Lincoln to the Rescue

What the master politician of 1862 can teach the presidential hopefuls of 2012

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Photo colorization by Sanna Dullaway for TIME; Original image by Alexander Gardner / Library of Congress
Photo colorization by Sanna Dullaway for TIME; Original image by Alexander Gardner / Library of Congress

Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand at Antietam in 1862.

Americans of Lincoln’s day certainly pined for something more than his seemingly small-minded attention to politics. In the midst of the greatest crisis the nation had ever faced, Lincoln spent dozens of hours each week painstakingly distributing the rapidly growing number of federal jobs at his disposal. “He seems to me to be fonder of … patronage, and personal questions, than of the weightier matters of empire,” complained the celebrated author and attorney Richard Henry Dana. In August 1862, as the failure of McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign was bringing the Union’s military fortunes to their darkest pass, Lincoln nevertheless devoted huge blocks of time to selecting tax collectors authorized by the first internal-revenue act.

Why? Because he realized that by giving plums to exactly the right members of the opposition Democrats, the right Irish immigrants, the right Methodists—even the friends of influential newspaper editors—he could bind them more tightly to his shaky Union coalition. Politics today is often a matter of energizing a President’s base, but for Lincoln, success was a matter of adding new supporters: if he could collect enough, the Union could be restored. As Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles came to appreciate, time spent by Lincoln on favor seekers was every bit as important to the war effort as time spent poring over military maps: “Never under any Administration were greater care and deliberation required” in dispensing presidential favors, for Lincoln was shoring up “a demoralized government and a crumbling Union.” America’s next President will face a version of this challenge as he tries to build a coalition to tackle such divisive issues as debt, taxes and immigration.

Lincoln as political strategist is front and center in Steven Spielberg’s new film. He trades votes, dangles patronage, hedges principles and tiptoes on the brink of deceit. He pleads, cajoles and threatens. He seems always to be at least two moves ahead of everyone else on the Washington chessboard. And he has to be, because what he is attempting—the passage of a constitutional amendment to end slavery, over the determined opposition of Copperhead Democrats—is both difficult and critically important. Lincoln makes glorious the earthy art of grubbing for votes.

Well before that showdown in the waning days of the war, Lincoln relied on his political acumen to survive and even thrive through the most perilous year in American history, 1862. It was the year in which the Civil War became a cataclysm, the federal government became a colossus and the Confederacy came nearest to winning its independence. In 1862, Lincoln rang the death knell for slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation. He established himself firmly as Commander in Chief and held the North together while unimagined carnage in battles like Shiloh and Antietam forged the military leaders who would eventually win the war—men like Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and Farragut. Under a constant cloud of a possible military coup, he fended off uprisings in Congress and among members of his Cabinet. He signed the visionary bills that created the transcontinental railroad, the modern fiscal system, the homesteading movement and the nation’s land-grant universities.

“Never has there been a moment in history when so much was all compressed into a little time,” one U.S. Senator observed. And never since the founding of the country had so much depended on the political skills of one man. As Obama and Mitt Romney reach the final hours of their race for the heavy prize of leading a polarized America through its next four years of challenges, they—and we—could learn a lot from the Lincoln of 1862.

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76 comments
kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1

Let's talk about the Emancipation Proclamation.  Modern revisionistdelight in noting that no slaves were freed in areas under US control and theycongratulate themselves on how smart they are.  But 1) it prevented Englandfrom joining the war, 2) it demonstated Lincoln's growing understanding of hiswar powers, 3) it created the policy for handling slaves as areas returned toFederal control.  I would expect from what I read of your comments for youto be in the "How smart I am" camp and not even consider these otherimplications.

Lincoln used the term "insurrection" rather than "war' because the term warwould have allowed Europe to consider the war to be between two separate nationsand they could have granted diplomatic status to the Confederacy and helped themin the war.  (See the Emancipation comments above.)  This is highschool history.  Why are you asking this question?

