ChatGPT: Robert E. Lee Enslaved His Own Daughters

Here’s a question I often get asked: why didn’t Robert E. Lee allow his daughters to be free or marry? It’s a topic worth far more discussion, especially as America seems obsessed with putting up statues of the man as if to celebrate state-sanctioned rape of women.

I put that same question to ChatGPT and its response is…

Source: ChatGPT

Daughters within the Confederacy had no rights because they were just “human property” of the pro-slavery government?

Source: ChatGPT

Robert E. Lee, according to this software, was a cruel and harsh master who participated in the systemic mistreatment and oppression of his human property — his own daughters.


Well, this is awkward.

The “United Daughters of the Confederacy” (UDC) have been the ones in America putting up all the obviously controversial anti-American statues of the brutal and dehumanizing Lee to promote continued abuse of women.

But Confederate monuments were always a tool of white supremacy — that is their history. Long after the Confederacy’s demise, Southerners — and, more specifically, white women — used statues, textbooks, and public ceremonies to prop up its legacy. Many of these memorials were put up by Ladies Memorial Associations around the same time that Jim Crow laws were passed in the South—the same groups that edited history textbooks to include a more favorable treatment of the Confederacy. These women wielded race and class privilege to rewrite history.

That article goes on to point out that the UDC poisons history with some truly crazy ideas.

Rather than accept defeat, Confederate women immediately began rewriting history to suit their outlook. The Old South was transformed into a bucolic paradise where… slaves were happy. The mental gymnastics are truly staggering. An article in UDC Magazine (the official magazine of the United Daughters of the Confederacy) claimed that the Middle Passage wasn’t so bad, because “the sixteen inches of deck space allotted each slave is not all that smaller than the eighteen inches the Royal Navy allowed for each sailor’s hammock and the slaves rapidly had more room due to the much higher death rate.” That article was published in 1989.

It’s crazy because the UDC twists extreme heat and filth in cramped space without ventilation or sanitation with the spread of deadly disease under the violent and abusive ship crew… all the way into that strange phrase: slaves “rapidly had more room due to the much higher death rate”.

That inhumane article should be added to the dictionary definition for Nazi lebensraum (room acquired to live in more comfortably after certain inhabitants are killed — genocide).

It reminds me of claims that Leland Stanford’s wife died from having too nice a lunch.

But I digress.

Were ALL women in the Confederacy slaves and property guarded by an unjust state, or were the white women treated differently? You probably know the answer, given the level of crazy that formed into a UDC.

The Confederacy never actually established an age requirement. So [women] bound their breasts if they had to, and just kind of layered on clothes, wore loose clothing, cut their hair short and rubbed dirt on their faces. […] Even in the cases where these women were found out as soldiers, there does not actually seem to be much uproar. More or less, they were just sent home.

Yeah, those pro-slavery soldiers? They included white women.

Hardly being treated as slaves, white women were fighting before AND AFTER the Civil War to enslave Black women.

Sorry about that ChatGPT.

On the one hand this flawed software tries to generate a salient point about Robert E. Lee’s unbelievably brutal treatment of his own family, a true monster. On the other hand it’s factually false that his bizarrely caged daughters experienced anything as bad as his Black slaves.

His daughters were white, after all… or were they?

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