Can you be more ethical than even “Honest” Abe Lincoln?

Abraham Lincoln is sometimes considered the greatest American (his face is even on America’s most used coin, the penny). He was arguably racist, so if you can work hard at being an anti-racist, wouldn’t you be more ethical than this great man was? If you are more ethical than "the greatest American", then then wouldn’t you likely have a great shot at “heaven”, and avoiding “hell” (if they exist)?

 Lincoln was against slavery because he not only saw it as cruel, but he saw it as a leader to 'race mixing.' He didn't want blacks in America. Not as slaves, not as free men.

 He might have been this way because the bible taught against race mixing.

Expansion of slavery:

Lincoln said:
"There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races ... A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. If white and black people never get together in Kansas, they will never mix blood in Kansas ....."

Shipping blacks back to Africa:

Lincoln said:
"In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, "It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and in their places be, pari passu [on an equal basis], filled up by free white laborers."

Outlawing slavery in the south (before the rebellion).

Lincoln said:
"I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."


Lincoln said:
"I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position."

Inter-racial marriage:
Lincoln said:
"Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people. As long as blacks continue to live with the whites they constitute a threat to the national life. Family life may also collapse and the increase of mixed breed bastards may some day challenge the supremacy of the white man."

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

-Abraham Lincoln, First Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Ottawa, Illinois, Sept. 18, 1858, in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln vol.3, pp. 145-146.

 “I agree with Judge Douglas he [African Americans] is not my equal in many respects certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment.”

-1858 Abraham Lincoln Response to Supreme court Dread Scott ruling 

He was a white supremacist who viewed blacks as a inferior race, the inferiority of Mexicans and Indians, and the removal of natives from their lands. Lincoln rather compulsively used the N-word both in private and public, was a huge fan of "black face" minstrel shows, was famous for his racist jokes; and many of his White House appointees were shocked at his racist language. According to African American historian Lerone Bennett, Jr In his book Forced into Glory Abraham Lincoln's White Dream. Lincoln stated publicly that "America was made for the White people and not for the Negroes" he called the declaration of independence “The white man's charter of freedom” and At least twenty-one times Lincoln said publicly that he was opposed to equal rights for Blacks. He said he was against equal rights for negroes because “My own feeling will not admit this. [ negro equality]” He spoke often of “slaves as cattle.”

“Lincoln never pretended to be a racial liberal or a social innovator. He said repeatedly , in public and in private, that he believed in white supremacy”

-African American historian Lerone Bennett JR Forced into Glory Abraham Lincolns White dream

He feared whites and blacks interbreeding and on June 26 1857 he was “Horrified at the thought of the mixing blood by the white and black races” saying and god has “made us separate” from the black race. Lincolns friend Ward Lamon said “In words and deeds postponed the interests of the blacks to the interest of the whites, and expressly subordinated the one to the other.” African American and former slave Fredrick Douglass at one time said Lincoln had “contempt for the negro”.

“Lincoln was not either our man or our his interests, associations, thoughts and in his prejudices, he was a white man. Entirely devoted to the welfare of white men”

-Fredrick Douglass speech given years after Lincolns Assassination.

Lincoln In Illinois 

“I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of negro citizenship”
-Abraham Lincoln 

“I will to the very last stand by the law of this state[ Illinois], which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes.” 

-Abraham Lincoln

Over two decades in the state of Illinois as a lawyer and politician he never once said a word in favor of abolitionist, the abolish movement, or black rights. He never spoke out against the many unjust laws of the state that did not allow blacks to gather in large numbers, learn to read, or even play percussion instruments. In 1848 he supported the Illinois state law of not allowing any blacks to migrate to the state and not allowing blacks citizenship. Abolitionist and even a southern newspapers spoke out against the law. 1836 Tuesday Jan 5 Lincoln was among the voters 36-16 to not allow blacks the right to vote. He voted for a state law that taxed blacks without representation. On may 15 1840 Lincoln attacked Martin Van buren for his support for NY free Negroes the right to vote. In 1858 Lincoln refused to sigh a bill that would allow blacks to testify against whites in court.

