T Nation

Abraham Lincoln


#1

There are certain phenomena that occur on a relatively regular cyclical basis. One of these is the contention that Abraham Lincoln was "overrated, did not mean to free the slaves" etc...

I view it as part of my job as an educated man to slap down this stupidity whenever it raises it's ugly head.

In the past few weeks pox's pal, obama has said that he "has trouble swallowing whole, the notion of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator." Then we have nephorm using hitler and Lincoln in the same post as examples of a "despot".

Let's begin the lesson.

First of all, Lincoln had a nearly lifelong aversion to slavery. He took a trip to New Orleans when he was 21 years old. He witnessed the brutality of slaves being sold. From then on, you can read of him castigating slavery and slaveholders in very graphic terms.

Some argue that Lincoln didn't set out to free the slaves. He said to Horace Greeley "If I could free the Union by freeing the slaves, I would do so. If I could save the Union by freeing none of the slaves I would do so. If I could save the Union by freeing some, and keeping others in slavery, I would do that."

Now what does that really mean? It means his Constitutional obligation to preserve the Union was his paramount concern as President. IT DOES NOT mean that he wasn't looking for a way to end slavery from the very beginning.

You can look up the various schemes he floated during his Presidency including gradual, compensated Emancipation and colonization.

Now for the silliness that eventually is regurgitated that the war wasn't about slavery, I will leave you with Lincoln's own words. If necessary, I would be happy to pile on by listing what his contemporaries thought about Lincoln and his views on slavery.

Lincoln to the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe "So you're the little lady that started this great war."

Lincoln discussing the cause of the coming sectional strife: June, 1858:

"In my opinion, [the current slavery agitation] will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new--North as well as South. Have we no tendency to the latter condition?"

Lincoln's first Inaugural: 1861

"One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute"

Lincoln's second Inaugural: 1865

"One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained."

Now to the "despot" crap.

Here is the actual suspension act:

Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus

Abraham Lincoln
September 24, 1862

Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus

"BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

A PROCLAMATION

Whereas, it has become necessary to call into service not only volunteers but also portions of the militia of the States by draft in order to suppress the insurrection existing in the United States, and disloyal persons are not adequately restrained by the ordinary processes of law from hindering this measure and from giving aid and comfort in various ways to the insurrection;

Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission:

Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twenty fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the 87th.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."

First of all, there is no other way he could have held the border states (see John Merryman in Baltimore stirring up secession) or prevented the Northwest Conspiracy.

Don't bother arguing it, it couldn't have been done.

He did it because he had to.

I take it back, I'd love to hear someone give an alternative approach that had a snowball's chance in hell of working.

Finally, it's hard to say that Lincoln used his power "capriciously." See the number of death sentences he commuted and the number of "banishments" to the South he signed. A true despot, would have eliminated them.

JeffR


#2

Jerffy, is cream your alter ego?


#3

Good presidents are mostly born from being in the right place at the right time. This it just propagand backed up by your opinion. He just got lucky the country was having the issues it was at the time so that "freeing" slaves could become his legacy. If he had run on the platform of freeing slaves he would never have been elected.


#4

JeffR: Please double check the post. I was not the one who put their quotes together, I merely commented on the coincidence. I don't think Lincoln was an evil man. I think Hitler was. I would never compare Hitler and Lincoln rhetorically myself, but since they were grouped together already, I thought it was somewhat humorous.

I realize there is a certain neoconservative allegiance to Lincoln, and far be it from me to question it. Once again, I'm an advocate of states' rights, and I have some sympathy for the Southern position, even though I find slave-holding reprehensible. I think Lincoln, like Kennedy, has been given a "free pass" in our history books... to the victor go the spoils, I suppose.

I do think we landed on the moon. I do think communism is a misguided political system. I don't think the government planned 9/11. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Everyone chill the hell out. Thank you.


#5

I wouldn't give either that much credit.


#6

News flash -- Nephorm is the devil! Film at 11...


#7

JeffR,

Nice post. Lincoln did not come into office deciding to abolish slavery, however he was very clear that he was against slavery. Abolishing slavery would have meant instant Civil War, something he was trying to avoid!

He believed slavery was destined to end before the turn of the century, his primary goal was to keep the Union intact.

