Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Six Big Lies About Lincoln, Slavery, And The War

Six Big Lies About Abraham Lincoln, The Slaves and The War
by Chris Leithner
          The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know. Almost everything that Americans in general and Republicans in particular think they know about Lincoln is a toxic mixture of myths, distortions and wicked lies.

          Founded in 1854, the Republican Party rose to prominence and power when its nominee, Abraham Lincoln, won the presidential election of 1860. To this day, many people regard it as the “Party of Lincoln” and historians and the general public have long considered Lincoln, next only to Washington, as America’s greatest president (see also "Rating the Presidents" by Pat Buchanan and "Down With the Presidency" by Lew Rockwell). 
          The first big lie, which is universally believed, is that Lincoln, dubbed the “Great Emancipator” by his cult of worshippers, went to war in order to free slaves. The abhorrence of racial injustice and the desire to abolish slavery played no role in the Union’s determination to strangle the Confederacy in its cradle. What did? One factor was Lincoln’s determination to preserve the Union at any cost – including the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In 1862, Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley (the leading Northern newspaperman of the day): “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.”

          Similarly, in 1861 Congress resolved that the purpose of the war was not “[to interfere] with the rights or established institutions of those states,” but to preserve the Union “with the rights of the several states unimpaired.” On the day that hostilities commenced at Fort Sumter (12 April 1861), only the seven states of the Deep South had seceded, there were more slaves within the Union than outside it and Lincoln hadn’t the slightest intention to free any of them. Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation in Democracy in America (1835-40) remained true: “The prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists.”

          Another factor that motivated war was the Republican Party’s lust (which, with few and brief exceptions, it has retained to the present day) to tax and spend. The North waged war against the South in order to regain the federal tax revenue that would be lost if the Southern states seceded peacefully. Republicans were then, and remain today, a Party of Big Government. In Lincoln’s time, Republicans championed a high (i.e., protectionist) tariff. They used the proceeds – which were laundered through roads, canals, railways, etc. – to dispense lavish corporate welfare to their backers. To Republicans, the fact that tariffs, corporate welfare and the like favoured an anointed few (whose residences, factories, etc., were overwhelmingly in the North) and punished a benighted many (Southerners were mostly “outs” rather than “ins”) was inconsequential. What was essential, however, was that consumers, Southern as well as Northern, subsidise Republicans’ wealthy backers. Southerners’ unwillingness to subjugate themselves to Republicans ultimately drove them to secede.

          In Lincoln’s view, only by keeping the Union intact – by force of arms if necessary – could Republicans’ lust to tax, dispense largesse and build an empire be sated. In his First Inaugural Address (4 March 1861), Lincoln threatened to invade any state that failed to collect federal “duties and imposts.” On 19 April, he rationalised his order to blockade Southern ports on the grounds that “the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed” in the states that had seceded.
        A second wicked lie is that Lincoln championed natural rights and racial equality. Both his words and his deeds utterly repudiated any belief in or respect for these admirable principles. “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races,” he announced in the first (21 August 1858) of his celebrated debates with Stephen Douglas. Like many and perhaps most other men of his time and place, Lincoln was an unapologetic and irredeemable racist: “I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favour of the race to which I belong having the superior position.” He added “Free them [slaves] and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this. We cannot, then, make them equals.”

          No reasonable person can possibly deny Lincoln’s staunch and vociferous advocacy of apartheid and white supremacy. On 17 July 1858, he said: “What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races.” And in the fourth of his debates with Douglas (on 18 September), he vowed: “I will to the very last stand by the law of this state, which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes.” Lincoln enthusiastically supported the Illinois Constitution, which at that time prohibited the emigration of black people into the state; he also backed the infamous Illinois Black Codes, which deprived the small number of free blacks residing within the state any semblance of citizenship; and he applauded the Fugitive Slave Act (1850), which compelled Northerners to capture runaway slaves and return them to their owners.

          Lincoln brought these shamelessly racist attitudes and pro-slavery policy preferences to the White House. In his First Inaugural Address, he promised to support a proposed constitutional amendment (that had just passed the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives) that would have prohibited the federal government from ever assuming the power “to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labour or service by the laws of said State.” Also in his First Inaugural, Lincoln proposed to make this constitutional amendment “express and irrevocable.” Finally, Lincoln was a lifelong advocate of “colonisation,” that is, of shipping all black people to Africa, Central America, Haiti – anywhere other than the U.S. “I cannot make it better known than it already is,” he stated in a Message to Congress (1 December 1862), “that I strongly favour colonisation.” Indeed, he favoured it so strongly that he was the president of the Illinois Colonization Society. To Dishonest Abe, African-Americans could only be “equal” once they had been expelled from the United States.

