Asturias
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How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:22 pm

This is a question I pose to the US members and those interested in American history: How prevalent is the opinion that Lincoln was some sort of a racist dictator instead of what is perhaps more commonly perceived?

I am wondering because apparently there seems to be a subsection of Americans who subscribe to the views of one Thomas DiLorenzo, an economist, who published a book in 2002 called "the Real Lincoln", where president Lincoln is portrayed as being nothing more than a hypocritical, lying warmonger, a racist, bigot and immoral war criminal.

That the main reason for the Civil War of 1861 was Lincoln's aggression towards the South and his insistence on pushing for high tariffs and strengthening the federal state - essentially to crush the independence of the states of the Union.

To quote Wikipedia's summary of DiLorenzo's book:

Quote:
In discussing Lincoln's legacy, DiLorenzo describes civil liberties abuses such as the suspension of habeas corpus, violations of the First Amendment, war crimes committed by generals in the American Civil War, and the expansion of government power. DiLorenzo argues that Lincoln's views on race exhibited forms of bigotry that are commonly overlooked today. DiLorenzo also argues that Lincoln instigated the American Civil War not over slavery but rather to centralize power and to enforce the strongly protectionist Morrill Tariff; similarly, he criticizes Lincoln for his strong support of Henry Clay's American System.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Real_Lincoln

So, my question to Americans here is: do you subscribe to this or do you think this person is just posting some fringe view? Do you think it is proper to put modern standards of political correctness to measure the character of Lincoln? Is it possible to take the actions and words of Lincoln out of context with the society he lived in and the actions and agenda of the Southern states?

asturias
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mham001
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:28 pm

Everybody knows the war was not fought over slavery.

It could very well be Lincoln had racist views, everybody does whether they want to admit it or not.
 
ronglimeng
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:44 pm

I guess this thread will lead off 4 years of discussion centred around the 150th anniversaries of the many events that occurred during the US Civil War?

Quoting mham001 (Reply 1):
Everybody knows the war was not fought over slavery


I thought it was fought over "states' rights" which was (and still is) just a sanitized way of talking about the right to southern states to maintain the "peculiar institution".

I've just very briefly gone through some references to Thomas DiLorenzo, and it is hard not to think that everything he says is tongue in cheek.
 
PPVRA
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:47 pm

It's known but perhaps not to many that Lincoln, while an abolitionist, wasn't exactly "wholesome" on the subject of racism. Many of his writings aren't very nice. With that said, and as the book title suggests, DiLorenzo's take on Lincoln and the Civil War is not the prevalent theory.

As a side note, I have not read his book, but I have read about him and some of his other writings. I am not much of a fan.

Quoting Asturias (Thread starter):
Do you think it is proper to put modern standards of political correctness to measure the character of Lincoln?

Abolitionists at the time had modern standards compared to non-abolitionists, and the latter ones were judged by those modern standards. So I think the answer to your question is yes.

Quoting Asturias (Thread starter):
Is it possible to take the actions and words of Lincoln out of context with the society he lived in and the actions and agenda of the Southern states?

Perhaps. But I haven't really heard anyone defending Lincoln's less-than-wholesome writings so I can't say DiLorenzo's interpretations are wrong. The fact that this issue was never revealed in my US history class back in University leads me to believe this is a dark spot that is avoided almost entirely, partially at least due to the difficult nature of the subject. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson is highly revered, but the fact that he was a slave owner is often not talked about.

That's my 2 cents as a non-US citizen who is interested in the country's history.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:52 pm

Quoting ronglimeng (Reply 2):
I thought it was fought over "states' rights" which was (and still is) just a sanitized way of talking about the right to southern states to maintain the "peculiar institution".

State's rights is why Canada (which abolished slavery before the US) and even the Pope had sympathies for the southern states.

An interesting read, while not related to Canada and the Pope, is a Guardian Op-Ed entitled "Lincoln, evil? Our certainties of 1865 give us pause today" by Martin Kettle.

I'd post the link but for some reason A.net won't let me.

[Edited 2011-04-19 08:54:29]
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rfields5421
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:55 pm

Quoting Asturias (Thread starter):
Is it possible to take the actions and words of Lincoln out of context with the society he lived in and the actions and agenda of the Southern states?

It is impossible for anyone today to take an objective and accurate view of the actions of Lincoln or anyone else involved in the Civil War.

We simply do not have the ability to recreate all the social and other factos to understand their world. We are too much influenced by our views of history, the views of our parents and today's social context.

When people try to apply modern concepts of things like racism - they are fooling themselves.
 
seb146
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:55 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 3):
this is a dark spot that is avoided almost entirely

There are many aspects of American history that are never ever discussed. Like Lincoln was a racist and Jefferson owned slaves and fathered mixed children and Asians were sent to detention centers during WWII and biological agents used against Natives. No country ever likes to show off their short comings. United States has plenty.

Perhaps one theory could be that Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union. To do so, he suspended habeus corpus and infringed on the First Amendment and made the federal government stronger because, he thought, that would preserve the Union. Maybe if he had just "let it go" he would have saved the Union and the war would have been held off for a while?
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Superfly
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:04 pm

Quoting Asturias (Thread starter):
This is a question I pose to the US members and those interested in American history: How prevalent is the opinion that Lincoln was some sort of a racist dictator instead of what is perhaps more commonly perceived?

