William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (May 31, 1837 – October 15, 1911), known as Rooney Lee or W.H.F. Lee, was the 7th President of the Confederate States of America. Lee was the second son of former President Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Randolph Custis and brother of former Secretary of State Custis Lee.
Before being elected President in 1897, Lee served as a Governor, Senator and Representative from Virginia.
As President, Lee oversaw the annexations of Cuba and Puerto Rico and despite taking office during the midst of a recession, Lee upheld the gold standard; kept the railroads running, and prevented the country from entering a depression in a time of serious economic turmoil. Lee's admirers praised him for his honesty, independence, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism and especially his involvement in persuading the Confederate Congress to pass the Eight Amendment (1903) to the Confederate Constitution (outlawing slavery), while his critics accused him of being an uncompromising and out-of-touch elitist. Lee is perhaps best remembered for pushing Congress to pass the 8th Amendment, which, despite obvious moral and economic advantages, was incredibly unpopular with many voters at the time. In truth, Lee did support the Amendment, but Congress had been on the verge of passing the Amendment for years; Lee's commitment to abolishing the institution just provided more conservative members of Congress the scapegoat and more liberal members the hero necessary to ensure its passage. Although his social and economic policies were extremely unpopular with the contemporary, white working-class, his ability to keep the country out of a depression and his commitment to human rights are praised by modern historians. Most scholars rank Lee as a great or near great President.