Skip to comments.Lincoln on the Defensive
Posted on 06/23/2013 5:55:07 PM PDT by Para-Ord.45
From the time Abraham Lincoln entered the White House nearly a century and a half ago, there has been an anti-Lincoln tradition in American life. President John Tylers son, writing in 1932, seemed to speak for a silent minority: I think he was a bad man, wrote Lyon Gardiner Tyler, a man who forced the country into an unnecessary war and conducted it with great inhumanity.
Throughout his presidency Lincoln was surrounded by rivals, even among his own cabinet. Outside the White House, his many enemies included conservative Whigs, Democrats, northern copperheads and New England abolitionists. Wisconsin editor, Marcus M. Pomeroy, sniped that Lincoln was a
worse tyrant and more inhuman butcher than has existed since the days of Nero.
Shortly before his reelection Pomeroy added: The man who votes for Lincoln now is a traitor and murderer.
And if he is elected to misgovern for another four years, we trust some bold hand will pierce his heart with dagger point for the public good.
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
NOT TO WORRY. THE GREAT EMPANCIPATOR will never be short of defenders, like Lincoln apologist Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, whose recent cover story, Lincoln Defended, calls Lincolns critics a fringe of left-over agrarians, southern romantics, and people-owning libertarians who apparently hate federal power more than they abhor slavery. A cheap shot, certainly, but judging from the growth of the anti-Lincoln press, those left-over agrarians and libertarians are as fanatical in their abhorrence of Abe as Lowry is in his admiration.
What is it about Mr. Lincoln that offends so many libertarians and traditionalists? And what is it that has put so many Lincolnophiles on the defensive? You might say they are the same things that bother libertarians and traditional conservatives about todays leaders.
Then as now critics objected to Lincolns unnecessary war of coercion in which 650,000 soldiers and countless civilians died. In this time of preventable conflicts, Lincolns war against the CSA was the bloodiest and arguably most needless military adventure in American history, one fought not to free slaves, but to crush an independence movement.
Second, disgruntled Americans are reconsidering the idea of secession. Secessionist movements are finding fertile soil from Vermont to Alaska. Because the nation was founded upon a revolution, no one disputes a natural right to revolt; why then is the right to peacefully secede considered unconstitutional? Only because Lincoln established the precedent that if any state secedes it will be invaded, pillaged, and burned to the ground. The nations perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments, Lincoln insisted.
Third, there was the illegal way Lincoln conducted his war: refusing to trade prisoners, seizing civilians guns, shutting down newspapers, waging total war against civilians, arresting rival politicians, expanding the military and appropriating funds without Congressional approval, and illegally suspending habeas corpus. All of this bears an eerie resemblance to the abuses that have occurred in Americas recent wars, i.e., torture, trial without jury, drone attacks on civilians, and wiretapping phones.
Fourth, it was during Lincolns presidency that power shifted radically from the states to Washington, D.C. and Wall Street. The federal government always grows like a weed during wartime, but it has seldom expanded like it did during Lincolns tenure.
Fifth, Lincoln began the campaign to Northernize the South. Everything unique about the traditional Southern way of life was stamped out by the anti-Jeffersonian Lincoln: its simpler, agrarian tradition, its anti-industrialism, and its disdain of the Norths Philistine materialism.
Lincoln was a response to a determined effort by the proponents of slavery to extend slavery into the new territories of the west, into the free states of the north, and into to-be-acquired territories to the south.
He had his shortcomings, and there are aspects of the country changed under his watch that I certainly don’t approve of. But when I consider what the world would be like, had his opponents carried the day, I have to credit him for making the world a better place.
The confeds went to war against the north and Lincoln had the temerity to fight back. The focus of blame is misapplied here.
The best recommendation for Lincoln and his policies is an examination of his Confederate opponents and the intrusive government that they imposed on the South. Lincoln was fighting a despotic political power grab, not a popular uprising undertaken in behalf of liberty.
How can you consider what the world would be like if the Civil War had not existed?