This is a view held by a handful of southerners.
Was he personally a bigot or racist? Who knows and it really doesn't matter considering he was victorious in ending slavery.

Quoting ronglimeng (Reply 2):
I thought it was fought over "states' rights" which was (and still is) just a sanitized way of talking about the right to southern states to maintain the "peculiar institution".

  
That is correct.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 3):
Thomas Jefferson is highly revered, but the fact that he was a slave owner is often not talked about.

He was also a rapist. Sex with a 14 year old slave couldn't possibly be consensual.
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seb146
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:11 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 7):
Who knows and it really doesn't matter considering he was victorious in ending slavery.

What gets me is: slavery ended but it took more than 100 years to start to work toward equality. That has always bothered me. That right there proves there were consessions over "states rights" for the South.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:26 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 8):
That right there proves there were consessions over "states rights" for the South.

It is an absolute fallacy to believe that all segregation and racism took place in the South and that the North was full of forward-thinking, benevolent post-racists and everyone lived in harmony. Racism and segregation were alive and well in the entire United States. Atrocities like Plessy vs Ferguson were not just applicable to the Southern states.
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Asturias
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:30 pm

Would then the statement, that Lincoln was a racist, genocidal dictator, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, slaughterer of fellow citizens and a complete and utter hypocrite - would that statement be something that only a person on the political fringe would accept?

I mean, would a fair minded and reasonable person claim this?

I am leaning towards the answer being: no. But I'm not American.

Personally it seems to me that Lincoln was in many ways a moderate (of the time) when it came to slavery; while personally opposed to it, he had campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond the states in which it already existed. Meaning that he was sort of content with slavery existing in the states that already had slavery, but not in new states - and the US was expanding to the west.

When it came to the question of the Union, he was adamant to maintain it unbroken - and ultimately when the Union defeated the Confederacy, slavery was abolished. But probably wouldn't have been if the South had not seceded.

Like some later presidents he did suspend civil rights in a time of war - perhaps shocking at the time, I don't know - but today.. not so much.

asturias
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seb146
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:36 pm

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 9):
Racism and segregation were alive and well in the entire United States. Atrocities like Plessy vs Ferguson were not just applicable to the Southern states.

Yes. I know. But, racism and segregation were and are more prevalent in the South and, to a lesser extent, the West. Think about this: If, at the same time slavery was abolished, equality had been established. The 3/5 rule and "separate but equal" would not have been the progrssive and forward thinking way of life. But, instead, to make intigration back into the Union more appealing, lawful slavery was put in place. Blacks had their place, as it were. That worked for the South and West.
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desertjets
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:44 pm

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 9):
It is an absolute fallacy to believe that all segregation and racism took place in the South and that the North was full of forward-thinking, benevolent post-racists and everyone lived in harmony. Racism and segregation were alive and well in the entire United States. Atrocities like Plessy vs Ferguson were not just applicable to the Southern states.

Hell that applies today even. I saw an article not too long ago that listed the 10 most residentially segregated cities in the US, 9 of them were in the north. Of course the comment section on that particular article was a shitstorm, but what people (at least in what I read) failed to remember that in the south that while the races lived closer together in more integrated communities there were other legal means that kept folks separate. Whereas in the north intentional (red-lining for example) and other means of segregation kept races apart.

I believe thinking that we are living in a post-racial world is a dangerous idea. While we may not like to think of ourselves as racists, we most certainly have our biases that work in both positive and negative ways.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 5):
It is impossible for anyone today to take an objective and accurate view of the actions of Lincoln or anyone else involved in the Civil War.

We simply do not have the ability to recreate all the social and other factos to understand their world. We are too much influenced by our views of history, the views of our parents and today's social context.

When people try to apply modern concepts of things like racism - they are fooling themselves.

I tend to disagree. It is easy to fall into the trap that everything is relative and depends on the context of the time. The study of history is more than just the rote memorization of dates, places and people. Without knowing or have read what Lincoln's thoughts on race were I cannot tell whether or not he was racist/biased. All I know is that he found the institution of slavery to be wrong.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:54 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
Would then the statement, that Lincoln was a racist, genocidal dictator, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, slaughterer of fellow citizens and a complete and utter hypocrite - would that statement be something that only a person on the political fringe would accept?

I mean, would a fair minded and reasonable person claim this?

I am leaning towards the answer being: no. But I'm not American.

It's an extremely harsh statement and most certainly not conductive to a discussion on the subject, particularly considering the difficulty of the subject. I would qualify it as unhelpful even if arguments can be made in support of each point.

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
Personally it seems to me that Lincoln was in many ways a moderate (of the time) when it came to slavery; while personally opposed to it, he had campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond the states in which it already existed. Meaning that he was sort of content with slavery existing in the states that already had slavery, but not in new states - and the US was expanding to the west.

