Archive for Friday, January 23, 2009

Lincoln, slavery

January 23, 2009

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To the editor:

Leonard Pitts is an excellent writer but a dishonest historian. Commenting on Abraham Lincoln, he asserts, “Of course, Lincoln freed no slaves. That’s the myth.” While it is true that the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free slaves in Union states or in Confederate states already occupied by the Union armies, it did immediately free slaves who had escaped to the Union side.

Furthermore, and this is important, it was a declaration of intent, a concrete first step toward the abolition of slavery. It is doubtful that anyone at the time misunderstood the ultimate goal of the Emancipation Proclamation. Certainly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized its importance in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial when he said, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.”

With the advance of the Union armies into the Confederacy, slaves were freed by authority of the Emancipation Proclamation that had been issued by the commander in chief, Abraham Lincoln. Furthermore, the constitutional end of slavery came with the passage of the 13th Amendment, which Lincoln had made part of the Republican Party platform in 1864 and which was passed by Congress at his urging. To say that Abraham Lincoln freed no slaves is a historical lie and does a grave injustice not only to Lincoln but to our history.

Stephen Egbert,
Lawrence

Comments

labmonkey 6 years, 7 months ago

Pitts is borderline racist. He doesn't want to give any credit to a white person. If he really wants to go that route... then he should also note that JFK, RFK, and LBJ did more for civil rights than MLK (most importantly shutting down J. Edgar Hoover when he wanted to release the tapes proving King's infidelity). It was JFK who introduced what became the Civil Rights act of 1964 and LBJ who pushed it through the Senate and signed it as President.

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 7 months ago

Can anyone verify Marion's post? Are these quotes out of context?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

That has to one of your all-time most ignorant rants, Tom.

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

Marion's post about Lincoln's comments are true, but in the context of the time at which they were written, most whites felt that way. Lincoln always thought slavery was wrong, and by the end of the war, many of the thoughts he expressed in the quotes iin Marion's post had changed. There are a couple of professors at KU who are very knowledgable about Lincoln. Perhaps someone should get them to share their knowledge.

jonas_opines 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, momofthree, but when has this forum ever been about sharing knowledge? >B^)>

West_Sider 6 years, 7 months ago

Marion, here are a few quotations re: slavery from the greatest man, IMO, that has ever or will ever hold the office of the President of these United States:"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless." Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862. "Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VIII, "Speech to One Hundred Fortieth Indiana Regiment" (March 17, 1865), p. 361. "I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects---certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man. " The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "First Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Ottawa, Illinois" (August 21, 1858), p.16"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland" (April 18, 1864), p. 301-302.

West_Sider 6 years, 7 months ago

A couple more for you to chew on...."You think slavery is right and should be extended; while we think slavery is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter to Alexander H. Stephens" (December 22, 1860), p. 160. (Stephens was the future Confederate vice-president.) "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 everywhere could be free."Abraham Lincoln Source: August 22, 1862 - Letter to Horace Greeley"I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling."Abraham Lincoln Source: April 4, 1864 - Letter to Albert Hodges"If as the friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means, succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery; and, at the same time, in restoring a captive people to their long-lost father-land, with bright prospects for the future; and this too, so gradually, that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will indeed be a glorious consummation."Abraham Lincoln Source: July 6, 1852 - Eulogy on Henry Clay

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

Lincoln only believed in colonization because he felt the ex-slaves would not be treated equally by the rest of Americans, even though he hoped they would be. Lincoln Bicentennial of his birth this year. Great website at lincolnbicentennial.gov.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 7 months ago

For context, remember that for many who opposed slavery, it was not because they thought it was wrong in and of itself. Northern industrialist saw that in the future, the South would become industrialized. You can't move the cotton fields North, but you can build a textile mill in the South. They saw that they would not be able to compete with a South that had slaves AND industry. Therefore, slavery had to be eliminated to save their profits. We are talking about the birth of the Republican party here.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Marion. You are right of course, but the man had several yrs to change his mind, realize his mistake. Even it it was done out of political expediancy, bottom line, it got done. And if Lincoln was so terrible, why is our new Pres, trying to invoke his name and "be like him."And remember, the civil rights act would not, and could not have past without massive Republican support.I think their were actually more Reps. than dems who actually voted for the thing. I'm sure Mr Marion will prove or disprove this. How 'bout ya Marion. Got any links.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