There is a wonderful 9 volume set of Lincoln's works.  Don't read theLincoln supports or the Lincoln basher.  Read him!

Historian
Historian

I really don't have the time or inclination to start any more discussions. My library is chocked full of books that I am now starting to donate to university libraries. In other words, I am thinning out my collection and not adding any more books to it. Thanks for your recommendation.

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1

Then I am in good company.  Lincoln was a lousy speller.  There isnot documented pattern of Lincoln's attraction to men.  But why would thatbe of any importance to you?  Why did you bring it up - if you wanted ascholarly discussion.If you want to know about Lincoln and colonization, then read FrederickDouglass.  I have no problem with Lincoln's growth there.  Again,these arguments are not new.  I liked that Douglass called Lincoln the onlygreat man he knew that treated him as an equal.

Let me give you an example of why I lecture you.  ( Asinine Hitlercomments aside.)  I talked about Lincoln war powers and you relatedthat to a modern law.  Lincoln's growing understanding of his powers ascommander-in-chief are well known.  But you went off on a tangent anddidn't even understand the implications.  I hint that war powers are a partof martial law and that martial law has been used in the US before and Iget a question about whether I think we were under martial law since 1812.You want to argue with me, but you have not laid the foundations forunderstanding what is being discuss.  And you hid that behind talk ofHitler and Marx and insinuations about how stupid I am.

Historian
Historian

Trying to insult the intelligence of others is no way of trying to lecture anyone, no matter how hard you try.

Historian
Historian

Megan, Did you mean the author of this article?

MeganLovell
MeganLovell

what is the authors bias?

Historian
Historian

Megan, good point! Take Eric Foner, for example. He's a Lincoln scholar and self-proclaimed Marxist. Others have referred to him as a Stalinist as well. He even scolded Mikhail Gorbachov for the break-up of the Soviet Union, stating that Lincoln would have never allowed such a thing. I'm sure he had a bias.

Historian
Historian

My motives are simple: to learn the truth of what really happened as much as possible, instead of leaning on a convoluted form of mainstream history. How can one suspend the habeas corpus law under a war powers resolution which didn't come into existence until the 20th Century? Besides, this is a right of congress.  Was Lincoln at war with the citizens of the Union? Your statement doesn't make any sense. Is that why he had 10's of thousands of them imprisoned? You have not answered any of my questions from previous posts. Only congress can declare war, and Lincoln did not see it as a war. You make claims you don't seem to be able to back up with anything but opinion. I really don't care what you prefer. You have made nothing but unsubstantiated claims, as seen in your posts below. Nothing is backed up by sources.

kenhbradshaw
kenhbradshaw

@Historian You are right, I am not going to parrot every argument that has been made about Lincoln for and against.  If you want to know so badly that you insist I repeat the arguments, I am not going to.  But I will tell you every argument - both sides is out there.  Find and read them. Don't argue them with me.  I already know.  I have study the man for over 40 years.  But better read Lincoln's own words.  He tells you what he is doing and why. He will tell you what was illegal about succession.  He will tell you why and when he suspended civil liberties and when he did not.  Just like you would not accuse a member of your family of things that you know go against their nature.  If you  really understand Lincoln, you would not make some of your comments.  But I cannot teach you Lincoln's heart.  You have to find it yourself - if you are really interested in the truth.  But, yes, anyone who likens Lincoln or any one else to Hitler, I suspect does not really want the truth or he wouldn't have grounded himself in such a statement

Historian
Historian

Again, you have evaded my questions and made statements like the "war powers" which has absolutely nothing to do with the suppression of the habeas corpus law and didn't come into existence until the 20th Century.

Lincoln, as a lawyer and politician spoke out of both sides of his mouth, not revealing who the "real" Lincoln was. His 4th debate with Stephen Douglas is telling. You can never know what was in his heart because you did not know him personally - you may only think you know him. Maybe his "dear" friend, Joshua Speed knew him best.

