T Nation

The Lincoln Cult

An African-American Icon Speaks Truth to the Lincoln Cult

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

"Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he is a church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom have a vested interest in [him] and who are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him."

~ Lerone Bennett, Jr.,
Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln�??s White Dream, p. 114

The gigantic collection of myths, lies, and distortions that comprise The Legend of Abraham Lincoln is the ideological cornerstone of the American warfare/welfare state. It has been invoked for generations to make the argument that if the policies of the U.S. government are not “the will of God,” then at least they are the will of “Father Abraham.” Moreover, this legend �?? this false history of America �?? did not arise spontaneously. It was invented and nurtured by an intergenerational army of court historians who, as Murray Rothbard once said, are absolutely indispensable to any government empire. All states, said Rothbard, depend for their existence on a series of myths about their benevolence, heroism, greatness, or even divinity.

Since very few Americans have spent much time educating themselves about Lincoln and nineteenth-century American history (much of which has been falsified anyway), it is easy for members of what I call the Lincoln Cult to dismiss all literary criticisms of Lincoln as the work of “neo-Confederates,” their code-word for “defenders of slavery” (as though anyone in America today would defend slavery), or “racist.” Although they label themselves “Lincoln scholars,” the last thing they want is honest scholarship when it comes to the subject of Lincoln and his war. They are, at best, cover-up artists and pandering court historians who feed at the government grant trough, “consuming” tax dollars to support their “research” and their overblown university positions.

But they�??ve got a big problem (more than one, actually). The big problem is the publication of a 662-page book by the distinguished African-American author Lerone Bennett, Jr. entitled Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln�??s White Dream. The book was originally published in 1999 and was recently released in paperback. Bennett was a longtime managing editor of Ebony magazine and, among other things, the author of a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., What Manner of Man. Although several “Civil War” publications have labeled yours truly as the preeminent Lincoln critic of our day, Forced into Glory is a much more powerful critique of Dishonest Abe than anything I have ever written. The Lincoln Cult, which would not dare to personally attack a serious African-American scholar like Bennett, has largely ignored the book instead.

When they are not ignoring the book and hoping that it (and the author) would just go away, they “have responded by recycling the traditional Lincoln apologies,” writes Bennett. (Being a “Lincoln scholar” means taking some of Lincoln�??s unsavory words and deeds, such as his lifelong support for the policy of “colonization” or deportation of all black people in America, and dreaming up excuses for why he was supposedly “forced” into taking that position).

Bennett argues that “academics and [the] media had been hiding the truth for 135 years and that Lincoln was not the great emancipator or the small emancipator or the economy-sized emancipator.” He presents chapter and verse of how the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one, since it only applied to “rebel territory,” and specifically exempted all the slave-owning/Union-controlled border states and other areas that were occupied by the U.S. army at the time. He quotes James Randall, who has been called the “greatest Lincoln scholar of all time,” as writing, “the Proclamation itself did not free a single slave.” It was the Thirteenth Amendment that finally ended slavery, he correctly notes, and Lincoln was dragged into accepting it kicking and screaming all the way.

So what was the purpose of the Proclamation? Primarily to placate the genuine abolitionists with a political sleight of hand, says Bennett, and to deter Britain and France from formally recognizing the Confederate government.

Since so few Americans are aware of these facts, Bennett correctly concludes that “the level of ignorance on Abraham Lincoln and race in the United States is a scandal and a rebuke to schools, museums, media, and scholars.” This of course is no accident; it�??s exactly the way the state wants it to be.

Bennett is especially critical of how the Lincoln Cult uses black historical figures as pawns in its defense of “Father Abraham.” For example, he contends that there is no way to get around the fact that Lincoln was a lifelong white supremacist, loudly proclaiming that he was opposed to “making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.” He said far worse things than that, as Bennett documents. The typical response of the Lincoln Cult is to "find a slave or a former slave or, better, a Black officeholder to say that he adores Lincoln and doesn�??t care what people say . . . "

Why, one would ask, is such a distinguished African-American journalist so incensed over the Lincoln myth? It is because of his twenty years of painstaking research, resulting in this book, that proves, among other things, what a vulgar racist Lincoln was. Bennett provides quote after quote of Lincoln�??s own words, habitually using the N-word so much that people in Washington thought he was weirdly consumed by his racism. Bennett tells of first-hand accounts by some of Lincoln�??s generals of how they left a meeting with him during a crisis in the war in which the president spent most of his time in the meeting telling off-color “darkie” jokes (Lincoln�??s language). General James Wadsworth, for example, was “shocked by the racism in the Lincoln White House.”

