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
September 24, 1862
Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus
"BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
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.
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.