 Many thousands of northern citizens died when he had them imprisoned in northern POW camps. He had much blood on his hands, and this doesn't take into account the almost 700,000 soldiers from both sides who died in his war, which wasn't declared. It sounds as if you worship this person.

What impressed Hitler about Lincoln was the fact that he paved the way for "Big Government" and mentions it in "Mein Kampf." It is something Hitler tried to do as well, only on a grander, more perverted and more criminal scale. There were others such as Lenin and Stalin who were equally as evil, but you seem to think were not as evil as Hitler. Their gulags were witness to this and just as evil as any concentration camp. Read anything written by Alexandr Solchenitsin (sp). Even Karl Marx congratulated Lincoln on his reelection, as a side note. I wonder why....

Historian
Historian

Read his words? Which words? He spoke out of both sides of his mouth.Readwhat he said in his 4th debate with Stephen Douglas. Those werehis  views.This speech is available on Google."Succession?"  Where did youlearn to spell? You probablymeant"secession." It is hard torespect the opinions of those whocannot spell or use the English languagecorrectly. A wordsmith youare  not. Your understanding of why 600,000+ died wasbecause Lincolnwanted  to save  Constitution? He trampled on theConstitutionand then had  600,000+ die to save it?  That is the mostabsurdexplanation I have ever  heard.  Are you serious?? Yourdiscombobulatedexplanations really are  perplexing. Ah, yes......KarlMarx. He congratulatedLincoln for winning his  reelection. Marx musthave liked him. Joshua Speed likedhim even more - AND he  wasn't theonly one. There was also a clear patternin his taste of men aswell.  Let's see - how about Lincoln's activemembership inthe  American Colonization Society? Other notable members wereDanielWebster and  Lincoln's idol, Henry Clay. For those who don't know, thisisa society that  started way before the CW and was active insending slaves,ex-slaves and  black freemen back to Africa (Liberia) orto the jungles of SouthAmerica. Where  do you get off on trying tolecture me? I find it insulting,especially coming from someone whohas limited word skills.

Historian
Historian

Forgot to add about your use of "war powers" or your misuse of it. A generic term you use?  You are wont to twist things around so they have no meaning whatever. You know, when I was dealing with the Communists from East Germany during the 60's, they used confusing and twisted terms like you are using. 

Did martial law exist continuously since 1812, or what are you trying to say? You seem to have troubles with the word "war." Was it a declared war or not? We now call it a war, but Lincoln did not.  He was merely putting down an insurrection that lasted for 4 years. I probably won't get a clear answer to this, judging from your past posts.

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1

@Historian READ HIS WORDS.  HE WILL TELL YOU.  Martial law existed in the US since the War of 1812.  War powers as I use it is a generic term meaning the powers that exist during a war (or succession is you have troubles with the word "war".  You just cannot be that narrow.  My understanding is that 600,000 people died because Lincoln wanted to save the Constitution.  If you are wanting to paint him in blood, then you are much too low.  What do you or I care about what Karl Marx thought.  If you want to liken Lincoln to someone, then look up the Roman General Cincinnatus.  I assume with Joshua Speed you are implying that Lincoln was gay.  Actually - again if you study Lincoln - there is a clear pattern of his taste in women with Owens, Rutledge, Todd, and Strickard (sp?), and his mother and sister.  He liked full figure women.  He and Mary probably babied each other behind closed doors.  Do your homework.  And don't spout shallow arguments.  And really learn not to use Hitler anywhere.  That's just asinine.

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1

I am having a hard time understanding what your motives are.  During the Civil War, the South felt that the  Constitution allowed them to leave.  The North did not.  The North won.  Are you resurrecting that argument?  It is a better argument that the supension of civil liberties is legal under war powers.  But to both of these you can agree or disagree.  The arguments are all out there.  You and I bandying them back or forth wil not change the fact that they have been argued for over a hundred years.  Some poeple will agree with you, but most will not.You are not cleverly finding any new arguments.  You are just covering old ground that most people have already worked through.  Personal, I think it is cheap to liken Lincoln to Hitler - or for that matter anybody to Hitler.  I would perfer that you argued to your point.  Which I think is that anyone who assumes war powers that  suspend civil liberties is by definition a despot.  Okay.  I don't agree in this case.  But you will be right in almost every other cases that you can name.

