Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized efforts to tear down southern monuments to Confederate leaders because she doesn't believe in sanitizing history.

"I am a firm believer in 'keep your history before you' and so I don't actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners," she said Monday on Fox News.

"I want us to have to look at those names and recognize what they did and to be able to tell our kids what they did and for them to have a sense of their own history. When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better it's a bad thing," she said.

Rice said instead it should be celebrated that the country has come a long way from the times when the founders agreed to count each slave as three-fifths of a person or when black men in Alabama wouldn't be allowed to register to vote in the 1950s. Rice pointed to her father's troubles registering to vote in 1952 as a marker of how far the country has come.

She said it was about 50 years later that she was sworn in as secretary of state, becoming the first black woman to hold that position.

"The long road to freedom has indeed been long, it's been sometimes violent, it's had many martyrs but ultimately has been Americans claiming those institutions for themselves and expanding the definition of we the people," she said.

She said the founders should be viewed in the context of their time instead of through the prism of modern values.

"They were people of their times. I wish they had been like John Adams, who did not believe in slavery. I wish they had been like Alexander Hamilton, who was an immigrant by the way, a child of questionable parentage from the Caribbean," she said. "I wish all of them had been like that and Jefferson in particular, a lot of contradictions in Jefferson but they were people of their times and what we should celebrate is that from the Jefferson's and the Washington's as slave owners, look at where we are now."