I will not repeat any of this language here; suffice it to say that Bennett has scoured Lincoln�??s Collected Works and demonstrates that he used the N-word about as frequently as your modern-day “gangster rapper” does. Bennett also describes how this has all been covered up by the Lincoln Cult. Despite the hundreds of examples that are right there in black and white in Lincoln�??s own speeches, “Carl Sandburg, who spent decades researching Lincoln�??s life, denied that Lincoln used the N-word.” And “Harold Holzer, who edited a collection of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, was surprised that Lincoln used the N-word twice in the first Lincoln-Douglas debate.” (Lincoln personally edited the transcripts of the debates, so there is no question that he said these things).

Bennett is also incensed by the fact that Lincoln never opposed Southern slavery but only its extension into the territories. Indeed, in his first inaugural address he pledged his everlasting support for Southern slavery by making it explicitly constitutional with the “Corwin Amendment,” that had already passed the U.S. House and Senate.

The reason Lincoln gave for opposing the extension of slavery was, in Lincoln�??s own words, that he didn�??t want the territories to “become an asylum for slavery and [N-word, plural].” He also said that he didn�??t want the white worker to be “elbowed from his plow or his anvil by slave [N-word, plural].” It was all economics and politics, in other words, and not humanitarianism or the desire to “pick the low-hanging fruit” by stopping slavery in the territories.

Lincoln not only talked like a white supremacist; as a state legislator he supported myriad laws and regulations in Illinois that deprived the small number of free blacks in the state of any semblance of citizenship. Bennett gives us chapter and verse of how he supported a law that “kept pure from contamination” the electoral franchise by prohibiting “the admission of colored votes.” He supported the notorious Illinois Black Codes that made it all but impossible for free blacks to earn a living; and he was a “manager” of the Illinois Colonization Society that sought to use state tax revenues to deport blacks out of the state. He also supported the 1848 amendment to the Illinois constitution that prohibited the immigration of blacks into the state. As president, he vigorously supported the Fugitive Slave Act that forced Northerners to hunt down runaway slaves and return them to slavery for a bounty. Lincoln knew that this law had led to the kidnapping of an untold number of free blacks who were thrown into slavery.

It is understandable how a man like Lerone Bennett, Jr., armed with this knowledge, would begin to question The Legend of Abraham Lincoln.

Perhaps the most important reason why Bennett was motivated to spend twenty years of his life (and longer) researching this book is his knowledge of Lincoln�??s obsession with “colonization” or deportation. This was what Bennett calls Lincoln�??s “white dream,” his dream of simply deporting all the black people out of America.

Bennett tells the story of how, near the end of his life, Lincoln was still “dreaming.” He asked General Benjamin Butler to estimate for him how many ships it would take, after the war was over, do deport all black people from America. “Beast” Butler came back to him with an answer he didn�??t want to hear: There was no way that his dream could be accomplished with the sailing fleet that was currently at hand.

Bennett details Lincoln�??s obsession with “colonization” by describing how he proposed to Congress compensated emancipation of slaves in Washington, D.C. and the border states, accompanied by immediate deportation. (Lincoln used the word “deportation” as much or more than “colonization”). Thus, the purpose was not freedom for the slaves so much as it was to rid America of all blacks. It�??s a good bet that you were never taught this in school; read Forced into Glory and improve your knowledge of the real Lincoln (and of the excuse-making Lincoln Cult that has mis-educated generations of Americans).

Many Americans are aware that Lincoln once said something about America being “the last best hope” on earth. Numerous books have been written about Lincoln with those words in the title. But the context of these words reveals Lincoln�??s darkest side, not his “greatness,” as the Lincoln Cult maintains. The context is that these words were included in Lincoln�??s plea to Congress to “colonize” any freed slaves. He did not believe a multiracial society was desirable and, as Bennett says, seemed “terrified” at the prospect of inter-racial marriage. Colonization was what he meant by “the last best hope” for America, as Bennett shows. “In support of the White Dream,” he writes, “Lincoln mobilized the State Department, the Interior Department, the Treasury Department, and the Smithsonian Institution . . . . Lincoln�??s ethnic cleansing plan was the official policy of the American government.” Perhaps this is a possible reason why the same government did next to nothing for the ex-slaves after the war.

