Lincoln the Racist
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Lincoln the Racist



“Who freed the slaves? To the extent that they were ever ‘freed,’ they were freed by the Thirteenth ...

“Who freed the slaves? To the extent that they were ever ‘freed,’ they were freed by the Thirteenth
Amendment, which was authored and pressured into existence not by Lincoln but by the great
emancipators nobody knows, the abolitionists and congressional leaders who created the climate and
generated the pressure that goaded, prodded, drove, forced Lincoln into glory by associating him with
a policy that he adamantly opposed for at least fifty-four of his fifty-six years of his life.”
Lerone Bennett, Jr., Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’ s White Dream, p. 19



Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



0 Embeds 0

No embeds



Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

CC Attribution-NonCommercial LicenseCC Attribution-NonCommercial License

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Lincoln the Racist Lincoln the Racist Document Transcript

  • Lincoln the RacistThomas J. DiLorenzolewrockwell.comNovember 10, 2012“Who freed the slaves? To the extent that they were ever ‘freed,’ they were freed by the ThirteenthAmendment, which was authored and pressured into existence not by Lincoln but by the greatemancipators nobody knows, the abolitionists and congressional leaders who created the climate andgenerated the pressure that goaded, prodded, drove, forced Lincoln into glory by associating him witha policy that he adamantly opposed for at least fifty-four of his fifty-six years of his life.” Lerone Bennett, Jr., Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’ s White Dream, p. 19Still from Lincoln, a biopic directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis.Let me introduce you to Lerone Bennett, Jr. who was the executive editor of Ebony magazine forseveral decades (beginning in 1958) and the author of many books, including a biography of MartinLuther King, Jr. (What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King) and Forced into Glory:Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream. Bennett is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and authoredhundreds of articles on African-American history and culture during his career at Ebony. He spent morethan twenty years researching and writing Forced into Glory, a scathing critique of Abraham Lincolnbased on mountains of truths.Forced into Glory, published in 2000, was mostly ignored by the Lincoln cult, although there were a
  • few timid “reviews” by reviewers that havenever done one-thousandth of the researchthat Lerone Bennett did on the subject. Asa black man, he was spared the mantra ofbeing “linked to extremist hate groups” bythe lily-white leftists at the SouthernPoverty Law Center, the preeminent hategroup of the hardcore Left. He was alsospared that hate group’s normallyautomatic insinuation that any critic ofLincoln must secretly wish that slavery hadnever ended. They mostly sat back andhoped that he would go away.Lerone Bennett, Jr. contends that it isalmost impossible for the average citizen to know much of anything about Lincoln despite the fact thatliterally thousands of books have been written about him. “A century of lies” is how he describesLincoln “scholarship.” He provides thousands of documented facts to make his case.On the subject of Steven Spielberg’s new movie on Lincoln, which is entirely about Lincoln’s supposedrole in lobbying for the Thirteenth Amendment that ended slavery, Bennett points out: “There is apleasant fiction that Lincoln . . . became a flaming advocate of the amendment and used the power ofhis office to buy votes to ensure its passage. There is no evidence, as David H. Donald has noted, tosupport that fiction . . .” To the extent that Lincoln did finally and hesitatingly support the amendment,Bennett argues that it was he who was literally forced into it by other politicians, not the other wayaround as portrayed in the Spielberg film. (David Donald, by the way, is the preeminent Lincoln scholar of our day and Pulitzer prize-winning Lincoln biographer). On the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, Bennett correctly points out that “J.G. Randall, who has been called ‘the greatest Lincoln scholar of all time,’ said the Proclamation itself did not free a single slave” since it only applied to rebel territory and specifically exempted areas of the U.S. such as the entire state of West Virginia where the U.S. Army was in control at the time. (James G. Randall was indeed the most prolific Lincoln scholar of all time and the academic mentor of David Donald at the University of Illinois). Lerone Bennett is understandably outraged at how the Lincoln cult has covered up Lincoln’s racism for over a century, pretending that he was not a man of his time. He quotes Lincoln as saying in the first Lincoln-Douglas debate in Ottawa, Illinois, for example, that he denied “to set the niggers and white people to marrying together” (Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, p. 20). In Forced into Glory Bennett shows that Lincoln rather compulsively used the N-word; was a huge fan of “black face” minstrel shows; was famous for his racist jokes; and that many of his White House appointees were shocked at
