America has faced a lot of protests in the last few weeks. Protesters have started tearing down statues. This started with Confederate statues since these are related to the history of slavery. The Confederacy (the South) fought in the Civil War to keep slavery as a way of life. Even though they lost the war, some states still have memorials to Confederate figures. Some people think Confederate memorials honor the slave owners of the past, so we shouldn’t have them anymore. Others say that we should keep these statues as a way to remember the past.
Now, non-Confederate statues are being attacked as well.
Protesters tore down the statue of Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco. Grant did own one slave, who he freed. But he also led the Union Army to win the Civil War. Later, as the 18th president, Grant signed the Naturalization Act, which helped black Americans to gain citizenship.
Black Lives Matter protesters also defaced the Lincoln Memorial, which honors the anti-slavery president Abraham Lincoln.
Trump Threatens Activists
On June 22, protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. President Trump angrily said he wants to punish anyone who tries to damage a statue of anyone who served in the armed forces of the United States. He said he would sign an order to send anyone who damages a statue to jail for 10 years.
Two Points of View
Some people agree with the president, and other disagree.
A professor called Chad Williams, said the executive order has him worried. He said Trump is trying “to crush any forms of protest.” Williams thinks tearing down statues is a way for protesters to show how they feel.
Others think the protesters have no right to destroy property. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton agreed with President Trump, saying the people who had damaged property are criminals.
This is a major issue for Americans, right now. There is an election in November, when people will get the chance to show whether they agree with Trump, or disagree with him.