Tag Archives: Lincoln

Weekly History News Roundup

Lincoln’s legacy under attack at Wisconsin-Madison… Student group protests statue to the Great Emancipator- millennial iconoclasm knows no bounds.

 

Trump’s Chief of Staff calls Robert E. Lee “honorable”… Thought police refuse to tolerate differing historical interpretations

 

More JFK assassination files released13,000 additional documents made public this week

 

NAACP calls for abolishing National AnthemCalifornia chapter believes the song to be racist

 

Ground finally broken on Eisenhower memorial… funding approved on controversial memorial, which will undoubtedly be protested when finished 

 

Lincoln: Defender of the Union or genocidal maniac?

 

 

 

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A Soldier’s Love

George McClellan said goodbye to his beloved… Army of the Potomac on November 11, 1862.  He cared deeply for their well being(much too deeply it turned out) and they repaid him with unwavering affection.  Lincoln had to make the decision- The “Young Napoleon” was fighting like the war could go on for decades.  But to his troops, he would forever be “Little Mac.”  He left them with this thought….

Little Mac

Little Mac

“In parting from you I cannot express the love and gratitude I bear to you. As an army you have grown up under my care. In you I have never found doubt or coldness. The battles you have fought under my command will proudly live in our nation’s history. The glory you have achieved, our mutual perils and fatigues, the graves of our comrades fallen in battle and by disease, the broken forms of those whom wounds and sickness have disabled—the strongest associations which can exist among men—unite us still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be comrades in supporting the Constitution of our country and the nationality of its people.”

 

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Facts in Five

The Young Napoleon Edition

 

  • George McClellan’s father was a renowned physician and founder of the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia
  • McClellan graduated West Point ranked second in the vaunted class of 1846- his classmates included Thomas J. Jackson, Jesse Reno, Cadmus Wilcox, AP Hill, and George Pickett
  • Jefferson Davis was an influential mentor in McClellan’s life- sending him on secret reconnaissance missions into the Caribbean, and to the Crimea as our official observer during the Crimean War
  • Small victories in western Virginia would pave the way for West Virginia statehood- a profile of him in the New York Herald brought national attention to the “Napoleon of the present War”
  • Winfield Scott cautioned Lincoln against appointing McClellan General-in-chief in addition to his army command- Little Mac’s response was, “I can do it all” 
Not an ideal pairing

Not an ideal pairing

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Lincoln is Next

Progressive iconoclasts will not stop with Confederate monuments and statues… They have already started the campaign against George Washington.  It appears that no historical figure is safe in today’s climate of over-sensitivity, moral outrage, and political correctness.  In this world, historical figures must be judged with our 21st century sensibilities- we know better than our ancestors- backwards, slave owning, racists they were.  The Great Emancipator is next…

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison students want the statue of Lincoln removed from campus… for alleged crimes against humanity- ordering the execution of 38 Dakota warriors who murdered women and children in Minnesota, which violated a binding treaty between the two nations and was a horrific crime.  The complex conflict that resulted in the executions occurred in the middle of the Civil War.

Can we still call upon our better angels?

The iconoclasts will undoubtedly feel moral superiority in attacking Lincoln’s legacy… their misguided and naive reading of the historical record will lack all academic rigor- but they will get on the news and be able to label their opponents “RACISTS”

  • Lincoln wanted all slaves out of the country!  —  Lincoln briefly favored voluntary colonization, but not after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect   Lincoln explained, ” Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive–even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.”
  • Lincoln never wanted to free the slaves! —  Foolish attempts to sully Lincoln’s achievements have always cited the Greeley letter of August 1862   but they fail to finish the darn thing, where Lincoln says, “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.”
  • Frederick Douglass knew Lincoln was overrated! —  Lincoln is often compared to Douglass and unfairly judged for not being a true abolitionist.  Trouble with this reasoning is that Lincoln was not elected chief abolitionist, he was elected President.  Frederick Douglass’s actual thoughts on Lincoln- “Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.”

Infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.”      

The hour and the man of our redemption had met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”

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Of Course Slavery was the Cause

Neo-secessionists and revisionists struggle uselessly to blame the Civil War… on Federal overreach, inequitable tariffs, and outmoded economic theory- they fail to see the forest for the trees.  The historical record settles matters plainly and without ambiguity.

Future Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens delivered the clearest, most definitive explanation… for secession and the existence of a Confederate State.  Less than three weeks following Lincoln’s inauguration, Stephens defiantly declared to the nation:

 

Cadaver with an agenda

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago.”

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Context Does Matter

Critics of the movie “Lincoln” … continue to hammer home a contentious point about the film’s depiction of slavery.  So-called experts are critical of the notion Lincoln freed the slaves(the film never implies this.)    Frederick Douglass is often cited as proof that slaves never cared for Lincoln or his deeds.  Ignoring context, Douglass is cited as the authoritative critic of Lincoln…. “you (white people) are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children.”

Uncanny

Uncanny

This disingenuous, lazy, line of reasoning…  has created a terrible myth about the creation of the civil rights movement.  Failure to place words in a proper context have terrible implications on historical interpretation.  In the same speech, Frederick Douglass explained to his predominately white audience, his true feelings for Abraham Lincoln:

Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined…. infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.”  Frederick Douglass  April 14, 1876

The hour and the man of our redemption had met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”

“The hour and the man of our redemption had met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”

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Nothing to Hide

The Lincoln administration arrested 14,401 people… during the Civil War.  Most were never indicted and denied a speedy trial.  Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in September of 1861 allowed the detentions to happen.  Current Lincoln scholarship trends hold that Lincoln abused civil liberties and that his historical legacy must be drawn into question.  A closer examination of the statistics shows that modern researchers are using them merely for shock value and book sales.  Compared to other Presidents using the same powers- Lincoln’s actions are clearly justified.

Tyrant?

Tyrant?

John Merryman was not an innocent victim… of government tyranny as portrayed by Chief Justice Roger Taney.  Merryman led a detachment of Maryland militiamen in armed resistance to troops in Federal service.  Taney was a partisan Democrat staunchly opposed to Lincoln and supportive of secessionist doctrine.  Ex parte Merryman is not legal precedent at all and cannot be cited as such- it is a political document designed to hinder Lincoln’s attempts to protect Washington and preserve the Union.  It was issued by Taney alone- scholars often make the mistake of assuming that the Supreme Court concurred with the ruling.

 

Lincoln faced no mass opposition to these detentions… there were no mass protests, nor mob violence.  A closer look into the statistics shows that well over 80% of those arrested were:

  • from the Confederacy
  • Agitators in border states
  • Foreign agents supporting the enemy
  • Perpetrators of actual crimes against the Government
Remember Scott vs. Sanford? Didn't think so.

Remember Scott vs. Sanford? Didn’t think so.

Far from indiscriminate arrests, the detentions were almost always a direct result of an attributable illegal act.  Rose Greenhow WAS a spy and did pass secrets to the enemy.  Clement Vallandigham routinely denounced Lincoln on the floor of the House of Representatives and was never arrested for it- but when he publicly incited recruits to desert- he committed sedition and was arrested.

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