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1

Historian, Here are Lincoln's comments on violating the Constituion:These rebels are violating the constitution in order to destroy the Union; Iwill violate the Constitution, if necessary to save the Union - and I suspect...that our Constitution is going to have a rough time of it before we get donewith this row.Now you may disagree with Lincoln.  But there is ample evidence that hefelt it a war necessity - and not an act against his opponents.  I do notknow that I simply agree with Lincoln - but I do believe I do my research.

Historian
Historian

.Violating the Constitution? There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly prohibits secession. In fact, the Constitution is silent on the matter of secession. Other than this, how were the "Rebels" violating the Constitution?  I'm not sure what is meant by this. There had to be States to form the Union and not the other way around. There would still be a Union with ot without seceded States. I thought that Lincoln did not recognize secession, so how were they trying to destroy a Union?

Lincoln created a "police state" when thousands upon thousands of northern citizens heard that dreaded knock on the door in the middle of the night and were dragged from their homes and forcibly dumped into one of the many Union POW camps. Hitler and other despots did the same.

Historian
Historian

Someone down below stated that the suspension of habeas corpus was a good move.  Really? - for what reason? Please explain.

It could happen today, you know, and you would be singing a different tune then.  But I guess if Lincoln did it, it must be ok............is that your logic?

mr_crclifton
mr_crclifton

@Historian Did you go cast your vote for Romney yet?

I left this thread when you started to use all capital letters. I prefer not to engage in discourse with those who cannot be civil.

Historian
Historian

Actually, I voted for Obama, but that's really none of your business and it shows how much you really don't know.

Lasha
Lasha

This is why I hate U.S. history from 1776-1865. The arm-chair historians trying to re-write history or persuade people that Lincoln was a horrible president are vastly amusing. It's why I stuck with WWII when I was getting my master's degree in history. I'll hang with the FDR conspiracy theorists any day than the Lincoln haters. However, I am looking forward to this movie. I imagine with Doris Kearns Goodwin as a consultant the historical errors should be minimal.

Historian
Historian

"Rewriting" history is generally necessary (and NOT done by armchair historians), so that we do not stray too far from the truth and start believing in pixies.  Not that it really matters but I have provided a short list of books in a previous post, that you are probably not interested in.   If all we are being fed is half-truths or maybe even outright lies, it becomes more than necessary to learn the "rest of the story," or what really happened, and not what some so-called historians want us to think happened. The naked truthis out there - you just have to dig for it.   Hating U.S. history from 1776 to 1865, probably meant that you were being exposed to what really happened, and not some form of fantasy or fairy tale you may have been brainwashed with. As Lord Chesterfield is quoted as having said, "History is but a confused heap of facts." Sadly, many people learn their history by watching movies as well.

EconomicGears
EconomicGears

David.  I was estatic to see your Lincoln cover story.   As a result, I would like to ask you to consider a daring proposition by an engineer as a follow up story: Lincolnomics.  See rescuingeconomics.wordpress.com for a brief summary (site assumes you have a basic background in economics or read the site's associated book which admittedly is in need of a second edition).  It's a daring attempt to shake up the economic debate in America, by suggesting there has never been a sound theory of economics (left or right), only sound gut-instincts in the form of industrial policy, which Lincoln posssessed.   To appreciate the need for such a discussion, consider Marx said the fastest way to destroy capitalism is with free trade, while Daniel Webster said the main reason we have our Constitution is to stop free trade.  Ponder now the fact that China has essentially adopted Webster's logic and we have adopted Marx's.   Tax cuts won't restore the vanishing industrial base (error of the right), nor will stimulus and taxes on the rich (error of the left).   Please take a chance on the site (constructive criticism welcome).  Should you find the logic compelling feel free to contact me on twitter.

