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Analysis: What should be done with Confederate monuments on public lands?

Let’s do a mental exercise about Confederate monuments in public spaces: I’ll describe one that doesn’t exist, and you tell me whether you’d find it offensive if it did.

It sits near a major city, on a scenic patch of federally owned land, in what used to be a Confederate state. It was placed in 1914 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), a group of elite Southern white women who were highly influential back then and whose main purpose was to push Lost Cause myths about the origins and legacy of the Civil War. Two favorites were that slavery wasn’t the war’s main cause and that human bondage wasn’t all that bad anyway—in fact, it was a largely benevolent institution that rarely involved cruelty. Another was that the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist organization that arose to restore white supremacy during Reconstruction, was good.

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