The Truth About Lincoln
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. February 20, 2020
Lincoln Day events (sometimes Lincoln-Reagan Day), named after Abraham Lincoln, are held annually in February or March. These are the primary annual celebrations and fundraisers for the Republican Party. The party needs to revisit its ties to Lincoln and its saintly casting of him.
Although revised history portrays Honest Abe as one of the greatest of U.S. presidents, the truth is he was a white supremacist, imperialist, and shredder of Constitutional rights even for Northerners. Lincoln was the first president of the new 1854 Republican party which had attracted socialists and admirers of Karl Marx.
Unlike its contemporary counterpart, the Republican Party of the mid-to-late 19th century favored big government, corporate subsidies, high protectionist import taxes, and monetary policies while Democrat and "conservative" were virtually synonyms.
The tale spun by the victor of the War Between the States, and aggressively promoted since the 1960s by progressive media, academics, and politicians, presents the war as a moral crusade against slavery. Yet people living during that era knew better. Five years after the war Lysander Spooner, a New England lawyer, scholar, and abolitionist, decried the North’s myth of moral crusade:
“All these cries of having abolished slavery, of having saved the country, of having preserved the union, of establishing a government of consent, and of maintaining the national honor are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats—so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.”
The famous English author, Charles Dickens, a strong opponent of slavery, also weighed in about the fake claim,
“The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug disguised to conceal its desire for economic control of the United States.”
Though Lincoln was said to support equality, he was an unapologetic racist – an unapologetic white supremacist as were others throughout the North. In the sixth of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858 he stated,
"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...I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
In a message to Congress on December 1, 1862 he stated, “I strongly favour colonisation.” He wanted to deport blacks to Africa, Latin America, and South America.
In his First Inaugural Address 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.”
It was obvious the Morrill Tariff, not slavery, was his primary focus as he vowed during his address to enforce the tariff, even in any seceded states. Though this was to be all in the spirit of defending and maintaining the Union, Lincoln’s message was clear. Federal violence would be used to collect the tariff and protect the places of collection, such as Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
“In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it is forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no use of force against or among the people anywhere.”
The tariff was a major issue because 95 percent of the federal government’s revenue came from a tariff on imported goods with more than 83% of that coming from the South, especially on imports from France and Great Britain. Yet the tariff came at the expense of the South with more than 75 percent of this tax revenue being spent on Northern public works and industrial subsidies. The Morrill Tariff pushed the percentage on Southern imports even higher than before and would protect Northern industries while impoverishing southern and western states.
With the election of Lincoln and the new Morrill Tariff, Southern leaders in South Carolina and the Gulf States began calling for secession with South Carolina seceding in December 1860; Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana in January 1861; and Texas in February 1861.
Lincoln remained true to his promise that he would enforce collection of the tariff on any states that seceded and in April 1861, after manipulating the South to fire on the tariff collection facility of Fort Sumter, issued an order for 75,000 volunteers to descend upon South Carolina to put down the “rebellion.”
Lincoln gambled that his threat would tamp down secession. Instead, along with South Carolina and the Gulf States that had already seceded, the Border States of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina seceded in May 1861.
Needing cover for this unconstitutional action against Southern states, on January 1, 1863 nearly two years after the beginning of the war, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves only in states that had seceded, not in slave states that remained in the Union nor in northern states where slavery existed.
It should be noted that the 1860 census showed there were 1,387,000 slaves in the seceded states and 1,817,000 (or over 56 per cent of the total American slave population) still in the Union, including nearly 3,700 in the District of Columbia and 18 in New Jersey. Therefore, 56 percent of slaves were not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln’s freeing of any slaves belied his inaugural address promise.
President Woodrow Wilson, in his History of the American People, explained the purpose behind the exaggeration of the issue of slavery:
“It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery.”
“Total war” was unleashed upon the South at the hand of brutal Northern commanders. Kirkpatrick Sale wrote,
“That meant a war waged with full military mobilization not only against the enemy army but upon civilians in enemy territory and their property, stores and factories, with murder, looting, arson and assault from which neither women, children, the elderly or infirm were spared. It had never been seen before in the history of civilization, and it set a precedent for the all-out slaughters of the two world wars of the next century.”
