Joseph Sobran's syndicated columns appear in
newspapers across the country and are published on his website, Sobran's.
The column below is currently at this
URL. Please read this column but don't stop there. If you want a
true understanding of slavery and specifically, African slavery, you must
dig deeper. Try Hugh Thomas' THE SLAVE TRADE which is listed on the
described in more detail below.
The central point is: everyone wants to believe the myth of
Lincoln, no matter what Lincoln said.
More about Joseph Sobran.
Listening to Lincoln [May 22,
Abraham Lincoln is by
now such an icon, so embalmed in reverent clichés, that trying to
correct the standard view of him is like trying to destroy the Lincoln
Memorial by pelting it with snowballs. Even his own words, amply backed by
his deeds, have no impact on the myths.
Lincoln is like a beloved but senile grandfather whose family
still adores him but no longer bothers listening to him. We know some of
his famous words as we know the Sermon on the Mount; but we don’t give
them the critical attention they deserve. Whatever he says, we just nod
and smile at the dear old guy, attaching no significance to his babble.
Case in point: In 1864 Lincoln
was up for reelection. Some of his advisors urged him to suspend the
elections because the Civil War was still raging. Historians praise him
for refusing to do this, though the Constitution would seem to have given
him no choice. Apparently it was mighty big of Honest Abe to abide by the
Constitution once in a while.
He explained he’d made his decision on grounds that “if the
rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it
might fairly claim to have already conquered us.” The historians quote
these words with warm approval. But they are nonsense.
The “rebellion” was a war for Southern
independence. The South had no design to “conquer” the North, let alone to
abolish elections. If anything, it hoped that the 1864 election would
replace Lincoln with a new president who would make peace.
Though Lincoln’s words are
nonsense, they are revealing. Like most war leaders, he grossly distorted
and exaggerated the motives of his enemy. He constantly
insisted that the South wanted to “destroy” the Union, when it merely
wanted to withdraw from it. He called honorable men like Jefferson Davis
and Robert E. Lee “traitors,” though they never betrayed anyone in their
lives. He accused the South of “aggression,” when it was the South that
was being invaded, and truly destroyed, by the Union armies.
Having assured the country that he had
neither the power nor the inclination to disturb slavery, Lincoln made the
destruction of slavery his lofty war aim in the middle of the war.
After repeatedly declaring his
solemn intention to “preserve the Constitution,” he waged war by
flagrantly unconstitutional means. After winning the war he had said would
decide whether self-government would “perish from the earth,” he installed
puppet governments in the South, also unconstitutionally. The Constitution
guarantees to each state “a republican form of government”; for Lincoln
this requirement seems to have been met by imposing an unelected
government run by Republicans.
Having proclaimed “a new birth of freedom,” Lincoln defined the
problem of postwar Reconstruction as “how to keep the rebellious
populations from overwhelming and outvoting the loyal minority.” Again,
nobody seems to be listening, not even the historians. He was going to
establish “free” Southern state governments in which his preferred
“minority” of voters couldn’t be “outvoted”!
Yes, it was a great victory for freedom,
democracy, majority rule, self-government, the Constitution, and all that.
Lincoln saw disloyalty and
traitors everywhere — even in the North. He authorized thousands of
arbitrary arrests and shut down hundreds of newspapers. Critics of the
government were rounded up, jailed, and tried (if at all) by improper
military courts, even when the civil courts were operating normally. Thus
was the Constitution — minus a few provisions of the Bill of Rights, of
course — “preserved.” Lincoln had to violate it in order to save it.
Not incidentally, the crushing
of dissent also helped Lincoln win reelection. If canceling the election
would have been a victory for the enemies of freedom, what was the
suspension of the Constitution itself?
Opposing slavery, yet dreading “the troublesome presence of the
free Negroes,” Lincoln favored colonizing them abroad; in 1862 he asked
Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to promote Negro emigration.
But he started a Negro colony in Central America on his own, without
waiting for the Constitution he was “preserving” to catch up with him.
“I cannot make it better known
than it already is,” he told Congress, “that I strongly favor
colonization.” And he put public money where his mouth was. But never
mind: admiring historians insist he didn’t mean what he said.
You should have spoken louder,
Abe. Nobody’s listening.
End Sobran Column-----
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comprehensive understanding of the Confederate
Government as the Founders
What does the
Confederate flag represent?