Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Juneteenth- Louisiana Young Democrats Throw Lincoln Under the Bus

A black Louisiana State Senator has become Republican and naturally some Democrats don't like it. That is understandable and politics is not romper room after all. That being said I was rather shocked how the Young Louisiana Democrats org took a page out of League of the South History as well as others to just throw Abraham Lincoln under the bus !

Senator Guillory’s romanticized recollection of Lincoln and the Nineteenth Century Republicans is alarming. The Republican Party, which began in 1854, only associated ‘free’ people with ‘free soil’. In other words, they were not necessarily against the institution of slavery in the South as they were against the spread of slavery in free territories.

 The Republicans were anti-Slavery. John Brown was an abolitionist. And they wanted nothing to do with him. And neither did their 1860 presidential nominee, Abraham Lincoln. The dichotomy between anti-Slavery and abolitionism is primarily between eradicating slavery where it could exists, in future states and territories, as opposed to abolishing the entire institution itself. The Republicans disdain for slavery was not for moral reasons; but for political ones. The Republicans, during this time, were confined only to the North; therefore, their influence became confined to this region of the country.

 Thus, their influence in Congress and in future presidential elections were horribly limited. They wanted to spread their anti-slavery influence westward. This would inevitably lead to Kansas Territory, where blood from an impromptu war would flow like water over the disputes between slavery and anti-slavery factions. And while, Senator Guillory suggests that President Lincoln is known for so-called “freeing” the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation, historians well agree, that it only freed slaves in states who were in rebellion against the Union during the US Civil War; thus, Negroes who were enslaved in the Border states such as Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri remained. Lincoln wasn’t only hellbent on discarding slavery during the Civil War, but jettisoning Negroes too. He seriously considered exporting ex-slaves to parts of Caribbean, Central Mexico, and Monrovia (West Africa).

As always history is complicated and often things that lead to such big events as the Civil War is of mixed motives. However the allegation that there were no moral reasons were at play for Republicans to oppose Slavery is just false. Further the fact that Lincoln did not seem to give a damn about slaves as is implied is very wrong.

First as to Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln actually thought he had to have a grant of power  for such a grand move to do what he did in the Constitution  .I know worrying about such things is rather old school , but Lincoln did not think he was a King that could just do things by decree in most cases . So he grounded this in his power as Commander in Chief and where the Confederacy was for the most part occupied by Federal Forces.

Further Lincoln had to wait for a important Federal victory to even announce this so not to be seen as desperate. As to the border states it would have done the cause to eliminate slavery little good if Lincoln had added political and military problems in border states to add to the Deep South.

The goal as to slavery from the Republican point view was to limited in place so it would die out. Needless to say as crops like Cotton depleted the ground we saw an expansion of these slave farmers to Texas  and hopes of places like New Mexico. This is just one example. The issue was in part could slavery die out without a war.

To get a sense of Lincoln views one has to look at his past speeches. He was no doubt as racially enlighten in all things as a man today perhaps. However his hatred of slavery ( and the debate surrounding it ) is shown by ample evidence before his election.

For instance we can look at Lincoln's Copper Union Speech and this part.

....The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them. These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words.

Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us. I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone - have never disturbed them - so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them.

 They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying. I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.

 Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. 

Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this? Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? 

If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did. Neither let us be slander...

As the war progressed of course Lincoln recognized more and more perhaps the divine hand in all this violence , death, and destruction. In fact those words are at the Lincoln Memorial  which are from his second Inaugural Address .

The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

This hardly seems like a man whose mind was focused on Party power, nor Northern power and profits.

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