Abraham Lincoln is a political icon to those on the Left and Right. Many on the Left have compared Barack Obama to Lincoln. Check out the CBS article “The Obama-Lincoln Parallel: A Closer Look” if you want to see how liberals view the iconic history of Lincoln. Many Conservatives are equally laudatory of him. Consider this entry from Conserveapedia:
“Lincoln, along with George Washington, is the chief icon of conservative American values. With a profound sense of American history, unswerving commitment to republican ideals of democracy and civic virtue, and an almost Shakespearean command of the language, Lincoln articulated a vision of a new birth of freedom for the American nation.”
Hundreds of books have been written about him, more than any other American. There’s a monument in Washington, D.C., extolling his heroism in the face of impossible political odds. His face is carved on Mount Rushmore immortalizing him in solid rock.
But has Lincoln been properly vetted? Have conservatives and liberals ignored some of his lapses in judgments and acts of tyranny because he expanded the power of the State, the very thing that has troubled American for more than 150 years?
The following article from Paul Craig Roberts may be hard reading for some people who believe that Lincoln “freed the slaves,” but there’s more to the Lincoln story than most people are aware of.
It is one of history’s ironies that the Lincoln Memorial is a sacred space for the Civil Rights Movement and the site of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Lincoln did not think blacks were the equals of whites. Lincoln’s plan was to send the blacks in America back to Africa, and if he had not been assassinated, returning blacks to Africa would likely have been his post-war policy.
As Thomas DiLorenzo and a number of non-court historians have conclusively established, Lincoln did not invade the Confederacy in order to free the slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation did not occur until 1863 when opposition in the North to the war was rising despite Lincoln’s police state measures to silence opponents and newspapers. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure issued under Lincoln’s war powers. The proclamation provided for the emancipated slaves to be enrolled in the Union army replenishing its losses.
It was also hoped that the proclamation would spread slave revolts in the South while southern white men were away at war and draw soldiers away from the fronts in order to protect their women and children. The intent was to hasten the defeat of the South before political opposition to Lincoln in the North grew stronger.
The Lincoln Memorial was built not because Lincoln “freed the slaves,” but because Lincoln saved the empire. As the Savior of the Empire, had Lincoln not been assassinated, he could have become emperor for life.
As Professor Thomas DiLorenzo writes: “Lincoln spent his entire political career attempting to use the powers of the state for the benefit of the moneyed corporate elite (the ‘one-percenters’ of his day), first in Illinois, and then in the North in general, through protectionist tariffs, corporate welfare for road, canal, and railroad corporations, and a national bank controlled by politicians like himself to fund it all.”
Lincoln was a man of empire. As soon as the South was conquered, ravaged, and looted, his collection of war criminal generals, such as Sherman and Sheridan, set about exterminating the Plains Indians in one of the worst acts of genocide in human history. Even today Israeli Zionists point to Washington’s extermination of the Plains Indians as the model for Israel’s theft of Palestine.
The War of Northern Aggression was about tariffs and northern economic imperialism. The North was protectionist. The South was free trade. The North wanted to finance its economic development by forcing the South to pay higher prices for manufactured goods.
The North passed the Morrill Tariff which more than doubled the tariff rate to 32.6% and provided for a further hike to 47%. The tariff diverted the South’s profits on its agricultural exports to the coffers of Northern industrialists and manufacturers. The tariff was designed to redirect the South’s expenditures on manufactured goods from England to the higher cost goods produced in the North.
This is why the South left the union, a right of self-determination under the Constitution.
The purpose of Lincoln’s war was to save the empire, not to abolish slavery. In his first inaugural address Lincoln “made an ironclad defense of slavery.” His purpose was to keep the South in the Empire despite the Morrill Tariff. As for slavery, Lincoln said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
This position, Lincoln reminded his audience, was part of the 1860 Republican Party platform. Lincoln also offered his support for the strong enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, which required Northerners to hunt down and return runaway slaves, and he gave his support to the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, already passed by Northern votes in the House and Senate, that prohibited any federal interference with slavery. For Lincoln and his allies, the empire was far more important than slaves.
DiLorenzo explains what the deal was that Lincoln offered to the South. However, just as empire was more important to the North than slavery, for the South avoiding large taxes on manufactured goods, in effect a tax on Southern agricultural profits, was more important than northern guarantees for slavery.
The so-called Civil War was not a civil war. In a civil war, both sides are fighting for control of the government. The South was not fighting for control of the federal government. The South seceded and the North refused to let the South go.
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