The mark of a man is how well he does in tough times. Lincoln did very well.
Maybe his legacy would not be so good if he had to preside over the post Civil War period, but that is impossible to say.

It boggles my mind when people criticize Lincoln. They clearly cherry pick facts to try to fit their preconcieved notions.

BTW, I am reading "John Brown, Abolitinist" right now. Good insight into the whole pre-Civil War period.


#8

Yes, because John Brown should be our model for political change, right?


#9

Actually, I should retract this. I haven't read the book, and I can't claim that this is the message.


#10

That is not the message at all. It is a biography of his life combined with a pretty good overview of the society of the time although it is too long and can be a bit dry.

In no way would I consider John Brown a role model, but he was way ahead of his time regarding race relations.


#11

LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
"Good presidents are mostly born from being in the right place at the right time. This it just propagand backed up by your opinion. He just got lucky the country was having the issues it was at the time so that "freeing" slaves could become his legacy. If he had run on the platform of freeing slaves he would never have been elected."

Liftus, WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME!!??!!

You know what I'm going to have to say.

Ok.

Great Presidents are great.

Suck-asses like buchanan, carter, and hoover couldn't cut it. Great Presidents like Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan deal with problems and change their world.

"Just got lucky?" My God, slavery was front and center to varying degrees from 1787 to 1861. Different Presidents dealt with it differently. Lincoln DEALT WITH IT.

Finally, this whole "legacy" crap is vastly overblown (except for billy.)

Lincoln didn't think he'd live through his Presidency. He was right.

JeffR


#12

Thank God! Been at the Fat Farm?


#13

Hey, I bet they build statues across the English speaking world to lots of Canadian leaders, just like they do to Lincoln.

Let's see, there's.... Oh wait.... No... OK, so Canada's entire foreign policy has been SATELLITE throughout its history, first to the UK, then to the US. No wonder no one remembers any Canadian "leaders"!

I love Canadians, except vroom.


#14

Oh, the classes were full. However, I have been here waiting for you to post a picture of your greek-statuesque physique so that I may finally have a goal to shoot for. Please post pic below, you god of proportion, you.


#15

Vroom, I think you are right on the money.... creamsy and jerkky are one in the same. They both boast of Olympian physiques and are beyond rationale, small, hostile, little worms.

I think the juvenile hatred is spawned from the same source an abnormal, emotionally stunted, fragile and wounded, mind.

Much like with Michael Jackson, I feel for the child that obviously suffered extreme mental, physical, and emotional abuse, but not for the negative, hate breeding, narcissistic, crippled adult it has become.

I hope this twisted individual gets the treatment it needs and finds whatever kind of peace is possible in the hell hole that is it's mind.


#16

JeffR:

After 150 years of hailing Lincoln as a hero, 16 000 plus laudatory books are written about a man, massive monuments statues and museums built in his honor, no slavery after he died, and no European-style internecine wars that would have resulted from the success of the South, there's always some assholes that decide to try to chip away at his legacy.

So now there are eight books out there in a century and a half by post-modernist turds, nutso libertarians, and southern apologists that try to talk about Lincoln as some kind of bad guy. Let me put them into categories:

1) The KKK Good Ole Boy Idiot --

Argument: "The Civil War was about States' Rights, Lincoln unlawfully invaded the South, it was his fault."

Facts: "STATES RIGHTS" = STATE'S RIGHTS FOR SLAVERY

While there were lots of factors going (i.e. the South's unwillingness to lose its de facto, undemocratic hold on the federal government), the one right that the South went for the gun on was SLAVERY. Lincoln was perceived in the South as ANTI-SLAVERY, not pro-tax, not anti-cotton, not anything else other than a "Black Republican". His stance on SLAVERY made the first southern states rebel.

Read the Seccession ordinances of the Confederate states. The only one which doesn't mention slavery as its main cause for unlawfully rebelling is Missouri.

Idiot factor: +8, since it mostly stems from people that are embarrassed that their ancestors fought so bravely for such a shitty cause.

2) The Post-Modernist Deconstructionist Black Turtleneck Professor Idiot

Argument: No white man ever did a good thing. All whites at the time (just like now) were racist, Lincoln didn't care about blacks, there are no heroes.

Facts: Lincoln freed the slaves, won the Civil War with a philosophy and temperment NEVER seen in other civil wars, and was working to give slaves equal legal rights.

