PBS program on Lee with comments on Lincoln
The letter below letter that will be going out tomorrow to the President/CEO and the Chief Content Officer of PBS regarding a program that I happened across last night. This is the second very long letter I have written in the last three days. The other is to the Civil War Trust, but I do not intend to release that until sufficient time has passed for it to be received and for a response to be generated – assuming that one will be. If, after that time I have heard nothing, or, in the alternative, received an answer to my question, then both the letter and response – if any – will be as widely publicized as I am able to accomplish given my limited contacts in the Southern movement.
I will only say to you about the above is that I watched the program for what could have been no more than three minutes. I came in on the end of a quote by Lee (with a painting of him at about that time of his life) in which he said that he would sacrifice everything for his country but honor. Immediately the quote was finished, a black commentator appeared and assured the audience that South Carolina was planning to secede because it believed that President-elect Lincoln would interfere with slavery! It was just one vast, dumb lie too many. I turned the program off and began to compose the letter. It will go out in tomorrow’s mail. I am just so damned sick of Dr. Goebbel’s light (or dark, whichever) that I simply will not sit back and let this kind of bovine eschatology pass un-remarked.
I want to thank any of you who take the time to read it and, of course, you may comment upon it and distribute it as you will or send me the names and e-mail addresses of anyone else whom you think would like to read it. After learning today that the Museum of the Confederacy voted Lincoln “Man of the Year,” I think that it’s time for one of my chocolate-mocha-valium-vodka lattes.
Deo Vindice ~
April 5th, 2011
Ms. Paula Kerger, President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. John Boland, Chief Content Officer
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
Re: Program on General Robert E. Lee, Sunday, April 3rdDear Ms. Kerger and Mr. Boland:
I tuned in to a PBS program on General Robert E. Lee during which there was a quote by Lee saying that he would sacrifice everything for the nation but honor. Almost immediately a black commentator appeared and made the appallingly inaccurate statement that South Carolina wanted to secede from the Union because it believed that newly-elected Abraham Lincoln was going to interfere with slavery. Needless to say, I could take no more interest in a program that was so obviously biased as to present such a stunning falsehood as a matter of uncontested fact!
First, there abundant documented proof that Lincoln had no intention of “interfering” with slavery. True, he didn’t like the institution—and he wasn’t alone in that opinion North and South—but his only concern was to keep the Union intact. Frankly, even that sentiment was more concerned with federal revenues than national unity, but that is not the issue here. In a letter of August 22nd, 1862 to editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln declared:
"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy 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.” [The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume V]
In his first inaugural address on March 4th, 1861, Lincoln also stated:
"I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "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."
In a letter to Williamson Durley on October 3rd, 1845, Lincoln wrote:
"I hold it to be a paramount duty of us in the free states, due to the Union of the states, and perhaps to liberty itself (paradox though it may seem) to let the slavery of the other states alone…" [The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume I)
But even if Lincoln had been noncommital about slavery, there is no question that his position on that issue was made abundantly clear in his support for (and involvement in) the proposed Corwin Amendment to the Constitution.
In December 1860, President James Buchanan requested Congress to propose an "explanatory amendment" with regard to slavery. In the House, Ohio Representative Thomas Corwin was selected as the chairman of the committee; and in the senate, William H. Seward took the lead in sponsoring the amendment. In his correspondence during the month of December, president-elect Lincoln was adamant that there be no compromises with regard to the extension of slavery. However, in a meeting with Thurlow Weed, Seward's Republican ally in New York, Lincoln offered three compromise proposals, and Weed passed this information on to Seward. Upon his return to the Senate, Seward introduced three resolutions to the Senate committee. One resolution offered that "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." In other words, the amendment would forever guarantee the right of Southerners to own slaves. With much debate, the amendment passed both houses of Congress on March 2nd, 1861, two days before Lincoln took office.
In an unusual move, Democratic President James Buchanan signed the Corwin Amendment on March 3, 1861, his last day in office even though the Constitution does not require presidential approval for proposed amendments. It was ratified by only two states—Ohio on May 13th, 1861, and Maryland on January 10th, 1862—and therefore fell far short of the necessary three-quarters majority of states needed to become part of the U.S. Constitution. But certainly Lincoln worked hard to get it ratified in order to prevent Southern secession and its ratification would have been assured if the South had remained in the Union because Northern States did not want blacks anywhere outside of the South, one of the reasons for “keeping slavery out of the territories.”[*] Ironically, had it achieved ratification, the Corwin Amendment protecting slavery in perpetuity, would have become the Thirteenth Amendment.
In his inaugural address, Lincoln noted Congressional approval of the Corwin Amendment and stated that he "had no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." This was not a departure from Lincoln's views on slavery and by tacitly supporting the amendment, he hoped to convince the South that he would not move to abolish the institution. So much for the supposed “fears” of South Carolina unless you suppose that all of the above took place secretly!
While it is true that slavery was a very large issue in the War—and for reasons that had more to do with Jefferson’s plaintive question, “What shall we do with the Negro?” than any egalitarian viewpoint in the North—the South’s main concern was increasing sectional acrimony and a prohibitive tariff which returned the nation to the Tariffs of Abomination that had almost resulted in secession and armed conflict 1828. And then there was the continuing marginalization of Southern political power caused by the denial of the territories to Southern settlers if they had slaves (and hence, no new States affiliated with that Section), and, finally, the use of Southern wealth to succor Northern commercial and political interests. The South was becoming impoverished as it served as nothing more than a politically impotent “cash cow” to the federal government and its commercial cronies through the American System of internal improvements. Indeed, the economic situation as it existed over 30 years before Southern secession was well summed up by Missouri Senator Thomas H. Benton speaking before Congress in 1828:
"Before the (American) revolution [the South] was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality....Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac: and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing. Such an export would indicate unparalleled wealth, but what is the fact?....Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue....Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction - it flows northwardly, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this."—Missouri Senator Thomas H. Benton, 1828
So to have a black man (chosen undoubtedly for the purpose of influencing the audience’s feelings) make the statement that slavery was the one and only cause of secession (and hence the war), can only mean that those involved are  abysmally ignorant, or  deluded and in denial of the facts or  in the business of furthering an agenda that has no more to do with reporting history than did Stalin’s removal of former-friends-now-enemies from old newspaper archives.
Few are unaware of the ongoing campaign of cultural genocide being waged against the South. Gone is “The Grand Bargain” struck in the late 18th century that attempted good will and reconciliation between the sections—and was largely successful in that effort. Gone is the respect shown to the South, its history, its heritage, its heroes and its symbols and in its place is the steady drum-beat of lies and demagoguery demanding that the South be seen as an abode of traitors and “racists”—a word coined by Leon Trotsky and used by Marxist revisionists to silence dissent. The current “establishment” will not be satisfied until everything of, for and about the South is consigned to oblivion save only a memory equating all things Confederate with slavery, treason and Nazi Germany. That is not only wrong—in the most fundamental understanding of that word—it is unacceptable to decent people of every race and section. If PBS claims to “educate,” and if by that word you mean the concept of presenting facts and such rational truths that arise as a result, then you have failed miserably in this matter and should, for the sake of justice and decency, present a factually correct version of “history” and not this malignant politically-correct claptrap.
[* Google “black codes” in Northern states and territories and you will see that it was not slavery that was unwanted in any part of the United States outside of the South, but “the African” as he was called. That is a very different “moral message” than the nonsense we get today about the noble Union fighting to end slavery. It never happened as more than sufficient testimony from Union sources proves.]