American History / Abraham Lincoln Through Many Lenses

Abraham Lincoln Through Many Lenses

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Autor:  anton  30 November 2010
Tags:  Abraham,  Lincoln,  Through,  Lenses
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4)Who said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States or Jefferson Davis, President , President of the Confederate States of America?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1861.

6) What was the major emphasis of the Emancipation Proclamation?

Answer: The Emancipation Proclamation is 540 words long. of those, 400 words limit the proclamation to the states in rebellion - it defines the states in rebellion and states that it is directed ONLY to the states in rebellion. It further says that if those states in rebellion would cease and return to the union within 100 days then they would keep slavery intact.

There is always a big fuss made over Lincoln being "the great emancipator." He is continually held up as an example of how this great president fought against the evils of slavery and worked on behalf of racial equality.

But is the picture painted of Lincoln by egalitarians the real Abraham Lincoln? One of the most important events in Lincoln's career was the debate with Stephen Douglas. The Lincoln-Douglas debate was actually seven debates held throughout Illinois during the 1858 senatorial campaign. Most people being ignorant of the debate think the debate was about racial equality - that is Douglas favored slavery and thus white supremacy and Lincoln opposed slavery and favored equality.

The fact is that many of those who opposed slavery did so not because of their belief in racial equality but because they did not want the import of Negroes into their communities - via slavery. Part of this reason was because of the economic harm that is created for poor whites who were not able to find employment in face of the huge slave population. We find the same problem today due to illegal immigration even though they aren't slaves.

Douglas supported what was known as "popular sovereignty." That is, he held to the doctrine that each state had the constitutionally protected right to decide for its self whether it would be a slave or free state. the decision would be as a result of a general election.

The debates clearly show Lincoln's position on slavery - he was against it. He didn't want Negroes in America period. From the debate we have these following Lincoln quotes which you will never read about in the school classrooms today.

From Lincoln-Douglas Debate, published by Haldeman-Julius Company, Girard, Kansas 1923

Page 44 "I have no purpose to produce political and social equality. I am not in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes or of qualifying them to hold office or allowing them to intermarry with white people...I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry Negroes, even if there was no law to keep them from it...I will, to the very last, stand by the law of this state which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes."

Page 80 "I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will forever forbid their living together in perfect equality: and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there should be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the supremacy.

Page 81 "I agree with Judge Douglas that he (Negroes) is not my equal in many respects, certainly not in color, and perhaps not in moral and intellectual endowment."

From The Collected works of Abraham Lincoln, published 1953, Rutgers University Press in eight volumes.

Vol. II Pages 405-409 (Speech at Springfield, Illinois - June 26, 1857.

"Judge Douglas has said to you that he has not been able to get me to answer the question whether I am in favor of Negro citizenship. So far as I know, the Judge never asked me the question before (applause) He shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of Negro citizenship. (renewed applause)...Now my opinion is that the different states have the power to make a Negro a citizen under the Constitution of the United States if they choose...If the state of Illinois had that power I should be opposed to the exercise of it. (cries of "good," "good," and applause)

Vol. II, page 281

Speech at Peoria, Illinois, October 16, 1854

"In the course of his reply, Senator Douglas remarked, in substance, that he had always considered this government was made for the white people and not for the Negroes. Why, in point of mere fact, I think so, too.

Vol. III, page 399 Notes for speeches, September 1859

"Negro equality! Fudge!! How long, in the government of a God, great enough to make and maintain this Universe, shall there continue knaves to vend, and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?"

It is not a matter of whether a person agrees with Lincoln or disagrees. the fact is that it is wrong to misrepresent Lincoln. He did not support Negro equality and it is wrong for egalitarians, civil right activists, liberals, conservatives and pseudo Christians to LIE to the public claiming he did.

Abe Lincoln, White Separatist

December 19, 2000

Lately I’ve read several books portraying Abraham Lincoln as an enemy of racism. I’ve also read one that portrays him as a champion of racial segregation and white supremacy, and this book has a distinct edge over the other books in that Lincoln wrote it himself. It was a collection of his speeches and letters.

Debating Stephen Douglas during their famous 1858 Senate race in Illinois, Lincoln flatly denied the charge that he favored racial equality. In his words:

I 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 — that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

He underlined the point by adding: “I am not in favor of Negro citizenship.” Addressing the question whether individual states had the constitutional power to confer citizenship on the Negro, he said: “If the state of Illinois had that power I should be opposed to the exercise of it.”

Lincoln’s defenders prefer to believe he didn’t mean all this. They explain his words away as a politically necessary concession to the popular prejudices of his time. But this is unconvincing. Lincoln clearly meant just what he said. He spoke cogently and exceeded the requirements of mere pandering. He went out of his way to say more than was necessary. And he repeated it with great emphasis when he didn’t have to.

Lincoln wanted it clearly understood that opposing slavery was a far cry from espousing racial equality; that you could hold the African race to be inferior without thinking this justified violating its most basic human rights. But he didn’t think racial separation violated any rights; in fact, he saw it as the solution to racial tensions.

Later, as president, Lincoln showed the sincerity of his views not only by ordering the emancipation of slaves, but also by encouraging the colonization of blacks in Africa and Central America (which he preferred because it was much closer than Africa). If blacks were going to be freed, he believed, they would need a place to go. They couldn’t stay in America.

In August 1862 President Lincoln spoke to a group of black freedmen in Washington. He was extraordinarily direct:

You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence.... It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.

By the end of the Civil War, Lincoln seems to have realized that the colonization schemes he favored weren’t going to work. Freed blacks didn’t want to leave America, Central America wouldn’t welcome them, Africa was too remote, and the cost of deporting them, even voluntarily, would be huge.

The fact remains that Lincoln was convinced that racial separation was the ideal. It was no less ideal for being unrealizable for the time being.

Lincoln is hard for us to understand because he was a benevolent white separatist. Modern discourse equates white separatism with “hate,” not kindness. But Lincoln thought permanent separation would be best for both races; and failing that, he wanted whites to have superior status in a racially mixed America. In other words, separate but equal; and if not separate, the races couldn’t be equal.

That’s right: the author of the Gettysburg Address was a segregationist.

Joseph Sobran

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