Lincoln would allow states to keep slavery

Feb. 18, 2011

State NAACP President Derrick Johnson and Robert McElvaine, director of the History Department at Millsaps, are both upset that the Sons of Confederate Veterans plans to feature Nathan Bedford Forrest on their 2014 vanity car tags. Mr. Johnson calls Forrest the leader of "a terrorist group" and compares him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Johnson should read Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, in which Lincoln reaffirms that position stated by him numerous times that he did not intend to interfere with slavery in the states where it existed. Lincoln said he had no objection to a plank in his party’s platform stating the same thing, and he also said he had no objection to the proposed constitutional amendment to make slavery perpetual in those states where it existed (the Corwin amendment). He did however state that he would invade the South if the duties and impost (i.e., taxes) from those states were not collected and forwarded to him.

By his own words Lincoln stated that he did not invade the South for any noble purpose of ending slavery.

I’m sure McElvaine as a professor of history is familiar with Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address. Will he chastise Illinois for having "Land of Lincoln" on car tags, or will Mr. McElvaine be a politically correct hypocrite?

Carl D. Ford