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    Default Abraham Lincoln

    Guess this might have better served under Entertainment... but Lincoln was a Statesman, politician, President and the real "founder" of the Republican Party which the Democrats are trying to suggest was really the democrats some time back..

    But, that's all beside the point.

    Spielberg says "Lincoln" is no political football


    Spielberg speaks at The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual luncheon to announce financial grants to film schools and non-profit organizations at the Beverly Hills hotel (MARIO ANZUONI, REUTERS / August 10, 2012)



    Christine Kearney Reuters 2:35 p.m. CDT, October 9, 2012


    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Steven Spielberg offered a cinematic vision of President Abraham Lincoln's battle to outlaw slavery in "Lincoln," which had a sneak preview that is already generating early buzz of awards for star Daniel Day-Lewis.

    After a screening at the New York Film festival on Monday, Spielberg acknowledged the pressure of bringing to the big screen one of America's most revered political figures, and he side-stepped questions about its relevance to current politics ahead of the November 6 U.S. presidential elections.

    To audience laughter, Spielberg said he had deliberately sought to avoid such entanglements by asking for a release date after the elections. "Lincoln" is due for limited release November 9 and timed for the Hollywood awards season.

    "Don't let this political football play back and forth," the Oscar-winning director said he urged distributors, noting the "confusing" aspect in the film that shows how U.S. political parties back in Lincoln's time "traded political places over the last 150 years."

    In contrast to today, the Republican party to which Lincoln belonged was founded by anti-slavery activists and Republicans were often tagged "radicals."

    Two-time Oscar-winning actor Day-Lewis portrays Lincoln as a charismatic, gifted wordsmith and an often quietly determined, skilled politician who risked his popularity to gain enough votes to pass the 13th Amendment - which outlawed slavery - in the U.S. House of Representatives during the final months of 1865.

    WILD APPLAUSE FOR DANIEL DAY-LEWIS

    Irish-British actor Day-Lewis, along with Sally Field who plays his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, stood up to wild applause after the screening, where security was high and filmgoers waited nearly an hour for the movie to begin.

    Spielberg described Day-Lewis as "the consummate artist" and praised his understated take on "the stature and momentous kind of humanity of Lincoln" and ability to remain true to history's account of Lincoln with a high-pitched, quavering yet commanding vocal tone.

    He said historians would have criticized the film "had we done Lincoln the way Disneyland does it at Epcot center, with that low voice," he said.

    The dialogue-heavy film offers an inside look at the often dry legislative process, and how Lincoln's push for the anti-slavery amendment could have jeopardized the end of the Civil War.

    Without re-enacting much of Lincoln's famed speeches, the film plays up the importance of Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn) and liberal congressman Thaddeus Stevens - in another performance, by Tommy Lee Jones, already tipped as an awards contender.

    The legislative scrutiny comes as U.S. lawmakers today are often criticized for being too polarized and holding up the legislative process.

    Spielberg, 66, said the film was not quite finished but called it a "a journey for me unlike any other" in his career.

    "We all really felt this was a high bar to reach," Spielberg said of the anticipation and detail required for the film that was shot entirely in Virginia.

    In another departure from the history books, Field and screenplay writer Tony Kushner offer a sympathetic depiction of Lincoln's wife as a strong and supportive woman. In the past Todd has often been remembered as much for possible mental instability as being loyal to her husband's political policies.

    "I see abundant evidence that she was immensely important in pushing him," Kushner said, noting the "unspeakable" losses she suffered, including losing several children before her own death, as well as a serious head injury that caused headaches.

    "The idea that she was nuts, I think is unfair," he said.

    (The story fixes Spielberg age to 65 from 66 and in sixth paragraph changes to read early months of 1865 instead of final months.)

    (Editing by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Kenneth Barry)
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    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln

    Daniel Day-Lewis Is Great, But Spielberg's 'Lincoln' Surprises with Amazing Ensemble

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    By Matt Patches , Hollywood.com Staff | Monday, October 08, 2012








