Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lincoln Saved the Union

But at what cost?

On March 2, 1861, the United States Senate passed a proposed 13th Amendment with the following text:
ARTICLE THIRTEEN

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
Two days later, President Lincoln gave his first inaugural address in which he said the following in regard to the proposed 13th Amendment:
I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution . . . has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose, not to speak of particular amendments, so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.
Further, in a letter written by President Lincoln on August 22, 1862 to the editor of the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.
Do not be mistaken, slavery was a large issue, and there was significant pressure from the North on the South to abolish it. The states in the south may have even used the slavery issue as the main purpose to secede from the Union. But abolishing slavery was the not the purpose of Lincoln's orders to march troops into the south, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the destruction of cities.

13 comments:

Christopher said...

You know what they say, Josh, all politicians are liars. Why do they say that? Becasue most of the time their words are strategic, which means they are saying what they are saying to get to some goal. You taking Lincoln's words at face-value, even with the gargantuan pile of evidence pointing toward slavery as the primary cause of the Civil war, is telling.

Christopher said...

"Naturally, in America everyone knew that from 1846 to 1861 a free trade system prevailed, and that Representative Morrill carried his protectionist tariff through Congress only in 1861, after the rebellion had already broken out. Secession, therefore, did not take place because the Morrill tariff had gone through Congress, but, at most, the Morrill tariff went through Congress because secession had taken place. When South Carolina had its first attack of secession in 1831, the protectionist tariff of 1828 served it, to be sure, as a pretext, but only as a pretext, as is known from a statement of General Jackson. This time, however, the old pretext has in fact not been repeated. In the Secession Congress at Montgomery all reference to the tariff question was avoided, because the cultivation of sugar in Louisiana, one of the most influential Southern states, depends entirely on protection."

- Karl Marx, reporting from America during the Civil War

http://libcom.org/library/american-civil-war-karl-marx

Josh said...

Ok, so where do you find evidence that Lincoln invaded the south because of slavery?

Christopher said...

the evidence of the entire media discourse before the declaration of war. the evidence of the importance of slavery to the Southern economy and the evidence of the depth of resistance against that economy in the North.. duh.

Josh said...

Actually there's lots of media publications in the north that were against going to war on the basis of slavery.

But that's irrelevant, the media didn't direct the troops to march on the South.

Lincoln did.

Christopher said...

No, sorry, those publications were not irrelevant. They directly influenced the population, which directly influenced Lincoln.

Christopher said...

"[The Act has a] declared indifference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world — enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt 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 with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty — criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest."

-Abraham Lincoln

Christopher said...

Gotta say, Abraham Lincoln WAS A REAL LIBERTARIAN.

Josh said...

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union."

The point isn't whether he liked slavery or disliked it. The point is that its not why he marched on the south. And even if it was, it is still an unjust war.

Christopher said...

"The point isn't whether he liked slavery or disliked it. The point is that its not why he marched on the south. And even if it was, it is still an unjust war."

The point is that we have two conflicting statements and a pile of societal-based causes that make slavery the #1 cause of the Civil War.

Josh said...

"The point is that we have two conflicting statements and a pile of societal-based causes that make slavery the #1 cause of the Civil War."

No, slavery could have been the main cause of secession.

Saving the union was Lincoln's purpose of killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Christopher said...

"Saving the union was Lincoln's purpose of killing hundreds of thousands of people."

Saving the union DUE TO the fundamental economic split over slavery. The North was building factories, the South was a still a slave-owning aristocracy. Again, are you defending the South's right to secede because they wanted to contradict the rights that you claim are eternal and apart from government? If so, I think you are a big hypocrite.

Josh said...

"Again, are you defending the South's right to secede because they wanted to contradict the rights that you claim are eternal and apart from government? If so, I think you are a big hypocrite."

If one group of people decide to ignore rights, it doesn't mean another group gets to do so as well. Lincoln had no right to march on the South. The South had every right to secede, as any people do, for whatever reason.