Skip to main content

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

Comment Preferences

  •  Lincoln's views were a little more complicated (15+ / 0-)

    than that.  He speaks there as President, not as a man.  Even at that, you conveniently leave off the 2nd half of that quote:

    What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
    And this, long before the war:
    You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. ... I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continued torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is hardly fair for you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union. . . How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty— to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy
    The movie doesn't whitewash this aspect of Lincoln's thinking.
    •  Hmm. Do you think Lincoln invented the "evolving" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      position that Obama cribbed on Marriage Equality?

      "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

      by New Jersey Boy on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:47:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mmm, you mean the part where (5+ / 0-)

        you have to get elected first, and then you can do stuff? Yes, I'm sure that aspect of Lincoln's career did not escape Obama...

        •  That could be another reason I wept: (5+ / 0-)

          The "perfect is the enemy of the good" commonality between Lincoln and Obama, and their respective wisdom.  Most of Obama's questioned decisions were excellent in retrospect:

          the 2010 deal (which enabled START, repeal of DADT and unemp.extension to pass and which set up the current GOP bind on taxes.

          Obamacare passing, rather than dying on the cross of a public option.

          The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

          by Upper West on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:13:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly my point, but in reference to Lincoln. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I wonder if his quotes about his indifference to slavery were intended to garner support among those who supported slavery, by making it not about slavery, but rather national unity.

          Okay, I'll just say it. I don't think Obama's opinion evolved, I think his public statements did. I wonder if Lincoln underwent a similar political evolution wherein his public statements gradually came to reflect his true opinion once he had the political goodwill to close the deal.

          "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

          by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:26:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He never liked it, but he was a politician (0+ / 0-)

            and he had to convince people. If you read the debates between Lincoln and Douglas, you see Lincoln denying that he helped start the Republican party (who's original platform was pretty much abolitionism). Why would he deny it? Because his position was extreme for his time and he knew it. So he had to sound somewhat indifferent, if he had come out fully in support of what he believed, many would have considered him too extreme. He needed to get the people who were somewhat neutral on the issue, those who might have sympathized but thought the abolitionists were too hardcore. And for that he needed to play a lot of politics, and yes, he had to lie.

            And in the end he was able to accomplish his goals, he was a very skilled politician and he succeeded. I think what many don't realize, is just how masterful a politician he was. Lincoln helped found the Republican party, being responsible for most of it. A party that was basically about stopping the spread of slavery and ending it if at all possible. He then managed to successfully distance himself enough to become president, and then did away with it. And I don't doubt that if he wasn't assassinated, he would have managed to stop a lot of the awful abuses towards the freed slaves in the early days. I think history would have been much, much different were he not killed.

            As long as we have love, we will always triumph over hate, for love is the most powerful force in the universe. There is nothing greater.

            by Crazy Moderate on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 05:12:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site