coda1
coda1

What if - a great phrase, isn't it? . I like: what if Hitler had never been born? Slavery was and is a despicable and evil spot on mankind. Whenever it can be fought, it should be fought. Racism seems to live forever in the minds of many - as Obama could testify. Even a President can be too black for some people in 2012.  An enslaved people of many years rarely has an easy time. It is shameful, but there was no way out at that point than the hard way. The Civil War was about many issues, with a cover of state's rights over it and i think the south was pushing hard for it -  I doubt it could have been avoided without giving up the United States as we know it. As for Lincoln, he was not the perfect man but he was the perfect President for that particular crisis. In the very darkest hours he received advice, but he made the hard decisions with wisdom and vision. The vision, the desire to heal the nation - nobody today can fully understand how Lincoln came to find what was acceptable and unacceptable for him for this country, but above the flaws, I believe he knew what had to be done.  

Historian
Historian like.author.displayName 1 Like

Does knowing what had to be done qualify the suspension of Habeas Corpus, where over 10,000 mostly northern citizens were arrested without due cause, and dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and thrown into Union POW camps?As some noted historians have said, Lincoln trampled on the Constitution and shut down over 300 newspaper presses throughout the country,  arresting their publishers and owners.  Many of them were transported to Ft. Lafayette in the State of New York, although one can find the names of many of the citizens who perished in camps/prisons like Elmyra, Camp Chase, Camp Douglas, Camp Morton, Johnson's Island and many more of these Gulag-like camps which don't come to mind right now. Lincoln and his rise to greatness? Many of you actually think he walked on water. You should read Lerone Bennett Jr.'s book: "Forced Into Glory - Abraham Lincoln's White Dream."

coda1
coda1

@Historian 

can you elaborate on what the rationale was for this horrid mass arrest? Were these men refusing to fight? or what? thanks.

Historian
Historian

Actually, I think Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini and other tyrants would agree with you as well.

It was an extreme political power move, meant to strike abject terror into those who disagreed with Lincoln and his war.

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1

"Must I shoot a simple-minded deserter, while Imust not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him todesert?"  - Lincoln.  The suspension wsa a good move.

Historian
Historian

Lincoln suspended the Habeas Corpus law, and that set this terrible episode in motion.

The list included doctors, lawyers, congressmen, senators and others who did not support Lincoln's war either in oral form or in writing and spoke out against it. These were not soldiers.  It was a clear crime against 1st Amendment rights. Martial law in the North was common. 

 Many young men (on both sides) deserted.  All is well documented in Ella Lonn's seminal work (1928) titled, _Desertions During the Civil War_ . Many northern young men (estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000) fled to Canada, especially after Lincoln's conscription act of 1863 (ever heard of the Draft Riots of 1863?)  Many men from New York's volunteer regiments fled to Canada as well.  I hope this answers your question.

robertholt72
robertholt72

I wonder and this is just a thought. What if the civil war had never been fought? Could it be that within fifty years slavery would have been abolished anyway? Is it possible that by 1911 the social conscience and mores of American society would have changed enough that even southern society would reject slavery? Remember in “Gone With The Wind” when Ashley says to Scarlett, “I would have freed the slaves after Father died anyway, if the war hadn’t already done it.” Perhaps sooner or later American society would reject slavery and it would be abolished by an act of congress. What if that had been accomplished by 1911 and the horrors and bloodshed of the Civil War had been avoided? With this scenario, one question is, would it be worth the fifty year wait. Remember that after the Civil War, life was no bed of roses for Blacks so the Civil War didn’t exactly buy the Black people forty six wonderful years. Even today, is it worth fighting a bloody war over some land? Perhaps you should just let the other side have it and let it be their responsibility and problem. After a while you would be a welcome guest and there would be a McDonald’s there. This might be a good idea only in very particular circumstances though.