“His democracy... was a white mans democracy. It did not contain negroes”

-Oscar Sherwin 

Lincoln helped in court defend the fugitive slave law, while abolitionist in the 50's were condemning the fugitive slave laws. Between 1854-1860 Lincoln publically supported the laws fugitive slave laws 20 times. On August 28 1854 in Carrolton Illinois Lincoln even spoke “Against the repeal of the fugitive slave law”. Later in his Peoria speech he denied that he ever asked for a repeal or modification of the law. Lincoln went so far as to write letters to republicans in other states, supporting the fugitive slave law. Nathaniel Stevens said Lincoln had a “Whole hearted one might say, serene, support of the fugitive slave law”.

Abolitionist Republicans in Davenport Iowa said Lincoln “Clogged and inbeded the wheels and movements of the revolution.” In 1848 in a speech in Massachusetts Lincoln said “I have heard you have abolitionist here. We have a few in Illinois and we shot one the other day”. [Referring to death of Elijah Lovejoy] Whitney said he “Abhorred abolitionist” Ward Lamon said he was “Steady though quietly opponent of abolitionist”. He went to great lengths to dissociate himself from the abolitionist movement of the state. Donald Riddle a authority on Lincoln said “he did not make any attempt to advocate or support anti slavery or abolitionist messages”. In 1855 Elected officials like Owen Lovejoy gave abolitionist speeches, meanwhile at the same time Lincoln was endorsing shipping free blacks to Africa. Lovejoy said he would not obey the Fugitive slave law that Lincoln had supported. 36 speeches were given while Lincoln was in Illinois about slavery, not one was by Lincoln.

 “Wherin did he show himself radical?[abolitionist] What new measure did he start? where did he show progress?”

-“Long John” Wentworth a Illinois abolitionist said of Lincoln 

 ”Slavery will be as safe, and safer, in the union under such a president, than it can be under any president of a southern confederacy”

-Fredrick Douglass on the election of Abraham Lincoln 1860 

 Lincoln the Abolitionist?

“I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into the slave States, and interfere with the question of slavery at all.”
-Abraham Lincoln 1858 

 “I wish to make and to keep the distinction between the existing institution, and the extension of it, so broad, and so clear, that no honest man can misunderstand me, and no dishonest one, successfully misrepresent me. 

-Abraham Lincoln 1854

 Lincoln was never considered a abolitionist, he was against immediate abolition. He never intended to interfere with slavery where it already existed, only the extension of out into the west. He was not against slavery in the south, but the expansion of slavery into the west. He did not want the west to become “An asylum for slaves and *******,” he also was against slavery's expansion out west so to not interfere with “free white labor”.

 "The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these [new western] territories. We want them for the homes of free white people." 

-Abraham Lincoln, October 16, 1854 

 “It is not rather our duty to make labor more respectable by preserving all black competition, [free and slave] especially in the territories” 

-Abraham Lincoln 

 Lincoln was said to be “quit” about the issue of slavery unlike the abolitionist in his party. When asked if he minded having abolitionist in his party Lincoln said “As long as I'm not tarred with the abolitionist brush.” Those who knew Lincoln in the white house spoke of Lincolns thoughts about abolitionist. Lincolns close friend General James Wadsworth said the welfare of the negroes “Didn't enter into his policy at all”. Donn Piatt said Lincoln “Laughed at the abolitionist as a disturbing element easily controlled”. Eli Thayer said Lincoln spoke of abolitionist “In terms of contempt and derision”. Abolitionist Sumner said of Lincoln “He does not know how to help or is not moved to help” and “I do not remember that I have had any help from him... he has no instinct or inspiration”. Many early historians blame Lincoln for “Ignored the greatest moral question of the time”.