And you know, all you educated folks out there. Society is a living thing. Constantly changing.The Zytgeist was differant back then and in a state of flux.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 7 months ago

Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, yawn, The man was not all that great, he just ended up getting a lot of attention. If he had not be assassinated would the attention be the same? He did not save the Union all by himself, there were a few people out there in the field helping him along.

jonas_opines 6 years, 7 months ago

"Society is a living thing. Constantly changing."Dingdingding

gogoplata 6 years, 7 months ago

I am reading a book called The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo. I am about 100 pages into it right now. Very interesting.http://www.amazon.com/Real-Lincoln-Abraham-Agenda-Unnecessary/dp/0761536418

zzgoeb 6 years, 7 months ago

Get and READ a copy of "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kerns Goodwin to answer ALL these questions about Lincoln. As for someone's post about him being "not that great"...do some more checking there scooter...duh!!!

West_Sider 6 years, 7 months ago

Cleopatra said: Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, yawn, The man was not all that great, he just ended up getting a lot of attention. If he had not be assassinated would the attention be the same? He did not save the Union all by himself, there were a few people out there in the field helping him along.**I would be interested to know who you consider to be a greater man (or politico) than Lincoln.

Satirical 6 years, 7 months ago

Cleopatra...."Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, yawn, The man was not all that great"You are entitled to your opinion, but many people who dedicate their lives to the study of history disagree with you. I wonder why that is....

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, he would be gotten the same attention had he not been assassinated. His achievements would have been the same or even greater. It would be interesting to see how the remainder of his 2nd term would have turned out or what he would have done for the freed slaves.

TheYetiSpeaks 6 years, 7 months ago

The 2 biggest reasons for the Emancipation proclamation:1. To most of the world, the perception was that the United States' Civil war had very little to do with slavery. In fact, the Confederacy had been receiving some support from England and was very close to receiving full support. This would have swung the war in favor of the Confederacy and Lincoln knew this. Knowing that England had already abolished slavery and it's people finding it distasteful, Lincoln needed to make slavery the focal point of the war. The Proclamation did that and ostensibly forced England to stand pat as they could not very well be seen to support slaveholders. 2. As an extra added bonus, Lincoln knew that most freed slaves would not be qualified to do much more than soldiering, insuring that a Union Army that had taken some recent losses could replenish it's manpower. Does that mean that Lincoln was not a great man? Absolutely not. When examining history it is important to study the context as well. Most everyone in the U.S. believed that the slaves were not equal to whites. It was not just a matter of opinion, it was a point of fact. People just believed this back then, so I don't think we can judge too harshly when looking back at what we perceive to be ignorance.

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

That is the problem with some modern biographys and historical books which look back at that era. They want to judge the men based on today's criteria and label them with today's terms, and you can't do that. Lincoln was called an ardent colonizationalist in one book, which he wasn't, because he advocated it at one point in his career. And remember, one of Kansas's own early constitutions banned all blacks from the state, whether free or slave. Free State (and Free State Party )didn't always necessarily mean free from slavery, it meant free of blacks in the state, because a some members were against ex-slaves and free African Americans in the territory.

Satirical 6 years, 7 months ago

Since Lincoln was such a prolific writer, I have been able to cherry pick phrases he used (much like many on this post have done) to make it clear he was an avid Scientologist. It's all there, just look for yourself!

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

edjayhawk - Lincoln felt that way at one point, but because he didn't feel they would get a fair shake by the rest of America.