Historian
Historian like.author.displayName 1 Like

Very thoughtful reply. Every other country in the western hemisphere which had slavery, abolished it without a bloody war. The war was about dominion, economics, and forcing seceded States back into the Union at bayonet's point. Even without a war, which wasn't declared, slavery would have disappeared within 10 years or less, as it was becoming less and less economically feasible. Let's also remember that many northern States had slavery as well and the slave owners there sold their slaves to plantation owners as they were no longer of any use.  Henry David Thoreau, an abolitionist, wrote a treatise on "Slavery in Massachusetts." Some northern States held on to their slaves until almost 1900. The EP had nothing to do with them. Thanks for adding your input.

Historian
Historian

Books not included in the "convoluted mainstream" of history, and certainly not meant to please the so-called Pulitizers are the following:

"lincoln's Wrath" by Manber & Dahlstrom

"Mr. Lincoln Goes to War" by Marvel

"When in the Course of Human Events" by Adams

"Complicity - How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery" by Farrow, Lang & Frank

"The Real Lincoln" by DiLorenzo

These are just a few titles for starters.

When I hear an author listed like Eric Foner, who BTW is a self-proclaimed Marxist or communist, I have to laugh. Anyone who adheres to his kind of horse exhaust must have similar political leanings.  Oh, and check out a celebration held every year in the late 1920's and early 1930's in NYC called the Lincoln-Lenin Days.  There were speeches and parades that celebrated two of history's biggest tyrants.

mr_crclifton
mr_crclifton

@Historian Eric Foner: former president of the AHA and winner of prizes for both research and teaching. Call it "horse exhaust, but the fact is that The Fiery Trial, which discusses everything from Lincoln's belief in black colonization to his disbelief in racial equality, won three major prizes--including the Pulitzer, given to the best book in the field for that year. Here is a link to his resume: http://www.ericfoner.com/SHTRES2012.pdf

 Also, please note that I never said that the Civil War was fought to free slaves, only that it was caused by slavery.  The challenge is still open for that to be proven wrong.

Historian
Historian like.author.displayName 1 Like

Slavery was but one of the causes.  There were others as well. The challenge is open to prove this wrong.

Fredsta3
Fredsta3

Lincoln, the Constitution, our slave-holding founders, are indeed faulted. They are imperfect vessels of a glorious idea—rights, freedom, the rule of law. 

Their participation bears witness to the fact that this concept of freedom is not merely profoundly principled, it's eminently practical—meaning: a society that honors these principles is more likely to be capable, inspired, productive, and successful. For instance, imagine the strength of the South, if its slave population had been empowered and loyal.

Lincoln likely was strongly influenced by the powerful and popular words of Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe, because adopting freedom as a cause, and allowing blacks to fight in the Union army, is likely what turned the war around, and gave the Union the boost it needed to win the then-stalemated war. 

As for Feet-of-clay Syndrome, I am still thrilled by those who, like Lincoln, champion the mighty cause of rights and freedom. By their acts, and by all of ours, the wheel is made more true—we don't have to reinvent it.

Historian
Historian

ADDENDUM:  SLAVERY WAS ALSO GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION, AND THEREFORE  SLAVERY ALSO EXISTED IN "ALL" STATES OF THE UNION, IN CASE YOU'RE CONFUSED HERE. WHETHER IN THE NORTH OR SOUTH, SLAVERY WAS A LARGE PART OF THE ECONOMIC EQUATION. YOU PROBABLYHAVE NOT PAID ANY ATTENTION TO THE THE BOOKS I HAVE SUGGESTED.

YOU CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO COMPARE A SLAVE REVOLT IN HAITI WITH THE AMERICAN CW. THAT'S A REAL STRETCH.

MANY OF OUR SO-CALLED "WARS" WERE NOT DECLARED: KOREAN, VIETNAM, AND A FEW OTHERS. WHAT IS YOUR POINT?

