Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Needs a History Lesson about the Confederacy

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is — predictably — criticizing a decision by the University of Texas to remove statues of Confederate Civil War leaders from honored spaces on its Austin campus. He is in desperate need of a history lesson.

The Texas Tribune reported about Patrick’s comments in a radio interview this morning:

“Gosh, our universities are supposed to be where we learn about history and not repeat those moments of the past, and there was no discussion here,” he said.

Patrick referenced prominent historical figures connected to the Alamo who had been slaveholders, and commented on whether their statues should also be torn down. “What are we going to do with Gettysburg? Are we just going to tear down every statue in Gettysburg?” Patrick asked.“I mean we can go on and on and on and on.”

“We cannot tolerate the Nazis and the KKK and the white supremacists,” Patrick added. “But can we tolerate erasing our history? I think many Americans would say no.”

That’s ridiculous.

No one is “erasing our history” by removing the statues from their places of honor on campus. Glorifying Confederate “heroes,” which those statues do, actually shades the real history of the Confederacy and the Civil War. The university’s decision to move the statues to the Briscoe Center for American History on campus allows visitors to learn about those leaders in context, with actual facts and truthful history.

But it’s not just university monuments that mislead about the Confederacy’s history. The Texas Capitol’s Confederate monument openly lies about that history. The monument’s plaque reads in part:

“We, therefore, pledge ourselves to preserve pure ideals … to study and teach the truths of history (one of the most important of which is that the War Between the States was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery).”

The Texas secession declaration, which is almost entirely about the defense of slavery, flatly contradicts that claim. It reads in part:

“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.

By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.”

If Dan Patrick truly cares about “our history,” he should be concerned about monuments — on the Capitol grounds as well as university campuses — that lie about it. Moreover, he should advocate that every student in Texas schools be required to study the state’s secession declaration.

He should also call on the State Board of Education to stop forcing our schools to lie to students about the causes of the Civil War and about the people who led the Confederacy’s rebellion against the United States. You will hear more about that from us very soon.