argument top image

How do we think about removing controversial statues in the US? Show more Show less
Back to question

Throughout the US, activists are calling for the removal of controversial statues, which most often depict individuals with slavery or colonization ties. These statues have long been a subject of debate, but the American public’s renewed attention to systemic, racially-motivated violence has brought this conversation into the forefront of public discourse. According to those in favor of removal, these monuments glorify individuals who supported racist institutions. They stand as relics to white supremacy and racial terror. Others argue that these statues must remain because they are a part of our story. Although this is a heinous aspect of our past, removing these statues would be an attempt to whitewash America’s history. So, what are the opinions around this debate?

"We must not remove these statues!" Show more Show less

Although slavery was a horrific institution, it is a part of our history. We must preserve reminders of our past, trusting that "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." The historical figures facing this backlash were not completely evil and efforts to remove their statues are led by angry, violent, and irrational mobs.
< (3 of 5) Next position >

Removing controversial statues erases history.

We must preserve all of our nation's history, even the problematic aspects of it.

The Argument

Statues exist to remind current and future Americans of our nation's history. They safeguard our memory of history, preventing widespread ignorance of the past. Although some statues force us to recall the horrific institution of slavery, this recollection is necessary. We must remember our history, even though it disturbs us because our nation's narrative must be preserved. History is important, regardless of the discomfort it causes us. Furthermore, if we fail to remember our past, we will not learn anything from it. If we remove these monuments, Americans will forget history, and commit the same mistakes repeatedly. These statues prevent this. They shape the public consciousness toward regret and a "never again" conviction. For these reasons, we must not remove controversial statues.

Counter arguments

Many scholars argue that controversial monuments promote a false version of history through valorizing leaders who committed treason, promoted violent colonialism, or supported racism. These statues portray these figures as heroic but they were actually on the wrong side. If this is the case, we would best promote honest narratives of America's history by removing controversial statues. Also, it might be irrational to claim that removing statues will erase our memory of history. We have many other institutions, like museums and schools, that teach us about the past. With these in place, it is unlikely that the American public will develop widespread amnesia of the past anytime soon.



[P1] Our nation's statues exist to remind us of our history. [P2] If we remove controversial statues, we will erase reminders of our history. [P3] For this reason, we must preserve controversial statues.

Rejecting the premises



Not sure yet? Read more ↑


This page was last edited on Sunday, 12 Jul 2020 at 18:41 UTC

Explore related arguments