By: Kevin Tuma

"My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.”

-Abraham Lincoln, August 22, 1862, Letter to Newspaper Editor Horace Greeley

In recent news, the Press has begun to pillory Ron Paul over his unconventional views of the US Civil War. It is unknown what they hope to accomplish by spotlighting a 147-year old historical event as a campaign issue; but the inference, since the discussions concern slavery, suggests a subtle attempt to smear Paul as a racist.

Before the socialist tyrant lovers in the mainstream media wax too orgasmic about using Paul’s position against him, it is worth pointing out that his position is the intelligent and informed position. It’s long since past obvious that the MSM is uninterested in reaching an intelligent, informed audience—but I’m not too sure this Lincoln debate is something they really want to dredge up into a national controversy. The odds are much too high that modern-day people may actually learn something new.

Most Americans who are products of the public school system are conditioned to love Lincoln. His image as a hero has been carefully cultivated and sugar-coated by academia and pundits.

I admired Lincoln as a child, so much so that I drew portaits of him and sculpted a bust of his head once in clay. Lincoln had interesting and noble facial features. I was proud of that sculpture, which my mother kept safe for me many years, even though its ear eventually broke off in an unfired state. Such is the hero worship a child can have for the most lionized president in American history.

The truth is both ugly and unpleasant: Not only was the ghastly, bloody war that he supposedly fought to end slavery unnecessary, Lincoln was a tyrant and an abuser of civil liberties.

The “tyrant” part is well-documented. He suspended habeas corpus. He deported a US Congressman who disagreed with the war. He had Federal police impound dissenting newspapers and smash their presses. He authorized Sherman’s March to the Sea–a war crime, by any civilized human standard.

But ‘Honest Abe’ also was not racially enlightened, as many people think. This is obvious to those who dig beneath the sugar coating of the historical image, but those who have not should start with his own words on the topic of race, from the Lincoln-Douglas debates:

“We have decided that the negro must not be a slave within our limits, but we have also decided that the negro shall not be a citizen within our limits; that he shall not vote, hold office, or exercise any political rights.”

-Abraham Lincoln, September 15, 1858


“…I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.”

-Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858[Source:]

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way 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 which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

-Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858[Source:]

It can only be concluded, based upon his own words, that Abraham Lincoln may well have been a slave abolitionist, but he was also clearly a racist who considered African-Americans to be inferior human beings–if indeed he considered them human beings at all. Imagine the firestorm that would ensue today if a famous politician running for public office uttered the quotations listed above in a public forum!

Historical apologists for Lincoln mewl that the above remarks were simple political expediency–that Lincoln was bowing to the racism of the times, and that he didn’t really mean it.

Rubbish. Jefferson actually owned slaves, and never made such white separatist and piggish remarks. Ben Franklin considered the races to be equal…but then, Franklin was a sincere abolitionist who lived before his time–not an opportunist.

By contrast–according to author Lerone Bennett, at least–Lincoln was a crude bigot who habitually used the “N” word, enjoyed watching black minstrel shows and delighted in demeaning “darkie” jokes.

Lincoln also supported the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which empowered “slave catchers” in free states to arrest escaped slaves and return them to bondage. Marshals were given cash rewards for runaway slaves they returned to slavery. Marshals who refused to enforce the law were fined. Those who assisted a runaway slave, as many people in underground railroads did, were brought to justice as well. Runaways were denied the right to testify on their own behalf, and were also denied trial by jury. Lincoln did not see the law as unconstitutional, nor did he feel it should go unenforced.

Most ludicrous and disturbing of all, Lincoln was well-documented as a proponent of a separatist movement dubbed “colonization”–and in the White House, Lincoln proposed to create colonies to send black people back to Africa in Liberia, to Haiti, or to work in coal mines in Panama. Most of his plans went awry, so the colonization was not implemented. However, just a few days before his assassination, he asked General Benjamin F. Butler to study the possibility of shipping the blacks to a new colony in another location on the map.

Lincoln did not feel blacks and whites could live together. At no point, rhetorically, did the “Great Emancipator” ever deviate from that white separatist position.

Walt Disney, God bless him, probably never would have admired Lincoln enough to erect that big animatronic tribute shrine, had he known the real truth. We’ve all been sold a bill of goods on "Honest Abe".

Racism is a hallmark of collectivists and tyrants. Adolf Hitler was a collectivist tyrant and a socialist. That’s probably why, at least early in the 1930s, the US news media had a sneaking admiration for him. They admired “Uncle Joe” Stalin, too, before news of his reign of terror leaked out enough to make him unsupportable. Both Hitler and Stalin were graced with TIME Magazine’s Man of the Year award, which really tells us all we ever need to know about the magazine in question.

The media loves tyrants. “Honest Abe” was a racist tyrant. It is therefore especially ironic that the media is now subtly attempting to paint the courtly and decent Dr. Ron Paul as a racist, using his opposition to Mr. Lincoln’s war as a rhetorical foil.

Whether the smear sticks depends upon how gullible and misinformed the public is–but in the age of the Internet, the mainstream media, as usual, is probably underestimating the opposition. In truth, a thoughtful debate on Lincoln and the War Between the States has been long overdue, and it may not be wise for the gatekeepers of the fourth estate to have that debate now, in the age of political blogging and Youtube. Especially not considering the relative youthfulness and energy of Dr. Paul’s followers.

An unintended consequence of pushing this as a campaign issue is that the Press may wind up accidentally shattering “Saint” Lincoln’s feet of clay, and bringing his whole mythology crashing down.

As the ever-cerebral Decider says, “Bring it on.” Let’s hash this out. A lot more people on the World Wide Web need to read Lincoln’s phrase, “I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” Let’s see how that quote plays in Peoria in 2008…all Americans should learn the truth about Mr. Lincoln’s view of the ‘difference in the races’.

As for Dr. Paul, there is no racist avarice in him. He is a kind, gentlemanly soul; a rare breed in Washington. He’s not politically correct, either, because he doesn’t believe in Orwellianism. But he is less prejudiced than most big-government socialists from the mainstream of the two prevailing political parties, who see racial division as a matter of campaign strategy.

Libertarians are not racists. Racism has no traction in the libertarian movement, because libertarians believe in the Power of the Individual, inalienable human rights, personal responsibility, and civil liberties. Libertarians judge people on individual merits, based on their behavior and intellect. To a true libertarian, a black man is just another man—not some sort of inferior dependent upon White Man’s Burden, or human chattel to be exploited.

Belief systems that unfortunately eluded Lincoln, historical myth to the contrary.

Copyright © 1997 – 2007 Ether Zone.

On The Web: