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Debunking the Abraham Lincoln Myth

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DEBUNKING THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN MYTH

A Study by Dr. Sabri Bebawi, PhD

Dear Reader

Republican friends (now ex-friends) and Republican colleagues (now ex-colleagues) have always fascinated me when I asked why they were Republicans. Their response was always the same as though they were ashamed of being Republicans: (We are Abraham Lincoln Republicans). I always smiled and kept silent.

Republicans know that the Republican ideology is that of evil, racism, hatred, end justifies the means, using and abusing people for their what they believe to be “pursuit of happiness.” So, they wanted to clear themselves from this stigma by attaching themselves to Abraham Lincoln because of his phony fraudulent “Emancipation Declaration.”

We shall look together at Abraham Lincoln and debunk the myth that he, as the 16th president of the United States, was one of the best presidents ever. First, we need to know who he was. Abraham Lincoln was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

Unlike Republicans, he was a very intelligent man, indeed. He was very good with words and expressions that steered emotions in people and made them love him. Among these great sayings are:

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

In a three-hour speech in Peoria, Illinois, in the fall of 1854, Lincoln presented more clearly than ever his moral, legal and economic opposition to slavery—and then admitted he didn’t know exactly what should be done about it within the current political system. He didn’t believe blacks should have the same rights as whites. Though Lincoln argued that the founding fathers’ phrase “All men are created equal” applied to blacks and whites alike, this did not mean he thought they should have the same social and political rights. His views became clear during an 1858 series of debates with his opponent in the Illinois race for U.S. Senate, Stephen Douglas, who had accused him of supporting “negro equality.” In their fourth debate, at Charleston, Illinois, on September 18, 1858, Lincoln made his position clear. “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” he began, going on to say that he opposed blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

Again, unlike any Republican, president Lincoln was a very intelligent man, a savvy politician, and a skilled war strategist. To ensure winning the Civil War against the South, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He gave freedom to the blacks of the South on the condition that they join the Northern Army. This was to devastate the morale of the Southern States, to give the blacks a hope, and to have a stronger army. It was never for the love of the blacks or for a belief that slavery should be abolished. He continued to have slaves and continued to believe that blacks are not equal to whites.

On September 22 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, in which he declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist

Lincoln did believe that slavery was morally wrong. Though Lincoln saw himself as working alongside the abolitionists on behalf of a common anti-slavery cause, he did not count himself among them. Only with emancipation, and with his support of the eventual 13th Amendment, would Lincoln finally win over the most committed abolitionists.

Lincoln didn’t believe blacks should have the same rights as whites

Though Lincoln argued that the founding fathers’ phrase “All men are created equal” applied to blacks and whites alike, this did not mean he thought they should have the same social and political rights. His views became clear during an 1858 series of debates with his opponent in the Illinois race for U.S. Senate, Stephen Douglas, who had accused him of supporting “negro equality.” In their fourth debate, at Charleston, Illinois, on September 18, 1858, Lincoln made his position clear. Once again he said, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” he began, going on to say that he opposed blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.

Like his views on emancipation, Lincoln’s position on social and political equality for African-Americans would evolve over the course of his presidency. In the last speech of his life, delivered on April 11, 1865, he argued for limited black suffrage, saying that any black man who had served the Union during the Civil War should have the right to vote.

For much of his career, Lincoln believed that colonization—or the idea that a majority of the African-American population should leave the United States and settle in Africa or Central America—was the best way to confront the problem of slavery. His two great political heroes, Henry Clay and Thomas Jefferson, had both favored colonization; both were slave owners who took issue with aspects of slavery but saw no way that blacks and whites could live together peaceably. Lincoln first publicly advocated for colonization in 1852, and in 1854 said that his first instinct would be “to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia” (the African state founded by the American Colonization Society in 1821).

Emancipation was a military policy

As much as he hated the institution of slavery, Lincoln didn’t see the Civil War as a struggle to free the nation’s 4 million slaves from bondage. Emancipation, when it came, would have to be gradual, and the important thing to do was to prevent the Southern rebellion from severing the Union permanently in two. But as the Civil War entered its second summer in 1862, thousands of slaves had fled Southern plantations to Union lines, and the federal government didn’t have a clear policy on how to deal with them. Emancipation, Lincoln saw, would further undermine the Confederacy while providing the Union with a new source of manpower to crush the rebellion.

As a member of the Illinois state legislature in 1834, Lincoln supported the Whig politics of government-sponsored infrastructure and protective tariffs. This political understanding led him to formulate his early views on slavery, not so much as a moral wrong, but as an impediment to economic development.

In 1857, the Supreme Court issued its controversial decision Scott v. Sanford, declaring African Americans were not citizens and had no inherent rights. Though Abraham Lincoln felt African Americans were not equal to whites

Abraham Lincoln responded to the crisis wielding powers as no other president before him. He distributed $2 million from the Treasury for war material without an appropriation from Congress; he called for 75,000 volunteers into military service without a declaration of war; and he suspended the writ of habeas corpus, arresting and imprisoning suspected Confederate sympathizers without a warrant. Crushing the rebellion would be difficult under any circumstances, but the Civil War, with its preceding decades of white-hot partisan politics, was especially onerous. From all directions, Lincoln faced disparagement and defiance. He was often at odds with his generals, his Cabinet, his party and a majority of the American people.

Hogan points to several factors that elevated the United States’ 16th president in the eyes of Mexicans, in particular Lincoln’s courageous stand in Congress against the Mexican War, and his later support in the 1860s for democratic reformist Benito Juárez, who has at times been called the “Abraham Lincoln of Mexico.” Lincoln’s stature as a force for political equality and economic opportunity—and his opposition to slavery, which Mexico had abolished in 1829—made the American leader a sympathetic figure to the progressive followers of Juárez, who was inaugurated as president of Mexico in the same month and year, March 1861, as Lincoln.

During its own civil war of the late 1850s, Mexico had accrued significant foreign debt, which the French Emperor Napoleon III ultimately used as pretext to expand his colonial empire, installing an Austrian archduke, Ferdinand Maximilian, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in 1863. The United States did not recognize the French regime in Mexico, but with the Civil War raging, remained officially neutral in the hope that France would not recognize or aid the Confederacy.

By 1867, the French had withdrawn their occupying army; the Juárez forces captured and executed Maximilian, and the Mexican Republic was restored. Though Lincoln didn’t live to see it, his Mexican counterpart had also triumphed in a war for the survival of his nation. “Lincoln really loved the Mexican people and he saw the future as us being allied in cultural ways, and also in business ways,” Hogan reflects. “He supported the growth of the railroads in Mexico, as did Grant, who was a big investor in the railroads, and he saw us as being much more united than we are.”

The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free the slaves. Since Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a military measure, it didn’t apply to border slave states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union. Lincoln also exempted selected areas of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control in hopes of gaining the loyalty of whites in those states. In practice, then, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t immediately free a single slave, as the only places it applied were places where the federal government had no control—the Southern states currently fighting against the Union.

Despite its limitations, Lincoln’s proclamation marked a crucial turning point in the evolution of Lincoln’s views of slavery, as well as a turning point in the Civil War itself. By war’s end, some 200,000 black men would serve in the Union Army and Navy, striking a mortal blow against the institution of slavery and paving the way for its eventual abolition by the 13th Amendment.

Citation Information

Abraham Lincoln Biography.com:  Author – Biography.com Editors – Website Name: The Biography.com website https://www.biography.com/people/abraham-lincoln-9382540

Access Date: September 23, 2017

I am Dr Sabri Bebawi.

 

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Categories: The Resistance

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