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"What to Do about the Naval Academy’s Confederate Names" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 Jul 2020 3:20 p.m. PST

It is hard to imagine that an institution that produces naval leaders sworn to defend the Constitution would continue to name two buildings after men who attempted to destroy the very same document. Yet at the U.S. Naval Academy there are two buildings and one road named for senior officers of the Confederate Navy…


Well-written argument.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2020 10:12 p.m. PST

I have to disagree. The author clearly doesn't understand 19th century history or the conflict that was the civil war. His statement that, "It is hard to imagine that an institution that produces naval leaders sworn to defend the Constitution would continue to name two buildings after men who attempted to destroy the very same document." is demonstrably false. The southern states were not attempting to destroy the Constitution, they were attempting to withdraw from it.

Dagwood10 Jul 2020 2:26 a.m. PST

Although I know next to nothing about the subject, I was always under the impression that the naming of military bases after confederate generals and admirals was at least partly an attempt at reconciliation, and the re-establishment of a single nation.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2020 3:30 a.m. PST

Good points, Dagwood.

Angstboy2310 Jul 2020 3:36 a.m. PST

Not reconciliation: "Both buildings were built and named in the early 1900s, decades after the Civil War."

PzGeneral10 Jul 2020 3:36 a.m. PST

+1 to both Dn Jackson and Dagwood.

As I understand both.

Rakkasan10 Jul 2020 4:13 a.m. PST

Enemies of the Constitution. The buildings should have not been named after them and need to be re-named.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2020 7:04 a.m. PST

Let me make this clear from the outset, that I am not offering an absolute defense of the Confederacy nor the Southern cause. However, it is totally false that that those who fought for succession were enemies of the constitution. Most presidents prior to Lincoln (as well as most constitutional scholars prior to 1860) upheld the right of states to succeed from the Union. If one would examine the historical record, one could fill an entire book citing evidence to this fact. That said, let me just provide the opinion given by president John Quincy Adams (from the northern state of Massachusetts and son of our second president) when he spoke to an audience in New York (a northern state) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the the first president (i.e. the 50th jubilee of the U.S. Constitution)concerning the right of a state to succeed from the Union:

"With these qualifications, we may admit the same right as vested in the people of every state in the Union, with reference to the General Government, which was exercised by the people of the United Colonies, with reference to the Supreme head of the British empire, of which they formed a part – and under these limitations, have the people of each state in the Union a right to secede from the confederated Union itself.

Thus stands the RIGHT. But the indissoluble link of union between the people of the several states of this confederated nation, is after all, not in the right, but in the heart. If the day should ever come, (may Heaven avert it,) when the affections of the people of these states shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give away to cold indifference, or collisions of interest shall fester into hatred, the bands of political association will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited states, to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the centre."

One can still find fault with Confederate generals (as well as Union generals) and the cause for which they fought; but they were not traitors to the Constitution -- so stop referring to them as enemies of the Constitution. It is long past time that people base their arguments on evidence and not simple emotion.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2020 10:05 a.m. PST

Yes, definitely due to reconciliation, and due to direct family loss by hundreds of thousands of families on both sides, there were strong feelings on both sides even several generations, and many decades after the Civil War was over. It is believed that between 600,000 – 700,000 died during the Civil War.

Back in the Civil War era, people were loyal to their home states first, and country second, not the other way around. Only over the centuries have we now become to feel more loyal to the country first than the states.

If we are going down this path, and clearly "we" are well on our way, willingly or unwillingly, then Deleted by Moderator

4DJones10 Jul 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

"Succession" has to do with hereditary monarchies. "Secession" has to do with federal states.

Deleted by Moderator

Militia Pete10 Jul 2020 1:26 p.m. PST

Those that fought the war forgave them. That says more than the current bunch.

Blutarski10 Jul 2020 6:39 p.m. PST

+1 Militia Pete.


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Jul 2020 10:17 p.m. PST

I would rename the buildings. These men should not be honored any more.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2020 9:00 a.m. PST


Good job. I can't blame this mistake on my computer's auto-correct. I guess after grading hundreds of essays on the subject over the years, my students' spelling is starting to rub off on me.

Editor in Chief Bill,

Whether we should rename the buildings is still a point of debate, and it is a question that I am willing to consider. What is not true, as the evidence demonstrates, is that those who favored secession (thanks 4DJones) attempted to destroy the Constitution as it was understood by most legal scholars and presidents prior to 1860. Thus, the basis for renaming the buildings that you have cited -- "It is hard to imagine that an institution that produces naval leaders sworn to defend the Constitution would continue to name two buildings after men who attempted to destroy the very same document" -- is one founded on a false narrative.

EJNashIII11 Jul 2020 5:52 p.m. PST

I generally have a strong dislike of confederate names on anything owned by the US government, But think I would give Buchanan a pass since the school literally would not exist if it wasn't for him. It was his idea. Interestingly, when he resigned from the Navy to go south he tried to change his mind and fight for the north. Gideon Welles said he did not want traitors or half-hearted patriots in his navy and refused to reinstate him. Maury? Frankly, he isn't important enough to have a building. It should be named for someone else more deserving. I will follow this. I'm a son of Annapolis. My family has lived in the area since the early 1700s.

marco56 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2020 11:11 a.m. PST

The nation didn't really feel like one nation until WWI.

Murvihill15 Jul 2020 8:09 a.m. PST

One of them founded the Naval Academy, the other launched the US Navy's study of oceanography. I'd say their ongoing contributions to the Navy outweigh a few years on the wrong side of the Civil War.

Pyrate Captain24 Aug 2020 1:41 p.m. PST

Carefull Bill. You'll wind up in the Dawg Haus.

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