Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lincoln’s War to Prevent Self-Government

 The initial 13th Amendment -- also known as the Corwin Amendment -- would have made slavery constitutional and permanent -- and Lincoln supported it. (AP)
 *The initial 13th Amendment — also known as the Corwin Amendment — would have made slavery constitutional and permanent — and Lincoln supported it. 

Conservative historian M.E. Bradford was deeply concerned by the ongoing deification and cult status of Lincoln, and how Yankee idolatry of him had so blurred the history, nature and consequences of the war “as to render Lincoln impervious to serious criticism.”
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

Lincoln’s War to Prevent Self-Government 

“As [historian] Frank Owlsey complained in 1946, there was afoot in this land, “what seems to me a Lincoln cult bordering on pagan deification which is taking place in the popular mind of the North”; and it has been seriously inspired by serious scholars, who have allowed their emotions and bias to overemphasize certain elements and minimize others.”

In his essay on “A Southerner’s View of Abraham Lincoln,” Owsley’s principal complaint was not that Lincoln lacked moral scruples, but that he frequently exercised poor judgment – as seen, for example, in *his refusal to accept the Crittenden Compromise and in his naïve, persistent belief that the people of the South would never support their leaders in a war of secession. 


*Though he did approve of  the original 13th amendment. BT.

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution--which amendment, however, I have not seen--has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln, Monday, March 4, 1861



Lincoln, argued Owsley, never fully grasped the depth of Southern patriotism or the magnitude of the war, until it was too late to compromise. By denying the South the right to self-government, Lincoln also subverted the democratic principles of the document he so often cited as authority for his constitutional views – the Declaration of Independence. “It seems ironic to Southerners that the United States,” observed Owsley, “a nation based upon the right of the people to live under a government of their choice, should make war to prevent a people – the South – from living under a government of their choice.” 

No less charitable with respect to Lincoln’s motives and moral reasoning, Donald Davidson also questioned Lincoln’s political acumen . . . asserting that the emancipator foolishly made war on his own ideas and objectives, ruining both the South and the North while creating an America he did not want. 

[M.E.] Bradford persuasively demonstrated [that Lincoln] was more than simply wrong-headed; he was “dishonest” and “duplicitous” “pseudo-Puritan,” a disingenuous “opportunist” guilty of “calculated posturing,” “historical distortions,” and “high crime”; he was indeed “the American Caesar of his age.”  “It is at our peril,” Bradford cautioned, “that we continue to reverence his name.”

(Walking the Levee with Mel Bradford, James McClellan; A Defender of Southern Conservatism, 
M.E. Bradford and His Achievements, Clyde N. Wilson, editor, University of Missouri Press, 1999, pp. 45-46)


  1. The best part of his death was his long night of suffering.

    1. But a pittance compared to the suffering he caused.

  2. Author L. Neil Smith refers to Lincoln as "the American Lenin." I think the analogy is apt.

    1. Love it and I'll make a separate post. Thanks.

      If libertarians ran things, they'd melt all the Lincoln pennies, shred all the Lincoln fives, take a wrecking ball to the Lincoln Memorial, and consider erecting monuments to John Wilkes Booth. Libertarians know Lincoln as the worst President America has ever had to suffer......