Republican Chris McDaniel, running to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate, got a history lesson on Wednesday night ― one he probably didn’t want.
It came after McDaniel posted a revisionist tweet about Robert E. Lee that whitewashed the Confederate general’s view of slavery.
It’s a good thing there wasn’t a test, because McDaniel would have failed, according to Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse, who challenged McDaniel’s statement.
Lee owned slaves and brutalized them. Lee led an armed revolt against the United States to preserve slavery. And during it, Lee's army captured free blacks in the North and enslaved them.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) August 16, 2018
But you were saying something about the "historically illiterate"? https://t.co/1oNaM4Q2Ok
And unlike McDaniel, Kruse backed up his account with documentation.
Historians have documented this in great detail and anyone who's functionally literate can read their many works on Lee's support for slavery etc.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) August 16, 2018
This fantastic piece by @AdamSerwer lists several of them and does an excellent job of explaining it all. https://t.co/JkxRw7me4b
Others were quick to pile on, joining the criticism of McDaniel’s revisionism.
He had several *amazing* ways of being against slavery. Like owning slaves. And commanding the army that fought to maintain slavery.— The Glare (@TheGlare_TM) August 16, 2018
False. Robert E. Lee was a slaveowner and an unrepentant bigot. Even on the worst day of his life, when he surrendered his Army (+ the Confederate cause), what bothered him most was that his surrender was transcribed by what he thought was a Black man. From Chernow's "Grant":— M.S. Bellows, Jr. (@msbellows) August 16, 2018
Lee did not begin pretending his real cause was "states' rights" (not slavery) until long after the war. Even after the war, Lee signed a petition calling for Black citizens to be returned to slavery, because it was kinder to them. In short: Lee was an evil traitor. Id:— M.S. Bellows, Jr. (@msbellows) August 16, 2018
The truth is that you are brutally historically ignorant, Lee was a traitor.— Remember Scalia (@469Matt) August 16, 2018
Like, an actual traitor, not how the term is tossed about these days. It's only by the grace and forgiveness of Lincoln that he wasn't lined up and shot.
Benedict Arnold was also once a highly decorated officer in the United States Army— Stat Politics (@StatPolitic) August 16, 2018
Let’s talk Senator because I teach this stuff. Lee owned slaves. He never freed them while he lived and he brutalized them. During the war, his army captured free blacks in the North and sold them into slavery as a terror tactic. So, what, pray tell, made him anti slavery?— aderson francois 14A (@abfrancois) August 16, 2018
You’re part of the reason Mississippi is unable to progress, mainly because you insist on elevating traitors who believed in ownership of human beings. This state is being run by fossils.— Leigh Crosby (@teaandmagnolias) August 16, 2018
Even CNN’s Jake Tapper joined in on the history lesson, asking McDaniel to read a New York Times story about a letter Lee sent the paper in 1858 discussing slavery.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.