You can have a theory, but only that.
Slavery would have died out on it’s own as new farm equipment did away with the need for it. Thousands of men would have lived.
STARTED an unneccessary war???
Seems I recall the SOUTH firing upon Fort Sumter. Unless history has it all wrong...
Sociology from the pages of Gone with the Wind. In truth the Southern philistines who called the shots were so into making money that they wouldn't stop the lucrative cotton planting long enough to direct their slave labor to grow food to feed the despised "white trash" and their families who were doing the slave owners' fighting for them.
Hard to argue with that one.
The planters suffered from the delusion they were aristocrats, and they were the closest we ever got in this country.
As with all aristocrats down through history, they professed a noble disdain for filthy lucre, while being at least as greedy for it as the northern merchants and mechanics they despised.
Anybody who bases their “way of life” on permanent kidnapping, torture and rape of other people thoroughly deserves to have their way of life destroyed. IMO.
You Coven boys are starting to get slammed pretty hard lately. Looks like the effort to unreconstruct history of the late “unpleasantness” is catching on.
Ok how is it that almost all slave holders took out life insurance policies on there slaves? How is it that Yankee insurers would pay if a slave owner abused their slave? How is it that the cost of a slave in 1860 would be about 100,000 dollars today? How is that some one would abuse something so valuable? How is that?
No one claimed that the slavers were all that bright - just determined.
Do yo really think insurance companies didn’t investigate when they had to pay a life insurance claim on a dead slave? Do you think you could buy a slave and just work em to death then get a payout from New York Life? Do you really buy that?
I think a true understanding of the conflict is especially profitable today because so many of President Obama’s dangerous inclinations like gun control and domestic spying had their parallels in Confederate practice.
If you were enslaved and treated the same as these people were, would you consider yourself to have been kidnapped? I suspect you would.
If you didn’t work fast enough and were flogged to “encourage” you, would you consider that torture?
If your wife, also enslaved, was forced to endure the sexual advances of the master, would you consider it rape?
You know, lots of white men and women in the 18th and 19th centuries were subjected to exactly such treatment when enslaved by Muslim.? Do you consider their treatment to have been justified because they were worth a lot of money?
BTW, thanks for recognizing the great financial value of a slave, as it shows why the South was (logically enough) willing to go to war over a threat to their capital investment.
Let’s use your numbers. 4,000,000 human beings x $100,000 - $400,000,000,000. That’s getting up into territory where it would actually show up in the federal budget.
Actually, I suspect it’s high, but half that number is probably reasonably close.
Because there are a seemingly infinite number of boobs like Mr. Orlet out there? He is wrong in oh so many ways, but none more egregious than his claim that the attacks on Lincoln are recent. They aren't. Books trying to tear down Lincoln go back well over a century and began as an attempt to justify the South's abject defeat by trying to destroy the man who beat them. As if diminishing Lincoln somehow made their whupping easier to take. Which makes sense, I suppose. If you get mugged that doesn't make the mugger a better person than you. Exactly the opposite. Ripping Lincoln is supposed to make the South nobler by comparison. Like they were somehow victimized by a rabid monster. It is all part of the Lost Cause mythology. The fact is that the South was the instigator of their own defeat, and are responsible for their own suffering.
In 1860 dollars the value of all the slaves was somewhere in the vicinity of $2B to $3B.
To put that into some perspective, the federal budget for 1860 totaled $60,000,000.
So the slaves were worth around 50x the federal budget. Which gives a good notion why the idea of compensated emancipation wouldn’t work. Except possibly very gradually.
So 4 million slave insurance policies? Really?
That is your theory. And you base it on...?
Having just returned from Gettysburg last week, the situation hinged on the issue of allowing new states to have slaves or not.
If the South thought this out, they could have retained slaves in some kind of “grandfathered” status and gone along with slavery bans in Kansas and Colorado. The South had much to lose, 50% of wealth was in slave ownership. Eventually, freeing them would be cost effective. Pay wages, charge for rent and food, i.e. company town.
