John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial: Celebrating 200 Years of Tyranny
John Wayne's Holster
Visit my main blog at Monkey Wrench Revival. Visit my birdwatching blog at The Birding Nerd.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial: Celebrating 200 Years of Tyranny

Abraham Lincoln: Tyrant
Image Source: Civil War Memory

I was watching Book-TV on C-SPAN the other day when a program on President Abraham Lincoln was aired. Turns out that this coming February will mark the 200 year anniversary of the birth of our 16th President. In celebration of such, C-SPAN is showing a series of programs focusing on Lincoln and his legacy. In addition, C-SPAN will also be airing coverage of events sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC).

As a history buff and an American, I decided to check out some of the programs that C-SPAN and the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission were putting on. Many of these programs are available as podcasts or archived videos on the above-mentioned C-SPAN website. I also checked out the ALBC website to see what they were all about. Thus far, I have been very disappointed at what I have seen and read. The whole bicentennial celebration amounts to nothing more than a myopic, romanticized puff-piece on Old Abe. Moreover, it is a waste of our tax dollars by the ALBC.

According to the ALBC’s mission statement, their goal is to emphasize how Lincoln’s thoughts and ideals have served “as a catalyst for strengthening freedom, democracy and equal opportunity for all”.

What? The name of Lincoln in the same sentence with the words freedom and democracy? Are they kidding?

Perhaps I should not be surprised. If one where poll the average American on who they thought the best President was, one could receive a variety of answers. Many will say George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. Others may opine that it is Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Regan. A few many even suggest that it is George W. Bush (now I understand the need for reality TV programs like A&E’s Intervention). However, the most popular answer is Abraham Lincoln.

Among friends that I have questioned, Lincoln also came out at, or near, the top of the list. When I asked why they admired Lincoln so much, some said it was because he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the slaves. Others said that it was because he saved the country by preserving the Union. And others were not sure why.

I say that people don’t know much of their Lincoln history. They have apparently focused too much of Lincoln’s prosaic double-speak and over-looked what he actually did. They have also become intoxicated on Carl Sandberg’s rosewater drivel and taken it at face value. That’s like taking Johnny Cochran at his word on O.J. If one were to take an unbiased and unedited view of Lincoln’s political career, with the historical record as the back drop and the Constitution as the guide posts, one would inevitably see that most of what are taught about Lincoln is myth. In reality, Lincoln was one of the most ambitious and despotic tyrants ever to occupy the White House.

Lincoln had an agenda. It was to establish a strong central government in the United States. To be fair, the agenda did not start with Lincoln. It started with Alexander Hamilton, and was later championed by Henry Clay and the Whig Party. Their platform called for protectionist tariffs, government subsidies, and a centralized banking system.

Henry Clay

Unable to stably establish (read: impose) their policies via Constitutional means, they sought to subvert the Constitution and cram their system down the throats of Americans by whatever means necessary, including brute force. Modeling himself after Clay, Lincoln and the fledgling Republicans picked up the Whig torch and used it to ignite the conflict (Civil War) that would allow them to foist their agenda on the country. Unfortunately, they succeeded. The bailouts and fiscal problems we are experiencing today in this country are all part of Lincoln’s legacy.

To set the record straight, let us examine the legend and legacy about Lincoln and expose them for what they really are – myths.

Lincoln Preserved the Union
A popular belief among many is that Lincoln fought the Civil War to preserve the Union. On its face, this seems true. As a result of the Union victory, the United States was geographically maintained, but as a union? How can one forcefully coerce another to remain part of a federation, and simultaneously maintain that it is united? Sound more like Lincolnian double-speak to me.

The South had every right to secede, as many Northern states has contemplated before. The right to do so is clearly indicated in the Declaration of Independence. In reference to the tyrannical government of George III and England, Jefferson stated, “…when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security”.

What Lincoln actually did was prevent the South from exercising its right as a free and sovereign state to secede from a Union that was plundering them via its imposition of heavy tariffs, the proceeds of which were used to subsidize industrial interests in the North. Lincoln’s agenda was not union per se, but rather, to prevent to loss of revenue that the country extracted from the South. It was revenue the North needed to fuel its industrial economy. The South had protested these tariffs for decades, but to no avail. In his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln even threatened to use military force to collect the tariffs in the South refused. It must be pointed out that this was BEFORE the Civil War.

Lincoln as Constitutional Protector
This is perhaps the biggest myth of them all. Far from being its protector, Lincoln had a long track record of trying to subvert the Constitution so that his Centralizing Agenda could be imposed on the country. His actions during the war clearly illustrate that he respected no Constitutional bounds. There were no limits which he would not exceed in order to accomplish his goal. For those interested, I would encourage you to Google this topic or simply read one of the following books: The Real Lincoln, by Thomas DiLorenzo, Lincoln Reconsidered, by David Donald, or The South Was Right, by James Kennedy. Here are a few examples from these sources:

Lincoln invaded the South without Congressional approval.

