Lincoln And Corwin

by Al Benson Jr.

As this year passes we will continue, no doubt, to be treated to stories about Abraham Lincoln, the "great emancipator." This was supposedly the man who "freed" the slaves (he freed no one). This was the man who, supposedly, had a fond spot in his heart for all black folks (actually he was a flaming racist) and even today they continue to revere his name as though he were Moses leading them through the Red Sea. Actually Lincoln did lead them (and the rest of us through the Red sea. Most just don’t have the sense to realize that yet).

Actually, Lincoln’s primary goal was preserving the Union, a Union that, in his mind, had always existed, and one in which the individual states had no real say in what they did, except as allowed by the central government in Washington. In other words, in Lincoln’s "Union" the states were totally free to do whatever Washington wanted them to do. Mr. Lincoln didn’t care a flip one way or the other whether slavery flourished or not. As proof of this, witness his support for the Corwin Amendment. "What’s that?" you ask. You mean you never read about that in your government school history books?  Wonder why that is. Maybe it’s just one of those little facts the public "educators" and their friends in government and the publishing industry felt you would be much better off not knowing about. After all, you can’t ask embarrassing questions if you don’t know, can you?

The Corwin Amendment was introduced into Congress in March of 1861. Its sponsor was Ohio Representative Thomas Corwin. That’s right, folks, this man was from Ohio, not Georgia or Alabama. Some reports have stated that Corwin introduced this amendment to prevent the "Civil War."  It was presented to the Congress in the form of House (Joint) Resolution No. 80. The entire idea of the Corwin Amendment was to prohibit Congress from trying to ban slavery in whatever states there were that still permitted it. The Corwin Amendment would have stopped Congress from "abolishing or interfering with the ‘domestic institutions’ including ‘persons held to labor or service’ (a reference to slavery)." Interestingly enough, a parallel resolution to the one in the House was introduced into the Senate by William H. Seward of New York, (not Georgia, but New York). In fact, Wikipedia informs us: "However, the newly formed Confederate States of America was totally committed to independence, and so it ignored the proposed Corwin Amendment." Interesting. Our so-called historians (and I use that term rather loosely here) have continued to inform us that the Southern states fled the Union solely so they could keep their slaves. If that had really been the case, here was a golden opportunity for them to keep their slaves and get back into the Union so they could vote to do so. Yet they passed it up. You don’t just suppose they might have had other reasons for secession rather than slavery do you? Naw, the court historians would never admit to that fact no matter what!

In February of 1861 the House approved the resolution by a vote of 133-65 and in early March the Senate approved it by a vote of 24-12. The seven Southern states that had already seceded from the Union at that point did not bother to try to vote on the issue, leading to the inescapable conclusion that, for them, slavery was not the real issue. Had it been the real and sole issue, no doubt they could have petitioned Washington to get back into the Union so they could have voted to keep their slaves.

Also worth noting is the fact that the "great emancipator" did not oppose the Corwin Amendment. He said, in his first inaugural address: "(H)olding such a provision to now be implied Constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." In other words, a Constitutional amendment that made slavery for life the rule of law didn’t bother Mr. Lincoln one iota.

According to "A young Henry Adams observed that the measure narrowly passed both houses due to the lobbying efforts of Abraham Lincoln, the President-Elect."


So it seems that Mr. Lincoln lobbied to get this pro-slavery amendment through both houses of Congress. Something else your history books didn’t bother to inform you of? After all, it wouldn’t fit the image of Lincoln, the "great emancipator" that people in government and government schools wanted to present to the great unwashed (and under-educated) masses–so just leave it out! It would appear that Mr. Lincoln is not the great emancipator we have been told he was.  And his Emancipaton Proclamation, which was really a war and propagand measure, freed no one. The slaves were not freed until the 13th Amendment was enacted late in 1865, after Mr. Lincoln had passed away.

Maybe it behooves us all to start asking a few questions about those government school "history" books we were all brought up with–you know–really embarrassing questios–the kind they don’t want asked.

©2009  Al Benson Jr.

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