Bennett doesn�??t buy into the Lincoln Cult�??s tall tale that he “evolved” during the war and embraced equality. He quotes the man Lincoln had put in charge of “Negro emigration” as saying that Lincoln “remained a colonizationist and racist until his death.”

The real heroes, in Bennett�??s view, are the genuine abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. Lincoln was never an abolitionist per se and, in fact distanced himself and ridiculed them whenever possible.

I laughed my way through Lerones book in college. His glaring ignorance of the political realities of the mid-1800’s almost rival Dilorenzo himself. His nonsense on the Sioux Uprising kept me in stitches for hours.

'I would like for people to realize once again that the problem of life is not the problem of evil, but the problem of good. I’ve tried to suggest in this book, in “Forced into Glory,” that the problem of race in America is not the right-wing fringe. The problem of race in America is the problem of the so-called “middle people” or so-called “good people,” of Jefferson and Lincoln, and I hope that American people would begin to teach this so that we can begin the process of healing and begin the process of dealing for the first time with slavery, the Confederacy and Abraham Lincoln and other people who stand in the light and keep us from seeing what I do believe. ’ Lerone Bennett

Number one, comparing Lincoln to Jefferson, whose hobbies included breeding blacks to sell for profit and whose politics gave birth to the Slave Power, on race is laughable. Lincoln’s actions, in fact, sometimes backed up his words.

Bennett’s main problem with Lincoln was that he was a conservative moderate who tried to appease the South and avoid war. Bennett’s white hero was Wendell Phillips. Admirable – but could you imagine him at the head of affairs? Hello, Confederacy. Lincoln wasn’t a militant. Too bad for Grandpa Lerone, I guess. He took backward steps, said he would support things like the Fugitive Slave Law. Unfortunately, if you can’t keep the Union together you can’t do those little things like the gradual emancipation of slavery. The Republican party was founded on the idea of preventing the spread of slavery. Because they attempted to compromise occasionally to try to appease their countrymen and prevent bloodshed is, to me, something that should have been done.

Frederick Douglass even eventually came to realize this simple fact: “Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined. Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery.”

Hilarious that Thomas Dilorenzo sprays his shorts over Bennett’s drivel considering his main problem with Lincoln was not as a compromising pussy, but that he was a war-mongering South hating tyrant who liked to pull the wings off of flies when he wasn’t joyously reciting southern soldiers’ body count numbers in the newspapers.

Bennett’s second problem with Lincoln is colonization; the idea goes back to Jefferson, Madison and on through Clay and on to the antislavery Republican party. Lerone Bennettâ¿¿s one political white hero of the time, Salmon Chase, also supported colonization although Lerone must not have learned that simple fact yet. Lincoln supported voluntary colonization as did virtually every other antislavery politician of the time. Guess what? Racist white America needed a little prodding to get ready for Emancipation. Jefferson realized it, Madison realized it, Lincoln realized it. (By the way, Lincoln also never publicly spoke of colonization again after he had convinced racist white Northerners into accepting black soldiers.)

Bennett’s other problem seems to be that Lincoln was apparently the first white man in the 1800s to use the N-word. Lincoln’s old law partner Billy Herndon traveled around after Lincoln’s death and got honest – young Lincoln liked hookers apparently – reminisces from people who knew him and remembered him, and on the subject of race, ‘kindly’ and ‘tender-hearted’ came up often. (Well, in-between swearing like a ‘gangsta rapper’). He also apparently laughed at actors in blackface. Considering Lincoln laughed at Southern newspapers cartoons portaying him as an ugly abolitionist blackguard and ‘ape’, I guess I could buy that one, too.

Lastly, the Emancipation proclamation. Here’s an article by Thomas Sowell, a much smarter black man than Ebony editor Lerone Bennett:

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4361

[quote]bota wrote:
[/quote]

There are some people who should be immediately banned for daring to criticize Lincoln.