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

but it depends on what you read and who you read. Some good stuff on Harper's weekly about the civil war. You can find them online.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

mom_of_three (Anonymous) says… "That is the problem with some modern biographys and historical books which look back at that era. They want to judge the men based on today's criteria and label them with today's terms, and you can't do that."I agree that people have to be judged in context. Well, I mostly agree, anyway. I actually incorporated most, if not all, of the quotes Marion posted in a history paper I wrote a long, long time ago in high school; I'd seen them in a slavery museum in Charleston SC years before that, and thought it would be a good topic. (It wasn't well received.) And I said about the same thing in my conclusions, that by our own standards he might be a raving bigot, that was not the case in his own time.But on the other hand, I wonder sometimes if context forgives all. I'm curious, for instance, where you (and others who have defended Lincoln along the same lines) stand on Columbus. And is it just a historical time period, or do we also have to consider cultural/geographical/political contexts? Is child labor, the absence of women's rights, or some type of caste system okay if it's the norm where (and when) it happens?

boltzmann 6 years, 7 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says…"...Now Al Franken?! Wow!! Now there's a hater and idiot extraordinaire."Wow! is right. That statement pretty much descibes you, too. You and Franken should hang out since you have so much in common.

jumpin_catfish 6 years, 7 months ago

Another fact about Lincoln is that he ordered the hanging of 38 Santee "Sioux" Indian men in Mankato, Minnesota, Dec. 16, 1862. They were defending their homeland and Minnesota authorities had wanted him to hang 303 Sioux but he feared Europeans would then support the south. Nice guy.

jumpin_catfish 6 years, 7 months ago

Forgot this fact, the hanging of the 38 Sioux men is the largest mass execution in US history.

Satirical 6 years, 7 months ago

jumpin_(to conclusions)...I also like taken actions of historical figures and assuming their motivation to support my opinion of them as well. Washington didn't fight the British to allow America to be independent. He really did it because he just enjoyed killing people!!!

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

I never said that I believed Lincoln was right in his beliefs of inequality, etc., only that they were common for his day. You can't take someout out of context of his era and call him racist based on our beliefs today, when it was a completely different time. Just as I don't believe John Brown was justified for the violence he thought was necessary, but he had the belief that everyone was equal, and that belief I can respect. Slavery, even though it was seemingly accepted by most Americans in the 19th century as a "necessary evil," was never right. It will never be considered right. The lack of women's rights, the treatment of Indians, etc. was not correct either.

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

According to information given on Lincoln's bicenntennial site, "On September 22, 1862, partly in response to the heavy losses inflicted at the Battle of Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, threatening to free all the slaves in the states in rebellion if those states did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863. The extent of the Proclamation's practical effect has been debated, as it was legally binding only in territory not under Union control. In the short term, it amounted to no more than a statement of policy for the federal army as it moved into Southern territory."

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

Here is what Leonard Pitts wrote:"Of course, Lincoln freed no slaves. That’s the myth. His Emancipation Proclamation was a military measure to demoralize and destabilize the rebellious South; it covered states he did not govern, but did not apply in slaveholding states that remained under his jurisdiction." That is correct. Lincoln's proclamation said the slaves in the rebellious states were free on January 1, 1863, if the states were still in rebellion. Technically, Lincoln didn't have power over the confederate states, and there was no one to enforce the proclamation, (because what southerner was going to follow the proclamation) so technically, Lincoln didn't free any slaves. Thousands of slaves did not suddenly go free. He issued a proclamation that he or no one else could enforce. Technically, Pitts is correct. http://www.historynow.org/12_2005/historian.htmlLink to essays about the proclamation on the Gilder Lehrman Institute site.

West_Sider 6 years, 7 months ago

Cleopatra (Leslie Swearingen) says… Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, yawn, The man was not all that great, he just ended up getting a lot of attention. If he had not be assassinated would the attention be the same? He did not save the Union all by himself, there were a few people out there in the field helping him along.**********From: http://www2.ljworld.com/users/Cleopatra/ OR http://lesliejeanneswearingen.angelfire.com/Based upon your fantasy land website, I believe I now understand your comment regarding President Lincoln. I would suggest you scoot over to the section of the library that has non-fiction in it before making any further uneducated comments regarding this man. You might actually learn a thing or two.

