Los Angeles Times

Robert E. Lee was not the George Washington of his time; still, a lot tie them together

"Is it George Washington next week?" President Donald Trump was railing against the removal of Confederate monuments, including one of Gen. Robert E. Lee at the center of the protest last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., that led to deadly violence. His suggestion that Washington and Lee were similar figures in history _ and that if memorials to one had to go, so did memorials to the other _ ...

"Is it George Washington next week?"

President Donald Trump was railing against the removal of Confederate monuments, including one of Gen. Robert E. Lee at the center of the protest last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., that led to deadly violence.

His suggestion that Washington and Lee were similar figures in history _ and that if memorials to one had to go, so did memorials to the other _ is not new.

To examine this argument, we turned to Barton Myers, an associate professor of history at Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Va.

The school was founded in 1749 as Augusta Academy. It went through two name changes before 1796, when Washington endowed the school with $20,000 to help it survive and the trustees showed their appreciation by renaming it Washington Academy. It later became Washington College. Lee became president of the school in 1865. After his death in 1870, the trustees gave the school its current name.

Myers' answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What are the

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