    The final months of the Civil War, a time when President Abraham Lincoln struggled to end slavery and bring the Confederate States of America back into the fold of the union, are among the most important moments in Unites States history. They're also the murkiest. 11th grade American History tried to teach us — war, four scores, Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment, and a fateful night at the theater — but with a few hundred years' worth of events to process, most people leave school knowing that Lincoln made a couple important moves that turned the world what it is today.
    Thankfully, we now have a film, courtesy of the legendary Steven Spielberg, that brings the 16th President's amazing uphill battle to cinematic life. The cold hard facts could not be more impressive.
    For Lincoln, an adaptation of the biography Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Spielberg scales down his usual blockbuster sensibilities (last seen in 2011's World War I melodrama War Horse) to craft an intimate portrait of an iconic political figure. To pull it off, writer Tony Kushner (Munich and the two-part Angels in America) constructs the film like a play, relying on the soothing, chameleon presence of Daniel Day-Lewis to breath life into Lincoln's poetic waxing. The President hits road block after road block on his quest to free the slaves and end the war, Kushner and Spielberg weaving in handfuls of characters to pull him in various directions (and accurately represent the real life events). Each time Day-Lewis' Lincoln gracefully dances the dance, solving every problem with action and words. Today, Lincoln is held in high regard as an inspirational figure. Spielberg shows us why.
    Lincoln isn't a full-blown birth-to-death biopic of The Great Emancipator, and better for it. Picking up in January of 1865, years into the Civil War, Lincoln summons his Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn) to say enough is enough — the time is ripe for the abolishing of slavery. Against the vocal naysayers of the Union, and even his personal confidantes, Lincoln attempts to rally the Congressmen he needs to make his bill an Amendment. He hires three men (John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, and the wonderfully outrageous James Spader) to use whatever non-violent means possible to swing the vote. All the while, well-spoken adversaries (like Lee Pace's Fernando Wood) take to the House of Representatives floor to discredit Lincoln and dissuade congressmen. Keeping the progressive foot in the door is Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), a foul-mouthed powerhouse who shares Lincoln's ambitious dreams of equality.
    The story is simple, but Kushner doesn't shy away from laying down lengthy passages of political discussion in order to show the importance of Lincoln's task. It's dense material, spruced up with Kushner's ear for dialogue, but even so, it occasionally meanders into Ken Burns documentary territory. Case in point: there are so many characters with beards in Lincoln, Spielberg even flashes title cards underneath their opening scenes just so we're not lost. The fact-heavy approach takes getting used to, but Spielberg and Kushner adeptly dig deep beyond the political gabfest to find a human side to Lincoln. He's a gentle man, a warm man, and a hilarious man. The duo's Honest Abe never shies away from a good story — at times, he's like Grandpa from The Simpsons, lost in his own anecdotes (much to the dismay of his cabinet). Day-Lewis chews scenery as hinted at in the trailers, but with absolute restraint. That makes his sudden outbursts really pop. When Lincoln becomes fed up with pussyfooting politicians, like the quivering representatives played by Walton Goggins and Michael Stuhlberg, Day-Lewis cranks the high-pitched President up to 10. He never falters.
    There's a great deal of humor and heart in Lincoln — partially because the circus-like antics of Washington D.C. feel all too close to home in this day and age — and Spielberg paces it all with expert camera work. The drama is iffier: a side story involving Lincoln's son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) teases an interesting family dynamic that is never fully explored, and is clunky when dropped to the wayside in favor of larger issues. Same goes for Lincoln's wife Mary Todd (Sally Field), who continues to grieve for the couple's lost child. They're important issues, but don't quite work in the fabric of this specific narrative.
    The larger world outside the offices of the White House and Congress is often forgotten too — we hear a lot of war talk, without seeing a whole lot of war. Instances where Lincoln ventures out into fields of the dead have emotional impact, but we feel disconnected from it. Where Spielberg really gets it right is the chaos of the Presidential occupation. There is no easy task for Lincoln. "I may have been wrong about that," says Abe, referencing his issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, "but I wanted the people to tell me if I was." Day-Lewis understands Lincoln's complex internal thought and brings it forward in each scene: humble, confident, deadly, and compassionate.
    Spielberg's technical team once again wows and echoes the lead performance. Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski's contrasting photography, near chiaroscuro, makes the beautiful set and production design hyper real and highlights the actors' aging faces. Composer John Williams returns once again, but with a score as low-key as Day-Lewis' character — a change of pace when compared to War Horse. It's all up to par with Spielberg's past work without turning Lincoln into a flashy period drama.
    Day-Lewis was the talk of the town when the first Lincoln trailers made their way on the web, but surprisingly, Lincoln wows because it's a well-balanced ensemble drama. Lee Jones delivers his best work in a decade as the grouchy idealist, Spader delivers the comedic performance of the Fall season, and every scene introduces another familiar face to add additional gravitas to the picture (as opposed to being a distracting cameo fest). S. Epatha Merkerson's late-in-the-game scene opens up the tear ducts in a way that none of her male costars can.
    If history isn't one of your interests, Lincoln may not rouse you — background reading not required, but conversation moves at lightning speed and without much hand holding. It's a change of pace for Spielberg, and a welcome one. With all the bells and whistles that come with being the biggest director of all time, Lincoln looks amazing, sounds amazing, and has enough talent to make it an exhilarating learning experience.
    [Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures (2)]
    Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln worthy of his reputation


    By Conrad Black, Postmedia News October 9, 2012 3:01 PM





    Abraham Lincoln: president, intellectual, self-made man.

    Photograph by: AP , AP




    The mighty American star system has elevated and demoted thousands of people over the 236 years since the propagandistic arts were first torqued up in the Declaration of Independence. But the supreme champion of the American personality cult has been Abraham Lincoln. Given the hyperbole which frequently attaches to much-admired Americans, there is a temptation to assume that Lincoln could not possibly deserve the stratospheric elevation he has received. But he does.

    Lincoln was born on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky on February 12, 1809, received only about a year of formal education, and moved with his family to the frontier country of Indiana, and then, at 21, to Illinois. He largely educated himself as a voracious reader, worked at a variety of jobs, had his first, disturbing, look at slavery on a trip down the Mississippi in 1831, and toiled in a law office until he became a member of the Illinois Bar in 1836. His mother died when he was young and he had little rapport with his father. But he got on, was a tall and rugged man, companionable, and a fine raconteur with a good sense of humour, who gradually built up his legal practice and became a leading attorney.

    He was troubled by slavery as fundamentally wrong: “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.” This seems an obvious position to hold now, but America was largely founded and built by slave-holders. Although Lincoln did not at first consider African Americans to be equal in talent and intelligence to Caucasians, he eventually amended that view, when he came to know more of them.

    Lincoln came gradually to believe that the incongruity to proclaimed American values, and the outright evil of slavery, were so profound that the nation could not survive. He was for, above all, the preservation of the Union, and favoured various methods of curtailing and gradually eliminating slavery. These included support for the original idea of paying for the emancipation of slaves and their voluntary return to Africa, to the purpose-created country of Liberia.