          A third myth is that Lincoln’s war saved the Union. Clearly, it did so geographically; just as clearly, however, by destroying its voluntary nature – which the Founders had emphasised and which had been taken for granted thereafter – the war ruined the Union philosophically. In the Declaration of Independence (1776), Articles of Confederation (1777-1781) and Constitution (1788), the states described themselves as “free and independent.” These documents could not be clearer: states delegated specified powers to the federal government which they had created as their agent, and they retained ultimate sovereignty for themselves. When they put their signatures to the Declaration of Independence, America’s Founders announced the secession from the British Empire of the states which they represented; and when George III signed the peace treaty ending the war, he named all of the states individually. He waged war against thirteen states, not a single entity called “the United States Government.”

          Given those precedents, what sane person could possibly deny the same right of secession to Americans who withdrew consent from the federal government? Early in the 19th century, Northern rather than Southern states threatened to secede. Vermont considered secession in order to register its extreme disgust at the Louisiana Purchase – whose champion, Thomas Jefferson, knew was unconstitutional and who throughout his life affirmed the right of any state to dissolve the bonds of Union. Further, Massachusetts threatened to secede as a protest against the Embargo Act of 1807, the War of 1812 and the annexation of Texas in 1845. On none of these occasions did any Southerner (or any American of any description) threaten Yankees with invasion. When Texans seceded from Mexico, no American doubted their right to do so and to join the Union. Quite the contrary: all insisted that they had such a right, and that no Mexican had any right to stop them. But to Lincoln and his henchmen, freedom of association did not permit freedom of disassociation: hence Southerners (including Texans) could join but couldn’t depart the Union. Like the insect in the Venus Flytrap and the guest at the Hotel California, you’re free to enter but you can never leave.

          The truth, however, is that in 1861 the principle of freedom of association and right of secession was as widely understood and affirmed in the North as it was in the South. As The Brooklyn Daily Eagle editorialised on 13 November 1860, the Union “depends for its continuance on the free consent and will of the sovereign people of each state, and when that consent and will is withdrawn on either part, their Union is gone.” The New York Journal of Commerce concurred. On 12 January 1861 it warned that a coerced Union, one in which states were forcibly restrained from secession, would change the nature of government from “a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of the people are slaves” (see also John Remington Graham, A Constitutional History of Secession, Pelican, 2002).

A fourth blatant lie, cherished by Republicans, is the assertion that Lincoln was a “Defender of the Constitution.” The polar opposite is true: Lincoln was a tyrant and the despoiler par excellence of the Constitution. Generations of historians have accurately labelled him a “dictator.” “Dictatorship played a decisive role in the North’s successful effort to maintain the Union by force of arms,” wrote Clinton Rossiter in Constitutional Dictatorship (first published in 1948). “Lincoln’s amazing disregard for the Constitution was considered by nobody as legal.”

          James G. Randall documented Dishonest Abe’s assault upon law and liberty in Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln (first published in 1926). Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ordered the military to arrest tens of thousands of political opponents. At his command, but without a shred of legal authority, ca. 300 newspapers were closed and all telegraphic communications censored; elections in the North were rigged; throughout the Union, Democratic voters were intimidated; in New York City, hundreds of protesters against conscription (a form of slavery) were shot; West Virginia was unconstitutionally carved out of Virginia; and the most outspoken member of the Democratic Party opposition, Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, was deported. For good measure, duly-elected members of the Maryland legislature were gaoled, as was the mayor of Baltimore and a Maryland Congressman. In total disregard of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, inhabitants of Border States (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and West Virginia) were disarmed, and wherever Lincoln’s evil tentacles could spread, private property was confiscated.