One of those people is bota.

This is one of those very rare circumstances a foreigner shouldn’t be allowed to discuss a topic on an American site.

bota is one of those people who has shown himself to be consistently hostile/wrong-headed regarding the United States.

He should not be allowed to spit his venom at a sacred target.

If he isn’t banned or this thread erased, I urge every American to quarantine this thread.

JeffR

[quote]Jack_Dempsey wrote:

Hilarious that Thomas Dilorenzo sprays his shorts over Bennett’s drivel considering his main problem with Lincoln was not as a compromising pussy, but that he was a war-mongering South hating tyrant who liked to pull the wings off of flies when he wasn’t joyously reciting southern soldiers’ body count numbers in the newspapers.


[/quote]
Mr Dempsey,

My thanks to you for your meticulous and thoughtful work here.

(It occurs to me, following the comment I quote above, that phony revisionists share something in common with conspiracy nuts: they can not decide which fantasy to believe to promote their ideology.)

Be forewarned, of course, not everyone here will understand that what you present is consonant with history and well supported. Instead, they rely on the catechisms published by a little Vatican in Auburn, Alabama, and headed by Pope Rockwell. The only cult I see here is not that of Lincoln, or of real libertarians, but of R. Paul.

Thanks Dr.

James McPherson has a good review of the Bennett book in the NY Times.

It’s early morning and I’m bored, so I’ve been browsing through some of Dilorenzo’s articles.

A story he told more than once of Lincoln and Sherman meeting and laughing over the fate of southerners piqued my interest. Since I had never heard this story, I decided to go to Gutenberg.org and re-read some of Shermans memoirs.

'In his memoirs Sherman wrote that when he met with Lincoln after his March to the Sea was completed, Lincoln was eager to hear the stories of how thousands of Southern civilians, mostly women, children, and old men, were plundered, sometimes murdered, and rendered homeless. Lincoln, according to Sherman, laughed almost uncontrollably at the stories. ’ Thomas Dilorenzo

Here is the passage in question from William Sherman’s memoirs:

'He laughed over some of the stories Sherman told of his “bummers,” and told others in return, which illustrated in a striking manner the ideas he wanted to convey. For example, he would often express his wishes by telling an apt story, which was quite a habit with him, and one that I think he adopted to prevent his committing himself seriously.

I don’t know what the President would have done had he been left to himself, and had our army been unsuccessful, but he was than wrought up to a high state of excitement. He wanted peace on almost any terms, and there is no knowing what proposals he might have been willing to listen to. His heart was tenderness throughout, and, as long as the rebels laid down their arms, he did
not care how it was done.’ - General Sherman’s memoirs.

The Lew Rockwell brand of historians turn Lincoln, Sherman and some soldiers sitting around a fire into Lincoln cackling with glee and demanding to hear stories about old homeless women being murdered. Hilarious, but all-too typical. I’m actually shocked DiLorenzo’s books don’t sprout legs and vacate the non-fiction section of bookstores.

Nothing more in the memoirs about Lincoln’s feeling towards Southerners except his ‘kindly’ feeling for some Tennesseans, and:

I know, when I left him, that I was more than ever impressed by his kindly nature, his deep and earnest sympathy with the afflictions of the whole people, resulting from the war, and by the march of hostile armies through the South; and that his earnest desire seemed to be to end the war speedily, without more bloodshed or
devastation, and to restore all the men of both sections to their homes. In the language of his second inaugural address, he seemed to have “charity for all, malice toward none,” and, above all, an absolute faith in the courage, manliness, and integrity of the armies in the field. When at rest or listening, his legs and arms seemed to hang almost lifeless, and his face was care-worn and haggard; but, the moment he began to talk, his face lightened up, his tall form, as it were, unfolded, and he was the very impersonation of good-humor and fellowship. The last words I recall as addressed to me were that he would feel better when I was back at Goldsboro’. We parted at the gangway of the River Queen, about noon of March 28th, and I never saw him again. Of all the men I ever met, he seemed to possess more of the elements of greatness, combined with goodness, than any other. - William Sherman’s memoirs.

