Skip to comments.The Real Lincoln
Posted on 03/26/2002 10:38:41 PM PST by kattracks
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I generally ignore idiots. Your constant barrage of obviously self-manufactured mythology is no more credible than Von Daniken's theories of pyramids being built by visitors from an invisible planet. Even the people who take to the lincoln side of the arguments here know that your whole position is to take cut & paste snippets quoted from dead people out of context & rearrange them into a bizzarre theory that is easily refuted by a trip to any library.
You said it again. I can't believe it. Yes, the people involved in these events are dead!
I always like to say that historical people can't help being dead. What a hoot.
Washington urging an immovable attachment to the national union still rings down to us to day, however.
As to my text being out of context, you've had months to show it.
Do a self search. It shows plainly in nearly every one of your posts.
Let me ask you a straight question walt. Do you honestly believe that there is anyone on either side of the north-south debate here who doesn't realize that your method of cut & paste historical revisionism is a tongue in cheek exercize in pure BULLSH*T?
The north-south debate has been going on since before the war & will continue through the forseeable future. You add nothing to the debate but contrived fantasy & as such don't require intellegent response. Post on...
See PINK MARINE this proves they were white trash. Of course you wouldn't recognize that condition!
I saw some Auburn fans at the 1997 Southeastern Conference Championship game. ;-)
Actually, the Auburn fans were great -- both their spirit and traditions.
Is this statement taken out of context:
"I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation, without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner, as the authority of the different state governments extends over the several states. To be fearful of vesting Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me to be the very climax of popular absurdity and madness."
George Washington to John Jay, 15 August 1786
How about these:
"We may then infer, that the people of the United States intended to bind the several states, by the legislative power of the national government...Whoever considers, in a combined and comprehensive view, the general texture of the constitution, will be satisfied that the people of the United States intended to form themselves into a nation for national purposes." And: "Here we see the people acting as the sovereigns of the whole country; and in the language of sovereignty, establishing a Constitution by which it was their will, that the state governments should be bound, and to which the State Constitutions should be made to conform."
--Chisholm v. Georgia, 1793
Show they are taken out of context.
Do you have anything on Rawle's background, party affiliation, state of birth, etc.?
Also, the book is reported as being used at West Point. Does anyone know for how long, and whether it was the exclusive text for Constitutional Law? If it was, that might explain the paucity of Southern West Pointers who reamined loyal in 1860-1.
Finally, it may be worth noting that Rawle gives no authorities from the founding period whatever. He argues, with some force and the appearance, at least, of reason, from the Constitution itself.
Again, thanks for the link.
Lincoln cites the Bank controversy in many speeches, including the ones DiLorenzo names. The sole purpose of those citations is to convict Douglas of inconsistency in his stance regarding the authority of Court decisions.
But DiLorenzo uses the citations as though Lincoln were rearguing the Bank controvesy itself.
That is either ignorant or deceptive.
There is also an error of a year in dating the debates, [DiLorenzo has them "one month" after the 1857 speech] but such things do happen to many of us, even in published books. A good editor should help one catch it, and it makes one look foolish, but its a venial sin in historical writing.
There are other errors of greater consequence in the column, and now, I gather, in the book, but the controversy was about these two.
I hope I've met your standards of clarity.
To avoid misunderstanding, I am taking "debates" here to include the back and forth with Douglas a few weeks before the seven famous debates were held. The speech in question seems to have been a reply to Douglas on July 17th, 1858. The first of the 7 debates took place on August 21st, 1858.
Lincoln makes the same use of the Court's decision in the 7 Debates that he did in the previous speeches. He always uses it solely for the purpose of showing Douglas' inconsistency when the issue changed to slavery in Dred Scott. Lincoln is so single-minded about this use of the Court's decision that an impatient listener [recorded as 'an Hibernian' in my edition] is quoted as interrupting hiim in the first Debate with these words, "Give us something besides Dred Scott!"
DiLorezo, unlike the Hibernian, misunderstands Licoln's use of the issue in the Debate, too, as Quackenbush points out.
Best to you,
Please notice, just to start, that DiLorenzo began by claiming that Lincoln "championed his corrupt economic agenda in virtually every one of the Lincoln Douglas debates." It turned out that he could supply NO instance of economic policy remark AT ALL by Lincoln from ANY of the seven 1858 debates which the whole world understands when anyone says "The Lincoln Douglas Debates." So instead he grabbed a paragraph from a speech that mentions Douglas.
