Demolishing the Lincoln Myth
(Editor's Note: We, as a nation, are constantly lied to. ninety-nine percent of all politicians cannot open their mouths without lying. One of the most insidious lies that has been fed to the hapless sheeple, by the powers that be, is that the War of Northern Agression ("Civil War") was fought over slavery. They would have you believe that hundreds of thousands of white southerners risked life and limb so that they could own slaves. That is not only laughable but is also complete bullshit. And yet millions of Americans believe that it is true. That lie (and many, many others) has caused a racial polarization in America that is exponentially worse than it was in 1860. For your editor's explanation of the War of Northern Agression please follow this link. Its not what you don't know that will screw you up, it's what you are absolutely sure of that is absolutely wrong. To repeat myself, we are constantly being lied to. The crap you hear from the government, academia, Hollywood, the mainstream media, as well as social media is intended to mislead and dumb you down. They are advancing a fake meme that is not in your best interest. Open your eyes and face the future. If you leave your head in the sand and ignore it, you are only leaving your butt exposed for the world to kick. This all may sound like gloom and doom, but when you get a handle on what is going to happen, you will have a future filled with opportunity. Fortune favors the Informed. - JSB)
The Problem with Lincoln is the culmination of Tom DiLorenzo’s many years of research on Abraham Lincoln. It is a masterly summing-up and extension of his earlier classics The Real Lincoln (2002) and Lincoln Unmasked (2006). DiLorenzo is both a historian and an economist with an expert knowledge of Austrian economics and also of the public choice school. This background enables him to grasp what most other historians of the Civil War period miss, the centralizing economic plan behind Lincoln’s policies.
DiLorenzo calls attention to a vital fact that demolishes the mythological view that Lincoln’s primary motive for opposing secession in 1861 was his distaste for slavery. Precisely the opposite is true. It is well known that, in an effort to promote compromise, a constitutional amendment was proposed in Congress that forever forbade interference with slavery in states where it already existed. Lincoln referred to the proposal, the Corwin Amendment, in his first inaugural, stating that he was not opposed to the amendment, since it merely made explicit the existing constitutional arrangement regarding slavery. Of course, Lincoln was not telling the truth; nothing in the Constitution prior to the Corwin Amendment prohibited amendments to end slavery, so this new proposal did not just make the existing constitutional arrangement explicit. Readers can judge the Corwin Amendment for themselves, in a helpful set of original documents that our author includes in the book. (The Corwin Amendment is on p. 217.)
So much is well established, but DiLorenzo adds a surprising touch. Far from viewing the Corwin Amendment with grudging consent, Lincoln was in fact its behind-the-scenes promoter.
Extension of slavery in the territories was for Lincoln an entirely different matter, and on this issue he refused all compromise. Here we confront a paradox. If Lincoln thought it more important to preserve the Union than to oppose slavery, why was he unwilling to compromise over slavery in the territories? If he thought slavery’s extension was too high a price to pay to preserve the Union, why was he willing permanently to entrench slavery wherever it already existed? It is hard to detect a moral difference between slavery in the states and the territories.
DiLorenzo readily resolves the paradox. Lincoln opposed extension of slavery, because this would interfere with the prospects of white workers. Lincoln, following his mentor Henry Clay, favored a nationalist economic program of which high tariffs, a national bank, and governmentally financed “internal improvements” were key elements. This program, he thought, would promote not only the interests of the wealthy industrial and financial powers that he always faithfully served but would benefit white labor as well. Blacks, in his opinion, would be better off outside the United States, and throughout his life Lincoln supported schemes for repatriation of blacks to Africa and elsewhere. If blacks left the country, they could not compete with whites, the primary objects of Lincoln’s concern. (Lincoln, by the way, did not see this program as in any way in contradiction to his professed belief that all men are created equal. Blacks, he thought, had human rights but not political rights.)
DiLorenzo is appropriately scathing about Lincoln’s remarks.
DiLorenzo is fully prepared for the objection that even if the Southern states had ample reason to oppose Lincoln’s economic plans, they had no legal right to secede. In this view, Lincoln had a constitutional duty to preserve the Union by any means necessary. The historian Allan Guelzo claims that Southern secessionists were guilty of treason by their efforts to leave the Union. In what to my mind is the highlight of the book, DiLorenzo turns the tables on those who charge the Southern states with treason. The United States was a compact of sovereign states, and a state that no longer wished to remain part of the Union was free to leave.
This view of the matter was not dreamed up by Southern firebrands in 1860; it had behind it the weighty authority of Thomas Jefferson.
With a brilliant stroke, DiLorenzo reverses the verdict that leaving the Union was treason. Lincoln was the real traitor:
Once Lincoln invaded the South, he and his henchmen carried on the war with great brutality. Murray Rothbard says that the Union conduct of the war
DiLorenzo confronts an important objection to his main argument. Even if Lincoln didn’t start the war to free the slaves but rather to create a powerful central state, wasn’t war still necessary to end slavery? This seems unlikely. In an appearance on Bill Maher’s television program, Ron Paul “responded [to Maher] by pointing out that all other countries in the world that ended slavery in the nineteenth century did so peacefully, without a civil war, specifically citing how the British used tax dollars to buy the freedom of the slaves and then ended slavery legally throughout the British Empire” (p. 71).
DiLorenzo’s forthright analysis of Lincoln stands in marked contrast to a leading member of what our author, following the usage of Lerone Bennett Jr., calls the Logos school, “which treats Lincoln’s words as gospel truth. An example of this would be a statement by Lincoln scholar Harry Jaffa when I [DiLorenzo] debated him at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, in 2003. During the question-and-answer session, an audience member—apparently a Jaffa protégé—asked Jaffa if he thought Lincoln’s speeches were the words of God. Jaffa responded that yes, he thought they were.” (pp. 139–40)
Readers of The Problem with Lincoln will be forever immune to this idolatrous nonsense.
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