Skip to main content

View Diary: I Saw "Lincoln" And Wept (297 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  you know, he didn't really care about (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    megan helen, lina, Upper West, BlackClouds

    freeing the slaves.  He wanted to ensure northern economic dominance in the expanding country.  This is well documented but it doesn't fit our nationalistic narrative.  So we are lied to, just like the stories of the first thanksgiving and christopher columbus.

    •  lincoln quote (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, lina, TrueBlueMajority, zett, IreGyre
      If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union;
      http://showcase.netins.net/...
    •  Oversimplification, I think. (23+ / 0-)

      From 1854 Lincoln's primary political goal was to prevent slavery from spreading beyond the South.

      Mostly it was because he supported free labor, white or black.

      For a fantastic read on the evolution of Lincoln's views on slavery and race relations, see Foner's The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.

      He eventually came to the realization (toward the end of his life, well into his presidency) that slaves had to be freed nationwide, and that freed slaves would become US citizens.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:59:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Um, no. (16+ / 0-)

      I don't know where you got your history from, New Minas, but your comment shows a profound ignorance of the actual history and evolution of Lincoln himself over the course of his life, and of the war generally.  Speaking as someone with a degree in history and who has a strong interest in the Civil War, you really don't have a clue what you're talking about.

      •  I don't know if you read Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Minnesota Deb, JayBat, Upper West, zett

        but he has completely debunked this notion.

        Lenin Cat says "In soviet Russia Cat chases Dog"

        by DanceHallKing on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:37:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ok mr. (0+ / 0-)

        I accept your premise, but, suppose you can tell me when exactly mr. lincoln came out against slavery in speech or word?

        and when he did so, was he acting as the potential leader of the New Republican Party, which was formed in opposition to the nebraska-kansas act that had allowed slavery to expand to those two newly formed territories.

        and wasn't the prevention of the expansion of slavery into new territories always the chartered goal of the republican party circa 1850 not as an act of absolutionism but rather as a way to ensure political (and continued economic) dominance of the north?

        •  this is telling (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.history.com/...

          1. Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist.
          Lincoln did believe that slavery was morally wrong, but there was one big problem: It was sanctioned by the highest law in the land, the Constitution.

          2. Lincoln didn’t believe blacks should have the same rights as whites.  " will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races"

          3. Lincoln thought colonization could resolve the issue of slavery.
          For much of his career, Lincoln believed that colonization—or the idea that a majority of the African-American population should leave the United States and settle in Africa or Central America—was the best way to confront the problem of slavery.

          4. Emancipation was a military policy.
          As much as he hated the institution of slavery, Lincoln didn’t see the Civil War as a struggle to free the nation’s 4 million slaves from bondage.

          5. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free all of the slaves.
          Since Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a military measure, it didn’t apply to border slave states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union.

          •  Read a book (0+ / 0-)

            1. Lincoln knew that slavery was enshrined in the Constitution, and given the high bar for amending said document, he knew it highly unlikely that such an amendment would be nearly impossible to pass.

            Lincoln instead advocated for individual states to pass laws ending slavery.  Same end, but easier and simpler process than a constitutional amendment.

            Lincoln was an abolitionist, just not a frothingly radical one.  He was a practical man and saw no need to sacrifice reality to his ego.

            2. The quote you offer is from the Lincoln-Douglas debates, when Douglas was trying to trap Lincoln.  Had Lincoln taken the bait, his political career for all intents and purposes would have ended then and there.  The quote is also at odds with other things Lincoln said in his lifetime.

            3. Lincoln advocated colonization because not because he didn't believe in freedom for blacks or black equality, but because he believed that black equality was not possible in white-dominated America as a practical matter.  He also incorrectly believed that many blacks wanted to leave the country and would embrace colonization if were offered rather than face perpetual discrimination here in the U.S.  He was wrong in that belief, and Frederick Douglass disabused him of that notion, and by the end of his life all evidence suggests that he dropped the idea of colonization.

            4.  As POTUS, Lincoln had no power to end slavery himself. Period.  Let me repeat that -- as POTUS, Lincoln had no power to end slavery himself.  Period.  Now, go write that 1,000 times on the blackboard until you understand it.

            The ONLY way Lincoln could personally, directly impact slavery as POTUS was via his war powers, which is what he did -- and even then, that was only possible because of the monumental stupidity of the Confederates in seceding and instigating a rebellion.

            As for Lincoln not seeing the war as being about freeing the slaves....well, you really need to read some history books on Lincoln and the war.  Lincoln's first and highest priority, regardless of his personal preferences, was to save the Union.  Hence his comments re: saving union with slavery or without.  Had he prosecuted the war as an anti-slavery crusade right off the bat, he would have lost the war, plain and simple, because he would have alienate huge blocks of the population that supported the Union but disliked the idea of abolition.  And in losing the war, slavery would have continued in perpetuity, just in another country, the Confederate States of America, where the U.S. would no longer have had authority to end it.

            5.  Since the EP was a war measure, Lincoln could not justify its use against loyal states.  Hence the wording of it that only in  those areas still considered to be in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, would slavery be ended.  If an area was not in active rebellion, he felt he had no constitutional authority to end slavery -- that was a matter for Congress.

            I realize none of this is going to change your view on Lincoln, because I've argued with many such as yourself in the past. But I still urge you read some real, live history books on the war and Lincoln.  Some reputable ones, not fly- by-night neo-Confederate ones or published by Libertarian apologists.  And for the love of God, keep away from anything published by Thomas DiLorenzo, whose trash writings I wouldn't even dignify as toilet paper.

    •  hmm (13+ / 0-)

      You're kind of being reductive there. He was obviously against slavery (see the debates he had with Douglas during his campaign). The Republican party, hard as it might be to believe now, was founded as a "Free Soil" party.

      Lincoln was a pragmatist above all, and his views were shaped by changing circumstances. He wanted to preserve the union, and yes, he wanted the northern industrial model preserved-- notice it used paid laborers, not slaves, and of course -- as in the British abolition movement-- there were many rather cynical arguments about how the only way to preserve labor was to abolish slavery. But that's true. And the idea that we should be paid for our labor is not just a principal argument against slavery but the absolute foundation of the labor movement.

      Lincoln was a man of his times, of course. His understanding of race and equality reflected that. But would slavery  have been abolished without him? Without his sometimes cynical, sometimes idealistic, always-results-oriented leadership?

      The diminishment of Lincoln's complexity and ability to change seems to be something beyond mere revisionism lately. Of course he wasn't perfect. So? Who is? He was, however, magnificent, tragic, momentous. And American. We can revere him without regret. Would that we had a hundred more like him, then and now.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site