America has been fighting over statues since the founding

America has been fighting over statues since the founding
Image: Library of Congress, ca. 1910

[Ed. – Ah, just what we all need: A defense, couched in pseudo-cerebral terms, of why, for example, removing a memorial plaque of George Washington in the church he attended for two decades is a good thing.]

President Trump may be infuriating and offending many with his calls to save our “great statues/heritage,” but the unending uproar over Confederate monuments isn’t the first time Americans have feuded over whom we should preserve in plaster—and who’s best left forgotten.

That’s a clash that is literally as old as the nation itself. It began more than 200 years ago with a vicious debate over how the country should celebrate the founding of the American Republic—a debate that continued well into the 20th century.

The controversy started the moment Thomas Jefferson opted to form an op position party to contest the policies of the George Washington administration, particularly those of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, whom Jefferson believed was a monarchist, if not an outright British agent. Over the ensuing years, Hamilton’s Federalists and Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans battled it out—not just over whose party should govern the country but also over which side’s principles had been most instrumental in and representative of the birth of the United States.

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