Ty Seidule Takes on Lee and the Lost Cause

Many of you will remember the short video that West Point Professor of History Ty Seidule did on the cause of the Civil War. It went viral and catapulted the professor to Internet sensation. The video’s popularity did not stem simply from Professor Seidule’s identification of slavery at the central cause of the war. It had more to do with his association with West Point and the military that caught some people off guard. Professor Seidule’s interpretation could not be dismissed as just another liberal/revisionist academic rant.

This year Washington & Lee University invited Seidule (a graduate of the school) to deliver their annual Constitution Day lecture.

In it he challenges the school to continue to deal with the school’s Lost Cause legacy and to find ways to address this history in order to help the entire community move forward. Along the way, Seidule shares his own personal story and identification with Lee and the history of the Confederacy. It has much in common with the personal story that Charles Dew tells in the preface of his book Apostles of Disunion and that he expanded on more recently in The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade.

The lecture is only about 30 minutes and is well worth your time.

6 comments… add one
  • Walter Los Oct 4, 2017 @ 5:31

    Excellent presentation, better than Mitch Landreau’s speech. Very detailed. Liked the comments about Lee taking an oath whenever he was promoted. The PBS American Experience documentary on Lee starts with the reading of the oath that he took. For more, I recommend Elizabeth Brown-Pryor’s “Reading the man: a portrait of Robert E. Lee through his letters”. She interprets Lee himself speaking through his letters and it’s not at all flattering.

  • Mildred Espree Oct 1, 2017 @ 17:04

    I am American. The European-African-Asian child of Diaspora. Remember us? We served the Confederacy, often not put of loyalty to the Confederacy, but because of endless people we had come to love. Where you through to throw away our stories. then the American Experience disappears. Still mostly in the South, we claim Creole; we claim black and we vehemently claim our American experience. You should know your way by now. This is Creole Country.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 2, 2017 @ 2:13

      Thanks for the comment, but I have no idea how this relates to this particular post.

      • Neil Hamilton Oct 3, 2017 @ 8:32


        “The facts can hurt.” as the Professor Seidule says.

        Perhaps those facts are so painful, they obscure reason, resulting in such a disjointed post by Mildred.

        I hope she will take the time to clarify her comments..


  • Msb Oct 1, 2017 @ 12:01

    “The truth is dangerous, the truth is painful …. So what?”
    Amen, Colonel, amen.

  • jclark82 Sep 30, 2017 @ 4:03

    Excellent video, thank you for sharing.

    I very briefly served under the command of COL Seidule when he commanded the 3RD Battalion 81ST Armor at Ft. Knox.

    At the change of command ceremony when he departed, a good many people commented on how good an officer he was and how they felt it a privilege to live in “the time of Seidule.”

    It’s good to see he’s continuing to enhance that reputation.

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