Lincoln said he would have dropped the slavery issue to avoid splitting the Union. So while he was opposed to all slavery, anywhere, he was not willing to act on this issue alone. In the sense he was willing to do anything here to avoid splitting the country, he was a moderate.

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
When it came to the question of the Union, he was adamant to maintain it unbroken - and ultimately when the Union defeated the Confederacy, slavery was abolished.

Indeed, he was no moderate when it came to this.

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
the Union defeated the Confederacy, slavery was abolished. But probably wouldn't have been if the South had not seceded.

Brazil had far more slaves than the US did, and was more dependent on agriculture than the US. Took Brazil an extra 23 years but abolition did eventually come.

There's an argument that slavery was already on its way out in the southern states and that they were "exporting" their slaves out west. This is supposed to explain why southern states insisted on allowing slaves out west. I'd have to look further into it for details though.
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rfields5421
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:16 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 13):
There's an argument that slavery was already on its way out in the southern states and that they were "exporting" their slaves out west. This is supposed to explain why southern states insisted on allowing slaves out west. I'd have to look further into it for details though.



Southern states insisted on allowing slaves in new states primarily as methodology to maintain the stalemate in Congress. They rightfully feared a possible law, or constitutional amendment, to outlaw slavery from the Congress if they did not have equal representation from slave states and non-slave states in the Senate.

There have been several economic studies based on the fragmentary records which survived the war that the primary income source of major agricultural plantations was the sale of young slaves. Not the sale of cotton or other agricultural products. I wonder about how far those 'facts' applied across the South. A great number of detailed records which would support or disprove the theory did not survive the war or the aftermath.

Slaves would not be economically advantageous in most of the far western states. It took large labor intensive operations to make slavery pay. It took high income levels from the sale of the products of such labor to make slavery pay. Slaves tended to be more expensive in the long run than short term hires of unskilled labor.

Jefferson died in near bankruptcy because he never made his plantations profitable with the labor of slaves. I cannot say it was that slave labor was not profitable. The economic system of advance loans for each year's crops, or two or three year advances led to perpetual debt for which the owners of the plantations saw no options, no way out. Nothing but ruin, and possibly debtors prison.
 
rfields5421
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:22 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
Would then the statement, that Lincoln was a racist, genocidal dictator, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, slaughterer of fellow citizens and a complete and utter hypocrite - would that statement be something that only a person on the political fringe would accept?

Many of the older people where I grew up had that view of Lincoln.

Of course most of them had heard stories about the horrors of the War of Northern Aggression from their parents, grandparents or in a few cases, spouses.

My great grandmother died at age 98 in 1958. Her husband, my great grandfather, was born in 1844 (died 1932) and fought in the War from 1861 through the end.

My still living father remembers his grandfather's vicious hatred of Lincoln, Grant and everyone else from the North.
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:40 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 15):
Many of the older people where I grew up had that view of Lincoln.

I can imagine. It's been a relatively short time since a civil war eviscerated my country. Many still remember that time and it's aftermath.

Just wanted to add that I agree and approve very much of your previous reply to me in reply #5.

The reason I started this thread, is that I met an American, who held those views I describe above and adoringly talking about the book of DiLorenzo - but this American was neither old nor with any connection to the history of the Civil War.

Yet vehemently decided that this was "the truth" about Lincoln. Thus I was wandering about the prevalence of this opinion among Americans and whether a person espoused to this point of view could be considered mainstream or on the fringe of politics. In other words, would a person like that be taken seriously?

asturias
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:41 pm

Quoting Asturias (Thread starter):


I am wondering because apparently there seems to be a subsection of Americans who subscribe to the views of one Thomas DiLorenzo, an economist, who published a book in 2002 called "the Real Lincoln", where president Lincoln is portrayed as being nothing more than a hypocritical, lying warmonger, a racist, bigot and immoral war criminal.

Given DiLorenzo's ties with the League of the South, I'm a bit hesitant to buy whole hog into his research, especially the "hypocritical, lying warmonger" and "immoral war criminal.". I will agree that it's no secret that Lincoln wasn't particularly enamored with the idea of going to war over the issue of abolition/emancipation. While he was no fan of the expansion of slavery, I believe he would have been fine with the status quo ante bellum, as evidenced by his support of the Corwin Amendment but not the Crittenden Compromise.

Quoting mham001 (Reply 1):
Everybody knows the war was not fought over slavery.

They do? Well, what do you propose the war *was* fought over? States rights, I suppose? A state's right to do...what? Take a closer look at the Declaration of Causes that went along with most of the Ordnances of Secession and you'll see plenty reference to the maintenance of slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act. Look at the Cornerstone Speech delivered by Confederate Vice President Stephens which espoused white supremacy. The issue of states rights is a historical revisionist obfuscation to make the Confederates seem "less bad."

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
Would then the statement, that Lincoln was a racist, genocidal dictator, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, slaughterer of fellow citizens and a complete and utter hypocrite - would that statement be something that only a person on the political fringe would accept?

I mean, would a fair minded and reasonable person claim this?

I think that is something that only someone on the fringe would accept and I doubt a fair minded or reasonable person would make that statement.
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Flighty
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:48 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 3):
Similarly, Thomas Jefferson is highly revered, but the fact that he was a slave owner is often not talked about.