THE PASSAGE OF THE 13TH AMENDMENT DID NOT MEAN THAT EVERYTHING STOPPED IN ITS TRACKS AS YOU ARE SUGGESTING. SLAVERY, AS I SAID ABOVE, WAS GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION, AND THEREFORE THE 13TH AMENDMENT HAD TO BE PUT INTO PLACE.

YOU, AND OTHERS, MAY CONTINUE TO WORSHIP AT THE MARBLE FEET OF A. LINCOLN.

Historian
Historian

REALLY?  DISREGARDED BY ANYONE OF RAPPORT TODAY???? THAT IS A RATHER  SMUG ASSERTION WITH NO FOUNDATION AND A LOT OF BAFFLE GAS.

SO, WHAT FORMS OF SERVICE RESEMBLED SLAVERY, BUT WERE NOT SLAVERY?  THAT IS PURE DOUBLE-TALK.

mr_crclifton
mr_crclifton

@Historian Slavery was the cause. Everything else can be traced back to it. You mentioned economics above. Southern economics were based on slavery. I noticed that you said that there are "others," but did not mention any. Please notice I did not say that the war was started to free slaves.

Also, for example of bloody war to end slavery in the West, see "Haitian Revolution."

War was not declared. To do so would have been an acknowledgment of the South's sovereignty, which Lincoln was unwilling to grant. He did, however, call for troops to put down the insurrection. 

To say that Northern states, or any states, had "slaves" until 1900 is false. See "13th Amendment." Sure, there were forms of service that may have resembled slavery, but none were slavery. 

I think you may be talking about a different war, known to some as "The War of Northern Aggression," but disregarded by anyone of rapport today.

Historian
Historian like.author.displayName 1 Like

Lincoln was also no friend of the American Indian. In 1863, he signed off on the largest mass execution in U.S. history, when he had 38 Santee Sioux hanged in Mankato, Minn. In 1862 or 63 he had tribal leaders visit him in Washington.  When they arrived back to Colorado he had them and their families slaughtered in what became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. The evil devil and Union Army colonel(Shivington)  who carried out this unbelieveable crime, was never brought to trial

Historian
Historian like.author.displayName 1 Like

Please read the EP for what it is. Lincoln freed slaves in areas the Union army had no control of, and left others in bondage in Union states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and a couple of others.  His "dear" friend Joshua Speed from Kentucky was also a big slave holder, as was his wife's family.  Didn't want to disrupt anything there. 

David_Nova
David_Nova

generally enjoyed david von drehle's piece, but must take issue with interpretation of great blondin story as meaning 'Lincoln understood that even in times of extreme polarization, the moderate center is the path to presidential success'. perhaps the 'step to the right...step to the left' reference has misled him, but whatever the source of misunderstanding, that's not what the story is about.

what lincoln was doing by telling that story was reminding the abolitionist delegation that he was completely absorbed in an extremely difficult and dangerous enterprise, so what he needed from them was not advice on how to fine-tune his actions, but their support and encouragement during 'the trial'.

CliffordSpencer
CliffordSpencer

Lincoln bolted, from the Republican party, to form the Union party.

kenhbradshaw
kenhbradshaw

@CliffordSpencer  Lincoln renamed the Republican party for the 1864 election to better represent the goals of his administration - as opposed to McClellan's Democratic party.  Why would you use the term "bolted"?  That makes no sense.

CliffordSpencer
CliffordSpencer

@kenhbradshaw @CliffordSpencer ,

  The Radical Republicans impeached Lincoln's hand -picked running-mate, Andrew Johnson!

  John Wilkes Booth was no lone assassin!

  Accomplices were hanged!

 President Teddy Roosevelt was shot when he bolted.

  He formed the Bull Moose Party.

