5 Myths About Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln is one of the most revered presidents in eyes of many Americans. From lip-syncing in awful car commercials to being portrayed by elite actors in award-winning Hollywood productions, few historical figures – especially presidents – can match the level of popularity and respect of Honest Abe.

The problem is that the Abraham Lincoln known by most is a complete myth. Without a doubt, Lincoln caused more damage to individual rights and had less respect for the founding principles of our country than any other president before or since. In short, Lincoln was a tyrant. Here are five of the most common myths about Lincoln dispelled:


Myth #1: Lincoln’s war saved the Union.

The reality: Lincoln’s war ended the voluntary nature of the Constitution at gunpoint.

In all of our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution – the states described themselves as “free and independent.” The intention was for the individual states (and their residents) to retain their sovereignty over domestic issues while the Federal government was only given very specific powers (foreign affairs and multi-state disputes) as enumerated in the Constitution. This is why we have the understanding that the government gets its power from the consent of the governed.

Lincoln ended that. By declaring war on states that had seceded peacefully, Lincoln made membership in the Union compulsory. Even if the people of the southern states no longer consented to being governed by what they believed to be an oppressive and dictatorial government, Lincoln was going to force them to submit.

Abraham Lincoln set the precedent of the Federal government trampling over the rights of the states. This is one of the biggest reasons we have such an out-of-control Federal government: the Civil War destroyed the power of the states to stand up to abuses by the Federal government.


Myth #2: Lincoln had to invade the South to end slavery.

The reality: Abe Lincoln didn’t care about slavery, and he certainly didn’t have to invade the South to end it. Here are Lincoln’s own words concerning his objective for the war:

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, 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.”
– Lincoln in a letter to Horace Greeley – Aug. 22, 1862

“I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
– Lincoln during his first debate with Stephan Douglas – Aug. 21, 1858

The only reason Lincoln may have pushed to abolish slavery was to cripple the Southern economy, not because he was opposed to the institution itself. Let’s not forget that the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free any slaves, and Lincoln actually had very, very little to do with the passage of the 13th Amendment.

If Abe’s objective was to end slavery, then a war was completely unnecessary. During the 19th century, there were dozens of countries that abolished slavery peacefully, without fighting a war over it (through compensated emancipation). These countries include: the British and Spanish empires, Mexico, all of Central America, French and Danish colonies, and Bolivia, and Chile, and Venezuela, among many others.

It’s pretty obvious that even if there was no Civil War, slavery in America was becoming very unpopular and would’ve ended anyway. Considering that Jefferson Davis sent several diplomats to Lincoln to negotiate peace and even stated that the Southern states only wished to be left alone, it seems that war really was the last resort for everyone but Lincoln.



Myth #3: Lincoln championed racial equality.

I’ll let Honest Abe speak for himself on this one:

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.”
– Lincoln during his first debate with Stephan Douglas – Aug. 21, 1858

“I will to the very last stand by the law of this state, which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes.”
– Lincoln during his fourth debate with Stephan Douglas – Sept. 18, 1858

“Negro equality? Fudge! How long in the Government of a God great enough to make and maintain this Universe, shall there continue knaves to vend and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?” – Lincoln, Fragments: Notes for Speeches, Sept. 1859 (Vol. III)

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway 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 believed will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
– Lincoln during his fourth debate with Stephan Douglas – Sept. 18, 1858

Moreover, Lincoln didn’t want blacks staying in America after they were freed. He was an outspoken advocate of what was, at the time, called “colonization,” or shipping all the black people back to Africa. His own words:

“I cannot make it better known than it already is that I strongly favor colonization.”
– Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress, Dec. 1, 1862

Myth #4: Lincoln defended civil rights.

The reality: Lincoln had nothing but contempt for the Constitution and personal freedom. Lincoln…
Invaded the South without the consent of the people (Congress),
Started the nation’s first compulsory draft,
Suspended the right to a trial,
Imprisoned between 12,000-30,000 Northern anti-war protestors (without trial),
Declared martial law that put millions under military rule,
Blockaded Southern ports without a declaration of war (forcing the South into a fight),
Deported representatives that publically opposed him (Clement Vallandigham),
Confiscated private property (including guns),
Destroyed the 9th and 10th Amendments,
Jailed owners and editors of newspapers that criticized him,
Censored all newspapers and telegraphs,
Nationalized the railroads,
Arbitrarily created three new states to boost the Republican Party’s electoral vote, and…
Ordered troops to interfere in Northern elections on the side of Republicans.

Myth #5: Lincoln was honest.

Let’s not forget that Lincoln manipulated the country into an unnecessary, evil war. Lincoln provoked the South into firing the first shots at Fort Sumter (no Northern troops were even killed during event). Lincoln, knowing that Governor Pickens of South Carolina had already asked the Federals to abandon the fort (given that S.C. had seceded and had the rights to Fort Sumter), sent ships, troops, and munitions to resupply it. Lincoln hoped that the South would mistake the sudden movement of a large amount of troops as an act of war, and it did. The Charlestown militia took Lincoln’s bait and started bombarding the fort, and the rest is history.