 “Not a abolitionist, hardly an anti slavery man”

-Abolitionist Wendell Phillips of Abraham Lincoln 

 When union general John Fremont emancipated slaves in union occupied Missouri, Lincoln recalled the orders and relived Fremont of his command. When union general David Hunter ordered general order number 11, declaring all slaves in SC/GA/FL to be “forever free” Lincoln revoked the proclamation and also ordered Hunter to disband the 1st South Carolina regiment made up of blacks hunter had enlisted. Late in 62 Lincoln supported in union held territory in VA and LA to continue slavery and allow the slave owners peacefully back into the union. In 1861 Mark Neely JR wrote “He more than once actually forced others who were trying to free slaves to cease doings”. Lincolns wife Mary, was from a slave owning family in Kentucky.

 “He was opposed to slavery more because it was a public nuance than because of its injustice to the oppressed black man”

-John Hume 

 In 1848 as a congressmen Lincoln voted against a bill along with the entire south and pro slavery men that proposed an end to the slave trade in D.C. In 1849 Lincoln offered a compromise that was rejected. Section 4 of that compromise made clear no slave would be free [one version] until 1914. Section 5 expanded the fugitive slave law. The radical abolitionist at The Liberator editorial on July 13, 1860 Called Lincoln “The slave hound of Illinois” for his effort to expand the fugitive slave law into the district of Columbia.

As Lerone Bennett JR argues in Forced into Glory Abraham Lincolns White dream. Lincoln has received the glory that abolitionist white, black, citizens, newspaper editors, churches congressmen, and pastors had worked decades for. Men who Lincolns contemporaries named as the major abolitionist men like Senator Sumner, senator Lymon Trushbull, Congressmen Stevens, Salmon Chase, Wendell Phillips etc they deserve the glory that is falsely given to Lincoln. The 37Th congress were the ones who abolished slavery in the territories and authorized black troops.

“The president is indefatigable in his efforts to save slavery”

-Adam Gurowski August 1862 

Abraham Lincoln the Great Emancipator? The Emancipation Proclamation 

“Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do and for what he never intended to do”
- Lerone Bennett JR Forced into Glory Abraham Lincolns White dream

“To forestall a more revolutionary move against slavery...foreseeing he could not resits antislavery pressure much longer...using every weapon at his command to slow down, sidetrack or stop the emancipation flow”

-Steven Oates With menace Towards none the Life of Abraham Lincoln 

The emancipation proclamation was given at a low point for the north near the end of 62. It was not designed to free slaves, it did not free a single slave, Lincoln himself knew it would not make the slaves free. It applied only to confederate controlled areas, not northern slave states or north controlled confederate area/states such as much of LA and VA. In fact all a confederate state had to do to not have this apply was rejoin the union , with slavery intact. The US Secretary of the state William Seward said of the emancipation proclamation “Where he could, he didn't. Where he did, he couldn't”.

“It was only on the basis of military necessity that Abraham Lincoln was able to implement the emancipation proclamation”.

-The untold civil war National Geographic James Robertson 

The proclamation was given by Lincoln for a few reasons, the first was as a war measure. “As a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion.” The war was lasting longer than anticipated and northern abolitionist and hard war democrats put tremendous pressure on Lincoln threatening to withhold men, material and support for the war unless Lincoln hit the south where it would hurt them, slaves. Lincoln and his cabinet were concerned a rebellion would start in the north if they did not do something towards emancipation. The proclamation would end with the war and any slave freed by it would become subject to local state laws. The document did not deal with the institution of slavery at all. Lincoln constantly wrote it was “Merely a war measure” and “Have effect only from its being a exercise of war power”. Lincolns stated “It would have no effect upon the children of the slaves born hereafter.” A second reason was To keep England and France out of the war. If the war had a abolitionist objective, that would force England and France to be neutral. Also to encourage slave revolts in the south. This was seen by some in Europe as its clear objective. To encourage slaves to rise up, kill their woman and children masters in a revolt while the men were fighting at the front, was immoral.

