Why the Republican Party Elected LincolnSubmitted by JeffD on Tue, 02/22/2011 - 21:29
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
October 1, 2003
It is occasionally possible to see through the fog of mysticism, superstition, lies, and the romantic, happy-faced, floating butterfly vision of Abraham Lincoln that has been created by American court historians over the past century. One place to begin is the gem of a book by Pulitzer prize-winning Lincoln biographer David Donald entitled Lincoln Reconsidered. In a particularly important passage Donald quotes Senator John Sherman of Ohio, the brother of General William Tecumseh Sherman and Republican Party powerhouse from the 1860s to the 1890s who was chairman of the U.S Senate Finance Committee during the Lincoln administration, on why the Republican Party nominated and elected Abraham Lincoln.
"Those who elected Mr. Lincoln expect him . . . to secure to free labor its just right to the Territories of the United States; to protect . . . by wise revenue laws, the labor of our people; to secure the public lands to actual settlers . . . ; to develop the internal resources of the country by opening new means of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific."
Donald then claims to translate this statement "from the politician's idiom" into plain English. Lincoln and the Republican Party "intended to enact a high protective tariff that mothered monopoly, to pass a homestead law that invited speculators to loot the public domain, and to subsidize a transcontinental railroad that afforded infinite opportunities for jobbery."
(job·ber·y : Corruption among public officials.
: the practice of making private profit out of a public office; corruption or graft)
This is what is so refreshing about David Donald, the best and most honest of all the mainstream "Lincoln scholars." He understood that "wise revenue laws" meant a 47 percent tariff on imports that would plunder the Southern states especially severely; he understood that "free labor" meant white labor, and protecting the white race's "just right to the territories" meant disallowing labor market competition from either slaves or free blacks. At the time, the small number of free blacks in the North had no real citizenship rights and some states, like Lincoln's Illinois, had amended their constitutions to make it illegal for blacks to move into the state.