Steven Spielberg's Lincoln has
been a box-office hit and nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best
picture, best director and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrayed our
16th president. I haven't seen the movie; therefore, this column is not about
the movie but about a man deified by many. My colleague Thomas DiLorenzo,
economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, exposed some of the
Lincoln myth in his 2006 book, Lincoln Unmasked.
Now comes Joseph Fallon, cultural intelligence
analyst and former U.S. Army Intelligence Center instructor, with his new
e-book, Lincoln Uncensored.
Fallon's book examines 10 volumes of collected writings and speeches of
Lincoln's, which include passages on slavery, secession, equality of blacks
and emancipation. We don't have to rely upon anyone's interpretation. Just
read his words to see what you make of them.
In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, "I have declared a thousand
times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor
any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or
rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists." In
a Springfield, Ill., speech, he explained, "My declarations upon this
subject of negro slavery may be misrepresented, but can not be misunderstood.
I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to
mean that all men were created equal in all respects." Debating with
Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, "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 believe will forever forbid the two races living together on
terms of social and political equality."
You say, "His Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves! That
proves he was against slavery." Lincoln's words: "I view the matter
(Emancipation Proclamation) as a practical war measure, to be decided upon
according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression
of the rebellion." He also wrote: "I will also concede that
emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince them that we are incited
by something more than ambition." At the time Lincoln wrote the
proclamation, war was going badly for the Union. London and Paris were
considering recognizing the Confederacy and considering assisting it in its
The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal declaration. It detailed
where slaves were freed, only in those states "in rebellion against the
United States." Slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion
such as Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware. The hypocrisy of the Emancipation
Proclamation came in for heavy criticism. Lincoln's own secretary of state,
William Seward, said, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating
slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can
set them free."
did articulate a view of secession that would have been welcomed in 1776:
"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the
right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one
that suits them better. ... Nor is this right confined to cases in which the
whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion
of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of
the territory as they inhabit." But that was Lincoln's 1848 speech in
the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the war with Mexico and the
secession of Texas.
Why didn't Lincoln feel the same about Southern secession? Following
the money might help with an answer. Throughout most of our history, the only
sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s,
tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75
percent of tariffs in 1859. What "responsible" politician would let
that much revenue go?