'The Real Lincoln,' by Thomas DiLorenzo

by Sam Selikoff November 28, 2012


Lincoln's Opposition to Racial Equality

Lincoln was a white supremacist

  1. In 1858 Douglas debate: "I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races...I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position." pg. 11
  2. In Galesburg, referred to them as "the inferior races." Called Mexicans 'mongrells'. pg 12
  3. Defended slaveowners right to their 'property'
  4. As a lawyer defended a Illinois slaveowner who brought slaves in from Kentucky during part of the year. Kentucky was a free state. Lincoln argued it was only part of the year, and since Illionois was a slave state it was ok. He lost.
  5. 30 years in politics before becoming president, never spoke against slavery
  6. William Lloyd Garrison said Lincoln "had not a drop of anti-slavery blood in his veins."

Rhetorical swings

  1. Referred to slavery as a 'monstrous injustice'
  2. Talked about equal rights to certain constituents

Lincoln's idol was Kentucky slaveowner Henry Clay

  1. Same views on slavery: opposition in principle, toleration of it in practice, vigorous hostility towards abolition
  2. Circularity in principle of slavery vs. eradicating slavery

Lincoln vigorously opposed abolition

  1. "[Abolition] would shiver into fragments the Union of these States." He hated abolitionists who would secede before staying in a Union with States that had slavery.
  2. Wanted to leave Southern slavery alone in 1860: "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." pg 21

Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery - but not on moral grounds

  1. Blacks competed with white labor (pg 20)

    • 1854: "Whether slavery shall go into Nebraska, or other new territories, is not a matter of exclusive concern to the people who may go there. The whole nation is interested....We want them for the homes of free white people...Slave states are the places for poor white people to move from..New free states are the places for poor people to go and better their condition.
    • Didn't want white laborers to compete with blacks for jobs
  2. Extension would artificially increase the power of the Democrats

    • 3/5 clause increased the number of congressional seats in southern states. Lincoln didn't receive a single electoral vote from a southern state.

Lincoln favored colonization

  1. Lincoln wanted to send all blacks to Africa
  2. Primarily in favor of this because it would leave more work for whites. In Cooper Union speech of 1860, advocated for the "deportation" of blacks so "their places could be filled up by free white laborers."

Racism in the North

  1. Racism was extreme in the North. Blacks excluded from railway cars, omnibuses, stage-coaches, steamboats; sat in remote corners of tehaters and lecture halls; couldn't enter most hotels, restuarants, resorts, except as servants; prayed in 'Negro pews' in white churches; segregated schools, prisons, hospitals, cemetaries. (pg 25)
  2. Tocqueville wrote that "the prejeudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known."
  3. Ohio congressman threatened to shoot emancipated slaves from coming into Ohio
  4. 94% of all Northern blacks didn't have the right to vote as of 1860
  5. Lincoln's positions sat well with this culture, especially unions, who were terrified of "the great influx of black porters, black truckmen, black sawyers, black mechanics, and black laborers of every description," said a union official pg 30.
  6. (pg 31) Northern newspapers racist also. Philadelphia Daily News (1860): "Neither for the good of the colored race nor our own that they should continue to dwell among us to any considerable extent. … The african is naturally the inferior race." Niles (Michigan) Republican (1861): "send [the slave] back to his master where he belongs." New York Times (1861) said it opposed abolition, and said the union should "ameliorate, rather than abolish, teh Slavery of the Southern States", permitting slavery to become "a very tolerable system."

Why not Peaceful Emancipation?

  1. Lincoln didn't want to free slaves and wasnt an abolitionist
  2. Emanc proclamation was seen as a political gimmick, ineffective, and a mockery
    • He even said it was only justified as a war measure
    • It was because he was desparate (stonewall Jackson, Robert e lee were beating Lincoln)
    • Northerners were outraged at the proclamation. Union soldiers deserted, there were riots and beatings and murders.
  3. Dozens of countries around the world at the same time, including British, French and Spanish empires, ended slavery peacefully.

Lincoln's real agenda

  1. Favored national bank, or state-sponsored fiat
  2. Was a protectionist
  3. Fell in the tradition of presidents who wanted big internal improvement subsidies.
    • These had an abysmal record of being inefficient and wasteful, while the private competitor would be profitable

The myth of secession as treason

  1. Most founding fathers believed in secession and abhorred the idea that the union/congress use force against one state.
    • Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, even Hamilton, John Marshall, James Madison, William rawle
  2. Recall that each state declared sovereignty from Britain in its own, and Britain recognized each one individually
  3. Virginia, New York and Rhode Island declared in their ordinances of ratification that they reserved the right to secede
  4. The northern federalists were the first to talk about seceding in 1801-1817. They didn't like Jefferson & thought the south was becoming too powerful. Southerners made the same argument 4 decades later against Lincoln, in 1861.
  5. Majority of northern public opinion viewed secession as a fundamental right
  6. William Lloyd garrison wanted to secede. Ashamed of the south.
  7. continental congress, declaration, articles all mention sovereignty of states

Myth of union as sovereign comes about through rewriting of history

  • Daniel Webster, Whig, wrote about it
  • then Lincoln denounced the right if secession. Called it sophism. Said it violated majority rule and would lead to anarchy.
  • Lincoln maneuvered confederates to fire the first shot at fort Sumter. Northern newspapers recognized this, said it intensified union pride. Lincoln's personal secretaries also.
  • Jefferson Davis sent commissioners to meet with Lincoln in dc to negotiate. Lincoln refused to even see them
  • pg 122 bottom quote
  • southern states seceded because of slavery, but not because they feared abolition. They feared northern abolitionist pressure would undo the fugitive slave law, and maybe even cause an insurrection by slaves. Main reason the seceded is because of decentralized government.
  • south became fearful of governmental power against them. Imported a lot, and paid most tariffs. Tons of other northern protections that came at the south's expense

Was Lincoln a dictator?

  1. Violated constitution

    • invaded south w/o congress, suspended writ of habeas corpus, imprisoned thousands without trial, imprisoned newspaper publishers, nationalized railroads, etc
    • 'discovered ' war powers in constitution
    • thousands of arrests without trial. Sec of state william seward edtablished Secret police. Arrested a preacher for not praying a mandatory prayer for the president. Executed a man for taking down a flag
    • Seward bragged to British ambassador that he could ring a bell and have a man arrested
    • orchestrated secession of Western Virginia from Virginia
    • States must exist first
  2. 13,000 northerners imprisoned for voicing out against the war

    • used force to stop opposition press. Bankrupted newspapers, imprisoned editors, etc
  3. Mass execution of the Sioux

Waging War on Civilians

Lincoln was often praised for his pervasive intervention in war management, yet the Northern army waged war on Southern civilians - women, children, and old men.

  • General Sherman burnt the entire town of Randolph TN down.
  • Wanted to wipe out the south
  • Thought southerners deserved it for not following Lincoln
  • Sherman's army treated blacks poor, pretend hang, kill
  • Burned Columbia, Sherman's match from atl to savannah
  • Sheridan burned Shenandoah valley in VA


comments powered by Disqus