[quote]Jack_Dempsey wrote:

I’m actually shocked DiLorenzo’s books don’t sprout legs and vacate the non-fiction section of bookstores.[/quote]

Great stuff as usual, Jack Dempsey, and I can’t think of a better sentence to describe DiLorenzo’s shameless propaganda.

[quote]JeffR wrote:
bota wrote:

There are some people who should be immediately banned for daring to criticize Lincoln.

One of those people is bota.

This is one of those very rare circumstances a foreigner shouldn’t be allowed to discuss a topic on an American site.

bota is one of those people who has shown himself to be consistently hostile/wrong-headed regarding the United States.

He should not be allowed to spit his venom at a sacred target.

If he isn’t banned or this thread erased, I urge every American to quarantine this thread.

JeffR
[/quote]
I am not saying you have to believe everything in the OP but come on…You really think Lincoln was as big a hero as all the history texts make him out to be?

The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. I do not believe Lincoln actually cared about blacks or slavery. I think he was more worried about his legacy as president had our “little experiment” ended with secession.

Besides this, considering none were there to observe it none can really know. We have to take every text and word with a grain of salt and look more toward the motivations of men to tell us what is real.

[quote]DrSkeptix wrote:
consonant with history …[/quote]

How do you know?

[quote]JeffR wrote:
bota wrote:

There are some people who should be immediately banned for daring to criticize Lincoln.

One of those people is bota.

This is one of those very rare circumstances a foreigner shouldn’t be allowed to discuss a topic on an American site.

bota is one of those people who has shown himself to be consistently hostile/wrong-headed regarding the United States.

He should not be allowed to spit his venom at a sacred target.

If he isn’t banned or this thread erased, I urge every American to quarantine this thread.

JeffR
[/quote]

So freedom of speech only applies to the things that we (you) want to hear?

Do you actually believe the crap you write?

Dustin

[quote]Dustin wrote:
JeffR wrote:
bota wrote:

There are some people who should be immediately banned for daring to criticize Lincoln.

One of those people is bota.

This is one of those very rare circumstances a foreigner shouldn’t be allowed to discuss a topic on an American site.

bota is one of those people who has shown himself to be consistently hostile/wrong-headed regarding the United States.

He should not be allowed to spit his venom at a sacred target.

If he isn’t banned or this thread erased, I urge every American to quarantine this thread.

JeffR

So freedom of speech only applies to the things that we (you) want to hear?

Do you actually believe the crap you write?

Dustin[/quote]

Hey, numbnuts.

I was very clear that this is a very rare circumstance.

On an American site, I would think we’d have the perogative of erasing/eliminating the ravings of an inveterate FOE of all things American.

Especially, considering the unimaginable difference between the character of a misinformed, historically challenged, troll and Abraham Lincoln.

This is, sacred ground he’s attacking.

It’s one of those very rare circumstances where he should be made to shape up his act.

That you are on this thread defending his “right” to be an punk, says much about you.

Don’t bother posting any follow-up messages, as this is the last post on this thread.

JeffR

Lincoln does have a myth surrounding him. C’mon, he was a highly paid railroad lawyer that the RR interests put in, so that they’d get free land to build the transcontinental railroad. VERY few idealists or dreamers ever get anywhere near the Presidency. A man (or woman) has to be a real politician to get that high.

If Lincoln had been anti-slavery, he’d have never been elected dog catcher. Northern whites were more racists than Southerners.

If Lincoln had been a true idealist, he’d have offered the South ANY terms to stay in the Union. He was willing to kill a lot of them to get them to stay in — why not give them anything else they wanted if they’d stay?

He was a politician…probably a pretty decent guy…but he was a politician.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
DrSkeptix wrote:
consonant with history …

How do you know?[/quote]

I do not claim to be a Civil War era expert–I cede gladly to Jack Dempsey and Thunderbolt. But I have done my share of reading, and much of it has been “unbiased” in one way or another. I am old enough to have a long memory: I was made to read Charles Beard and Carl Sandburg, among others, careful writers who have now achieved footnote status as revisionist or orthodox historians.

“I know” because I have judgment: some assertions fit the history of 1856 to 1865 and some assertions just do not. If it does not fit, it is otherwise explained, out of context, or just a fabrication. Jack Dempsey, through dint of hard work has shown us examples of each.