Does that make him less of a hero? Can we really expect one man or woman to overcome all injustices of his/her time... Just thinking out loud...

As for Lincoln, he felt strongly enough about secession to kill a huge quantity of people. He imposed his will over a vast population that did not want it. He is an American hero.

One last point, today we revere Germans who plotted against their regime in WWII. If they could kill their superiors or their leader, according to us, they would be brave heroes. And I agree with that! But how often do we advocate a soldier who thinks the war is illegal, shooting his commanding officer, and being in the right? To say nothing of Lincoln's methods.
 
MD-90
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:32 pm

Well he was an immoral war criminal and thought all the slaves should be shipped back to Africa, because he certainly didn't think they belonged in the US.

I've read the book and found it to be quite thought provoking.
 
Asturias
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:45 pm

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 19):
Well he was an immoral war criminal and thought all the slaves should be shipped back to Africa, because he certainly didn't think they belonged in the US.

I wonder then: would you characterize yourself as having mainstream appeal with that opinion? Would you expect it to have a good support by people in general? If you were running for office, would you share this opinion?

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 19):
I've read the book and found it to be quite thought provoking.

Can you give examples of thought provoking points? And have you any idea of why the views expressed in the book have not been expressed in other books on Lincoln? Is it a justifiable historical book or does the author display political bias in it?

asturias
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:53 pm

Quoting Asturias (Thread starter):
So, my question to Americans here is: do you subscribe to this or do you think this person is just posting some fringe view?

Yes, he is on the fringe. But there is an element of truth in what he says. Lincoln did not care that much about slavery one way or another, although generally he wanted to see it ended - although not enough to fight a war over it.

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. 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; 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." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, "Letter to Horace Greeley" (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

I believe he issued the Emancipation Proclamation for the sole purpose of throwing a wrench into the Southern war effort. I also believe that had he presided over a post-war Union, he would have started efforts to ship black people back to Africa, the West Indies, South America - anywhere but keep them in the US.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:31 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 14):

Thanks for adding that, quite interesting.

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 17):
They do? Well, what do you propose the war *was* fought over? States rights, I suppose? A state's right to do...what? Take a closer look at the Declaration of Causes that went along with most of the Ordnances of Secession and you'll see plenty reference to the maintenance of slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act. Look at the Cornerstone Speech delivered by Confederate Vice President Stephens which espoused white supremacy. The issue of states rights is a historical revisionist obfuscation to make the Confederates seem "less bad."

DiLorenzo does not attempt to make the Confederates look "less bad". That assumption is inaccurate.

He often points to cases where the Federal government was a roadblock to ending slavery, the Fugitive Slave Act being one of them (an example of the federal government violating state's rights to protect the institution of slavery).

Check out the piece in reply#4. It's entirely possible to criticize Lincoln without agreeing with the Confederates and this does not have to come down to political lines. In fact, this thread is evidence of this, it's been remarkably civil thus thus far.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:05 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 7):
He was also a rapist. Sex with a 14 year old slave couldn't possibly be consensual.

Did they even have an age of concent back then?
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:39 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 22):

DiLorenzo does not attempt to make the Confederates look "less bad". That assumption is inaccurate.

Please read my post more closely. I was referring to the peculiar habit that many revisionist historians have of cloaking the Civil War in this nebulous concept of "states rights" without explicating what "rights" the Southern states were afraid were going to be curtailed by the Lincoln administration. I was not referring to DiLorenzo in particular. As for the Guardian editorial - I'll read through it this evening when I return home.
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rfields5421
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:05 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 23):
Quoting Superfly (Reply 7):
He was also a rapist. Sex with a 14 year old slave couldn't possibly be consensual.

Did they even have an age of concent back then?



No, while not practiced universally especially in the cities, marriage at age 14 for girls was not uncommon. The husband was usually 10-15 years older - because the men had to establish themselves economically before they take a wife in most cases. At that point, getting children for additional unpaid labor was a primary focus of marriage.

Of course, the other view is that sex with a person owns - a person who is a slave and knows they have no options except probable death - is always rape.

It also, according to John Adams as quoted in the 2001 book "John Adams" by David McCullough, viewed the reports of Jefferson's relationship with the girl as less an indictment of Jefferson as an individual, and more an unavoidable result of the practice of slavery in what became the United States.
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:09 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 24):
Please read my post more closely. I was referring to the peculiar habit that many revisionist historians have of cloaking the Civil War in this nebulous concept of "states rights" without explicating what "rights" the Southern states were afraid were going to be curtailed by the Lincoln administration.

The right to secession/nullification is what is usually meant by it. Sorry if I missed your point.
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MD-90
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:27 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 20):
I wonder then: would you characterize yourself as having mainstream appeal with that opinion? Would you expect it to have a good support by people in general? If you were running for office, would you share this opinion?