  • his racist language.Lincoln did not hesitate to broadcast his racistviews publicly, either. Bennett quotes his speechduring a debate with Douglas in Charleston,Illinois on September 18, 1858 (Collected Worksof Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, pp. 145-146):“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have beenin favor of bringing about in any way the socialand political equality of the white and blackraces, that I am not nor ever have been in favor ofmaking voters or jurors of Negroes, nor ofqualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarrywith white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the whiteand black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social andpolitical equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be theposition of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superiorposition assigned to the white race.”Bennett documents that Lincoln stated publicly that “America was made for the White people and notfor the Negroes” (p. 211), and “at least twenty-one times, he said publicly that he was opposed to equalrights for Blacks.” “What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races,”said Lincoln (Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 521).Reading through Forced into Glory, one gets the clear impression that Bennett got angrier and angrierat the non-stop excuse-making, lying, cover-ups, and fabrications of the “Lincoln scholars.” He nevertakes his eye of the ball, however, and is relentless in throwing facts in the faces of the Lincoln cultists.As a member of the Illinois legislature Lincoln urged the legislature “to appropriate money forcolonization in order to remove Negroes from the state and prevent miscegenation” (p. 228). Aspresident, Lincoln toiled endlessly with plans to “colonize” (i.e., deport) all of the black people out ofAmerica. This is what Bennett calls Lincoln’s “White Dream,” and more recent research of the verybest caliber supports him. I refer to the book Colonization after Emancipation by Phillip Magness ofAmerican University and Sebastian Page of Oxford University that, using records from the Americanand British national archives, proves that until his dying day Lincoln was negotiating with Great Britainand other foreign governments to deport all of the soon-to-be-freed slaves out of the U.S.The Lincoln cult, which has fabricated excuses for everything, argued for years that Lincolnmysteriously abandoned his obsession with “colonization” sometime around 1863. Magness and Pageprove this to be the nonsense that it is.In Illinois, the state constitution was amended in 1848 to prohibit free black people from residing in thestate. Lincoln supported it. He also supported the Illinois Black Codes, under which “Illinois Blackshad no legal rights. White people were bound to respect.” “None of this disturbed Lincoln,” writesBennett.Bennett also points out the clear historical fact that Lincoln strongly supported the Fugitive Slave Actwhich forced Northerners to hunt down runaway slaves and return them to their owners. He admittedlynever said a word about slavery in public until he was in his fifties, while everyone else in the nationwas screaming about the issue. When he did oppose slavery, Bennett points out, it was always in theabstract, accompanied by some statement to the effect that he didn’t know what could be done about it.And as a presidential candidate he never opposed Southern slavery, only the extension of slavery into
  • the territories, explaining that “we” wanted to preserve the Territories “for free White people”(Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, p. 311). In Bennett’s own words: “One must never forgetthat Lincoln always spoke in tongues or in a private code when he was talking about slavery orNegroes. And although he said or seemed to say that slavery was wrong, he always qualified theassertion in the same speech or in a succeeding speech, saying either that slavery was wrong in anabstract sense or that it was wrong in so far as it sought to spread itself.” He was a master politician,after all, which as Murray Rothbard once said, means that he was a masterful liar, conniver, andmanipulator.All of these truths, and many more, have been ignored, swept under the rug, or buried under thousandsof pages of excuses by the Lincoln cult over the past century and more in books and in films like thenew Lincoln film by Steven Spielberg. After spending a quarter of a century researching and writing onthe subject, Lerone Bennett, Jr. concluded that “Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he isa church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom have a vested interestin ‘the great emancipator’ and who are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him” (p.114). And “with rare exceptions, you can’t believe what any major Lincoln scholar tells you aboutAbraham Lincoln and race.” Amen, Brother Lerone. Was Lincoln a Tyrant?by Thomas J. DiLorenzo In a recent WorldNetDaily article, “Examining ‘Evidence of Lincolns Tyranny (April 23),” David Quackenbush accuses me of misreading several statements by the prominent historians Roy Basler and Mark Neely in my book, The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. With regard to Basler, I quote him in Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, as suggesting that on the issue of slavery, post 1854, Lincolns “words lacked effectiveness.” Quackenbush says he was not referring to Lincolns comments on slavery here, but other things. I read him differently. What Basler said was that, yes, Lincoln used eloquent language with regard to human equality and “respecting the Negro as a human being,” but he offered no concrete proposals other than the odious colonization idea of his political idol, Henry Clay. As Basler wrote, “The truth is that Lincoln had no solution to the problem of slavery [as of 1857] except the