It just takes too much work to disprove an error, more so an out-and-out lie.

In answer to your earlier post, do I think Lincoln is above examination? Of course not; but some “faults” our society sees reflects our vices. We should read the man as a product of his time. But whenever I review Lincoln in his time, I am astounded. I am not alone in this.

(As for your comment on “legacy:” This is an example of reading our time into his. Reality check: South Carolina seceded on 12/21/1860, while Buchanan was still Pres., and chose its reasons after. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Immediate_Causes_Which_Induce_and_Justify_the_Secession_of_South_Carolina_from_the_Federal_Union . Ft Sumter was fired upon after federal troops abandoned another fort for safety, just a few weeks after Lincoln’s inauguration. Before a military response from Lincoln, 10 other states seceded. Lincoln did not “choose his legacy,” it was thrust upon him.)

Now, just in case Dustin gets his knickers in a twist, I am very much in favor of free speech and freer inquiry. But nothing says that I have to respect the crap that sometimes masquerades as discourse around her; critical judgment should not have to tolerate lies and propaganda.

[quote]DrSkeptix wrote:

How do you know?

I do not claim to be a Civil War era expert–I cede gladly to Jack Dempsey and Thunderbolt. But I have done my share of reading, and much of it has been “unbiased” in one way or another. I am old enough to have a long memory: I was made to read Charles Beard and Carl Sandburg, among others, careful writers who have now achieved footnote status as revisionist or orthodox historians.

“I know” because I have judgment: some assertions fit the history of 1856 to 1865 and some assertions just do not. If it does not fit, it is otherwise explained, out of context, or just a fabrication. Jack Dempsey, through dint of hard work has shown us examples of each.

It just takes too much work to disprove an error, more so an out-and-out lie.

In answer to your earlier post, do I think Lincoln is above examination? Of course not; but some “faults” our society sees reflects our vices. We should read the man as a product of his time. But whenever I review Lincoln in his time, I am astounded. I am not alone in this.

(As for your comment on “legacy:” This is an example of reading our time into his. Reality check: South Carolina seceded on 12/21/1860, while Buchanan was still Pres., and chose its reasons after. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Immediate_Causes_Which_Induce_and_Justify_the_Secession_of_South_Carolina_from_the_Federal_Union . Ft Sumter was fired upon after federal troops abandoned another fort for safety, just a few weeks after Lincoln’s inauguration. Before a military response from Lincoln, 10 other states seceded. Lincoln did not “choose his legacy,” it was thrust upon him.)

Now, just in case Dustin gets his knickers in a twist, I am very much in favor of free speech and freer inquiry. But nothing says that I have to respect the crap that sometimes masquerades as discourse around her; critical judgment should not have to tolerate lies and propaganda.[/quote]

Consonant with history indeed, and postmodern claptrap can be set aside.

Lincoln was a student of history in addition to being an abolitionist. He understood the nature of secession by studying the dress rehearsals for it since the Founding. He knew his Constitutional law well (witness his criticism of Dred Scot), so his seeing himself as the conservator of the Union was not some seat-of-his-pants pretext.

Anyone who has bothered to read his speech at Cooper’s Union and his First Inaugural Address can see it - but that would require actually reading said materials. Reading broadly ain’t so much on the agenda of airheaded radicals.

Lincoln knew of two issues: the abolition of slavery and the nature of the Union. Though intimately related, they are very separate issues. Lincoln was a moderate-conservative abolitionist (compare him to Seward, for example) and believed slavery - worthy of extinction - could be incrementally extinguished by legislative means.

As to the charges of racism, that is irrelevant to his advance of abolition. Assuming its truth, in fact, it cuts the other way - his position is even more impressive in light of his less-than-politically-correct views on race: even a class of people that Lincoln may have had a low opinion of deserved the right of freedom, in Lincoln’s view. It’s easy to advocate an advantageous policy on behalf of a group you love dearly - what kind of character does it show to argue that even people you don’t think very highly of deserve respect and rights?

The question of whether Lincoln didn’t like blacks and the question of whether blacks deserved rights are entirely separate - this is a crucial and wise distinction Lincoln understood even as some of his critics, some 150 years later, still can’t figure out.

So, if we take the view that Lincoln was a racist in his era - that only heightens the principle of wanting to extend rights for the right reasons.

