Skip to comments.Lincolnís Character
Posted on 04/14/2014 6:49:47 AM PDT by Kaslin
"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." Abraham Lincoln
The 149th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln provides an appropriate opportunity to appreciate the character of the man beyond the customary veneration afforded by his memorials in statuary, currency and the names of thousands of streets and commercial institutions. He was, in his own words, the real thing.
This was a man of humble origins whose determination and perseverance led him to the highest office in the land. At no point in his life did he permit obstacles or challenges to sidetrack his sense of duty to his country or his drive to realize his great vision for it.
This is the man who, as president, faced the severest internal crisis in our nations history, while simultaneously juggling external diplomatic relations to avoid foreign interference in our civil war. In both efforts he triumphed. His fierce belief that ultimate sovereignty cannot be inherent in both the federal and state governmentsnever once waivering from the idea that federal authority supersedes state authoritycontinues to guide legislation and constitutional interpretation.
This is the man foresighted and shrewd enough to tackle the thorny issue of slavery not head-on, but obliquely, understanding from the outset the existential threat it posed to the Union. His legacy, burnished by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, arose from a fundamental comprehension that it was a great moral wrong.
This is the man who brilliantly and ultimately successfully managed (some of his generals would have said in todays parlance micromanaged) the strategy and execution of a mammoth war machine dedicated to the preservation of the union. As commander in chief he provided a brilliant blend of encouragement, compassion and practicality that outlasted political quibbling and intransigence.
This is the man who nevertheless found time to be a devoted father and husband, despite the debilitating grief afforded by the death of his young son and the endless challenges to his patience by his erratic, spendthrift wife. This same compassion extended to his pardoning of condemned military men as well as to the vanquished South, of whom he entreated his cabinet and generals, Let em up easy.
“never once waivering from the idea that federal authority supersedes state authoritycontinues to guide legislation and constitutional interpretation.”
He gets no bonus points from me for that.
“This is the man foresighted and shrewd enough to tackle the thorny issue of slavery not head-on, but obliquely, understanding from the outset the existential threat it posed to the Union. His legacy, burnished by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, arose from a fundamental comprehension that it was a great moral wrong.
Perhaps the author is unaware of the famous letter that Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune. On Aug. 22, 1862, he wrote, My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.
When will the hagiography stop?
The reverse would be in essence a confederacy. That was exactly the conflict at the time—federation vs. confederacy. But the supremacy of federal government only exists (or should only exist) within the express powers granted by the Constitution. The so-called elastic clause that is too often misused is not a blank check. The Constitution specifically says that additional powers can exists only for enforcing the express powers. That’s where we’ve gone off track.
What a character !
He put saving the Union ahead of immediate emancipation.
What's the difficulty?
When will the hagiography stop?
Never. It is necessary to legitimize the status quo imbalance of power.
Would you care to explain how these two objectives are in conflict?
Islam across a good chunk of the world today, and the Chinese and North Korean governments, are committing ongoing great moral wrongs. Not to mention great moral wrongs elsewhere in the world.
If I recognize and point out these wrongs, am I therefore morally obligated to also wage immediate total war against them all?
Thanks for an accurate summation. Lincoln never claimed that the federal government was supreme in all areas. That didn’t come along till the Progressives of the late 19th century.
When will the out-of-context-quoting stop? For the record, here's the full quote from Lincoln:
As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.And you know the funny thing? Somehow, at the end of the war, the slaves ended up free.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. 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. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.
I've wondered several times if Lincoln wasn't just lying to Greeley tactically ..... oh, excuse me, make that "indulging in political rhetoric to garner support for an important political aim necessary to the successful conclusion of the war and the preservation of the Union."
(Which was NOT dissolved or "destroyed" by secession, as witness the manifest ability of the non-seceding States to conquer, degrade, and shackle the departing States into an .... ahem .... new arrangement.)
Like that, maybe.
The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was."
Not hardly. No sale on that one. The Union was never again "the Union as it was" -- because Lincoln and his circle made damned sure it would never again be what it was.
That was the whole point of the war, just as John Quincy Adams had envisioned it 20 years before -- a recasting of the Union without the "undesirable" parts that made people too free.
They killed a million people to make America safe for high tariffs and time-cards, bullying niggardly employers, highhanded and high-hatted billionaires and wage-breakers, and bossism generally.
A rich man's paradise.
Tell that to the sharecroppers and the sheriff's chain gang. They'll die laughing.
Somehow at the end of the war, free labor wound up in a state awfully reminiscent of indentured labor a century earlier. No haggling, no negotating power, no leverage, no nothing. Just the time-card, the black-list, and the Company Store.
Enjoy all the neo-confederate hate posts you’ll get for posting this.
You sound like a union organizer.
Maybe it hasn't occurred to you, but the difference between the chain gang and the sharecropper and the slave is that the chain gang convict has been convicted by a jury of his peers and his children aren't going to be born into the chain gang and die on the chain gang. Likewise with the sharecropper, with the additional fact that he always has the option of leaving, something that they did in their hundreds of thousands for better jobs...wait for it...in the north.
Seriously, you should join the Occupy crowd. You sound exactly like them.
A rich man's paradise.
Spoken like a true class warrior.
It was a Republican legislature that rewrote their Militia Act to ban private exercise of firearms and repeal 2A from every Illinoisan. They did it to "get" union organizers who were looking for workers to sign up in taverns and saloons. They would frequently send Chicago cops (the original "Chicago bulls") into those places and break them up, sending guys to the hospital and sometimes killing them.
So when a union organizer named Presser put together a shooting club and marched in a public holiday parade, the bosses had him arrested and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, n/w/s that Presser's defender was the firm of Lyman Trumbull, who was Lincoln's compromise candidate, and a "war Democrat," for the Senate when he realized he couldn't "reach" in the 1855 session of the Illinois legislature that sat to elect a U.S. senator.
Presser vs. Illinois remains a stain on the American body of law and a rich man's challenge to the rights of Americans to stand up to Government and Money, whether public or private. Just the sort of thing your hero Alexander Hamilton would approve of, n/w/s his earlier public positions supporting a Militia. (Hint: He was a hypocrite. Never wanted the People to have rights, only people like himself: "People Like Us" as New England Old Money say to one another today.)
Milton Friedman said it, and I believe him: Without the labor movement, there would be no middle class today. It was the right to negotiate in groups that allowed laborers to receive more of what they'd earned, from the value that they'd added.
Bumcombe. I spit on people who foot-fault on the tennis court, and I spit on people who do all the access-capitalist things that are not capitalist at all, but the workaday wheeling and dealing of the ruthless, lawless rich. Examples: Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, Leroy Blankfein, Jay Gould, Henry Clay Frick.
You seem to think the kid with the biggest pile of gold can just buy himself a halo, and the right to call other people vile names.
Bolsheviks are bolsheviks, but bastards are still bastards.
Does that help comprehension?
.....and his children aren't going to be born into the chain gang and die on the chain gang.
No, they'll be walking down a country road one day and one of the sheriff's cars will suddenly stop and back up. 'Bye, kid.