  • colonization idea which he inherited from Henry Clay.” Inthe next sentence he mentions Lincolns eloquent naturalrights language, then in the next sentence after that, hemakes the “lacking in effectiveness” comment. What Ibelieve Basler is saying here is that because Lincolns actionsdid not match his impressive rhetoric, his words did indeedlack effectiveness.As Robert Johannsen, author of Lincoln, the South, and Slaveryput it, Lincolns position on slavery was identical to Clays:“opposition to slavery in principle, toleration of it in practice,and a vigorous hostility toward the abolition movement”(emphasis added). Regardless of what Basler said, I take theposition that Lincolns sincerity can certainly be questioned inthis regard. His words did lack effectiveness on the issue ofslavery because he contradicted himself so often. Indeed, one ofhis most famous defenders, Harry Jaffa, has long maintainedthat Honest Abe was a prolific liar when he was makingnumerous racist and white supremacist remarks. He was lying,says Jaffa, just to get himself elected. In The Lincoln Enigma Gabor Boritt even goes so far indefending Lincolns deportation/colonization proposals to say, “This is how honest people lie.” Well,not exactly. Truly honest people do not lie.The problem with this argument, Joe Sobran has pointed out, is that Lincoln made these kinds of uglycomments even when he was not running for political office. He did this, I believe, because hebelieved in these things.Basler was certainly aware of Lincolns voluminous statements in opposition to racial equality. Hedenounced “equality between the white and black races” in his August 21, 1858 debate with StephenDouglas; stated in his 1852 eulogy to Henry Clay that as monstrous as slavery was, eliminating itwould supposedly produce “a greater evil, even to the cause of human liberty itself;” and in hisFebruary 27, 1860 Cooper Union speech advocated deporting black people so that “their places be . . .filled up by free white laborers.” In fact, Lincoln clung to the colonization/deportation idea for the restof his life. There are many other similar statements. Thus, it is not at all a stretch to conclude thatBaslers comment that Lincolns words “lacked effectiveness” could be interpreted as that he wasinsincere. It also seems to me that Johannsen is right when he further states that “Nearly all of[Lincolns] public statements on the slavery question prior to his election as president were deliveredwith political intent and for political effect.” As David Donald wrote of Lincoln in LincolnReconsidered, “politics was his life.” In my book I do not rely on Basler alone, but any means, to makemy point that Lincolns devotion to racial equality was dubious, at best.Quackenbush apparently believes it is a sign of sincerity for Lincoln to have denounced slavery in onesentence, and then in the next sentence to denounce the abolition of slavery as being even more harmfulto human liberty. (I apparently misread the statement Lincoln once made about “Siamese twins” by
  • relying on a secondary source that got it wrong and will change it if there is a third printing).Quackenbush takes much out of context and relies exclusively on Lincolns own arguments in order topaint as bleak a picture of my book as possible. For example, in my book I quote Mark Neely assaying that Lincoln exhibited a “gruff and belittling impatience” over constitutional arguments that hadstood in the way of his cherished mercantilist economic agenda (protectionist tariffs, corporate welfare,and a federal monopolization of the money supply) for decades. Quackenbush takes me to task forallegedly implying that Neely wrote that Lincoln opposed the Constitution and not just constitutionalarguments. But I argue at great length in the book that Lincoln did resent the Constitution as well as theconstitutional arguments that were made by myriad American statesmen, beginning with Jefferson. Infact, this quotation of Neely comes at the end of the chapter entitled “Was Lincoln a Dictator,” in whichI recount the trashing of the Constitution by Lincoln as discussed in such books as James RandallsConstitutional Problems Under Lincoln, Dean Spragues Freedom Under Lincoln, and Neelys Fate ofLiberty. Lincolns behavior, more than his political speeches, demonstrated that he had little regard forthe Constitution when it stood in the way of his political ambitions.One difference between how I present this material and how these others authors present it is that I donot spend most of my time making excuses and bending over backwards to concoct “rationales” forLincolns behavior. I just present the material. The back cover of Neelys book, for example, states thatthanks to the book, “Lincoln emerges . . . with his legendary statesmanship intact.” Neely won aPulitzer Prize for supposedly pulling Lincolns fanny out of the fire with regard to his demolition ofcivil liberties in the North during the war.Quackenbush dismisses the historical, constitutional arguments opposed to Lincolns mercantilisteconomic agenda, as Lincoln himself sometimes did, as “partisan zealotry.” Earlier in the book I quoteJames Madison, the father of the Constitution, as vetoing an “internal improvements” bill sponsored byHenry Clay on the grounds that “it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised in the bill isamong the enumerated powers” of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, AndrewJackson, and John Tyler made similar statements. These were more than partisan arguments by
  • political hacks and zealots. The father of the Constitution himself, Madison, believed the corporatewelfare subsidies that Lincoln would later champion were unconstitutional.Add to this Lincolns extraordinary disregard for the Constitution during his entire administration, andit seems absurd for Quackenbush or anyone else to portray him as a champion of the Constitution whowas pestered by “political zealots.” Among Lincolns unconstitutional acts were launching an invasionwithout the consent of Congress, blockading Southern ports before formally declaring war, unilaterallysuspending the writ of habeas corpus and arresting and imprisoning thousands of Northern citizenswithout a warrant, censoring telegraph communications, confiscating private property, includingfirearms, and effectively gutting the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.Even quite worshipful Lincoln biographers and historians called him a “dictator.” In his book,Constitutional Dictatorship, Clinton Rossiter devoted an entire chapter to Lincoln and calls him a“great dictator” and a “true democrat,” two phrases that are not normally associated with each other.