Skip to comments.Lessons from Lincoln
Posted on 01/18/2006 1:03:24 PM PST by neverdem
This is nonsense...respect for the Constitution would have ended slavery...and would have done so peacefully and without the abuse of the Constitutional limits on the power of the federal government that Lincoln engineered.
Of course, Abraham Lincoln supported the Fugitive Slave Act... an unconstitutional act of sweeping federal power designed to protect slavery in the southern states as an inducement to keep the southern states in the union. At the Hampton Roads Peace Conference, Lincoln assured the Confederate representatives that, if they re-joined the union, the Emancipation Proclamation would become inoperative. Moreover, at that conference, Lincoln and Seward attempted to persuade the confederate states to re-join the Union by reminding them that they could defeat the pending 13th Amendment that would have ended slavery in the US...an amendment that was sure to pass unless the southern states re-joined the union. Lincoln himself, in his first inaugural address, expressed support for the original proposed 13th Amendment...which would have protected slavery wherever it then existed. Lincoln had little moral concern about slavery and great concern about "preserving the union"...but at what cost and why? Why the need to have sovereign states submit unwillingly to rule from Washington DC?
That people who believe themselves to be Constitutional conservatives support and even deify Lincoln is quite strange. Lincoln's countless unconstitutional actions put in motion and made possible the centralization of power in the federal government during the 20th century and the effective end of the Constitution and the Founders' vision of a decentralized republic designed to keep government power in check
Interesting, but I don't agree.
"That people who believe themselves to be Constitutional conservatives support and even deify Lincoln is quite strange. Lincoln's countless unconstitutional actions put in motion and made possible the centralization of power in the federal government during the 20th century and the effective end of the Constitution and the Founders' vision of a decentralized republic designed to keep government power in check."
There ya go! Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. You get 3 stars and a brownie button for this post! Lincoln did a substantial amount of unconstitutional things...Most importantly, is he paved the way for the extreme centralization of government that we see today. He also put forth the idea that it's okay if we are mean, rude and nasty to one another. Oh, I forgot the beating up part. How much sense does it make for a country to attack itself. And no...nobody was trying to install a new government...so no definitions of civil war, please. I think immature, sounds like a good reason for what Lincoln did!
Inaccurate. In his preliminary EP issued after Antietam in 1862, Lincoln offered to exempt any state from its provision that returned to its allegiance by January 1, 1863. None did.
At the HRPC, Lincoln had only two absolute requirements, return to the Union and abolition of slavery. Anything else was negotiable. As these were also the Confederacy's non-negotiable issues, only in reverse, nothing was settled.
Moreover, at that conference, Lincoln and Seward attempted to persuade the confederate states to re-join the Union by reminding them that they could defeat the pending 13th Amendment that would have ended slavery in the US...an amendment that was sure to pass unless the southern states re-joined the union.
I've read a number of accounts of this conference, but never heard of this. What's your source? It sounds like something Lincoln would have done much earlier in the war, but not in February of 1865.
His abhorrence of slavery knew only one boundthe Constitution, which did not give him the power, under ordinary circumstances, to abolish it. Hence he presented the Emancipation Proclamation as an exercise of his extraordinary war power, not as an exercise of a power normally available to the federal government.
Stephens may just have had an incentive to "spin" what happened at the conference. All reports I have read, with the exception of those quite obviously trying to be Confederate apologists, agree that Lincoln's terms were: reunion, acceptance of emancipation, immediate cessation of hostilities, and the disbanding of all Confederate forces.
Some differ on exactly what was meant by "acceptance of emancipation," but I have noticed that the pro-Confederate sites tend to leave this plank out entirely, making it logical to assume that their story on other issues may be less than complete.
The only reports you will read are from, or based on the accounts of, the men that were there....none of which will be purely objective. You suggest in post #7 that the Confederate representatives demanded the continuation of slavery (one of Lincoln's demands "in reverse")...yet no accounts, from any side, indicate that the Confederacy was demanding anything other than independence. One need not be a "Confederate apologist" to understand that Lincoln full well understood that slavery was a dying institution...the secession of the southern states would have expedited this. Lincoln himself stated this...Lincoln advocates like Harry Jaffa have stated this...Professor Jeffrey Hummel laid out a lengthy economic analysis in his book Freeing Slaves, Enslaving Free Men that confirms this. We should take Lincoln at his word that the war was waged to prevent the southern states from seceding...not to end slavery per se...and, again...the question is why? What moral or Constitutional authority did the federal government or the union states have to force the southern states to submit?
You know, if you want your questions answered, there are many tens of thousands of posts on similar thread you could look up. It's late, and I don't really care to get into it all again.
I do, however, think it is ludicrous to blame Lincoln for the collapse of constitutional government, as with the notable exception of Reconstruction the pre-war conditions returned after the war for many decades. Depending on whom you want to believe, the gradual growth in the power of the federal government really began with Teddy R., with Wilson during WWI, or with FDR and the New Deal.
Lincoln provided a precedent for what a President might have to do to preserve the Union in a civil war. Not for our present overpowering federal government during peacetime.
BTW, most of the "unconstitutional acts" of Lincoln were also implemented by Davis. War, especially civil war, is really, really hard on civil rights. War is Hell, and all that. People fighting for their lives are allowed to kill justifiably. States or nations fighting for their lives will probably also do things they would never do when they weren't forced into it.
If you think the old boys who wrote the Constitution were advocates of civil rights for the opposition during a civil war, look up how they treated the Loyalists. A great deal worse than how Lincoln treated traitors.
Action "outside" and "against" the Constitution is never constitutional: thus the Supreme Court, in opinions rendered after the Civil War and reaffirmed recently in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld , has held that the Constitution is in operation at all times, and that no "war exception" exists to the requirements of the oath to uphold and defend it that bind every state and national officeholder.
No, they didn't. The States became afterthoughts, bypassed by the "malefactors of great wealth" who understood that "access capitalism" meant access in the national capital where all power lay.
The old Republic was dead forever, replaced by something else -- a national empire, run by plutocrats and paid for by the prostrate People, who had to pay "all the traffic will bear" while perforce selling their crops and herds into markets controlled and manipulated by the malefactors.
"They all did it" isn't an argument, it's an excuse -- just like "I was only following orders." Henry Wirz's jury and executioners didn't buy that one, and neither should we.
We are talking about AEI here...any non-praise of the 16th president is swept under the rug. Forget Milligan, the new (and old it seems) Republican mantra is to keep doing something until someone tells you to stop. Then feign ignorance as if you didn't really know it was wrong to do it.
Hell, let's take it one step further...Lincoln sucks! :)
Lincoln was just a tyrant. Plain and Simple.
Oh yea...a great, big UNRECONSTRUCTED Freeper welcome to a loyal Southron woman! :)
"A great deal worse than how Lincoln treated traitors."
Yep, those are fighting words for sure....
My ancestors weren't traitors. Secession wasn't rebellion.
You really should watch your verbage. By the way, we aren't discussing Davis. Just Lincoln.
I guess that whatever Lincoln did, then, is fair for Bush to do. Why doesn't he invade a "blue" state or two and burn them down for supporting treasonable people like, oh, Hillary Clinton?
"All the laws but one," and all that.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.