Stephen Egbert 6 years, 7 months ago

"Technically, Pitts is correct." No, Pitts not correct, technically or otherwise. As I wrote in my letter, the Emancipation Proclamation did immediately free those slaves who had escaped to the North and were being held in a sort of limbo in "contraband" camps. Furthermore, the Emancipation proclamation eventually freed all the slaves in the Confederate states as they were conquered by Union forces. Beyond that, Lincoln backed the 13th Amendment that permanently abolished slavery. The statement that "Lincoln freed no slaves" is simply false.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 7 months ago

I just write what I think. I am not trying to convert anyone or persuade anyone. I just be me.The only history I read is 19th century Naval warfare. I want to know everything about it, the names for all the sails, how the ships were maneuvered for battle using the wing gauge, the weapons, how they loaded and fired them.Fascinating to me.

West_Sider 6 years, 7 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… And Stimulus_Man wins for most racist, least intelligent and most dick-ish post…not just today, but possibly ever.***********Please help me understand what specifc word, sentence or paragraph leads you to belive Stimulus_Man is a racist?If you would, please coorelate your response to one of the following three definitions of the term "racist"Racist 1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. 2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

"Lincoln lied, thousands died!" bumperstickers at the time on buggies. 60,000 civilian dead in Civil War, Lincoln is a war criminal! good thing he was assassinated so the following administration wouldn't try him for war crimes. lincoln lied in stating that the war would be over in 90-days. [please note, the above is sarcasm meant to ridicule modern liberal antiwar nutbags with no historical literacy]

gogoplata 6 years, 7 months ago

Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech, "It is poetry not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said that the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination -- government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says: "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves." Wow. That sounds familiar. We still have presidents shoveling this BS that the troops are fighting needless wars for our freedom.

labmonkey 6 years, 7 months ago

Cleo- If you don't know much about an era of history, then DONT COMMENT ON IT.Tom- I hate to piss on your fire, but most of the Dixiecrats became Republicans (Strom Thurmond anyone?). Bearded- I heard they found a large parchment with "Mission Accomplished" along with plans to land Lincoln on the USS Monitor using a hot air balloon and for him to give a speech in 1861, shortly after the war started.

gogoplata 6 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like a politician. Talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Shelley Bock 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't worry about Marion and his knowledge of history.To use his phrase, he's a "halfwit".He accuses others of being a "halfwit" when someone disagrees with his reading of an agreement ("no night games"). When called on his reading error, he suddenly disappears. He can't deal with the truth or facts or reality.Wonderful tactic...he makes no errors because he simply doesn't acknowledge them.Can't believe a word he says.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says… "As afr as basic understaneing of history goes, most people are taught the politically correct glossed over versions."True enough, although people will pick and choose which historical acounts to blindly accept and which to attack and dispute. Funny how people are willing to give ol' Abe the benefit of the doubt, and either accept the glossed-over version or at least make allowances for historical context. But when it comes to Columbus...

KansasPerson 6 years, 7 months ago

Also from the debate in Galesburg:VOICE: Put on your specs.Mr. LINCOLN: Yes, sir, I am obliged to do so; I am no longer a young man.(Sorry, it's the only quotation I have!)

lawthing 6 years, 7 months ago

To get the answer you must "follow the money!"Lincoln freed the slaves so they could fight for the Union and win the Civil War.It was all about the money then, just like it is now!

RogueThrill 6 years, 7 months ago

As long as we are calling people racists, perhaps we should look at some awesome Tom Shewmon posts:“Obama is not going to bend over backwards for whites. He will tax the living daylights out of us and do any and all possible to ratchet us down and give total access, power and our money to the blacks.”“Will he be high-fiving at the inaugeration? Will he lose the “white” voice inflection? Will Michelle really tell us what she thinks about whites? Maybe.”“I think once this fraud, Obama, were to be installed in the whitehouse, as the months and years ensued, it would make the nonsense about GWB seem trivial and Obama would incite a mass revolt. He would probably then use this domestic military style force he talks of to keep people off the streets and under his idea of control. I would guess this force would be trolling mostly white burbs and rural areas (where all the ignorant bigots live). He'd leave the inner cities up to the traditional police force who would do nothing about those war zones then like they do now. Scary, scary proposition–-an Obama presidency. If American asks for it and gets it, I'll have not one iota of sympathy for anyone once I'm boarding that jet.”Context (This thread is actually pretty good if you are into pagan mythology and the whole 2012 business):http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/sep...

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