Mainstream appeal? Not at all in the US. Every American educated in the state schools is taught to revere Lincoln for his courageous war to keep the union of states together and end slavery. The fact that he was perfectly willing support continued slavery as long as no states seceded is not taught in schools. Most Americans aren't very aware of the draft riots in New York City, of how many journalists Lincoln imprisoned for not supporting the war (denying them habeas corpus), or that he wasn't a Christian, despite the fact that he was very fond of using Biblical language in his speeches and he once demanded that a Baptist minister pray for him or else he'd be imprisoned.

If I was running for office (God help me if I was) I wouldn't bring up Lincoln at all and I'd hope it never came up. Even here in Alabama few people living today are emotionally capable of separating the right of secession from the issue of slavery. It would be wonderful attack material for anyone running against you in a political campaign.

Quoting Asturias (Reply 20):
Can you give examples of thought provoking points? And have you any idea of why the views expressed in the book have not been expressed in other books on Lincoln? Is it a justifiable historical book or does the author display political bias in it?

It's definitely a justifiable historical book and since DiLorenzo is a libertarian, you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of any mainstream conservative/Republican/Fox News or liberal/Democrat/MSNBC bias in the book. He is anti-state and pro-liberty, and it shows. He excoriates Lincoln for the unconstitutional things he did in the war, and I think that's the most important thing about the book--it's decidedly NOT pro-Lincoln. Lincoln was a master orator and had a gift for the English language. DiLorenzo takes quotes that Lincoln said in his speeches and in the book provides evidence that Lincoln said a lot of things but believed differently from what he publicly said. It's been a while since I've read the book and I don't own a copy of it, so I apologize for not providing you with more specific examples, but I think simply the fact that DiLorenzo shatters the myth of Lincoln being a wise, beneficent leader who freed the slaves and was a good man is the most important aspect of the book.

Thomas DiLorenzo also writes for lewrockwell.com and you can find his article archive here.

Here are a few examples:
The Official, Politically-Correct Cause of the 'Civil War'
The Most Cynical and Hypocritical Speech Ever Delivered
Abraham Delano Messiah Obama?
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:53 pm

Many thanks MD-90, very informative and to the point. You've given me much to think about.

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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:14 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
Personally it seems to me that Lincoln was in many ways a moderate (of the time) when it came to slavery; while personally opposed to it, he had campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond the states in which it already existed

But before the war he was not for letting the slaves free here. He wanted to ship them all back to Africa/Liberia. States rights was the real reason.
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:33 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 29):
But before the war he was not for letting the slaves free here. He wanted to ship them all back to Africa/Liberia. States rights was the real reason.

Absoloutly right, as far as I can tell. Lincoln thought it most prudent to send the slaves back to whence they came, basically. Liberia had already been founded (since 1822) and many free or freed black people chose to go there. Their "promised land" of sorts. Being a child of that time, it's hardly surprising that Lincoln would have had somewhat of a favorable attitude towards that.

Perhaps he was a racist who didn't want black people to settle too comfortably as free men in America. Perhaps he thought it was the right thing to do, to send them "back home" to Africa, from where their ancestors came.

Whether he was or was not a racist, is not much of an interest to me.. I'm sorry to say, very many people of that era were racists.

But you say: States rights was the real reason.

Real reason of what?

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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:13 am

Quoting Asturias (Reply 10):
Would then the statement, that Lincoln was a racist, genocidal dictator, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, slaughterer of fellow citizens and a complete and utter hypocrite - would that statement be something that only a person on the political fringe would accept?


If Lincoln were this power hungry dictator that a handful of people make him out to be then he would not have bothered with the election of 1864. An election he thought he was going to lose for most of 1864. Instead as a "genocidal dictator" he would have just proclaimed himself president for life.

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 27):
Even here in Alabama few people living today are emotionally capable of separating the right of secession from the issue of slavery.


That's because in the end it was about slavery. There seem to be quite a few people in this country that try to hide behind the mantra of "states rights" as the reason for seccesion. They just don't bother to mention that the state right they were most concerned about was the "right" to have slaves.

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=432
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:42 am

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 31):
That's because in the end it was about slavery. There seem to be quite a few people in this country that try to hide behind the mantra of "states rights" as the reason for seccesion. They just don't bother to mention that the state right they were most concerned about was the "right" to have slaves.

In the end, winners write the history books. That doesn't make them necessarily factual.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:12 am

As several posters have noted, Abraham Lincoln had a complex, nuanced, contradictory and changing view of enslavement and it is not well discussed in most history books until one leaves High School. Even in the 'North', enslavement had a complex evolution and graduated ending, with some states upon establishment of the USA banning it, some taking well into the early 1800's to fully phase it out and even then keeping legal segregation as to access to voting, land ownership, right to marry outside their race and in access to public accommodations until the Civil War. Some Northern States also supported in law the seizure and return of escaped slaves well into the end of the Civil War.

