Greetings Cosmic Americans!
Today, just for fun, let's see if the impossible can actually shed a little light on something. I mean...why not? I am home sick with a cold and it is pouring down rain outside.
This past summer, when I was attending the Civil War Institute 2011 conference in Gettysburg, historian Peter Carmichael wondered what Robert E. Lee's Facebook page would have looked like. After stating to the audience (correctly) that they probably were somewhat unfamiliar with the medium, he went on to discuss how on Facebook, you live your life for all the world to see - and that it is all about approval and affirmation.You make a statement...and people can "like" it.
Now - Lee understood that military policy needed the support of the Confederate populace. Without it, the efforts to secure independence would surely fail. So in this regard, a Facebook page would have been entirely helpful. "Should I invade Pennsylvania?" he could ask...and wait a minute or so to see how many of his friends clicked the little thumbs up button.
Of course, this is an utterly ridiculous proposition - but it does make one think about the connections between military policy and the homefront in a democratic republic. Lee understood that his army was the physical manifestation of the will of the Confederate people...and that so long as his army could continue the fight, his country's citizens could hold on to their dreams of independence.
Hey! Guess what. Lee actually does have a Facebook page (in case you were wondering, he has a Twitter account as well). I sent him a friend request - not because I support his efforts, but because I want to click the like button should he ever post anything about surrendering at Appomattox. He has not accepted just yet...maybe he thinks I am a Yankee spy.