    The Democratic-Republican Party (a faction of which would go on to become the modern Democratic Party) devised, under Thomas Jefferson and then Andrew Jackson, the formula of guarantying the continuation of slavery in the South, where it was part of the life and political culture, and permitting its spread to the West, south of the line established by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. But the Democrats pledged to the North that secession of the slave states would not be tolerated (much in the way the Canadian Liberals promoted the understanding that they would make federalism good for French-Canadians, but also assure the adherence of Quebec to Confederation). The Democrats won 13 of the 15 presidential elections from 1800 to 1856 on this arrangement.

    Given Lincoln’s views of slavery, it is little wonder that he was in the opposition Whig Party, and served four terms in the Illinois legislature and one as a congressman. The Whigs were a catchment for people who weren’t Democrats (rather as here in Canada, the Progressive Conservatives were people who weren’t Liberals). Its greatest leaders were lions of the Congress, especially Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, who ran for president a total of four times, unsuccessfully.

    After the Compromise of 1850, the Union definitively began to crack apart. That measure strengthened the ability of slaveholders to hunt down fugitive slaves in the North, and established the principle of squatter sovereignty, by which territories voted whether to apply for statehood as slave or free states by referendum, ensuring miniature civil wars in each such territory, starting with Kansas in 1854. This inspired the South to claim the right to spread slavery to the North, where there was no economic rationale for it.

    Lincoln was the Whig leader in Illinois, and he joined with Thurlow Weed and William H. Seward, the Whig leaders in New York, and their analogues, Simon Cameron in Pennsylvania and Salmon P. Chase in Ohio, and formed the Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery, but would tolerate its retention where it was already established. At the 1856 Republican National Convention, Lincoln sought to become the party’s vice presidential candidate. He was runner-up.

    In 1858, Lincoln ran for the U.S. Senate from Illinois against the leading Democratic senator in the nation, Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas was a proponent of squatter sovereignty — the above-described proposition that organizing territories could become slave states by an improvised majority of southern settlers. And in a famous series of seven debates that took place throughout the state and received nation-wide publicity, Lincoln forced Douglas to admit that even the 1857 Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court — which effectively denied rights even to emancipated slaves, and required the federal government to permit slavery anywhere — would not help spread slavery, because public opinion opposed it everywhere outside the South.

    This scandalized the pro-slavers. Lincoln had split the Democratic Party like a rail, and shattered the Jefferson-Jackson Democratic consensus that had held for more than 50 years. At the time, however, the election of U.S. senators was done by the state legislature, and Douglas was narrowly re-selected.

    Lincoln toured the northern states making thoughtful speeches about slavery, more moderate than the militant abolitionists, but focusing on the right of the federal government, i.e. the North, to restrict the evil’s spread. An improbable dark horse at first, he gradually emerged as the most sensible of the Republican presidential candidates.

    Lincoln skillfully arranged for the second nominating convention of the Republican party to take place in the rapidly burgeoning city of Chicago (it had grown from 20 families to over 100,000 people in barely 25 years). Here, his organization, which controlled the Illinois Republicans and Whigs, packed the galleries, even changing railway timetables to bring in supporters from around the state, some on trains that exceeded the then-astounding speed of 60 miles per hour.

    His chief rivals, especially Senator Seward from New York, were more aggressively hostile to slavery than Lincoln was. But Lincoln emerged as the most knowledgeable expositor of an anti-slavery position that aimed at preserving the Union, and he was nominated on the third ballot. By this time, the Democrats had nominated Douglas, which caused the southern states to defect and hold a separate nominating convention that chose incumbent vice president John C. Breckinridge for president. A fourth party — the Constitutional Union Party, composed of fragments of former parties — nominated former Tennessee senator John Bell.

    Lincoln won almost 40 per cent of the vote, and the northern states. Douglas won 30 per cent and only Missouri. Breckinridge took 18 per cent. Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee went to Bell. The electoral College vote was decisive: 180 for Lincoln, 72 for Breckinridge, 39 for Bell and 12 for Douglas. Indeed, Lincoln would have been elected even if all his opponents’ votes had been cast for the same candidate, as he had assembled an absolute majority throughout the North.

    By inauguration day, March 4, 1861, when Lincoln made a conciliatory address, seven southern states had seceded and four others had said that they would also if there were any attempt to prevent the first seven from withdrawing from the Union. The North was not overly solicitous of the welfare of the slave, but was concerned for the Union. Lincoln arranged for the first shots to be fired by the South at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, as the North resupplied a Union fort there, and Union support firmed up for suppressing the insurrection. Lincoln and the long-serving commander of the Union Army, General Winfield Scott, worked out the “anaconda strategy” of starving the South with a naval blockade, placing the main northern army between Washington and Richmond to hold the main Confederate Army there, cutting off the Mississippi from New Orleans and down the Mississippi from southern Illinois and slicing off a quarter of the Confederacy; then slicing southeast through Tennessee and Georgia to the sea and severing the lower half of what was left, and driving north through the Carolinas and destroying the surviving Confederate armies in Virginia.

    In 1863, Lincoln tucked the theme of emancipation into the main war aim of suppressing the insurrection by selling this in the North not as Union soldiers dying to liberate slaves, but the enticement of the slaves to revolt and harass the insurrection of the secessionists. Lincoln promoted new generals after each defeat, and in 1863 settled command on the victorious Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Lincoln had deftly dealt with meddling by the British and French, revolts of extreme revanchists in his own party, peace-now defectors among the northern Democrats, and draft riots in northern cities, including one in New York shortly after the great Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg that required a brigade of Union soldiers to subdue. The Grand Army of the Republic under the insuperable Grant and Sherman grew to nearly a million battle-hardened men, mainly volunteers. The Anaconda plan was executed and the war was won, though 750,000 Americans died, in a population of only 31 million, and Sherman reduced much of the South to ashes and rubble.