General Ulysses S. Grant noted,
“Rebellion has assumed that shape now that it can only terminate by the complete subjugation of the South...It is our duty to weaken the enemy, by destroying their means of subsistence, withdrawing their means for cultivating their fields, and in every other way possible.”
At Grant’s order, General William Sherman moved on Jackson, Mississippi where the Union army left most of the city destroyed with the entire business sections in ruins, railroads torn up, supply facilities destroyed, and most of the better residences burned.
Sherman then marched on Meridian, Mississippi and boasted, “Meridian, with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels, and cantonments, no longer exists.”
During his famous “March to the Sea,” Sherman employed scorched-earth warfare with looting, pillaging, and destruction. Moving across Georgia, 60,000 Union soldiers terrorized the citizens for two months,
“...looting and burning homes, shops and warehouses, setting fires across the plantations that grew to 60 miles wide at some points, confiscating all foodstuffs for Union use, leaving white and black near starvation. Sherman estimated that his army did $100 million worth of damage to the countryside (more than $1.5 billion today), destroying 300 miles of railroad, capturing or killing livestock, and leaving most of the state’s population of a million, black and white, destitute.”
In South Carolina, Sherman’s march from the sea was even more brutal than that in Georgia, even an occasional murder.
“The destruction of houses, barns, mills, etc. was almost universal….a majority of the Cities, towns, villages, and country houses have been burnt to the ground...Day by day our legions of armed men surged over the land, over a region forty miles wide, burning everything we could not take away.”
The crazed Union soldiers purposely left the people – white and black – in starvation. A Union officer wrote, “The sufferings which the people here will have to undergo will be most intense. We have left on the wide strip of country we have passed over no provisions which will go any distance in supporting the people.”
Lincoln’s response after his second inauguration? A promise to continue the war.
Impact of the War On the South and the Nation
Lincoln recklessly started an expensive and savage war at the hand of a Northern army that went after civilians and their property while pillaging and destroying cities, infrastructure, and businesses.
Then followed a military occupation led by radical Republicans – Reconstruction – and “carpetbagger” state governments that continued the exploitation and impoverishment of the South, stifling economic recovery.
The South was left as an agrarian society of sharecroppers in dire poverty with ongoing federal tariffs and discriminatory railroad shipping taxes that continued the exploitation of the South and favoritism of the North for generations.
Black anti-slavery orator, Frederick Douglass in a 1888 speech in Washington on the 26th anniversary of emancipation in the District of Columbia, described how the Negro was "nominally free" but “actually a slave.” “I here and now denounce his so-called emancipation as a stupendous fraud-- a fraud upon him, a fraud upon the world.”
Politically, there was a tsunami backlash by Southerners as states organized Democratic clubs and overthrew the carpetbagger state governments, resulting in a Democrat stronghold for generations.
The issue of slavery continues to be mainstream as Neo-Marxists use it to further their ideology and incite racial violence and division among Americans.
One example is the Project 1619 launched by the New York Times to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of African slaves to the American colonies. The project which has been pushed out to thousands of public classrooms claims that the lives of blacks have been shaped by the history of slavery and Jim Crow. To counter this fatalistic narrative that continues the culture of victimhood in the black community, black leaders have launched an initiative, 1776, with “aspirational” and “inspirational” essays and educational resources.
Monuments that were intended to be community memorials honoring the Confederate dead are being removed from the public domain in Southern states with Neo-Marxists using them to create hatred and division among Americans. Although none of the Confederate monuments appear to mention slavery, the radical left claims these monuments are symbols of those who fought to keep slavery intact in the South and, therefore, are “racist.”
It should be noted that the North also erected many community memorials to the war dead yet Neo-Marxists are ignoring those.
With more written about the U.S. “Civil War” than any other topic except Christianity and the Bible, there are many excellent scholarly books and essays written from primary sources to educate one’s self. It is imperative that we learn our true history and stop compromising with the devil who intends to destroy America by destroying our heritage and culture. Our Western civilization is at stake.
Finally, the Republican Party must totally separate itself from Lincoln and the false narrative about the War Between the States if it is to remain relevant to conservatives.