Monday, February 12, 2007

In Pathetic Memory

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races -

that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people;

and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.

And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything."

Abraham Lincoln
Source: September 18, 1858 - Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas
at Charleston, Illinois

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it;
and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.
What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union;
and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause,
and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause."

Abraham Lincoln
Source: August 22, 1862 - Letter to Horace Greeley

18 comments:

The Law Fairy said...

... because politicians NEVER embellish their views to appeal to voters and thereby win elections.

I mean, Rudy Giuliani would certainly NEVER, say, magically flip his position on abortion to appeal to the right.

Mitt Romney would certainly never try to explain away his uneven record with some "pat" answer concluding with pandering to the extreme right wing.

Hillary Clinton would NEVER mask her feminism so her husband could win the governorship, or support an illegal war in order to win bipartisan popularity in the Senate.

Etc., etc., etc.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Thank you! I am glad I am not the only person who thinks that Lincoln wasn't a saint.

He didn't much think of Injuns either.

Thank you for telling it like it is.

Gino said...

LF,
are you saying 'honest abe', wasnt?

RW said...

President Lincoln was the greatest threat to the constitution that ever lived in the White House. He may or may not have had to do that to obtain his ends of killing states' rights, but I can't stand it when people say he was the great "defender of the constitution." That was the very LAST thing he was, but it is a good catch-phrase when we can't figure out wht the hell else to say about him.

Gino said...

but,but... he did free another nation's people,right?
just like g bush.

i been reseraching a post about the sins of lincoln, supposed to go up last nite in time for his holiday.
too much work at work, and the 12hrs shifts are killing me, and i couldnt get it together.
so i through up something quick.

cant wait for friday. i can start beering again to ease the joints, muscles and aches.

Brian said...

Yeah...I'd say Lincoln's presidency was the turning point from American Republic to American Empire. Federal intervention in the south paved the way for federal intervention in pretty much every other corner of the globe.

It's a difficult argument to make, though, given that "Civil War = end of slavery" is a truism on par with the law of gravity in most people's minds.

All that said, what I've read on the subject (which is a far cry from what all has been written) leads me to believe that while the north was not necessarily fighting to end slavery, the south *was* mostly fighting to keep it. So Confederate apologists who seem to be making the bizare argument that the south was fighting for the "liberty" to keep other humans enslaved don't exactly make the best case for federalism and states' rights (or for that matter, non-intervetionism.)

hammerswing75 said...

Whereas I think that the Civil War did indeed usher us towards a period of larger and more intrusive federal government I think that the South shares the blame for this. As you noted Abe Lincoln was by no means an anit-slavery zealot. They went off the handle and seceded anyways, defending states rights on an issue where they were so morally wrong. In effect they conjured a self-fulfilling prophecy. They messed up. Lincoln faced a pretty impossible situation.

Kal said...

Hmm... Well...

And a strong central government also ushered in an age of incredible gains in commerce and industry allowing the United State to become the premier nation in the world.

In my reading of Lincoln, he didn't start up an anti-slavery zealot, but in the course of the war became convinced that slavery was a moral stain upon the American character -- and the bloodshed of the civil war was almost a sacrifice required of our country by God, Abe was very very spiritual about this toward the end.

If we didn't have a civil war over slavery, there would have been another issue where a state denies basic human liberties to a group of people and federal intervention would be required. It was going to happen sooner or later.

Hmmm... do we have any issues like that now, where some states are provided basic human liberties while others are oppressing them? Hmmm...

Anybody want to get married?

Gino said...

what basic liberty do you have in mind?
the right to life, i'm sure. because it is actually listed in the constitution.

Gino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

I'm guessing the authors of the Constitution/Bill of Rights didn't mention marriage b/c they would have considered that as having been covered by the establishment clause. The notion of a secular institution called marriage that is blessed by the State rather than God wouldn't have been on their radar screen.

I'm not saying they would have been in favor of gay marriage, I just don't think it would have occurred to them that this narrowly limited federal gov't they were putting together would have anything to do with marriages of any sort.

Kal said...

Brian, ah, there's the rub. But once the state starts granting special rights and priveledges to certain pairings then we get into the issue we have now.

Brian said...

Oh, I agree absolutely. I was just pointing out why (probably) there is no right to marry whomever you want explicitly stated in the Constitution.

Also, there is that whole 9th amendment thing, not that anyone pays attention to it anymore...

kingdavid said...

Imagine how different life would be had our system of governing been established by George Washington wielding supreme executive power because some watery tart threw a sword at him! Now some would say that strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony; but,if he had gone around saying he was an emperor because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at him, I bet people would have accepted him as emperor, and then how different would things have been in regards to slavery, the industrial revolution, gay marriage. This whole conversation would be a moot point, and the American emperor today would probably be reigning over over the entire planet. Now there's a thought.

The Law Fairy said...

kingdavid, does anyone ever call you Dennis?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, at other times there are those that call me......TIM

KD

RW said...

I was pretty sure the "right to life" was in the Declaration of Independence, not the constitution.

Gino said...

yer right.
but i almost got away with it, didnt i?