    Throughout, though Lincoln supported and ordered the total war of his commanders against the South, as the only way to break its rebel spirit, he addressed the war with steady firmness and even a conciliatory spirit, and with such eloquence that he was probably rivalled, if at all, only by Cardinal Newman, as the greatest non-fiction English prose writer of the 19th century.

    Only 82 years after it gained its independence as vulnerable colonies on the Atlantic littoral, America emerged as — with the British and about-to-be-created German, Empires — one of the greatest powers in the world. As all the world knows, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on April 14, 1865 (he died the next day), just days after Lee’s surrender to Grant. He was 56.

    His strategic management was masterly at every phase. Yet so unassuming and free of egotism was Lincoln, that like a great circus performer, it was only obvious after he had left the stage how brilliant his strategic conceptions, command decisions, and tactical initiatives had been.

    His greatness lies also in his rare human qualities. He was an intellectual, but an autodidact, a self-made man but never chippy or bumptious; good-humoured always even though sometimes morose and constantly under great strain, utterly ethical but never a prude nor above a modest political ruse. He was not worn down despite the presence of a nagging wife, the death of two sons in their youth, and a horrible war. He was only saddened and never angry at the many betrayals and disappointments he endured. His profoundly sympathetic personality, the nobility of his cause, infallible eloquence, and his astounding virtuosity as a statesman explain Lincoln’s immense, universal, and permanent prestige.

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/enter...#ixzz28pmJYyEK
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    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln, Stepfather of Our Country

    The New American
    16 November 2012

    “Anyone who embarks on a study of Abraham Lincoln … must first come to terms with the Lincoln myth. The effort to penetrate the crust of legend that surrounds Lincoln … is both a formidable and intimidating task. Lincoln, it seems, requires special considerations that are denied to other figures.”

    — Robert W. Johannsen
    Lincoln, the South, and Slavery

    Indeed, it would not seem a safe time to critique the wisdom, motivations, and character of Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg’s reverential motion picture epic Lincoln fills screens across America. The public increasingly accepts him as America’s greatest leader. Academics from the Left — and Right — compete to bestow the grandest laurels on the 16th president.

    Yet, such a pursuit is ever more important for a people hurtling forward into an uncertain future, to learn from past mistakes or merely become aware they made them. One growing consensus regarding Lincoln seems credible: He has exerted more influence over the development of this nation than any other person, including the Founders. If Washington be the father of our country, surely Lincoln is its stepfather.

    This article will examine the significance of this truly larger-than-life figure’s actions regarding three of the many important issues of his time: 1) the Constitution, in particular during the War Between the States, 2) emancipation and blacks, and 3) the Radical Republicans and Reconstruction.

    The Constitution

    “I am the President of the United States of America — clothed in immense power!” Spielberg’s Lincoln thunders. The real Lincoln proved the truth of that claim within days of the April 12, 1861 attack on Fort Sumter. In fact, the attack might have been avoided if he had not decided to reinforce Sumter. Once it occurred, he quickly unleashed a series of watershed actions that forever altered the nature of American government.

    On April 13, he declared the seceding states in a condition of rebellion and called for 75,000 troops to deal with them — a declaration expressly reserved to Congress by the Constitution: “The Congress shall have the power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”

    On April 15, he called for Congress to return to session — but only on July 15, months after Ft. Sumter .

    On April 19, he declared a naval blockade of the South.

    On April 21, he instructed the U.S. Navy to buy five warships — an appropriations act needing congressional approval.

    On April 27, he began the unprecedented act of suspending the constitutional right of habeas corpus.

    On May 3, he called up thousands more troops — for three-year hitches — another act the law did not authorize the president to commit.

    At about the same time, he ordered the Department of Treasury to pay two million dollars to a New York City company to outfit and arm his army — another appropriations act needing congressional approval.

    Each one of these acts — and many more soon to follow — violated the U.S. Constitution. The majority of the U.S. public supported him, however, as the American people have supported other presidents since, when they felt the need to break the Constitution “for the public good.”

    This early series of moves proved breathtaking in its shrewd efficiency. For instance, by not calling Congress back into session until July, Lincoln presented it with a fait accompli upon its return: a war months old from which there was now no turning back, unless Lincoln decided such, which he had no intention of doing. Whether or not Congress would have declared war on the South as had Lincoln, it now saw no choice but to fight.

    Even Massachusetts’ Senator Charles Sumner, one of the spearheads of the Radical postwar Reconstruction and certainly no friend of the South, said: “When Lincoln reinforced Sumter and called for 75,000 men without the consent of Congress, it was the greatest breach ever made in the Constitution, and would hereafter give the President the liberty to declare war whenever he wished, without the consent of Congress.”

    All this came from the hand of Lincoln, a man who as a U.S. congressman in 1848 declared: “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize and make their own so much of the territory as they inhabit.’’

    In his landmark book The Real Lincoln, Loyola College economics professor and Lincoln scholar Thomas DiLorenzo recounted how Lincoln also unlawfully “nationalized the railroads; created three new states without the consent of the citizens of those states in order to artificially inflate the Republican Party’s electoral vote; ordered Federal troops to interfere with Northern elections to assure Republican Party victories; deported Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham for opposing his domestic policies (especially protectionist tariffs and income taxation) on the floor of the House of Representatives; confiscated private property, including firearms, in violation of the Second Amendment; and effectively gutted the Tenth and Ninth Amendments as well.”

    Maryland, My Maryland

    Soon, the Lincoln administration crossed yet another historic line. Without notifying targeted members of the Maryland legislature of charges, or indeed possessing any charges, its troops hauled dozens of legislators it suspected of supporting secession out of their homes in front of their families in the darkness of night and threw them into prison.

