Before you see the movie "Lincoln"Submitted by Goldspan on Sat, 01/05/2013 - 14:48
Here are some excerpts from Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom
Contrary to the impression one gets from reading popular historical accounts of Lincoln as a statesmen and constitutional philosopher he spent virtually his entire political career prior to 1860 engulfed in the dirty works of party politics. Lincoln was not a guileless naïve and unsophisticated backwoodsman and rail splitter. He was a shrewd cynical manipulative politician who was not above playing dirty trick such as writing anonymous letters to the editor of newspapers denouncing his political opponents.
From the moment Lincoln first entered political life as a candidate for the state legislature during the 1832 presidential election “writes historian Robert Johannes” he had demonstrated an unwavering fidelity to Henry Clay and “The American System”.
By 1838 Lincoln had worked his way up to the position of leader of the Illinois Whig party. Lincoln spent nearly three decades preceding his election as president working tirelessly in the trenches of the Whig and (after 1856 the Republican parties) to organize voters in Illinois and other states of the Whigs mercantilist agenda.
Mercantilism which reached its height in the Europe of the seventeen and eighteen centuries was a system which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of Imperial state power as well as special subsidy and monopolistic privilege to individual or group favored by the state.
This is what the Whigs stood for: the acquisition of political power through the dispensation of patronage. They had no grand philosophy or ideology; they wanted political power and private riches and had no qualms about using taxpayer’s money as the mechanism for acquiring these things.
Clay was the champion of that political system (the Whigs) which doles out favors to the strong in order to win and keep their adherence to the government. His system offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises. He was the beloved son (figuratively speaking) of Alexander Hamilton with his corrupt funding schemes, his superstitions concerning the advantage of a public debt and a tax to make certain corporation profitable when they cannot stand alone.
In 1859 Lincoln declared that he was always a Whig in his politics. And indeed he was. Both he and his wife were ardent admirers of Henry Clay the leader of the Whigs. In his 1852 eulogy to Clay, Lincoln declared Henry Clay as the undisputed leader of the Whigs and “The American System” and Lincoln professed Clay as his idol and role model.
The American Whig party was founded in 1832 as a reaction to President Andrew Jackson abolition in 1832 of the Second bank of the United States. The name “Whigs” was chosen to imply that these men were opposed to despotism and centralized government tyranny as were the American Whigs of 1776 and earlier the British Whigs who advocated Classical Liberalism ( today refer as Libertarian).
But the vary name Whig was a cleverly contrived deception. The nineteenth century American Whigs were in face the champion of centralized consolidated government and all students of political philosophy understood at the time (Much better than they do today) that centralization of political power was destructive to liberty.
Mercantilism relies crucially on the spreading of economic fallacies. Lincoln also believed in a crude version of the Marxian labor theory of value. Announcing that “free trade perpetuated a system whereby some have labored and others have without labor enjoyed a large portion of the fruits to secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor or as nearly as possible is a most worthy object of any good government.”
Like all Whigs Lincoln was in favor of inflationary finance through the printing of paper money by a central bank or if need be by state government banks and was an ardent opponent of a monetary system based on gold or any other precious metal.
Lincoln was always a Whig and was almost single mindedly devoted to the Whig agenda of protectionism, central banking and corporate welfare for the railroads and shipping industries –euphemistically referred to as “Internal Improvements”, Lincoln was such a blind follower of the Whig party line that many of his economic policy speeches were embarrassingly illogical and sounded dumb and foolish.
He was influential in passing legislation with regard to the third major element of Whigs corporate welfare or internal improvements. At the time the use of federal funds for so called internal improvement, such as subsidies to the railroad industry were widely unconstitutional. But thanks to Lincoln’s political skills Illinois was a leader in using state tax revenue for such purposes, The Illinois experience in government funded: internal Improvement: under Lincoln political leadership provided a case study of why such uses of tax dollars were viewed with great suspicion. The internal improvement system the adoption of which Lincoln had played such a prominent part had collapsed with the result that Illinois was left an enormous debt and an empty treasury.
Lincoln understood that patronage was the route to political power and potentially to personal wealth.
The battle with Andrew Jackson over the recharting of the Second bank of the United States is what ignited the creation for the Whig party in the North. The Whig political strategy was as simple as it was corrupt; promise to plunder the taxpayers for the benefit of corporations and banks in return for the everlasting financial support ( and kickback) from those same entities all the while drowning the public in the false rhetoric opposing executive tyranny, championing the small family farm.
A central bank and high protectionist tariff were the key stones to the Whigs plan for political plunder for that’s how the massive internal improvements schemes were to be funded and monopolies created. Jackson was the mortal political enemy, for he regarded the bank as dangerous to liberty of the American People because it represented a fantastic centralization of economic and political power under private control. Jackson understood the implication of a politicized money supply as well as the Whigs did. The difference between them was that Jackson thought the results would be unequivocally bad for the country; the Whigs understood that a politicized money supply was a key to their personal advancement and wealth accumulation. Jackson condemned the bank as a vast electioneering engine which had the power control the government and change it’s character. That’s exactly what they wanted and have done……..they won the war.