Given that Lincoln was a man, and only a man, he was, as you say, astounding.

And, of course, this post has been confined to Lincoln the Emancipator. Lincoln as Conservator of the Union is equally impressive, especially given his foresight of recognizing that the republican experiment was as much in danger from within as without.

Yawn, it’s funny that people can find a problem with the rendition Lincoln freed the slaves because he thought it was intrinsically the right thing to do?

Besides isn’t this the cliched litmus tests of education about American history? People who say the Civil War was fought over slavery are either ignorant or apathetic.

So, did Lincoln want to keep the territories free of slavery because he simply didn’t want a black population introduced? Are the quotes attributed to Lincoln, fraudulent?

And, is there really evidence that he favored colonization? Actually “deporting” blacks out of the country.

Uh, oh.

Looks like Lincoln isn’t gonna get Sloth’s vote.

He might have been a racist.

:stuck_out_tongue:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
Uh, oh.

Looks like Lincoln isn’t gonna get Sloth’s vote.

He might have been a racist.

:P[/quote]

Heh. I’m too ignorant to enter the debate about the right of seccession. Or, the Civil War in general. But, I am curious about Lincoln’s stance on race. Was he an abolitionist for the sake of freeing men who he hoped someday would recieve equal treatment under the law? Or, was it political convenience? Say, because he simply didn’t like the idea of black slaves doing work uneducated white men might be paid for? Or, because he feared future racial demographics may not favor the white population, therefore, wanted to colonize blacks outside of the US?

I’m primarliy focused on the view this Bennet fella has.

Would I have voted for Lincoln knowing he was a racist? Cosidering the time period, it’s likely I would have been racist to some degree, I would think. I don’t know if I would have voted for him, honestly. I’m just a poor ill educated slob who knows too little about the politics and economy of Lincoln’s time.

[quote]DrSkeptix wrote:

Now, just in case Dustin gets his knickers in a twist, I am very much in favor of free speech and freer inquiry. But nothing says that I have to respect the crap that sometimes masquerades as discourse around her; critical judgment should not have to tolerate lies and propaganda.[/quote]

The free speech comment was directed at Jeffr, who’s constantly attacking people who don’t see the world in his altered state of reality.

As for Lincoln, the myth(s) surrounding him are propaganda to an extent. He was in fact a politician, not unlike others before or after him. He wasn’t this great civil rights leader that everyone seems to think he was, but I don’t think he was racist anymore than the next guy was in that time period.

Lincoln was a key figure of a power structure. This is true across the board, throughout history; people in his position want to keep power and influence as long as they can and the Civil War was an obstacle to that.

Also, naturally, since the Union won the war, the history is going to reflect that. If the South would have won the war (like the North “won”) we’d be having the same conversation about Jeff Davis

Dustin

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

[quote]Dustin wrote:
DrSkeptix wrote:

Lincoln was a key figure of a power structure. This is true across the board, throughout history; people in his position want to keep power and influence as long as they can and the Civil War was an obstacle to that.


Dustin[/quote]

Ok. Fair enough! But in 1864, he prosecuted the war despite the real concern that he would lose the election because of it. The Union was to be preserved and there was no compromise short of that, even it ended his presidency.

That is why I wrote:
"We should read the man as a product of his time. But whenever I review Lincoln in his time, I am astounded. I am not alone in this. "

Let’s give it a turn. Let’s see…can we judge the man by what he wrote?
The Second Inaugural Address:
http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres32.html
Now, if you want an understanding of the time and events and culture of that moment:

There are about a half-dozen other books about the Second Inaugural. Is this hagiography,or a conspiracy of a cult? I do not think so.
All of Lincoln’s writings are accessible to you:
http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/l#a3
(In the last of 7 volumes, he says some remarkable things about the military conscription of black slaves…by the Confederacy!)

Sloth asks, in his post above, whether racism or other motivations can be ascribed to Lincoln. Could he have not said something which we in 2007 would find objectionable?
It is hard to disprove a negative or the unfounded slur. But usually a serious historian, as Sloth know, cites his sources for others’ to verify or refute. Jack Dempsey did a lot of work for just one such slur. I do not have the patience with diLorenzo to cull and vet all his sources.