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus for the duration of his Presidency. As a result, Lincoln literally had thousands of people, northerners and southerners alike, arrested and imprisoned with out trial for simply opposing his views. Those imprisoned included newspaper publishers, as well as members of Congress, such as Clement Vallandingham, who Lincoln later deported. In addition, Lincoln has several democratically elected members of the Maryland House of Delegates arrested and imprisoned, without a trial, for having secessionist sympathies.

Lincoln suppressed free elections. In 1861, Maryland was still undecided as to secession or neutrality in the war. The legislature had discussed convening in Annapolis to discuss the matter. Lincoln threatened to have the town bombarded if they did so. As such, the legislature decided to meet in Frederick. To prevent this, Lincoln ordered that only Unionist members of the legislature be allowed to attend. Members of the pro-secessions Peace Party were to be prevented from attending, by arrest if necessary. As a result, the members of the Baltimore contingent of the legislature were arrested, as were the mayor of Baltimore and Maryland Congressman Henry May. Those who made their way through and voted for the Peace Party were subject to arrest, and many had their ballots tossed.

Lincoln suppressed free speech. Lincoln declared martial law in many parts of the North, under which he had thousands of anti-war demonstrators arrested for the protesting. Moreover, Lincoln censored telegraph communications from both the North and South. Lincoln denied mail delivery to newspapers, such as New York’s Daily News, Brooklyn Eagle, Freeman’s Journal and the Journal of Commerce, which opposed his policies. Other newspapers were censored, such as the Chicago Times, Dayton Empire,Baltimore Gazette,Philadelphia Evening Journal,New Orleans Advocate,Wheeling Register, and Louisville Presbyterian, just to name a few. And several others has their offices and printing facilities destroyed by federal soldiers.

Lincoln condoned and encouraged the total war polices of his Generals, such as William T. Sherman and Phil Sheridan - who both ordered their men to confiscate, burn and pillage the private property of Southern citizens.

The list goes on…

Lincoln the Emancipator
Lincoln is often credited with fighting the Civil War to free the slaves. As the Chinese would say, this is 狗屁 (pinyin: go pi; literal: dog fart; translation: BS). The fact is that Lincoln cared very little about the issue of slavery, but he did realize the power he could wield if he appeared to be concerned. But don’t take my word for it, take Honest Abe’s words.

During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln stated, “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two…”. Throughout his Presidential campaign, Lincoln promised to uphold the Fugitive Slave Act by returning escaped slaves to their owners. Asked about what he would if emancipation became a reality, Lincoln stated on numerous occasions that he would favor colonization of slaves back to Africa, the West Indies or Central America. In his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln stated, “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 lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

What about the Emancipation Proclamation? Didn’t Lincoln intend to free the slaves with that document? Answer: No! Don’t believe me, then go and read it. In reality, the EP was nothing more that a hollow and disingenuous foray by Lincoln intended to drum up support for the then-failing Union war effort under the pretense of some noble or higher moral calling. A casual reading of the document reveals that the EP applied only to slaves in so-called rebel territories; and some states, such as Maryland, Kentucky, West Virginia and many parts of Virginia were specifically exempted. In states loyal to the Union, the EP did not apply. Even Lincoln’s own Secretary of State, William Seward, commented on the duplicity of the EP was stating, “We show our sympathy…by emancipating slaves where we can not reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.

As anyone who has the ability and willingness to look beyond the romanticized mythology surrounding Lincoln can clearly see, he was not a great President. Not even a good or mediocre one. In reality, he was a consummate politician, full of ambition and a lust for power. The ends he went to in order to attain that power and impose his toxic agenda knew no limits. As a result, he set this country on a collision course with its demise, which we are all witnessing in the flesh today.

In the simplest terms, his was a tyrant! And as the saying goes…

Sic semper tyrannis!


At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Post! Long time no read. I agree with much of your post, however, history has acquitted him.

You ask, why is Lincoln considered great? To the victor go the spoils. By enforcing the "union" we have been able to create the most powerful economic and military force the world has ever seen. So people that enjoy living in the US can thank, Linc the Tyrant.

If he wasn't a tyrant and the union split...well I can only guess what would have happened. My guess is the great Nation of California would control much of the west, NY would control much of the east and who knows about the south. Furthermore, how many wars would these countries engaged in?


At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Joe Verica said...

Hey Roy

Long time no see! Glad to have you back. Thanks for your comments. Any chance of getting The Corner Store up and running?


Post a Comment

<< Home