          A fifth lie is that Lincoln was a “great humanitarian” who bore “malice towards none.” The truth is that Lincoln planned and managed a total war upon Southern civilians (see in particular Mark Grimsley, The Hard Hand of War, Cambridge University Press, 1997). Like Robert Mugabe today and sordid host of dictators during the 20th century, Lincoln ordered his troops to murder women and children. His war included the destruction of entire towns populated solely by civilians, massive looting, rape and execution without trial (or even charge) of non-combatants. To this day, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea (November-December 1864) remains the worst act of terrorism committed on American soil (see, for example, "Sherman’s March" by Clyde Wilson). Americans would be wise to remove their blinds and recall that this evil act was perpetrated by the agents of the U.S. Government at the vengeful behest of a Republican president. Sherman wrote on 24 December: “We are not only fighting armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organised armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect.” Using the rules established by the Allies after the Second World War, Lincoln and the high command of the Union Army unquestionably qualified as war criminals.

          A sixth lie, perhaps the most despicable of all, is that the War of Northern Aggression was necessary. Only war, say its mythologisers and apologists, could have ended slavery. The truth, of course, is that it was a war of choice and not of necessity. This war, the deadliest in American history, caused the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number (but possibly as many as 250,000) of civilians. Approximately one in four adult, white male Southerners perished. And it was all for nothing. During the 19th century, dozens of countries, including the British, Russian and Spanish empires, abolished the indefensible institution of slavery. They did so peacefully and by means of compensated emancipation. Among the countries of the Western Hemisphere that followed this route were Argentina, Colombia, Chile, all of Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, various French colonies, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Only in the Land of the Free is war and the destruction of property and constitution regarded as a necessary condition of emancipation. Whether in the American South or the Middle East, Republicans, it seems, have to destroy a country in order to deliver it.

          Abraham Lincoln, then, was not the Great Emancipator: he was the Great Warmonger and Imperialist, the Great Racist, the Great Taxer-and-Spender, the Great Corruptionist, the Great Incarcerator and the Great Vandal of the Constitution. He was a war criminal and America’s worst-ever president.

Chris Leithner grew up in Canada. He is director of Leithner & Co. Pty. Ltd., a private investment company based in Brisbane, Australia. 

H/T to James in Albany


  1. Someone in my area puts a bullet hole in Lincoln's head and writes CSA on his forehead on every $5 dollar bill they get. May 10th is John Wilkes Booth birthday. Some folks celebrate it. Those darn Virginians.
    Red in OleVirginny

  2. Excellent Jeffery. A great book on this is The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo.

    I moved to Texas from California in 2008. I've been very interested to learn more about the South because it's pretty clear that public schools and MSM feed you bullshit. One great source of learning for me has been the Abbeville Institute: https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/

    Their goal is to explore what is "true and valuable in the Southern tradition" Excellent content there. They also have a weekly podcast by the great Southern historian Brion McClanahan. Check it out on itunes. We can't let these ideas completely drop down the memory hole.

    Stephen in Austin.

  3. Is there a version somewhere that doesn't have the beginnings and ends or each sentence cut off?

  4. Well...somebody's got their little panties in a real twist over President Lincoln, don't they?

    Okay, let's take this point by point:

    1) Lincoln didn't start out as the "Great Emancipator", but it sure ended up that way, didn't it. It is true, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation as a way to further his aim of winning the war with the Confederacy. None the less, he signed it. Thus, he emancipated the slaves. Was his attitude measurably different from others of his time? No, not really - he had a normal attitude toward race relations. Measuring him by today's standards is both disingenuous and wrong.

    2) He was governing at a time of war. Simply letting citizens get away with any kind of lawlessness and, dare I say it, TREASON against your country, should be dealt with, and harshly. Lincoln had no choice here, and to pretend that he should have simply let draft riots and subversive forces undermine his authority as the chief executive would have been to simply allow himself to be behind a loss by the Union.

    3) The war killed the Confederacy - I'd call that a win, and it persevered the union. How many in the south worked to actively undermine both the legitimacy of the federal government and the civil rights of freed blacks in the North and South? It wasn't Lincoln, who had been coldly murdered by a whacko with a feather in his cap. It was the southern democrat coalition, founders of the KKK and others who, under the guise of upholding "honor" went about murdering and promoting lawlessness for many years following the Union victory.

    4) See my previous statement regarding the need to root out subversive elements who would work as tirelessly todays SJWs to undermine the authority and legitimacy of the Union to fight and win the war. What works during civil, peaceful times does not work in wartime. That's the truth!