The North initially fought the war timidly, compared to the South; but willpower would not overcome such a great resource differential.
I think Andrew Jackson established that one. South Carolina chickened out before he could carry out his threat.
You overlook the fact that for compensated emancipation to work it required an interest on the part of Southerners to allow emancipation, compensated or otherwise. Such an interest did not exist.
Your hypothetical scenario is so chock-full of logical fallacies it is impossible to speculate. I know that won’t stop you however so carry on ;-)
Also an interest on the part of poor southerners and all northerners in being taxed (a lot) to pay for compensation to rich southerners. Nobody wanted it.
But you are quite right. It took till February of 65 for the CSA Congress to recognize they might have to recruit some slave soldiers and free them after the war. Anybody who hadn’t figured out the necessity some time before that needed a really big cluestick.
But even they weren’t as dumb as the slaveowners of KY, who were offered compensation but instead insisted on keeping their slaves only to lose them by the 13th.
Seriously, by 1864 who couldn’t see that slavery was going doowwwn? Only someone who was obsessive and irrational.
Slavery died everywhere in the western world peacefully except in the USA. The war freed people that were definitely not ready for total freedom. Slavery was bad but turning a uneducated childlike person into the world was cruel. Most became share croppers for the “hated” whitey ex-owner’s land.
Because only in the USA was a large percentage of the population willing to launch a bloody rebellion to protect it.
The war freed people that were definitely not ready for total freedom.
Arguable but let's run with that anyway. By 1861 slavery had existed in what was to become the U.S. for almost 230 years. In all that time no effort had been made by the slave owners themselves to prepare their chattel for life after slavery. No attempts to prepare them were ongoing in 1861. There is absolutely no reason to believe that any attempts would have been made had the South won their rebellion or if the rebellion hadn't taken place at all. So according to you slavery should never end because the slaves would never be ready for total freedom.
Slavery was bad but turning a uneducated childlike person into the world was cruel.
How many uneducated white Southerners were there? They managed to fend for themselves all right. Or would they be better off in slavery as well?
Most became share croppers for the hated whitey ex-owners land.
Because that was the closest the "hated" whitey could come to re-establishing slavery.
AKA the population of the CSA.
The fact of the matter is, being made a slave was the best thing that ever happened to those blacks. The vast majority of blacks that were made slave were simply captives from internal tribal conflicts among Africans. If they had no value, they would simply have been slaughtered (as they are today). Instead, since they had value as slaves, they were allowed to live, sold to slavers, and then brought to the greatest nation on the face of the Earth while their brethren were left in the hell hole of Africa.
Emancipation without having any real options must have been nearly as frightening as remaining in bondage. Grant had a plan to give the freed slaves an option - but it wasn’t put in place.
Had the freed slaves had an option it also would have given them a “bargaining chip” with their ex-owners if they decided to remain in the South.
Lotsa “ifs” in this discussion though.
Would slavery have been a fate you would have jumped at? Even considering the alternatives?
There are a smattering of reported cases about life insurance upon slaves. My big worry was moral hazard. Fortunately, no reported cases consider this issue. The fact that there are no reported cases suggest that it was perhaps not a big problem.
From an insurance standpoint, the cases are fairly routine. In one case, the life of a slave was insured so long as he was not engaged in an occupation more dangerous than being a laborer in a tobacco warehouse and so long as he was not south of New Orleans. The man died when he fell off a riverboat traveling north from New Orleans so that he could work on a sugar plantation. The insurer refused to pay upon the grounds that he was on his way to a more dangerous occupation. The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the slave was not involved in that occupation yet and was not south of New Orleans, and so the insurance applied.
Read more at: Insurance Journal
Necessity is the mother of invention. They had the human labor, so no need for the invention. Actually one invention, the cotton gin, increased the need for human labor to plant, tend and harvest all the new acreage that could now be turned into profit.
The greatness of a man is contrasted by the pettiness of his enemies.
