Comment: Lincoln's view of blacks

(See in situ)


Lincoln's view of blacks

The best book I've read on how Lincoln felt about black people is FORCED INTO GLORY, by a black man named Lerone Bennett Jr., former editor of Ebony Magazine. The book is 635 pages long and was researched for 25 years. It's a long haul, but well worth your time. Meticulously sourced and footnoted, the book to my knowledge has never been debunked or refuted by anyone. Bennett says that establishment scholars and media deal with his book by ignoring it.

Key point - Lincoln favored the Fugitive Slave Act, which required citizens in all states, even northern states with no slavery, to assist in the capture and return of fugitive slaves to their owners. This upset northerners to no end, prompting some states to "nullify" the law as unconstitutional. So much for Lincoln being the "progressive" minded guy who showed everyone else the error of their ways regarding slavery.

Bennett also addresses fans of Lincoln who acknowledge the low opinion he had of blacks, but claim that Lincoln "redeemed" himself by making the war about freeing the slaves and giving them equal rights. Well, if your definition of giving them equal rights means shipping them to another country, then I guess he wanted to give them equal rights. Bennett writes about the legislative and political pressures put on Lincoln by the radical Republicans, who were frustrated with Lincoln's seeming indifference to the plight of slaves. Congress passed the 2nd Confiscation Act, which would have confiscated the property of "states in rebellion" including slaves, thereby freeing them. If I remember correctly, this act spurred Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, as a way of pre-empting Congress and diffusing the issue. Bennett writes that Lincoln would have committed political suicide had he not issued the Emancipation, hence the title of the book FORCED INTO GLORY.

Understanding Lincoln's view of blacks explains why he was against expanding slavery into the western territories, because he didn't want blacks there. After Lincoln's death, his Union officers - Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, and Grant (as president) set about "cleansing" the western territories of American Indians who were already living there. It was Sherman who used the word "extermination" regarding the Indians, and it was Sheridan who said to an Indian chief's face that the only good Indians he knew were dead.

This is where crony capitalism comes into the picture, because the government wanted to build subsidized railroads in the west free from interference of the indigenous peoples. My opinion is that the Union government didn't want any competition from Southern states with their lucrative cotton fields either. A great book to read about the crony capitalism aspect is THE MYTH OF THE ROBBER BARONS by Burton Folsom.

I hope this information is useful, as I'm still learning about this myself. Thanks for bringing up the topic.