    5) General Sherman's March was a stroke of brilliance. While it may have been brutal, it did as was advertised by Sherman himself: to end the rebel desire for war for a 100 years. After it, the desire of Georgia, South Carolina, and the rest were certainly put on notice what the cost of war was going to be to them. I note that the south did not "rise again". Good.

    6) How long do you suppose we were supposed to wait for the slave states to give up slavery? Perhaps another hundred years? How many years are necessary to keep slaves before one realizes it's wrong? I still remember boys in my freshman year of college stating that he didn't hate blacks, "everyone should own one". No war necessary, huh?

    I think this set of arguments presented in this essay is bunk. Perhaps you feel it necessary to find a way to tear down another great American of the past. You can join SJWs in doing so - this puts you in league with the same Antifa punks who would tear down statues of the past to build your utopia, whether you like it or not. But I find it the case that Pres. Lincoln needs to be defended as one of America's best, not worst.

    To paraphrase a great present-day President, "If you hate it so much, go home".


    1. 3)"...legitimacy of the federal govt.." Joking right? Lincoln imported mercenaries from Europe who couldn't even speak English to come and kill Southerners. He got what he deserved - shot in the head by a Virginian. And Southerners weren't traitors to the USA - it was a war between 2 countries. At least get that part right.
      And the fedgov is so legitimate today right?
      Red in OleVirginny

    2. America was never perfect.....you cannot give human beings complete freedom and expect that....but it came closer than any other government before or since....Lincoln was conflicted to say the least....I would agree to a point that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not work in times of war....I wonder if Lincoln had the luxury of a time machine what decisions would have differed....the author of this piece seems to have flipped the Republican Party to be the Democratic party....Eye of the beholder type thing....

    3. RhodeIslanderForTrump Responds to Anonymous: I don't think it can be fairly argued that Lincoln destroyed the United States of America in as much as it was the zeal of Southern Democrats who demanded BOTH war and secession. The CSA (such as it was in its infancy in 1861) fired on Fort Sumter, attacking fellow Americans and thereby starting the Civil War. If the South was eager to start a war, it was up to the duly elected and fairly instituted executive, specifically the commander in chief as asserted by the constitution to respond and wage war in return.

      They were called "rebels" for a reason; not to defend their rights, but to destroy the United States. When the south attacked and started it's ill fated war, it got what it deserved in return. It was not two countries. It was a group of secessionist lawmakers who did not wish to lose the institution of slavery that primarily drove their treason and deserved to be put right by a Commander in Chief who had no choice but to respond.

      Incidentally, it was the south who had numerous British Officers in their ranks. England demanded that Union Navy forces release confederate prisoners seized from a British ship in 1861 or risk war with England as well. I'd say the South was more desperate to be defended by foreign forces than the North.

      Nobody is disparaging Virginians, by the way - my family line goes way back from the 1760s Virginia through the south to Texas before I got stationed by the Navy in RI. I was specifically casting aspersion on John Wilkes Boothe - washed up actor and conspirator (and kook).

    4. 6) Why is it that the North was able to emancipate gradually over time and we didn't give the same courtesy to the South? Yes, it was going to take longer in the South due to it's geographic nature and climate, but it is much better to let these things happen naturally, where good solutions regarding transitions can be thought upon, rather than by violent revolutionary force, where all is thrown into chaos, and the solution from Lincoln was to "root, hog or die"

  5. Thanks for spreading the truth about Lincoln, Jeffrey. The brainwashing we got in school, and the media, movies, etc., takes a lot of courage to undue. Lincoln destroyed the Republic, and started us on the road to "Democracy"; the rule of the mob. Many of the problems we have today are the result of his policies. Now the Fed Gov. just does whatever it wants, and completely ignores the wise
    Constitutional limits of the founders. This path was started by Lincoln, and has only gotten worse since his time.

  6. "... everything... Republicans in particular think they know about Lincoln is a toxic mixture of myths, distortions and wicked lies."

    Didn't find anything in the article that I didn't know already. Why yes, Lincoln was human and a product of his times. The war; justifiable or not, the North won.

    America’s worst-ever president? It would take a modern day Canadian like Chris, to say something that absolutely stupid.

    1. Making war on your fellow Americans over an ideal of "the union" resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, certainly would have to make Lincoln one of the worst, if not THE worst. Imagine if Texas seceded tomorrow and Trump proceeded to bomb the hell out of Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio. No biggie?