As to the 'South' and ending enslavement, Abraham Lincoln, as President, took several steps. He first made slavery illegal in the District of Columbia, several months before the Emancipation Proclamation. There there was the Proclamation which ended enslavement in the CSA. Enslavement was ended in some border states (KY), near the end of the Civil War as the Union army took control of those states. But it took several Constitutional Amendments as to ending slavery and the 14th Amendment that meant the Federal Government was superior to all State governments as well as the the Civil War to end it in the 'South'. It actually took until June 13, 1865 (a/k/a 'Juneteenth) for slavery to be legally ended in Texas, months after Lincoln was assassinated.There is no doubt he opinion changed from 1860 and until his death as to enslavement, perhaps not so much base on morality but that in the end it had to be ended to break the cause and reason of the CSA.
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:56 am

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 31):
That's because in the end it was about slavery. There seem to be quite a few people in this country that try to hide behind the mantra of "states rights" as the reason for seccesion.
Quoting Asturias (Reply 30):
Real reason of what?

It was all about the money, as such things usually are.

I think Kirkpatrick Sales states it quite well in this article. This excerpt is a bit lengthy but well worth reading.

Quote:
Finally, we should understand that the issue of slavery, strictly, was not the cause of Southern secession or the reason for the war on the Confederate side. The South did not want to protect slavery from a Northern attempt to abolish it, because no such attempt was ever intended or expressed by any serious party, and indeed Congress in 1861 had explicitly defended the continuance of the institution in the South. Nor did the South want to extend slavery into the Western territories, because it was clear it was neither a useful nor a welcome practice there, and besides when it formed the Confederacy it no longer had any constitutional claim to influence in those sections.

What the South wanted was to continue an economic system that it had inherited for 200 years, that had been fostered and maintained by Northern interests (particularly New England shippers and textile barons) that entire time, that had been the foundation of the United States economy both North and South from the beginning of the nation, and that was a way of life now so entrenched no one knew how to alter or ameliorate it even if, like quite a few, they wished to do so. And the South wanted to be free of Northern interference: the continued attempts by abolitionists (as John Brown in 1859) to foster slave rebellions and terrorism in the South, the refusal of Northern states to return illegal runaway slaves (or to return Brown’s companions who had fled North), the threat of increased tariffs on Southern goods, the stated purpose of the new Republican party to expand federal power in the interest of Northern industrialists, and the clear perception that Lincoln had come into office with a hidden agenda of limiting if not eliminating Southern influence on the national scene (he was elected with not a single Southern electoral vote).

Those certainly sound like sensible reasons, don't they?
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:13 am

Yeah I doubt the North was the anti-slavery force of good a lot of people think they are. Lincoln might've been racist, but I believe most people back then were to some degree (there were racist laws in the North as well.) Not saying that's right or anything. Also, if the North had been a lot warmer, I bet you there'd be slavery up there too
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:28 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 25):
No, while not practiced universally especially in the cities, marriage at age 14 for girls was not uncommon. Of course, the other view is that sex with a person owns - a person who is a slave and knows they have no options except probable death - is always rape.


That's why I used the term "rapist" and not ephebophile.


Speaking of slavery, it still exist today in Mauritania and a number of other north African and Middle East Islamic countries. The attention it receives is minimal.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:21 am

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 23):
Did they even have an age of concent back then?

In the slave states, slaves had no rights. They were property. Slaves could be killed and no questions asked. Only "useful" slaves had any kind of basic medical treatment - older, less useful slaves were not treated, except by other slaves.

Any young white man of the family could (with the approval of the owner) have sex with any young slave and no provision was made paternity of any resulting children - those children were slaves.

Slaves could not be educated to read and write, they could not usually attend church. They could not marry - some "jumped the broom" in their own small ceremonies of union, but those unions had no legal force. Jumping the broom did not protect them, there was no requirement on the owner to recognize it, and those slaves could be separated and sold, just as any of their children could be separated from them and sold.

A few of the "owner class" (whites) developed strong relationships with slaves, especially women - Jefferson and Sally Hemings, for example. Some had children by them and even accepted paternity of those children, but neither the mother nor any of those children could inherit any portion of the owner's property.

There were a very few instances of white men who left property to favored slaves (usually women) but those wills were declared void. Slaves could be freed by the owner, but it didn't happen often and life was extraordinarily difficult for free blacks in slave states.

However, slaves were not always foully treated - not every slave was whipped every day, They were property, they had value, to be bought and sold, just as livestock has value.

But the Civil War was not about slavery itself. The right of some states to be slave states was recognized by Washington - 18th century New York had been a slave state - but then there was the problem of the new territories, the new states. Abolitionists were determined that there should be no new slave states, the slave states were as determined that there would be. There were huge battles about Kansas - "Bleeding Kansas" - which became a free state.

States rights was at the heart of it all and especially the right of the states - northern or southern - to secede.

Was it one indissoluble union or not?

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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:26 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 32):
In the end, winners write the history books. That doesn't make them necessarily factual.

Then there are the revisionists who years latter twist and cherry pick historical facts. Or in some cases make up their own "facts". Fact, the reason the Civil War happened was slavery. Some people try and hide behind the mantra of states rights. What state right was the going concern in the southern states, slavery.

In fact I challenge anyone who has read the "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" to say that the reason for secession was not slavery.
Quoting MD-90 (Reply 34):
It was all about the money, as such things usually are.

And what investment were they trying to protect? If you said slavery you win a prize. So in the end it's comes down to the institution of slavery and they money they had invested in it.
Quoting MD-90 (Reply 27):
Thomas DiLorenzo also writes for lewrockwell.com and you can find his article archive here.



