The SCV’s Best Hope For Success is Knowledge of the Truth
More than one hundred years ago (1906) General Stephen D. Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans, gave a charge to the next generation of Southerners. This charge has defined the mission of the Sons of Confederate Veterans ever since:
“To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish.”
The Stephen D. Lee Institute is concerned especially with that part of the SCV’s mission indicated by the words capitalized for emphasis above. In 2005 the SCV General Executive Council authorized the Institute and its first historical conference, which was held in October of that year. The Institute’s goal is to organize accomplished and distinguished professional scholarship to inform our members and the general public of the Southern side of the war. To that end the Institute makes available recognized scholars to present such subjects as states' rights and the Constitutional aspects of the war; economic motives for invasion of the South; the dubious benevolence behind the slavery issue; Union Army war crimes and other unsavory aspects of the war against the South in 1861–1865; and other aspects of the true causes and nature of the war.
At no time since General S.D. Lee defined our mission has there been a greater need to present a true understanding of the War between the States. The cause for which the Confederate soldier fought must be actively defended in this time of officially imposed Political Correctness. If we allow his cause to be blackened, it will be impossible to defend the Confederate soldier even to those who may acknowledge his gallantry and skill.
From the time in which General Lee spoke the Charge until about the 1960s, Confederate heritage was widely respected in American public opinion. Both the North and the South generally agreed that the war had been a great tragedy, a conflict which had good and sincere people on both sides and out of which had emerged a stronger nation. There was a kind of truce during which Confederate heritage was respected and Confederate heroes were honored as heroes for all Americans. Southern men in the U.S. armed forces carried our battle flag to far corners of the world. Times have changed and there are new challenges for the SCV.
In the last few years the truce has been completely cast aside. The Confederate cause and those who fought for it are condemned in the blackest terms by supposed historical experts at every level of the educational system, and almost universally by the media and politicians, as much in the South as elsewhere. The need for an appropriate response on the battle ground of public opinion cannot be clearer. While the educational establishment is overwhelmingly captive to Political Correctness, there are scholars who are willing to take our side on the battle ground. They are not numerous, but they are distinguished, learned, and dedicated, and fully able to confront our enemies in intellectual controversy. The Stephen D. Lee Institute is dedicated to making these resources as widely available as possible.
Board of Directors
R. Michael Givens
Frank B. Powell, III