  7. Brock over at Free North Carolina last time I was with him for a PATCON was still driving a Ford Lincoln. He always had the word "Tyrant" in chrome mounted above the factory chrome Lincoln model designation on the back of the his car.

    As far as getting panties in a wad, it sure seems some would prefer to ignore inconvenient truths. Though I went to secondary school in north central NH I was lucky enough to attend a private school there where many sides of history were taught not just the established version. You were encouraged to do your own research into origianl works from the time and come to your own conclusion. Remember from Braveheart, "history is written by those who have hanged heroes".

    Lincoln did not save the union, he condemned it. He put the final nails in the coffin of the founders republic and rendered the Constitution dead and irrelevant as it remains to this day. My great grandfather served in Company A of the 6th Regiment of NH Volunteers. He received a head wound from a musket ball in the 2nd battle of Bull Run (northern designation) , 2nd Battle of Manassas (southern designation). He survived and later that year took a musket ball to the hip in the Battle of Fredericksburg. I have copies of the surgeons diagrams and records on his surgery as well as his recovery records which include getting stricken with measles and scarlet fever while recovering from his wounds. He survived and was discharged honorably with a disability. The payment for which he had to continually fight for until his death in 1919. I have copies of the letters he wrote to the government over his disability payment. His payment at the time of his death was $11.00 per month for his disability. Southern soldiers received no such payments.

    I honor my great grandfathers service but not the cause that he served. What was the Battle for Independence but a secession from England? Was that cause just and if so why not the second secession when the South went their own way. I know folks from England who still view the War for Independence as treasonous rebellion. As Jefferson Davis said on his inauguration speech, "We seek no conquest. All we ask is to be left alone."

    Such is the view of one displaced Yankee residing in the mountains of NC. In my heart I will always claim the Live Free or Die State as my place of birth, but my heart belongs to the South.

  8. This guy is so full of hate for America and Rebublicans that he can't see straight. Northern aggression? Not even true. The South started shooting first. The real question here is, Can a state exit the union or not? My thought is that they can if it is voted for by Congress. Basically reverse the admission process. Congress would have to approve.

    1. The South shot first at a fort in Southern territory that resulted on ZERO casualties. Sense of proportionality is strong with this one. Why would the states need permission from Congress? The states created Congress. They didn't give up their sovereignty. Common sense, natural law and self determination dictate to my mind that secession is legitimate. Did the colonies seek permission from the Crown to secede? It's those who love power and rule over others who can't let go, and will wage war to get their way. Imagine a woman wants a divorce and the husband refuses, and beats the shit out of her til she submits. What do you call that?

      Recommended reading: Is Davis a Traitor by Albert Taylor Bledsoe

  9. People, you just got conned. You better hope that if you ever have to shoot someone, it's a white guy. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, on July 24, 2019, defendant stated in writing that Abraham Lincoln's freeing the slaves was a war crime and he deserved to be shot in the head. I rest my case."
    Did any of you ever consider WHY a Canadian with Aussie ties would write such a treatise on U.S. history?

  10. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with part, all, or none of Mr. Leihtner's essay here, the fact remains that Democrat and Republican parties prior to 1860 were "flipped". The two parties were the polar opposites of what they are today.

  11. Abraham Lincoln was a stinking piece of shit, a lawyer [Attorney] who's allegiance was to England. He was a member of the 'Whig' party [British term] & simply changed the name to Republican without changing allegiance. On a lawyers business card, they identify as "Esquire," a title of nobility strait from Limey England, and forbidden by our constitution. An Esquire is " one who attends a Knight."

    ATTORN : {Black's Law, 1rst Ed.} - To transfer or turn over to another. Where a Lord aliened his seigniory, he might, with consent of the tenant, and in some cases without, attorn or transfer the homage and service of the latter to the alienee or new lord.

    Black's 4th Ed. ~ To turn over; to transfer to another money or goods.

    Keep in mind that "Legal" definitions are NEVER removed or expire, even if they conflict with each other. Attorneys can pick WHICHEVER DEFINITION - LEGALLY - THAT GIVES THEM THE BEST ADVANTAGE.

    An Attorney's job, no matter how they obscure it, is to take your stuff and give it to whoever is in charge, whether property or your body. They steal for a living and get paid whether or not they lose.

    Washington WAS NOT the first president, there were 8 before him, 2 of them were black men. Check that out for a mind blower.


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