    The prison was temporarily located at Fort McHenry, from where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner.” In fact, Key’s own grandson would be among the host flung into captivity at the fort. He would write eloquently in American Bastille of how much the nation had changed in less than a half century, as he looked upon the U.S. flag flying at the same location as it was when his grandfather wrote his famous stanzas.

    Thousands of Federal soldiers from other states voted in Maryland’s November 1861 elections, while local residents had to pass through formations of bayonet-brandishing Federals to cast their ballots. The Maryland legislature, prior to its collective jailing by Lincoln, declared: “Resolved, that Maryland implores the President, in the name of God, to cease this unholy war, at least until Congress assembles; that Maryland desires and consents to the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. The military occupation of Maryland is unconstitutional, and she protests against it, though the violent interference with the transit of federal troops is discountenanced, that the vindication of her rights be left to time and reason, and that a Convention, under existing circumstances, is inexpedient.”

    Opposing Supreme Court

    Only weeks after the war commenced in 1861, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, one of the foundational pillars of American — and Western — liberty, and preeminent among all provisions of the Bill of Rights. The right of habeas corpus (Latin for “you may have the body”) is sourced in England’s ancient Magna Carta. It requires a warrant be issued by a legitimate law-enforcement authority before a person can be arrested, prevents the jailing of a person without his being charged with a specific crime, and prohibits indefinite detention of that person without the opportunity of appearing before a legally convened court for the exercise of his rights and the hearing of his case.

    Despite the central place of habeas corpus in American liberty and an armada of opinion ranging from British jurist William Blackstone to American Chief Justice John Marshall to President Thomas Jefferson that only Congress — and never the president — could suspend habeas corpus, Lincoln’s administration did just that in thousands of cases against the citizens of Federal states. (The power to suspend habeas corpus “when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it” is in Article I, the section of the Constitution enumerating congressional power.)

    Federal troops arrested Marylander John Merryman without a warrant, jailed him — at Fort McHenry — and kept him there without opportunity for trial or defense. He appealed to the esteemed Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who had already freed his own slaves.

    It is difficult to conceive of the political climate in which Taney received this plea. Every day, Federal officers hauled citizens of every stripe — politicians, newspaper publishers, attorneys, business owners, common workers — from their homes and places of business for voicing the slightest criticism of the U.S. government or Lincoln, flung them into jail, and left them there. Taney had no illusions but that that fate likely awaited him if he crossed the president. Yet he ordered the release of the jailed man. Lincoln commanded his soldiers to refuse. The chief justice then penned Ex Parte Merryman, an opinion now famous in constitutional law. Delivered directly to Lincoln at his office, it informed the president that he, not Merryman, was breaching the law and the Constitution, and it ordered Merryman’s release.

    At this point, Lincoln did issue a warrant of arrest — for Taney. Lincoln apologists deny this action, but contemporary witnesses corroborate it. Though longtime Lincoln colleague and Federal Marshal of Washington Ward Hill Lamon declined to serve the warrant, Lincoln had established that neither Congress, the Supreme Court, nor the Constitution would stand in the way of his carrying out the actions he deemed best for the country.

    Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, 85 years old when President Lincoln issued the warrant for his arrest and dead before the end of the war, wrote in Ex Parte Merryman: “If the President of the United States may suspend the writ [of habeas corpus], then the Constitution of the United States has conferred upon him more regal and absolute power over the liberty of the citizen than the people of England have thought it safe to entrust to the crown — a power which the Queen of England cannot exercise to this day, and which could not have been lawfully exercised by the sovereign even in the reign of Charles the First.”

    That king got beheaded for his dictatorial actions.

    The Lincoln administration continued to express great concern over Northerners who did not exhibit what it considered sufficient loyalty, or sufficiently enthusiastic loyalty, to the United States and its war effort. After suspending habeas corpus, the president and his lieutenants shut down over 300 Northern newspapers during the struggle, throwing many of their editors and publishers in jail or prison without trials and often without charges. Approximately 13,000 other Northern citizens met the same fate.

    Lincoln’s justification: “Measures, however unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution, through the preservation of the nation.”

    Blacks and Slavery

    Abraham Lincoln’s own words on the issue of African-American slavery would shock anyone who accepts the popular myth that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” While he never uttered a word against the Illinois law that made it a crime for blacks to settle in his home state, he did declare, in Springfield, on July 17, 1858: “What I would desire most would be the separation of the white and black races.”

    During his famed 1858 Illinois Senate debates with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln offered eloquent criticism of American slavery, while demonstrating how different his anti-slavery views were from those of abolitionists who sought not only freedom, but political and social equality, for blacks:
    Make Negroes politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this. I will say that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor have ever 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 in as much 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.
    Did his views change later, as president? In 1862, he declared: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”

    Emancipation Proclamation

    Yet, he “freed” the slaves the following year. Evidence abounds, from Lincoln’s own words as well as his actions, that something besides a desire to end African-American bondage fueled his historic Emancipation Proclamation. U.S. Senate Republicans launched a revolt against Lincoln in mid-December 1862, just before he signed the proclamation into law.

    According to Lincoln’s old friend, Illinois Representative Orville Browning, and others, the senators demanded the president conduct a more resolute war effort, including emancipating all African-American slaves in America. They apparently threatened to bring down his administration otherwise.

    Orville Browning’s diary of December 31, 1862 recorded that Judge Benjamin Franklin Thomas of the Massachusetts Supreme Court told the regretful Browning: “The President was fatally bent upon his course, saying that if he should refuse to issue his proclamation there would be a rebellion in the north, and that a dictator would be placed over his head within the week.”