  Coincidence?

coda1
coda1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Read anything about Lincoln - his self-education as a lawyer, his story-telling on the road, his emotional feelings and pain for several women early in his life, his love of literature and his compassion for any who suffered in his path, his ability to see beyond his time as a President, his informed military decisions, his complicated relationship with his wife, his humor, his forgiving nature, his decision making process and results. He sacrifice his life for his country - he may not have planned it that way, but he quickly knew what was coming and he knew that no one had ever been face with even a remotely related issue. He saw the value in the constitution and he fought for it. I'll take one half a Lincoln about now!  There is nobody like him - even the founders were not alone in their daunting task. Lincoln, he was ALONE. Read the journals of all those around him - i do not think anyone could believe this man was really just a man. 

Arthur
Arthur

I find this article fascinating, but there is one significant historical inaccuracy. The Emancipation Proclamation was first presented by Lincoln to his Cabinet on 7/22/1862. His next draft was present to the Cabinet on 9/22/1862. There was a third draft in late December 1862. However, final changes were not made by Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation until 1/1/1863, definitely not 1862.

robertholt72
robertholt72

Regarding the photograph used for the story:  I wonder. In a black and white photograph there might be more shades of gray than meets the eye. What if every shade of gray was from a particular color. That is to say, that perhaps every color gives a different shade of gray in a black and white photograph. If a computer were sophisticated enough, it might be able to pick up the minutely different shades of gray and give them the color that they truly represent. Red might be a particular shade of gray in a black and white photograph and blue might be a minutely different shade of gray in the same photograph. If a computer were to be able to pick up those two different shades of gray, then it could assign red and green to the appropriate areas. A computer might be able to pick up the minutely different shade of gray from many colors. Based on that, the computer could quickly colorize a black and white photograph with essentially true color. It’s possible that those minutely different shades of gray are in very old photographs too and they too could be quickly colorized with essentially true color. Even now, an inexpensive scanner can instantly correct color photographs that have turned orange, with one click. So perhaps being able to colorize old family black and white photographs with the home computer isn’t that farfetched or far off.

SortaTruth
SortaTruth like.author.displayName 1 Like

Lincoln abolished slavery and reunited a fragmented and crumbling empire.  Those facts are indisputable.  He did it at a time when (most likely) no other man was up to the task.  Through his fairness and understanding he made it so the south never again committed to another war against the union.  Had he shown the hatred and condemnation of most of his fellow northerners, and sought the death penalty for the highest of treason, the south would never have forgiven or forgotten.  And warring may very well continue to this day.  Can you imagine a martyred Robert E Lee, one of the greatest generals this country has ever known?  We want our politicians to live up to the highest of our own aspirations, that we believe strongly in our convictions and follow them without sway or mercy.  We have the position and so the luxury of that position to follow those convictions.  Did Lincoln in his heart believe that slavery was inherently cruel, wrong and indefensible?  I would bet my life on it.  Did Lincoln have other concerns that he had to weigh with equal value, we all know he did.  We want Lincoln to be the man that would have sacrificed his own life for the freedom of others.  Instead he did not die a martyr, just an extradionary man in the most difficult time.  Where would we be without Lincoln?

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 One great secret that Lincoln used was to give in or agree on everything that was of lesser importance or where two sides had equal claim.  This helped him to carry the points that were important, because he had established himself as fair.  (Fairness was Lincoln's exquisite trait – more than honesty).I think that lesson could be learned by today’s talking heads who always claim everything is a victory.At the risk of being partisan – I am a Romney supporter – I saw a Lincolnesque quality to Romney’s agreements in the third debate – not a lose to Obama.And I think that among those who are not die-hard Democrats, there was a sense that he carried the points he needed to carry.

Fredsta3
Fredsta3 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@kenhbradshaw1 Just wanted to say, respect from across the aisle. (I'm a 'Bama man)

Lincoln is my hero, too. Smart, capable, innovative man!

kenhbradshaw1
kenhbradshaw1 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Thank you.  I have a deep love for Lincoln and have studied him since I was a teen.

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