“Lincolns amazing disregard for the . . . Constitution was considered by nobody as legal,” saidRossiter. Yet Quackenbush throws a fit because I dare to question Lincolns devotion to constitutionalliberty.Quackenbush continues to take my statements out of context when commenting on the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and he refuses to admit that Lincoln did in fact lament the demise of the Bank of theUnited Stated during the debates. His earlier claim that there was not a single word said during theLincoln-Douglas debates about economic policy is simply untrue.But the larger context is that even though most of the discussion during the debates centered on suchissues as the extension of slavery into the new territories, they were really a manifestation of the olddebate between the advocates of centralized government (Hamilton, Clay, Webster, Lincoln) and ofdecentralized government and states rights (Jefferson, Jackson, Tyler, Calhoun, Douglas). At the timeof the debates Lincoln had spent about a quarter of a century laboring in the trenches of the Whig andRepublican Parties, primarily on behalf of the so-called “American System” of protectionist tariffs, taxsubsidies to corporations, and centralized banking. When the Whig Party collapsed Lincoln assuredIllinois voters that there was no essential difference between he two parties. This is what he and theWhigs and Republicans wanted a centralized government for. As Basler said, at the time he had noconcrete solution to the slavery issue other than to propose sending black people back to Africa, Haiti,or Central America. He did, however, have a long record of advocating the programs of the “AmericanSystem” and implementing a financially disastrous $10 million “internal improvements” boondoggle inIllinois in the late 1830s when he was an influential member of the state legislature.Lincoln spent his 25-year off-and-on political career prior to 1857 championing the Whig project ofcentralized government that would engage in a kind of economic central planning. When the extensionof slavery became the overriding issue of the day he continued to hold the centralizers position. Andas soon as he took office, he and the Republican party enacted what James McPherson called a“blizzard of legislation” that finally achieved the “American System,” complete with federal railroadsubsidies, a tripling of the average tariff rate that would remain that high or higher long after the warended, and centralized banking with the National Currency and Legal Tender Acts. It is in this sensethat the Lincoln-Douglas debates really did have important economic ramifications.Quackenbush complains that I do not quote Lincoln enough. He falsely states that theres only oneLincoln quote in the entire book, which is simply bizarre. On page 85 alone I quote Lincoln thesecessionist, speaking on January 12, 1848 (“The War with Mexico: Speech in the United States Houseof Representatives”): “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right torise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is amost valuable, a most sacred right --a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is
  • the right confined to cases I which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exerciseit. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of theterritory as they inhabit.” Thats four sentences, by my count, and there are plenty of other Lincolnquotes in my book, contrary to Quackenbushs kooky assertion.But he has a point: I chose to focus in my book more on Lincolns actions than his words. After all,even Bill Clinton would look like a brilliant statesman if he were judged exclusively by his pleasant-sounding speeches, many of which were written by the likes of James Carville and Paul Begala. Yet,this is how many Lincoln scholars seem to do their work, even writing entire books around single shortspeeches while ignoring much of Lincolns actual behavior and policies.I also stand by my argument that Lincoln was essentially the anti-Jefferson in many ways, including hisrepudiation of the principle in the Declaration of Independence that governments derive their justpowers from the consent of the governed. I dont see how this can even be debatable. The Whigs werealways the anti-Jeffersonians who battled with the political heirs of Jefferson, such as Andrew Jacksonand John Tyler. Lincoln was solidly in this tradition, even though he often quoted Jefferson forpolitical effect. He also quoted Scripture a lot even though, as Joe Sobran has pointed out, he nevercould bring himself to become a believer.In this regard I believe the Gettysburg Address was mostly sophistry. As H.L. Mencken once wrote, “itis poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense.” It was the Union soldiers in the battle, he wrote, who “actuallyfought against self determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people togovern themselves.” Regardless of what one believes was the main cause of the war, it is indeed truethat the Confederates no longer consented to being governed by Washington, D.C. and Lincoln waged awar to deny them that right.Its interesting that even though the title of Quackenbushs article had to do with “Evidence of LincolnsTyranny,” in fourteen pages he does not say a single word about the voluminous evidence that I dopresent, based on widely-published and easily-accessible materials, of Lincolns tyrannical behavior intrashing the Constitution and waging war on civilians in violation of international law and codes ofmorality. Instead, he focuses on accusations of misplaced quotation marks, footnotes out of order, ormisinterpretations of a few quotations. April 27, 2002 Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is the author of the LRC #1 bestseller, The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (Forum/Random House 2002) and professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland.Abraham Lincoln was a Tyrant! VIDEO BELOW Paul vs. Lincoln VIDEO BELOW