All you have to do is read some more of his articles and those of others on Lew Rockwell to figure out they are both on the fringe.

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 34):
I think Kirkpatrick Sales states it quite well in this article. This excerpt is a bit lengthy but well worth reading.

Yet another piece of dishonest revisionist history. Not once did the author say what anyone with half a brain already knows. Slavery was a morally reprehensible institution. Of course Mr. Sales is not going to come out and say that since it would defeat the purpose of his article.

One of my favorite lines from what you posted was "And the South wanted to be free of Northern interference: the continued attempts by abolitionists (as John Brown in 1859) to foster slave rebellions and terrorism in the South, the refusal of Northern states to return illegal runaway slaves". In other words the south wanted to be able to practice their own form of terrorism and if anyone escaped the southern gulag they wanted them returned immediately for punishment.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:15 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 35):
Lincoln might've been racist, but I believe most people back then were to some degree (there were racist laws in the North as well.) Not saying that's right or anything.

Of course he was probably "racist" by our 2011 standards. But it is not fair for us to judge that way. We, too are guilty of ethical weaknesses and failures. It is not fair for us to judge Lincoln based on our 2011 standards.

By 2151 standards, many of our people are guilty of environmental crimes and hatred against Islam, aimless wars etc.
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:41 pm

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 38):
Then there are the revisionists who years latter twist and cherry pick historical facts. Or in some cases make up their own "facts". Fact, the reason the Civil War happened was slavery. Some people try and hide behind the mantra of states rights. What state right was the going concern in the southern states, slavery.

It is false to say the war was caused by slavery. The war was caused by secession and Lincoln's refusal to accept it. Lincoln himself has said this.


Quoting LMP737 (Reply 38):
In fact I challenge anyone who has read the "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" to say that the reason for secession was not slavery.

I have read it before. It was not the cause of the war. You are mixing up the facts.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:52 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
The war was caused by secession

But what sparked secession if not slavery? Again, read Georgia's, Mississippi's, South Carolina's, and Texas' Declarations of Causes of Secession. Read several of the Ordinances of Secession (particularly Virginia's). Slavery is cited as why they seceded. Your argument here is akin to a tobacco company saying that lung cancer caused an individual's death, not smoking. Well yes, cancer was the direct cause of death, but what caused that cancer?

Also, still reading through your Guardian piece - didn't have enough time last night to go through it completely.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:56 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
I have read it before. It was not the cause of the war. You are mixing up the facts.


Even though slavery is the over riding theme of said document, tariffs are not mentioned at all, and taxes are only mentioned once. The taxes mentioned were regarding slaves.

Here is the simple fact, slavery caused the Civil War. To pretend otherwise is just another case of dishonest historical revisionism. If the British Crown had decided when the colonies were first being settled that slavery was to be outlawed the Civil War would never have happened. If the framers of the Constitution had decided that slavery was to be no more the Civil war would not have happened.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 40):
It is false to say the war was caused by slavery. The war was caused by secession and Lincoln's refusal to accept it. Lincoln himself has said this.


OMG. And what was the reason for secession, slavery. That is an undeniable fact.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:22 pm

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 38):
Yet another piece of dishonest revisionist history. Not once did the author say what anyone with half a brain already knows. Slavery was a morally reprehensible institution. Of course Mr. Sales is not going to come out and say that since it would defeat the purpose of his article.

The only dishonest thing here have been your arguments such as this one.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 38):
One of my favorite lines from what you posted was "And the South wanted to be free of Northern interference: the continued attempts by abolitionists (as John Brown in 1859) to foster slave rebellions and terrorism in the South, the refusal of Northern states to return illegal runaway slaves". In other words the south wanted to be able to practice their own form of terrorism and if anyone escaped the southern gulag they wanted them returned immediately for punishment.

Are you trying to say something with this? Why is it your "favorite"?
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:22 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 36):
Speaking of slavery, it still exist today in Mauritania and a number of other north African and Middle East Islamic countries. The attention it receives is minimal.

There are thousands of people living in illegal slavery today in the United States, and most other countries.

Most are young girls forced into the sex trade, but many are illegal immigrants 'working off their debt' for being brought into the US or western Europe.

Yes, slavery receives minimal attention anywhere in the world. People want to pretend it does not still exist.
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:28 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 41):
But what sparked secession if not slavery? Again, read Georgia's, Mississippi's, South Carolina's, and Texas' Declarations of Causes of Secession. Read several of the Ordinances of Secession (particularly Virginia's). Slavery is cited as why they seceded. Your argument here is akin to a tobacco company saying that lung cancer caused an individual's death, not smoking. Well yes, cancer was the direct cause of death, but what caused that cancer?
Quoting LMP737 (Reply 42):
OMG. And what was the reason for secession, slavery. That is an undeniable fact.

Slavery was an issue in secession, but the issue of whether secession is to be allowed is an entirely separate matter. A better analogy, IMO, is like saying someone got pregnant because she got married. Pregnancy does not depend on marriage in any way.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:14 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 45):
Slavery was an issue in secession, but the issue of whether secession is to be allowed is an entirely separate matter. A better analogy, IMO, is like saying someone got pregnant because she got married. Pregnancy does not depend on marriage in any way.

