May 6, 2005

Lincoln was a Liar and who cares?

Alli alerted me to this guy's website where he is posting about Abe Lincoln. He clearly is not a fan. Normally I do not use this blog to offer comments, but I thought this subject deserved more than just a few lines. So instead of a description of the Battle of Mill Springs as I had planned, I will offer a discussion of the Civil War in general.

There is some pretty compelling evidence that Abe Lincoln did not have sufficient votes to win the Republican Nomination in 1860. His supporters filled the convention hall in Cleveland and voted as if they were actual delegates. When notified he had won the nomination (candidates did not attend the conventions in those days) Lincoln is said to ask what he had to give up to get the party, and if there was "any [the powers of the President] left for me?". Most of his cabinet posts were promised in advance of the election in return for support. Does this make Lincoln an opportunist and beholden to special interests? Name one president, including Washington who was not? Do the scandals that accompanied both of Lincoln's elections taint him any more than Kennedy or Roosevelt or Bush or Jackson? To claim that Lincoln is the first President to be elected by special interests is a fraud and naive.

Mr Shaw goes into some detail about Lincoln being a liar because he stated previously he was not in favor of freeing the slaves. A thorough study of history will show that most Americans, North or South, were not in favor of freeing the slaves. Most held a pretty bigoted view of Blacks at the time and viewed them as subhuman. Some of the bias was fears that freed slaves would come North and take jobs at cheaper rates. The abolishinest view was held pretty much to the Northeast and Canada. Ironically these are the current "blue staters". States in the "West" like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa were not fighting to free the slaves and editorials and diaries from the time back this position. Being from Illinois it is likely that Lincoln held this view as well. We should not be shocked that a politician will take and change a position at any given time to get elected.

I am aware it is a very cynical position to state that Lincoln was not so bad because he was no better or worse than any other politico since the Roman Empire. Instead we should look at his policies and positions and the way he ran the war to make our judgment. This is a subject I will address in future posts.


Alli said...

Cool, I was hoping I'd sent it to the right email address. :0)

Lincoln facinates me. So many sides to one man. You could spin it that he was evil or that he was the greatest ever with simple phrasing. I think he was somewhere in the middle, but certainly a good man. Thanks HB.

digitalcowboy said...

Mr Shaw goes into some detail about Lincoln being a liar because he stated previously he was not in favor of freeing the slaves.

Not quite what I wrote. Backtracking on slavery is only one of many examples of Lincoln's prevarication.

I'm not done there. I said it would be a series and I plan to get back to complete it soon.

I am curious, though, about Alli's assertion that "he's a good man." A man that not only violates the oath of his office but goes so far as to imprison clergyman without trial and burn their churches for not offering prayer for him in each service is hardly a "good man."

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