He also took cheap advantage of the claim we made that Lincoln referred IN NO WAY to economics in the Lincoln Douglas debates. In those debates he doesn't even make rhetorical use of economic matter at all. That claim stands. Instead, DiLorenzo found a SPEECH where economic words are used, as though that means Lincoln was making an economic point. In fact, the speech he found shows Lincoln using an event in Constitutional history (the Bank decision)to make a point crucial to the SLAVERY issue (the authority of Supreme Court decisions). And he has gall to claim that it vindicates his claim that Lincoln was incapable of suppressing his zeal for Whig economics.
Please remember that the point in dispute is whether Lincoln was CHIEFLY motivated by his economic agenda. So when he claims that Lincoln "champions" that agenda in his most famous set of political debates, and then is unable to find a single text in support of this claim, it is a bit much to say that I am "unequivocally wrong."
The text he does offer, as we have spelled out repeatedly, does not express Lincoln's opinion on any economic matter. The quotation DiLorenzo himself cites is a mere historical summary of events. Do you think that Stephen Douglas would object to any part of what Lincoln says in the quotation above? He says, "we once had a national bank." That "the Supreme Court decided that the bank was constitutional." That "The whole Democratic party revolted against that decision." Etc.
As is clear from the speech, Lincoln is recounting this history ONLY to show that Douglas once approved of political leaders exercising judgment independent of Supreme Court decisions in a case Douglas cared about, and that now he expects Lincoln to accept the Dred Scott decision. He is accusing Douglas of inconsistency, and of the error of thinking that the Supreme Court rules the political judgment of all Americans. That is Lincoln carefully says NOTHING that reveals what HE thinks of the bank decision.
Here is the entire relevant portion of the speech. I include the sentences just prior to the relevant text, because they show that Lincoln is arguing that Douglas is wrong about submission to the court, not about economics.
"The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that, to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.
Thus we see the power claimed for the Supreme Court by Judge Douglas, Mr. Jefferson holds, would reduce us to the despotism of an oligarchy.
Now, I have said no more than this--in fact, never quite so much as this--at least I am sustained by Mr. Jefferson.
Let us go a little further. You remember we once had a national bank. Some one owed the bank a debt; he was sued and sought to avoid payment, on the ground that the bank was unconstitutional. This case went to the Supreme Court, and therein it was decided that the bank was constitutional. The whole Democratic party revolted against that decision. General Jackson himself asserted that he, as President, would not be bound to hold a national bank to be constitutional, even though the court had decided it to be so. He fell in precisely with the view of Mr. Jefferson, and acted upon it under his official oath, in vetoing a charter for a national bank. The declaration that Congress does not possess this constitutional power to charter a bank, has gone into the Democratic platform, at their national conventions, and was brought forward and reaffirmed in their last convention at Cincinnati. They have contended for that declaration, in the very teeth of the Supreme Court, for more than a quarter of .a century. In fact, they have reduced the decision to an absolute nullity. That decision, I repeat, is repudiated in the Cincinnati platform; and still, as if to show that effrontery can go no farther, Judge Douglas vaunts, in the very speeches in which he denounces me for opposing the Dred Scott decision, that he stands on the Cincinnati platform.
Now, I wish to know what the judge can charge upon me, with respect to decisions of the Supreme Court, which does not lie in all its length, breadth, and proportions at his own door. The plain truth is simply this: Judge Douglas is for Supreme Court decisions when he likes, and against them when he does not like them. He is for the Dred Scott decision because it tends to nationalize slavery--because it is part of the original combination for that object. It so happens, singularly enough, that I never stood opposed to a decision of the Supreme Court till this. On the contrary, I have no recollection that he was ever particularly in favor of one till this. He never was in favor of any, nor opposed to any, till the present one, which helps to nationalize slavery.
Free men of Sangamon, free men of Illinois, free men everywhere, judge ye between him and me upon this issue."
Okay, "free men of Free Republic, free men everywhere, judge ye between him and me upon this issue." I say that a scholar who reads that passage and claims that it shows Lincoln's concerns about economics is either lying or incapable of reading historical texts.
This argument with DiLorenzo has threatened to become undisciplined and useless from the beginning because his claims are so diffuse, so unsubstantiated, and so illogical. I have focused on this one claim -- that Lincoln revealed his single-minded devotion to "the corrupt Whig economic agenda" in these speeches -- because here it is directly clear that DiLorenzo is either lying or incompetent on a piece of evidence he himself has offered as central to his case.
