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Civil war facts are distorted

March 25, 2011
By Jan Heckman, Hedgesville resident

Once again, as we enter another important anniversary of our Civil War, misleading information about the true facts of the war's cause and the nature of those who were involved with the war are being perpetrated by conspiracy theory, revisionist radicals who wish to continue the "Confederate fight"; so beware: The origin of these exaggerations and lies is confederate revisionism. Confederate revisionism and secessionism is simply being reshaped into a libertarian rationale to make it more palatable.

These are but a few of the distortions and lies about Abraham Lincoln: "Abraham Lincoln was a slavery favoring, war mongering, Constitution violating racist and tyrant".

Although it is doubtful that Lincoln believed in the equality of races (We call this racism today), his beliefs clearly followed general thinking of the era. Before the Civil War, there were few among whites and even blacks in the western world who dared think there was equality of races and "racism" continued to be generally accepted through the mid 20th century. There were some important movements toward anti-racism immediately following the war - interestingly among many northern veterans who had witnessed the courage and cunning of uniformed blacks - but the world waited until 1938 for a term (the word "racist/racism") to first be penned.

Lincoln expressed his hatred and disgust for slavery on numerous occasions. A Lincoln speech on Oct.16, 1850: "I can not but hate the declared indifference for slavery. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of it's just influence on the world - enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taint us as hypocrites - causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war of civil liberty - criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest. Although a creature of his times in believing whites were superior to blacks, Lincoln was a man who deeply hated the idea of slavery. A man of Lincoln's integrity would not have been a racist today.

Lincoln honored his oath of the presidency "--to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic--" when he followed the actions of Presidents Washington and Taylor - by refusing to allow the south to secede from the nation. The south had been advocating succession since Andrew Jackson, but Jackson threatened to "try them all for sedition and shoot them". Indeed: Although there was some disfavor about levies, the South's sole purpose for seceding was to retain slavery for personal gain.

Lincoln was hardly a war monger - He was forced to fight a war to preserve his country. He was one of few who opposed the Mexican war as aggression; a courageous moral stance that almost ended his political career. It was the south that attacked the north, not vise-versa, thinking that they could end the war quickly; and Lincoln's documented vision for post-war reconciliation, tragically ended by a racist southern fanatic, was hardly from that of a tyrant.

 
 

 

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