Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The Myth of Northern Racial Equality
Hero or Tyrant?
After reading an old post from back in late February on Jasmine Baucham’s blog, and the recent post that Mr.Phillips composed on interracial marriage; I wanted to offer a few of my own thoughts on the issue of Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and the "war to end slavery."
The record is clear, the invasion of the south was not motivated by a desire by Lincoln to end slavery.
"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union" A. Lincoln 1862
Although Lincoln was opposed to the introduction of slavery into the new territories, Kansas and Nebraska, he was staunchly in favor of legislation to restrict the mere presence of blacks in his home state of Illinois. The "Black Codes" were a notorious set of laws that impacted and restricted the blacks in matters of church, inter-marriage, voting, political office, and even citizenship.
New Jersey Law, 1859:
“No new slaves shall be imported into this state, white labor is decreasing and it must remain supreme.”
Connecticut Law, 1845:
“Resident and non resident blacks may not attend public schools because it will tend to the great increase of colored people in this state.”
Massachusetts Law 1855:
“Any negro shall be flogged if he or she comes into this state and remains herein longer than two months.”
Illinois Law 1853, (which Lincoln as a congressman supported):
“No free negro shall immigrate into this state.”
Illinois 1862, (The war being in progress, 97% voted in favor, 3% voted against):
“No negro or mulatto shall ever immigrate or settle in this state!”
Indiana Law 1863, (enacted during the war and after the Emancipation Proclamation):
“No Negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in this state.”
There is a common phrase that is thrown around to excuse Lincoln’s sinful attitude toward blacks and it goes something like this: "Well, Lincoln was a man of his time." Well, perhaps he was a product of Northern enlightenment and the lies of racism that were prevalent in "his time" and in the region in which he lived. Therefore, we must not excuse sin based on the worldview and opinions of the culture around us. The attitude of racism was much stronger, however in the north than in the south and Alexis De Tocqueville illustrates this in his work: Democracy in America.
“In the South, where slavery still exists, the negroes are less carefully kept apart;…although the legislation treats them more harshly,(slavery is allowed) the habits of the people are more tolerant and compassionate…In the North the white no longer distinctly perceives the barrier which separates him from the degraded race, and he shuns the negro with the more pertinacity, since he fears lest they should some day be confounded together…”
"Whoever has inhabited the United States must have perceived that in those parts of the Union in which the Negroes are no longer slaves they have in no wise drawn nearer to the whites. On the contrary, the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known."
Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was clearly a political maneuver and it did not stem from a love or compassion for the black slave. He even described the E.P. as his "last card." The mere fact that he only "freed" the slaves in states that were, "in rebellion" demonstrates his political motives. The Proclamation did not touch slavery in the states of New York, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky, and Union occupied portions of Tennessee and Louisiana. Why then, did he only "free" the slaves in the south where he had no control or lawful jurisdiction but left it intact in union states and union occupied areas? Because it was a political move to either incite penal insurrection and/or to discourage potential foreign recognition and aid of the Southern Confederacy.
Lincoln’s War did not end slavery and it certainly did not end racism, but deepened it. The professed purpose of the war, "to preserve the Union" (which is another issue altogether), morphed into a crusade to end slavery and "free the black man in bondage." At the issuance of the E.P. thousands of federal soldiers deserted because they were more than willing to conquer the South into subjugation but did not want to fight for the freedom of a race whom they deemed to be an inferior class of men, if not sub-human.
An interesting hypothetical observation of Lincoln’s war, is that if Lincoln had chosen to end slavery by purchasing the freedom of every slave on American soil a.k.a "Compensated Emancipation," the full cost would have totaled $2,000,000,000 to free four-million slaves at market value. Rather, Lincoln’s war took the lives of 1,000,000 Americans, cost the U.S. treasury $6,190,000,000, and cost the Southerners $2,099,808,707 defending their soil against the federal invasion. The social, familial, and national cost is incalculable.
This chapter in our history is widely misunderstood by the modern scholars of our day and the truth must be proclaimed.
Evil persists when good men do nothing.