    This enhanced, Radical Republican-dominated effort evidently included emancipation as a method of war that would torpedo the South’s economy and ability to defend itself. A slave uprising lay within the sphere of this projection. A howling chorus of protest arose to the proclamation not only from the South, but from many of Lincoln’s opponents in the North, as well as in Europe. Horatio Seymour, soon-to-be Democratic governor of New York, called the scheme “a proposal for the butchery of [white Southern] women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, arson and murder, unparalleled in the history of the world.”

    Relations between Southern slaves and their owners proved superior to such an eventuality. But Lincoln himself, when told the Constitution gave individual states and not the national government jurisdiction over slavery, claimed emancipation as a war powers act that he as commander in chief could employ — for military purposes. Indeed, he eliminated from an early draft of the decree a call for a violent uprising of slaves.

    Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation quelled the Senate revolt. But his lackluster feelings for it resurfaced when he eschewed the urgings of much of his Cabinet, including Seward, Chase, Blair, and Bates, and confined his decree to those slaves in Confederate-controlled territory. That is, he freed none of the slaves over which he had control when he had the opportunity.

    Wrote Lincoln’s colleague Lamon: “None of [Lincoln’s] public acts, either before or after he became President, exhibits any special tenderness for the African race.... When he was compelled, by what he deemed an overruling necessity, founded on both military and political considerations, to declare the freedom of [only the Confederates’] slaves, he did so with avowed reluctance, and took pains to have it understood that his resolution was in no wise affected by sentiment.” Lamon’s perspective on Lincoln’s actions once again seems on solid ground, in view of the president’s 1861 revocation of Federal General John Fremont’s bold emancipation of slaves in Missouri. That countermanding infuriated abolitionists and conservatives alike in the North, albeit for different reasons.

    A portion of the completed Emancipation Proclamation addressed another view Lincoln had in mind for Southern, but not Union border state, slaves — “impressment” into the Federal armies, often against their will. A horrendous 68,000 of the 186,000 African-Americans who shouldered arms for Lincoln’s armies died during the war. They provided significant manpower in the desperate struggle, however, and deprived the Confederates of their services.

    In the end, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation exhibited political sagacity and brilliance, hastened the demise of American slavery, probably triggered the deaths of tens of thousands more men — including many former slaves — than would otherwise have occurred, and likely contributed to America’s future morass in racial relations. In contrast, nearly every other Western Hemisphere nation that practiced slavery ended the practice peaceably. Britain, worldwide purveyors of the slave trade, did so as well, through the patient, often frustrating, but ultimately pacific emancipation effort spearheaded by the devout Christian William Wilberforce.

    Freedom and Deportation

    But didn’t Lincoln yearn to keep slavery out of the new territories and states of the West? Yes, along with all black people. “Now irrespective of the moral aspect of this question as to whether there is a right or wrong in enslaving a Negro,” he said, “I am still in favor of our new Territories being in such a condition that white men may find a home.… I am in favor of this not merely … for our own people who are born amongst us, but as an outlet for free white people everywhere, the world over.”

    What if Congress refused to grant Lincoln’s desire for this sprawling, whites-only enclave? “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth,” he said.

    Thus appears an even more startling revelation, as Lincoln stated in 1857 and many times before and after: “Let us be brought to believe it is morally right … to transfer the African to his native clime … however great the task may be. The children of Israel, to such numbers as to include four hundred thousand fighting men, went out of Egyptian bondage in a body.”

    Lincoln, as did other presidents before him, wished the permanent shipment of as much of the African-American population as possible to foreign lands, and colonies established for them.

    He advocated “emancipation … deportation … and their places be … filled up by free white laborers,” in New York City in 1860.

    “But if gradual emancipation and deportation be adopted, they [blacks] will have neither to flee … till new homes can be found for them, in congenial climes, and with people of their own blood and race,” he declared in his 1862 State of the Union address.

    This long desire resounded through the halls of Congress when he asked that body the same year to pass a constitutional amendment “colonizing free colored persons, with their own consent, at any place or places without the United States.”

    President Lincoln “zealously and persistently devised schemes for the deportation of the Negroes, which the latter deemed cruel and atrocious in the extreme,” his friend Lamon wrote.

    Lenore Bennett, Jr., an African-American author and no conservative or friend of the Confederacy, wrote in his massive chronicle Forced Into Glory, Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream:
    Lincoln proposed ... that the United States government buy the slaves and deport them to Africa or South America. This was not a passing whim. In five major policy declarations, including two State of the Union addresses and the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the sixteenth president of the United States publicly and officially called for the deportation of blacks. On countless other occasions, in conferences with cronies, Democratic and Republican leaders, and high government officials, he called for colonization of blacks or aggressively promoted colonization by private and official acts.
    According to Bennett, the president put his plans into action when “three months after signing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln became the first and last American president to officially deport native-born Americans for racial reasons, sending some 450 blacks, one-third of them women and children, to an island off the coast of Haiti to establish the first Lincoln colony. The island was a desolate place full of poisonous insects and snakes, and the whole affair ended in a comic-opera disaster, with scores of casualties and the survivors covered with bugs and suffering from various illnesses.”

    Lincoln didn’t ignore free African-Americans, either. He lauded the American Colonization Society, established to ship blacks out of America, saying he “considered it no demerit in the society, that it tended to relieve slaveholders from the troublesome presence of the free Negroes.” He was anything but bashful about the subject, declaring in his first State of the Union address: “[It] might well 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.”