“For a length of time it had been hoped that the rebellion could be suppressed without resorting to it [emancipation] as a military measure”

-Abraham Lincoln The collective works

Lincoln said of the emancipation proclamation “I am driven to it.” Close friends said Lincoln “Abhorred” and had “reluctance” about issuing the emancipation. Nathan Stevenson said it was “Not choice” that it was issued by Lincoln, but Lincoln was pressured to do something from the abolitionist in the party such as the Governor of Massachusetts [who threatened to stop support of the war] Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts Representative Thaddeus Stevens etc. Charles Sumner said god and history forced Lincolns Hand. Radical governors had set up a meeting for September the 24th with a plan to withhold war support and some to call Lincoln to resign. Lincoln knowing of this meeting and the growing radical support among congress, governors and the people, issued the proclamation just two days before. Lincoln called the proclamation a “civil necessity to prevent the radicals from embarrassing the government.” In a meeting trying to sell his colonization plan to the border sates representatives, Lincoln said on July 12 “The pressure in this direction [intimidate emancipation] is still upon me, and is increasing”.

“The patriots of both houses... the American people whipped MR. Lincoln into the glory of having issued the emancipation proclamation”

-Diary of Adam Gurowski NY 1862-1866

The emancipation proclamation was actually “Regressive” in terms of abolition. On July17 1862 congress passed the second confiscation act. This act freed all rebel slaves “property” within the confederacy to be “forever free.” Later on Sep 22 1862 Lincoln sighed the preliminary emancipation nullifying the emancipation act of congress, re-enslaving slaves. It did not touch the slaves within the slave states in the union, It did not free any slave the confiscation act would not have. It was a conservative reaction to the radical abolitionist in congress.

“The proclamation had as its purpose and effect the checking of the radical [abolitionist] program”

-Lerone Bennett JR Forced into Glory Abraham Lincolns White dream

The D.C emancipation bill in 1862 was given to Lincoln who than held on to it for two days so a friend from KY could leave D.C with his two slaves. Lincoln regretted the intimidate emancipation of D.C slaves instead he wanted gradual release because “That now families would at once be deprived of cooks, stable boys and their protectors without any provision for them.”

“When he entered his presidency... that before his term of office would expire, he would be hailed as “The great emancipator” he would have treated the statement as equal one of his jokes”

-John Hume The Abolitionist NY 1905 

The 13th Amendment And The 13th Amendment You Have Never Heard Of 

The original 13th amendment was called the Corwin amendment, one that Lincoln pushed to get passed. It would forever allow slavery in America and would make it unconstitutional for the federal government to abolish it.

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.

In his first inaugural address Lincoln stated on the Corwin amendment

“Holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable".
-Abraham Lincoln 

He then sent a letter to the governor of each state transmitting the approved amendment for what he hoped would be ratification and noting that his predecessor, President James Buchanan, had also endorsed it. He told New York Senator William Seward, who would become his secretary of state, to push the amendment through the U.S. Senate. He also instructed Seward to get a federal law passed that would repeal the personal liberty laws in some of the Northern states that were used by those states to nullify the federal Fugitive Slave Act, which Lincoln strongly supported.

Today's 13th amendment that abolishes slavery Lincoln had less to do with, This is from Spielberg's Upside-Down History: The Myth of Lincoln and the Thirteenth Amendment

“Harvard University Professor David H. Donald, the recipient of several Pulitzer prizes for his historical writings, including a biography of Lincoln. David Donald is the preeminent Lincoln scholar of our time on page 545 of his magnus opus, Lincoln, Donald notes that Lincoln did discuss the Thirteenth Amendment with two members of Congress – James M. Ashley of Ohio and James S. Rollins of Missouri. But if he used "means of persuading congressmen to vote for the Thirteeth Amendment," the theme of the Spielberg movie, "his actions are not recorded. Conclusions about the President's role rested on gossip . . . Moreover, there is not a shred of evidence that even one Democratic member of Congress changed his vote on the Thirteenth Amendment (which had previously been defeated) because of Lincoln's actions. Donald documents that Lincoln was told that some New Jersey Democrats could possibly be persuaded to vote for the amendment "if he could persuade [Senator] Charles Sumner to drop a bill to regulate the Camden & Amboy [New Jersey] Railroad, but he declined to intervene". "One New Jersey Democrat," writes David Donald, "well known as a lobbyist for the Camden & Amboy, who had voted against the amendment in July, did abstain in the final vote, but it cannot be proved that Lincoln influenced his change". Thus, according to the foremost authority on Lincoln, there is no evidence at all that Lincoln influenced even a single vote in the U.S. House of Representatives”.Lincoln late in the war being pressured to support the 13th amendment from abolitionist within his party also supported the amendment.

