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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old August 31st, 2005, 21:01 Thread Starter
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Abraham Lincoln

After having dug into American history from 1600 to 1880s I found quite an interesting article:

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In his new book, Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream, black American author, Lerone Bennett, presents historic evidence supporting the theory that Abraham Lincoln was, in fact, a devoted racist harboring a life-long desire to see all black Americans deported to Africa.

Bennett suggests that as a young politician in Illinois, Lincoln regularly used racial slurs in speeches, told racial jokes to his black servants, and vocally opposed any new laws that would have bettered the lives of black Americans.

Key to Bennett's thesis is the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation which, Bennett argues, Lincoln was forced into issuing by the powerful abolitionist wing of his own party. Bennett asserts that Lincoln carefully worded the document to apply only to the rebel Southern states, which were not under Union control at the time, thus resulting in an Emancipation Proclamation that did not in itself free a single slave.

At one point, Bennett quotes William Henry Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state, who referred to the proclamation as a hollow, meaningless document showing no more than, "our sympathy with the slaves by emancipating the slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

Henry Clay Whitney, a close friend of Lincoln, is quoted by Bennett as saying the proclamation was "not the end designed by him (Lincoln), but only the means to the end, the end being the deportation of the slaves and the payment for them to their masters - at least to those who were loyal."

Bennett asserts that Lincoln often put forth plans for deporting the slaves to Africa both before and during his presidency.

The tone of Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream is decidedly angry, as if Bennett feels betrayed by what he calls the "myth" of Abraham Lincoln.

"No other American story is so enduring. No other American story is so comforting. No other American story is so false." -- Lerone Bennett, Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream.
An opinion following this article is given at:
http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa082800b.htm

I also read about african american free-men fighting in the confederate army. Perhaps viewing this war as a fight of good vs. evil, is wrong since black-americans still were disadvantaged deep into the 20th century even though slavey was abolished...One can only imagine what would've happened if the confederate states secessed succesfully.

What do you think about this?
Was Lincoln a racist? Did he (ab)use people of colour to win the civil war?
Or is it wrong to judge him by 21st century standards as suggested in the opinion piece?

Last edited by CocaineCowboy; August 31st, 2005 at 21:07.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old September 1st, 2005, 12:23
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Lincoln was not whiter than white (so to speak), that's for sure. In 1858, he said, "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". That was no modern opposition to affirmative action, but a statement that Lincoln was decidedly opposed to granting full freedoms to the slaves. By 20th Century standards, he was a racist, but, then again, virtually everyone in history would be. As late as 1862, he said, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it". It's probably that, had Lincoln not advocated emancipation from the outbreak, the Union would have been defeated, given the USA's antagonism of the UK.

Regardless, questioning the motives of a benevolent action is an act usually reserved for the greatest men. Lincoln was one of the least popular president of all time, and wildly exceeded his powers in attacking the Confederate States. Nonetheless, had a fissure been allowed or had slavery been tolerated any longer, the US would consequently have been infinitely weaker.

Moreover, his well-known support for colonisation of Africa or Honduras with freed slaves does not suggest racism. One can hardly make a case that the slaves had integrated into American society, nor can one claim that they were yet Americans. They would have been discriminated against due to the social reality that they were slaves, not because they were Black.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old September 26th, 2005, 06:14
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Originally Posted by Bastin
...wildly exceeded his powers in attacking the Confederate States...
bwah! This is what happens when your notions of history come from watching the History Channel
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old September 26th, 2005, 12:04
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I don't get the History Channel.

Secession was entirely constitutional, under Article VII, until Texas v White. States legislatures were well within their rights to revoke their ratification of the Constitution:

"The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same."

Thus, if states choose to revoke their ratification, as is their sovereign right to do under the 10th Amendment, the Constitution ceases to apply, making secession an actuality. That was pretty much the general consensus in the USA until Lincoln's inaugural address, and no revisionist nonsense can change that.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old September 27th, 2005, 06:31
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bwah! This is what happens when your notions of history come from watching the History Channel
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