    Radical Reconstruction

    “By the gods, there will be no trouble now in running this government,” Radical Republican Senator Ben Wade promised, upon the murder of Abraham Lincoln by famed actor John Wilkes Booth. Wade scarcely overstated what lay ahead in the postwar United States with his wing of the dominant Republican Party in charge.

    As America’s most terrible conflict ground to a blood-drenched conclusion in the spring of 1865, the military leaders of both sides wished for a return to productive lives for the Confederate population and a peaceful welcoming them back into the fold by Unionists. Lincoln also wished to put the war — which his side had won and which had devastated both the population and property of the Confederates — behind them, to welcome the South back into the social and commercial fold, and to resume building the United States, now with the Industrial Revolutionized might of the North, the Union preserved, and the slaves freed. But that war, for which Lincoln himself provided the guiding hand, had hurt too many and destroyed too many others. Countless Southerners would no doubt have put the same bullet into Lincoln’s head that John Wilkes Booth did. Among Booth’s last words upon his own death a few days later: “Tell Mother I died for my country.”

    Radical Republicans had existed in sometimes uneasy alliance and sometimes tense conflict with the pragmatic president. They held ideological convictions he did not. Like Lincoln, they wished for a centralized national government, but for different reasons. They intended to wield it as a cudgel in pursuit of a generally socialistic political platform. As a group, they were social progressives and either abolitionists or strongly anti-slavery. Many did not share the traditionalist Christianity common to Northern conservatives and Southerners. For Radical Republicans, embittered and philosophically reinvigorated by the harrowing marathon of war, the death of Lincoln both cleared the way and further motivated them for harshly “reconstructing” a Confederacy that stood diametrically opposed to them in nearly every conceivable way.

    With both the Confederates and Lincoln gone, the Radical Republicans unleashed a hurricane of change. They sent Southern congressmen home when the latter arrived in Washington, D.C., to resume representation of their states. Supposedly well-intentioned Radical programs like the Freedman’s Bureau and the Civil Rights Bill resulted in the legally sanctioned theft of vast tracts of land owned by former Confederates. When President Andrew Johnson opposed their unconstitutional actions, they stripped power from him — impeaching him in the House and coming within one Senate vote of removing him from office.

    The Radicals put their heart into passing three new constitutional amendments that officially ended all American slavery, granted citizenship to African-Americans, and extended to them the right to vote. Ruthless and unconstitutional tactics riddled even these laudatory accomplishments, however; and many white former Confederates lost their own rights to vote and to hold office. Plus, one of the new amendments, the 14th, laid the groundwork for the federal government to greatly expand its own power through future amendments and court interpretations.

    Dissatisfied with the response to their program from a crushed people now humiliated by military occupation and beset with economic calamity, the Radicals jettisoned the legal jurisdiction guaranteed to states by the Constitution; deprived hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Southerners of their constitutional right to trial by a jury of their peers for crimes ranging from assault to murder; filled juries with Radical sympathizers and supporters; and gave Republican President Ulysses S. Grant the unilateral right both to unleash martial law and to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. No Southern citizen had a right to redress in any of these situations.

    This ruthless reign of one-party dominance led to carpetbag governments backed by the bayonet; a cavalcade of government-supported private-sector boondoggles, such as the railroads, mining, and Wall Street financial speculators; the robber barons; the Black Friday Stock Market Crash; the most corrupt presidential administration (Grant’s) in U.S. history; the Gilded Age; the Ku Klux Klan; lasting enmity between the black and white races in the South; and the permanent recasting of what Radical leader Wendell Phillips branded “a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell” — the American Constitution.

    Short and Sweet

    Upwards of 20,000 books have come off the printing presses about Abraham Lincoln, with seemingly as many opinions regarding the central driving force behind his historic actions. So what was it? Lincoln himself summed up his “political principles” when he first ran for political office, the Illinois State Legislature, in 1832: “I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. My policies are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a National Bank, in favor of the Internal improvements system, and in favor of a high protective tariff.”

    Never for the next 30-plus years would he veer from that course. Historian DiLorenzo called Lincoln’s presidential elections and success the triumph of mercantilism, the late 17th- and early 18th-century British system of massive dispensation of governmental favors to favored business allies.

    Edgar Lee Masters concurred, chronicling how Lincoln dedicated his career to carrying forward Henry Clay’s so-called American System of government: “Henry Clay was the champion of that political system which doles favors to the strong in order to win and keep their adherence to the government. His system offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises. He was the beloved son, figuratively speaking, of Alexander Hamilton, with his corrupt funding schemes, his superstitions concerning the advantage of a public debt, and a people taxed to make profits for enterprises that cannot stand alone.”

    Lincoln’s questionable actions regarding the Constitution and blacks; his unleashing of the Federal military in an unprecedented campaign of total war against the men, women, children, and aged of the Confederate states; and his humane desires for reconciling with the South — they all lay sourced in the headwaters of a strong, consolidated nation, even empire. It offered glittering jewels for its adherents, as well as unnoticed dangers, new firebells in the night. It does so still.

    John J. Dwyer is the author of The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War (2005). A new edition of his book is scheduled for release in December.

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    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln

    Saturday, 17 November 2012 17:30
    Lincoln, the Movie

    Written by Steve Byas



    It is has been said that the motion picture industry created an American West of the second half of the 19th century century that never was, but always will be. The same could be said about the myth of Abraham Lincoln, who has been transformed by multitudes of books, novels, movies, articles, textbooks, and selective historical accounts into the greatest politician, and maybe even greatest personality, America has ever produced. There's even the absurd spectacle of a recent movie in which Lincoln is our champion against vampires.

