Does the Lincoln Nonsense Never End?
The Latest New York Times Nonsense About Lincoln
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
At the outset of the War to Prevent Southern Independence both Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress declared publicly that the sole purpose of the war was to save the union and not to interfere with Southern slavery. Lincoln himself stated this very clearly in his first inaugural address and in many other places. This fact bothers the court historians of the Lincoln cult who have in the past forty years rewritten American history to suggest that slavery was the sole cause of the war. (A generation ago, if one took a college course on “the Civil War” it was likely that one would have read The Causes of the Civil War by Kenneth Stampp, a former president of the American Historical Association.)
The latest attempt to rewrite or whitewash history comes from one Richard Striner in a December 13 New York Times article entitled “How Lincoln Undid the Union.” The gist of Striner’s argument is that: 1) a compromise to save the union was in the works in Washington in December of 1860; but 2) Lincoln persuaded key members of the Republican Party to oppose it because it might not have prohibited the extension of slavery into the new territories, a key feature of the 1860 Republican Party platform. Lincoln wanted to save the union, says Striner, but he wanted a union that would put slavery “on the path to extinction.”
What rubbish. The notion that prohibiting the extension of slavery would somehow magically cause the end of Southern slavery has always been totally nonsensical. As University of Virginia Historian Michael Holt wrote in his book, Fate of Their Country (p. 27), “Modern economic historians have demonstrated that this assumption was false.” It is every bit as nonsensical as Lincoln’s crazy assertion that the extension of slavery into the Territories would have somehow led to the re-introduction of slavery into Maine, Massachusetts, and other states that had legally abolished slavery! (He ludicrously said that a nation “could not exist” half slave and half free). It is hard to believe that rational human beings ever believed such things. It is unlikely that many Americans of Lincoln’s time did.