Shortly before his death Lincoln said of the 13th amendment “He never would have done it, if he had not been compelled by necessary to do it, to maintain the union”. Missouri abolitionist John Hume said of Lincoln “The president was in constant opposition” to the abolitionist movement of Chase, Sumner, Stevens, Greeley and others.

Send Them Back To Africa

"What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races," 
-Abraham Lincoln Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 521 17 July 1858

“If all earthly power were given to first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land”

-Abraham Lincoln 1854

Lincoln allocated millions of federal dollars to be used for his African colonization plan to send the future freed slaves back to Africa. He either wanted them deported or in their own all black state. While in the White House he held a meeting with free blacks, he asked them to lead by example for future freed slaves and go to Africa. He stated to them

"You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence.... It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated." 

-Abraham Lincoln, speech to a group of black freedmen in Washington D.C., August 1862 

As a member of the Illinois legislature Lincoln urged the legislature "to appropriate money for colonization in order to remove Negroes from the state and prevent miscegenation" 1853 Lincoln gave a speeches to the Springfield colonization society whose goal was to send blacks back to Africa. Lincoln said his colonization plan would “free slaveholders from the troublesome presence of free Negroes.” When pushing for his colonization plan [that he admitted would be difficult] he said “Where there is a will there is a way” that he would push because of a “moral sense and self interest”.

“On no other matter did he so far extend his presidential can hardly find any subject on which Lincoln argued and pleaded more constantly than on this”

-J.G Randall Lincoln historian

His plan called for three major parts. Gradual emancipation, compensation, [for slave owners] and finally colonization to Africa or south America. After the emancipation proclamation Lincoln made clear deportation was connected with emancipation. His Friend Henry Whitney said there was nothing besides preserving the union, that Lincoln felt more important. Friend and bodyguard Ward Lamon said Lincoln “Zealously and persistent devised plans for the deportation of the negro.” Others said he was “persistent” “Motivated” and “wished to send the Negros away.”

“Following the preliminary proclamation, and as part of the plan. Was the deportation and colonization of the colored race”

-Gideon Welles Diary NY 1911 

In 1861 Lincoln tried to pay $500 to the northern slave states for each slave to be colonized within the USA. In his first state of the union address he suggested free blacks be included in his colonization plan when he said “ It might be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization.” On Dec 1 1862 Lincoln called for three constitutional amendments for gradual emancipation, compensation and colonization. Compensation to owners so long as they freed slaves by 1900. On Dec 31 1862 Lincoln signed a contract to send 500 American born Negroes to an island of the cost of Hati. It ended disastrous for the negroes 150 of them died, the rest were brought back to America.

“Mr Lincoln is quite a genuine Representative of American prejudiced and negro hatred and far more concerned for the preservation of slavery...Mr Lincoln is urging his colonization scheme.. shows his bigotry his pride of race and contempt for negroes”

-Fredrick Douglass The Life and Writings of Fredrick Douglass 

What African American historian Bennett calls Lincolns “white dream” was his work as president to deport all blacks from America. Until his death Lincoln negotiated with great Britain and others to deport the would be freed slaves.

“His belief that the white and colored races could not occupy the same nation in peace”

-Henery Whitney Life on the circuit with Lincoln 1892



Some Sources:
Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement by Phillip W. Magness
Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream by Lerone Bennett, Jr
Quotes: Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream, Jerone Bennett, Jr. (1999, 2007)



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