As an American I hate so much of what the Confederacy stood for: racism, division, greed, narcissism, reactionary politics, and the implicit belief that a good nation could rise on the flesh and bones of people in fetters.

Yet the misguided attempt to wipe from the face of the earth any memorial to the Americans who died in that conflict offends me as an historian.

We should never forget, nor allow our children to forget, that good, well-intentioned people die in the name of bad causes, and that it is not their cause that needs to be remembered, but the hubris that led them to the slaughter.

The problem lies not in statues or monuments, but in the way we use history and memories to teach.