Re: "Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery"

Book review by LCDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN, I would like to take the opportunity to comment and to invite the good LCDR to contact me, eventhough I left Naval aviation as a lowly LT.

This review is so completey immersed in the "Saint Lincoln" cult and so oblivious of actual history one must assume that the reviewer and the writer both managed to compose this while keeping their heads thoroughly buried in the sand, academically speaking.

Lincoln NEVER had a "Relentless Struggle to End Slavery." He was perfectly willing to let it survive as long as the Union could be held together and the massive revenue from the export of Southern goods was pouring into the Federal coffers (about 70% of the Federal revenues by 1860).

In March, 1861, Lincoln helped lobby for and pass a proposed (and still proposed) Constitutional Amendment which would have protected slavery forever. The Corwin Amendment had passed both the House and Senate mainly due to the lobbying efforts of then President-Elect Lincoln and had it been ratified by the states would have contained the following wording:

"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State." – Volume 12 of the Statutes at Large, page 251

Lincoln lobbied for the permanent perpetuation of slavery in the hopes that it would draw the Confederate States (and their revenues) back into the Union. It did not, since the Southern states had seceded over issues involving taxes, tariffs, contribution to the Federal budget, and lack of balance in the House and Senate – NOT slavery.

Lincoln continued with his willingness to tolerate slavery even after the War had been underway for some time and just before his so-called "Emancipation Proclamation." In his December, 1862, State of the Union speech Lincoln proposed a system of gradual compensated emancipation with slavery finally eliminated completely by 1900. Thirty-eight years of "Relentless Struggle?"

Even the celebrated (and misread) "Emancipation Proclamation" was a hollow political farce recognized as such by the English. While it "freed" slaves in the Confederate States over which Lincoln and the Union held no sway, it left in bondage over 800,000 slaves Lincoln could have freed in the Union slave states, areas of Louisiana and Virginia under Union control, and even the Confederate slave state of Tennessee "…as if this proclamation were not issued." When the war ended in April, 1865, those parties excluded by the proclamation remained slaves in those areas until December, 1865, some eight months later, when the 13th Amendment was finally ratified.

By that quirk, it means the last slave nation in North America was the United States of America, not the Confederate States of America.

Here is the ACTUAL text of the proclamation (note that the Confederate State of Tennessee is omitted):

"That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free…

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebone, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued."

Here is a reference which clarifies the matter a bit:

"…So Englishmen saw it. Lincoln’s insincerity was regarded as proven by two things: his earlier denial of any lawful right or wish to free the slaves; and, especially, his not freeing the slaves in ‘loyal’ Kentucky and other United States areas or even in Confederate areas occupied by United States troops, such as New Orleans." – The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy, Sheldon Vanauken, 1989, Washington, DC: Regnery/Gateway

Lincoln’s ACTUAL speeches from 1854-1858 did not reflect any commitment to Black equality or abolition but instead reflected Lincoln’s deep-seated racism and his desire to "colonize" all Blacks outside of the United States:

"A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as immediate separation is impossible the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together… Such separation, if ever affected at all, must be effected by colonization… The enterprise is a difficult one, but ‘where there is a will there is a way:’ and what colonization needs now is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and at the same time, favorable to, or at least not against our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be." – An address by Abraham Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois, on June 26, 1857

[Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol II, pp 408-9, Basler, ed.]

"Negro equality, Fudge!! How long in the Government of a God great enough to make and maintain this Universe, shall there continue to be knaves to vend and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?" – Abraham Lincoln 1859 [Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol III, pp 399, Basler, ed.]

"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 from 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, as cited in "The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln," Roy Basler, ed. 1953 New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press

"Send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But free them and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit this." – Abraham Lincoln, as cited in "The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln," Roy Basler, ed. 1953 New Brunswick, N.J.,: Rutgers University Press

"Some ten years later, in his December 1, 1862, message to Congress, Lincoln reiterated that ‘I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor colonization." – Abraham Lincoln, as cited in "Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings," Roy Basler, ed. 1946, New York: Da Capo

"At another time, Mr. Lincoln publicly recommended Central America to a delegation of blacks who waited on him, as suited by climate and so forth to colonization by their people. In the fall of 1862 there appeared in New York a certain Mr. Koch, with a queer story and a queer project…he had conceived the project of taking to Santo Domingo a colony of blacks from the United States, procuring a grant of land, and settling them on it, to raise cotton. Mr. Lincoln was entirely captivated by it; …The President made a contract with him (Koch) for the transportation of the first colony of blacks, four hundred in number, to his (Koch’s) island of La Veche, at the price, I think, of $100 per head; to be paid, one half when the colonists had embarked, and the other half when they were safely landed on the island. Before many months were over, the President was constrained as a matter of mere humanity to send a vessel of war after the poor fellows, and the remainder of them was brought back and landed in Boston. The last thing I heard of them was a public meeting under violent anti-slavery auspices to denounce the brutal and inhuman conduct of President Lincoln, in sending these poor men into exile; and one or two of the negroes themselves appeared at the meeting in support of the resolutions!" – Overland Monthly and Out West magazine/Volume 9, Issue 52, San Francisco, 1887, pp. 540, 541 – "An Episode of the Civil War," John T. Doyle

Now I can ask the bottom-line questions which you can submit to the author, Richard Striner:

"Did you even read anything about Lincoln that did not agree absolutely with your blind, fawning worship of a very flawed man or did you simply decide to censor out everything that failed to portray him as a moral hero and crusader? Where is the balance in your work"

I also wish to remind Mr. Striner of the following time-tested admonition:

"The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice." – Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

It is impossible to defend the writing or publication of such a work of sheer "Saint Lincoln" propaganda. It is inexcusable that it was written with such absolute bias and unthinkable that Oxford Press would publish such a flawed and inaccurate recounting of such an important part of history apparently without bothering to check and see if the author was writing history or simply recounting his own hero worship.

I question the Oxford Press’s decision to publish this fantasy under the category of "history."

Please feel free to invite LCDR Aboul-Enein to contact me by Email or telephone. I hate to think that he believes this is reall American history. You may also invite him to visit the following website:

Michael Kelley

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