I say he is either lying or incompetent on THIS text. And I say further that a man who can't be honest or competent on an argument as plain as the one in this text, should be treated with suspicion in his general, unfootnoted, vague claims in the book (such as that Lincoln "seethed with frustration for decades" about his inability to advance his economic agenda.
I would like to hear just one of DiLorenzo's supporters do his duty, examine this evidence, pick between calling him a liar or an incompetent, or offer some other explanation for his remarkable failure to speak truly about Lincoln's words, and then tell us what implications this has for our faith in the other wild and general claims that Sobran, Williams and Roberts seem to find so convincing.
Lincoln was the candidate of the Northwest, so it is probable that he had the consent of that section. Seward and Chase, his chief rivals for the nomination, were as strong for union as Lincoln was. So I doubt that there was any "let them go" sentiment of consequence in the GOP as a whole.
Here is one more resolution, not from the New England Abolition wing of the party, but from the Northwest, specificaly, Minnesota.
Joint Resolutions of the Legislature of the State of Minnesota, on the state of the Union. Adopted January 22, 1861.
1. Resolved, That one of the vital and necessary principles which form the basis of all free governments, is that the constitutional majority must always rule. And therefore, the right of the people of any State to withdraw from the Union, thereby hazarding the liberties and happiness of the millions comprising this Confederacy, can never be acknowledged by us under any circumstances.
We regard secession upon the part of any State as amounting directly to revolution, and precipitating civil war with all its sad train of consequences.
Really, I believe, in the face of all this evidence, the burden is on the friends of Williams and Dilorenzo to show that Republicans believed in a right of secession.
Despite some minor inconsistencies I believe his work is valuable and shows the tyrant in his correct light. No doubt he, like most of us, has to work fast and in so doing "extrapolates" sometimes when he shouldn't. I must say, however, that I find much more veracity in his position than in that of yourself and Mr. Quackenbush (if indeed you still hold to your position that old "Honest Abe" had an altruistic bent toward the slaves)
My view is that he simply saw them as nuisancesome pawns.
It is good to have a well-defined target. I'd like to read the speeches in question and then respond to your contention. Are they in one place on the web?
Oh, and is this a direct quote: "Lincoln revealed his single-minded devotion to the corrupt Whig economic agenda"....
Or is this more like it: "In virtually every one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln made it a point to champion this corrupt economic agenda."
Obviously "revealed his single-minded devotion to the corrupt Whig economic agenda" is very much NOT the same thing as: "made it a point to champion this corrupt economic agenda" don't you agree?
So you stand by your contention that all the Ape cared about after 1854 was abolishing slavery or did DiLorenzo twist these words:
And the question begs, what intelligent man in the united states from 1820 onward did NOT connect slavery and economics?
The Ape was many things but a dunce he was not.
I don't know much about legal reasoning, but it does look to me as though Rawle went far away from the text of the Constitution and into extrapolations of his own. The faults of Supreme Court justices who are always pulling something out of the penumbras and emanations of the Constitution come to mind. A more modest methodology might admit that multiple interpretations were possible or that the question was unsettled and advise caution.
There's an extrapolation from the way states "got into" the Union to the way they could "get out." But this connection is nowhere explicitly made in the Constitution. One could just as well build on the amendment process to explain how the constitution could be dissolved in whole or in part. Which path one chooses depends on other assumptions which may or may not have a foundation in the text.
If you want to look for the roots of secessionist theory, you might look closely at the anti-federalists. They argued over whether states could "get out" of the Constitution. The federalists were aiming at a more permanent union and were focused on other issues.
I would remind you of the immortal words of an American legend and hero from Virginia, Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! One man made a difference; are we so unworthy as to attempt less?
William Rawle was the founder of Rawle and Henderson, the law office with the longest continuous practice in the United States.
Rawle was born in Philadelphia in 1759. His father died in a hunting accident in 1761 and his mother remarried Samuel Shoemaker, a Tory who served as mayor of Philadelphia during the British occupation.
When the British troops withdrew, Shoemaker and his family left with them for New York and eventually London. During those years, young Rawle began his study of law, becoming a member of the Middle Temple Inn of Court in England.
In 1782, thanks to a handwritten passport from Benjamin Franklin, then in France, Rawle returned to Philadelphia. In 1783 he passed the bar and opened a law office in his home on Spruce Street in Philadelphia.
In 1789 he was elected to the state legislative assembly, and two years later was appointed as a United States Attorney for Pennsylvania by President George Washington, a post he held for more than eight years. Prominent in legal, civic and intellectual affairs, William Rawle wrote, annotated, collected and used many of the legal books now on display in the Rawle Reading Room at Temple Law School
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