seine Frau 27. Dezember 1856

„Es ist nur gut, dass der Krieg so schrecklich ist – wir würden sonst vielleicht Gefallen daran finden.“

—  Robert Edward Lee

Schlacht von Fredericksburg, 13. Dezember 1862
Original engl.: "It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we should grow too fond of it."

„Wir müssen unseren Feinden vergeben. Ich kann wirklich sagen, dass nicht ein Tag vergangen ist seit der Krieg begann, an dem ich nicht für sie gebetet habe.“

—  Robert Edward Lee

aus A Life of General Robert E. Lee von J. E. Cooke
Original engl.: "We must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them."

„I shall carry with me to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration and your name and fame will always be dear to me. Save for defense of my native state, I never desire again to draw my sword.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to General Winfield Scott (20 April 1861) after turning down an offer by Abraham Lincoln of supreme command of the U.S. Army; as quoted in Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee (1875) by John William Jones, p. 139
1860s
Kontext: Since my interview with you on the 18th I have felt that I ought not longer retain my commission in the Army … It would have been presented at once, but for the struggle, it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted all the best years of my life, and all the ability I possessed … I shall carry with me to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration and your name and fame will always be dear to me. Save for defense of my native state, I never desire again to draw my sword.

„A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.“

—  Robert E. Lee

"Definition of a Gentleman" http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/LEE/gentdef.html, a memorandum found in his papers after his death, as quoted in Lee the American (1912) by Gamaliel Bradford, p. 233
Kontext: The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly — the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which imparts sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.

„The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Marshall (September 1870)
1870s
Kontext: My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them or indisposed me to serve them; nor in spite of failures, which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge; or of the present aspect of affairs; do I despair of the future.
The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.

„My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them or indisposed me to serve them“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Marshall (September 1870)
1870s
Kontext: My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them or indisposed me to serve them; nor in spite of failures, which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge; or of the present aspect of affairs; do I despair of the future.
The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.

„My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to his wife on Christmas Day, two weeks after the Battle of Fredericksburg (25 December 1862).
1860s
Kontext: What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world! I pray that, on this day when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn them to peace. … My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.

„Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to his son http://radgeek.com/gt/2005/01/03/robert-e-Lee-owned-slaves-and-defended-slavery/, G. W. Custis Lee (23 January 1861).
1860s
Kontext: I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for 'perpetual Union,' so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession: anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and all the other patriots of the Revolution. … Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defense will draw my sword on none.

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„I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to his wife, Mary Anne Lee http://www.fair-use.org/robert-e-lee/letter-to-his-wife-on-slavery (27 December 1856)
1850s
Kontext: In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.

„The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for 'perpetual Union,' so expressed in the preamble“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to his son http://radgeek.com/gt/2005/01/03/robert-e-Lee-owned-slaves-and-defended-slavery/, G. W. Custis Lee (23 January 1861).
1860s
Kontext: I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for 'perpetual Union,' so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession: anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and all the other patriots of the Revolution. … Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defense will draw my sword on none.

„You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage.“

—  Robert E. Lee

As quoted in Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography (1986) by Robert A. Caro and William Knowlton Zinsser. Also quoted in Truman by David McCullough (1992), p. 44, New York: Simon & Schuster.-
Kontext: You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right … Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one; the man who requires you to do so, is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly with all your classmates; you will find it the policy which wears best. Above all do not appear to others what you are not.

„What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to his wife on Christmas Day, two weeks after the Battle of Fredericksburg (25 December 1862).
1860s
Kontext: What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world! I pray that, on this day when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn them to peace. … My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.

„I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Letter to his son http://radgeek.com/gt/2005/01/03/robert-e-Lee-owned-slaves-and-defended-slavery/, G. W. Custis Lee (23 January 1861).
1860s
Kontext: I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for 'perpetual Union,' so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession: anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and all the other patriots of the Revolution. … Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defense will draw my sword on none.

„The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.“

—  Robert E. Lee

"Definition of a Gentleman" http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/LEE/gentdef.html, a memorandum found in his papers after his death, as quoted in Lee the American (1912) by Gamaliel Bradford, p. 233
Kontext: The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly — the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which imparts sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.

„Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one“

—  Robert E. Lee

As quoted in Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography (1986) by Robert A. Caro and William Knowlton Zinsser. Also quoted in Truman by David McCullough (1992), p. 44, New York: Simon & Schuster.-
Kontext: You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right … Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one; the man who requires you to do so, is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly with all your classmates; you will find it the policy which wears best. Above all do not appear to others what you are not.

„I cannot consent to place in the control of others one who cannot control himself.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Comment regarding officers who became inebriated, as quoted in Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee (1874) by John William Jones, p. 170

„It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.“

—  Robert E. Lee

Comment to James Longstreet, on seeing a Union charge repelled in the Battle of Fredericksburg (13 December 1862)
1860s

„The education of a man is never completed until he dies.“

—  Robert E. Lee

As quoted in Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 175

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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