“Seems I recall the SOUTH firing upon Fort Sumter. Unless history has it all wrong...”
Joethedrummer. suggest you check out a little background on the Sumner event besides lapping up Ken Burns version without question.
When did the CSA declare war on the USA? Hostilities did not commence until Lincoln provoked them by attempting to reinforce and re-supply a fort in S. Carolina’s main harbor. This WAS a needless purposeful calculated provocation.
Peaceful secession is legal: either by mutual agreement of the states and the federal government so there is no controversy, or by legal case with the Supreme Court as original jurisdiction to resolve the controversy, per Article 3 of the constitution.
Mutual agreement can occur either by constitutional amendment (3/4s of the states, with 2/3rds House and 2/3rds of the Senate) or perhaps by law (50%+ of House and Senate and Signature of President).
There is also treaty, which normally will state its own means of resolution of controversy, signed by President and ratified by 2/3rds of Senate.
None of the above means were attempted during the insurrection of 1860-1865, which is why it was an insurrection, not a peaceful secession.
May 6, 1861.
The entire tone and tenor of South Carolina’s departure from the union was belligerent, incendiary, and “a needless purposeful calculated provocation”. The United States was perfectly within their rights to re-provision one of their forts.
The hostilities were entirely on the heads of the confeds.
Yes Lincoln was told that Ft. Sumter would be left alone even tho it was blocking the main harbor of the Confederacy. He was told that they would not be fired upon unless the Union tried to reinforce it.
Lincoln whose call for 75,000 volunteers could have had no other meaning than he was going to attack the South, immediately ordered the Star of the West to resupply Ft. Sumter in order to start a war he wanted.
BTW to all those jackasses who like to point out how the North whipped the South. At the end, there were twice as many dead Yankees as Confederates. Some whipping. They simply overwhelmed the South with numbers. Not all Yankees are so rude but there always are some.
And they went to war for one and only one reason. For their "right" to expand their system of keeping other people in bondage, and to expand that "right" to the greatest territorial extent that they could.
In 1860, slavery was big money. Just like government is today. Cross slavery then, and you get slapped hard. Cross big government today, and watch out for the IRS.
Except the true meaning which was that the belligerents had already shown their murderous intent by waging war against their neighbor states and he, like any reasonable leader, needed to do his duty to defend his country.
It was the slavrocracy who wanted war - and got it.
Some slave owners or overseers were sadists, and derived sexual pleasure from abusing their slaves. See RE Lee, known as a cruel slave master before the civil war. He seemed to have a particular interest, to say the least, in young female slaves. Jeff Davis also fathered at least one of his slaves.
Horses up to 2500 lbs are routinely controlled with small whips, despite their value. Whipping a horse or a slave was not considered abuse. Raping a slave was not considered abuse. Selling a slave woman’s child was not considered abuse.
Slave catchers would also kidnap white men and women, and could find friendly or corrupt judges to create papers consigning captured persons to perpetual slavery.
Arlington was known for having many white slaves.
The only way to reply to a liar and a particularly stupid one is to say: “You are a Liar”.
More southern whites than blacks were sharecroppers. Were they also unfit for freedom?
So, if Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers meant he was going to attack the south, what did Jeff Davis’ call for 100,000 men mean? By your logic, he was certainly going to attack the US.
Lincoln had no choice but to protect the American citizens living in the South from the attempt by secessionists to deprive these folks of their rights as American citizens. And, in terms of public relations, the secessionists totally fumbled the ball by claiming that their behavior was for the purpose of protecting their "right" to own other people.
Yes, it was all so unnecessary.
There were some attempts to prepare some slaves for freedom.
Few, and rare, but some. In New Jersey slaves below a certain age had been legally converted to apprentices, to be freed after completion of their term of apprenticeship. Slaves over a certain age were converted to permanent apprentices. In 1860 New Jersey had a total of 18 ‘permanent apprentices, and so, by come ways of counting, could be considered one of the slave states.