Fair enough - just to make sure I understand you, it seems we have a fundamental disagreement on the casus belli. To you, if I understand correctly, the cause was the Union's refusal to acknowledge the secession of the Confederate States, irrespective of what caused that secession. Whereas to myself and LMP737 (and he can correct me if I'm wrong), the cause was the secession itself, in which case the cause for that secession, in turn, is a valuable tool to determine jus ad bellum in order to determine whether DiLorenzo's thesis is valid or not.
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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:31 pm

Before he was assassinated, MLK stated most whites were unconsciously racist. What he meant by that most likely was that at some point in the life of most whites in 1960s America and earlier... there would come a time when (again the term 'most') would be introduced to the 'black/white' divide - and not in a good way. This is because in there was nothing good associated with 'black' (people) in America outside of Sidney Portier, Nat King Cole or Sammy Davis Jr (celebrities). The negative associations outweighed the positives a million- to-1. When whites were introduced to the black/white divide (usually at a very young age) it was done so in a negative manner. The degrees of negativity depended on the person 'educating' the other. This took shape in many forms, it could be anything from a parent describing why his kid shouldn't get too attached to a new black friend at school..to a new kid being goaded into joining a gang to jump a black because he was black and in their neighborhood. The introduction could be anything or play out in a million different scenarios.

The point is, there are degrees of racism. It's not a one-size fits all. We all possess some degrees of it. Yep, like a karate belt rating system.

The whites who didn't fall into 'the most unconsciously racist whites' were people like Obama's mother. A white person who who took as a husband a very 'black' man. Worse than an american black..but an African black. A very daring thing to do in the late 1960s ad '60s. Many entertainers did the same or broke down racial barriers by insisting that their black team, crew, band members, etc..would be accommodated and/or treated the same as themselves any and everywhere they went/performed. Even these people had the 'black/white divide' in mind but embraced it, adjusted it and then rose above it and beyond it....not the same as 'ignoring it' or pretending that it made no difference.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that the racist rating starts at

1 - being the worst possible racist - Ross Barnett, Bull Connor, George Wallace, David Duke, etc

....and 5 being least of alienating (like the group I mentioned in the above paragraph who insisted on their black friends and associates being treated equally).

Lincoln (IMHO) was no racist, his country was.

Lincoln was fully aware of the black-white paradigm in the nation at the time. Everything that MLK felt in the 1960s about whites .. was at the forefront in Lincoln's day, no one hid anything with regard to their opinions about the race issue.

Lincoln knew whites were regimented in their ways and mannerisms with the regards towards blacks. He saw there was virtually no way it could work out. It made sense to think that it would be far easier to get the blacks to leave versus getting the whites to leave...thus his expressed opnion on the matter. A monumental task no matter how you viewed it. But to have the patience to think 'could it work out in say...100 years or so?' Just like now, can you imagine what life is going to be like 100 years from now? You cannot. And neither could he... it looked that daunting at the time.


Now there are those here who recklessly sling around the term 'racist' at anyone without having the slightest idea what the term means. And I'm sure they're trying find a way to peg a 'racist slave'..as if such slave had not earned the right to hold such view. Just like the great grandparents who carried their attitudes down to today's offspring (greatly diluted due to social pressure and adaptions)..the same goes for slaves and their offspring, a great inherent distrust of whites and it's system built by them and for them. That is still with us today (see the 'Mississippi GOP against interracial marraige' thread) all the way to the his weeks Orange County GOP official sending out emails of Obama and his parents as Apes. The stupidity attached to racism lives on..even in government, yet greatly diminished.


In 2011, Lincoln was right..100 years and these people still are pissing about this ridiculous problem of race. It's no wonder the notion of sending blacks away to Africa, the caribbean seemed the best approach. I would think in his mind if you can't get it right in 100 year...what is wrong with you people?


Lincoln IMHO, was a 4.5 on the scale.



Jefferson OTOH, was a solid #1. And the weakest and most hypocritical of founding fathers.

While preaching all the crap about liberty and freedom while raping his black slave women and children he went out of his way to stomp of the newly free nation of Haiti, his treatment of the new free black island nation was nothing short of appalling and reprehensible.


Anyone wishing to question the judging of Jefferson by todays standards seriously needs to familiarize themselves with Thomas Paine and how very aware he made his peers 'of the day' of such evil and wrongdoing.


Lincoln was at worse ... an unconscionable racist..like many of the rest of us.


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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:30 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 41):
But what sparked secession if not slavery?

Why did Massachusetts consider secession in 1814? It wasn't slavery.

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RE: How Prevalent Is The View Of A "racist Lincoln"?

Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:58 pm

Quoting mariner (Reply 48):

Why did Massachusetts consider secession in 1814? It wasn't slavery.


I assume you're talking about the Hartford Convention which had representatives from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. That's great, but that has nothing to do with the issue at hand - what caused the secession of the Confederate States immediately prior to the Civil War. You're comparing apples to oranges here.
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