Idiot factor: +5 These people have no dicks, they get pretty much a by because they are just critics. They are the kind of people that always think that they have "special knowledge", and that "everyone else is dumb". Call them elitists, jealous, democrats, socialists, whatever. They are deeply unhappy and think it makes them big to tear down people who have actually done something important. These people would get off by going on the internet and posting that John Wayne was four feet tall and that Arnold had biceps implants.

3) The Ignorant Racist Barack Obama Idiot

Argument: "Lincoln was a racist, he said that blacks and whites shouldn't get married, he used the N word, he talked about paying for free blacks to build an African colony, he didn't free the border states slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation was just smoke and mirrors, white people are the cause of all suffering in the world, all whites hated blacks then just like they do now."

Facts: So let me see... he ran on an anti-slavery platform, managed to fool black abolitionists like Frederick Douglass into loving him, freed the slaves in the Confederacy halfway through the war and led the nation back to union under the banner of freeing the slaves, introduced an amendment banning slavery, spoke often and publicly about what a horror slavery was and how God would send (or was already sending) punishment for it, triggered his assassin by talking about full black suffrage, counted many black friends, allies, and admirers while he was in the White House that knew him personally...

When he was twenty he used the N word and talked about how blacks and whites shouldn't marry? Ever spent any time in the motherfucking inner city? I hear this horseshit ten times a day out of kids' and parents' mouths. Somehow I think that if we give Malcolm X and Robert Byrd (who both accomplished nothing in a whole lifetime) a pass, I think we can give the guy who freed the slaves at the cost of his own son, his own life, hundreds of thousands of his loyal constituents, and worked for full emancipation and suffrage some slack.

Idiot Factor: +200 Barack Obama said that Lincoln would appreciate the "irony" of his being a senator. What a complete piece of shit moron. The IRONY? He poured out his life so that Barack's parents could emigrate to get a job and education and live in freedom rather than be imported as farm equipment, and it's "Lincoln would have found it IRONIC that Barack Obama is a senator"? Unbelieveable. There's a reason that families like mine had his picture up in the front hallway for over a century, you lackwit.

Anyways, I think that covers the main three categories. Although I'm sure the morons will come on now with some more outrageous arguments. I'll just have to invent some new categories then.


#17

Man, wrong about this, wrong about just about everything political, wrong about taking steroids to get as big as a high school linebacker, wrong on your criticisms of people who haven't served in the military, a Bronco's fan...

Jesus, can you do anything right?


#18

FDR? You've got to be kidding me.

"That joke is as lame as FDR's legs."
...
...
...
"What, still too soon?"


#19

Do I do it by quickly posting a cartoon as my avatar, when, after years of ripping on anyone who has the nuts to post their pics in the Photo Section, someone finally calls me out for being fat and not amazingly big?

I'll post my pics in the thread where you do. This is the same thread you apologize to all the people who have been working hard to build a little muscle and you just midlessly come on and tell them "eat more, you skinny pussies", as if 5'11" 250 with 23% bodyfat is something to shoot for, and hasn't been reproduced in gyms all over America for half a century.


#20

e-hater wrote:
"Vroom, I think you are right on the money.... creamsy and jerkky are one in the same. They both boast of Olympian physiques and are beyond rationale, small, hostile, little worms."

I have repeatedly offered to have physique comparisons on p.m. I've seen your photos and understand why you would turn it down. However, you try to apply the adjectives "small" and "little" to me. I'm not sure why.
If you want to have comparisons of lifting numbers, measurements, body fat, let's do it. Just you and me. One on one. No little internet dweebs around to chime in.

I keep seeing the name "vroom." Who is "vroom?"

"I think the juvenile hatred is spawned from the same source an abnormal, emotionally stunted, fragile and wounded, mind.
Much like with Michael Jackson, I feel for the child that obviously suffered extreme mental, physical, and emotional abuse, but not for the negative, hate breeding, narcissistic, crippled adult it has become.
I hope this twisted individual gets the treatment it needs and finds whatever kind of peace is possible in the hell hole that is it's mind."

You have a nice imagination. I think you need a hug. Here's a internet hug (I'll go easy so I don't break your spine.)

With love,

JeffR