    While Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has no such supernatural forces to fight, the movie will certainly add to the heroic status already afforded the 16th president. The movie focuses on the last four months of Lincoln’s life, with nearly all the movie centered in January 1865, with the push for approving of the 13th Amendment (abolishing slavery) by the House of Representatives at the end of that month. The Senate had given its approval the previous year.

    As expected with a Steven Spielberg movie, as an art form, it is first-rate. The acting is superb, with Daniel Day-Lewis performing masterfully as Lincoln, even down to the whiney voice, more historically accurate than the booming and deep voice previous cinematic versions have used. Sally Field turns in a fine performance as Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, who clearly suffered from mental illness. Field’s portrayal gives us sympathy for both Mary Todd and the husband who had to contend with her deep depressions, magnified by the death of their son, Willie.

    As expected, Tommy Lee Jones is masterful in the role of the self-righteous abolitionist, Representative Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania. Of course, Jones appears to be Hollywood’s premier actor in roles requiring arrogance and sanctimony.

    The passage of the 13th Amendment through the House cannot be accomplished without political promises and intimidation, as well as appeals to “the better angels of our nature.” When the push for adoption commences, prospects are bleak. Even if every single Republican were to vote yes, it would still leave the proponents 20 votes short of the constitutionally required two-thirds needed to send the amendment to the states for ratification.

    A prospective peace mission to end the Civil War creates political complications. It appears that some House members are willing to vote for the amendment, but the possibility that the war can be shortened by trading its adoption for an earlier end to the war threatens to snuff out its chances for success.

    Francis Preston Blair, a prominent private citizen, and one-time advisor to President Andrew Jackson, traveled to Richmond with the goal of opening “peace talks” between Lincoln and the Confederate government. Of course, Lincoln refused to consider the Confederate States of America as a legitimate government, but he told Blair he would meet with the commissioners and “hear them out.”

    Not surprisingly, news of the peace mission leaked out, causing some who had supported the amendment’s passage to pull back, afraid passage of an abolitionist amendment could only prolong the war, which had already cost over 600,000 lives. Blair told Lincoln he wished to avoid the nation’s “fourth bloody spring.”

    When faced with losing hope for the amendment’s acceptance, Lincoln resorted to an old political tactic — he lied and said there was no such peace conference. Later, he directed the military officers transporting the Confederate commissioners (led by Vice President Alexander Stephens) to stop short of Washington off the coast of Virginia. This allowed Lincoln to send a technically correct message to Congress that no peace commissioners were in Washington.

    Lincoln’s duplicity in this case is reminiscent of his dealings with South Carolina in 1861 over the Union garrison that continued to occupy Fort Sumter after South Carolina had seceded from the Union. As William J. Cooper wrote in We Have the War Upon Us, Lincoln led South Carolina and the Confederate government to believe that he was going to abandon Fort Sumter, while simultaneously plotting to reinforce it.

    Winning enough votes for passage required various deals. Behind the scenes, Lincoln agents worked to capture votes for the 13th Amendment. Some lame-duck Democrat members of Congress were promised government jobs, such as postmaster positions. One Democrat was even awarded his re-election over a Republican in Pennsylvania, if he would vote for the abolition amendment.

    The movie presents a kindly, generous Lincoln, such as in his dealings with his son, Robert, who wanted to join the Union Army; with his wife, Mary Todd; and in his desire to treat the southern states as equals upon their restoration in the federal Union. This desire to “bind up the nation’s wounds” put him at odds with Representative Stevens, who preferred to punish the South for the war. In fact, Stevens considered all the white people of the country, North and South, guilty for the scourge of slavery.

    Perhaps the biggest danger of this movie comes from one of its strengths. Almost all Lincoln portrayals ignore or skirt over Lincoln’s many and repeated violations of civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution. To its credit, Spielberg’s Lincoln repeatedly mentions past violations of the Constitution by the president. We see Lincoln talking about it himself, and political opponents and supporters both reference his suspension of habeas corpus and other executive usurpations.

    Arguing for the need of the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, Lincoln is shown discussing his “war powers” under the Constitution. He asserted that the Constitution gave him the power to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, because of his role as Commander in Chief. He “hoped” it was legal to issue the Proclamation and to ignore court decisions. But he feared that without an amendment to the Constitution, some court after the war might declare his action unconstitutional. Adding the amendment, he said, would remove this possibility.

    The movie Lincoln argues that his Emancipation Proclamation was constitutional because he had announced it in late 1862, giving the people almost two years to think about what he had done when they chose to re-elect him in 1864.

    One hopes the adoring audiences are not persuaded that this is sound constitutional reasoning. Such a concept would mean a president would be free to violate the Constitution at will, just so long as he can then achieve re-election.

    As historian John J. Dwyer said in his New American article, in which he called Lincoln the “Step-Father of our Country,” Lincoln violated the Constitution of the United States on several occasions. He basically declared war on the southern states, without any approval from Congress, despite the fact that the power to declare war is a congressional power. To prosecute the war, Dwyer wrote, “He instructed the U.S. navy to buy five warships — an appropriations act needing the approval of Congress.”

    Thomas DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln, detailed how Lincoln interfered with Northern elections, deported a U.S. congressman for opposing his domestic policies, and imprisoned state legislators. Even Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an ardent abolitionist, called Lincoln’s calling for 75,000 soldiers without the consent of Congress, “the greatest breech ever made in the Constitution, and would hereafter give the President the liberty to declare war whenever he wished, without the consent of Congress.”

    While the movie does not show any of Lincoln's political enemies being imprisoned (perhaps that would make a great movie), it does mention several times Lincoln’s violations of the Constitution. What is dangerous about this is that Lincoln audiences might come to the conclusion that if the presidency is occupied by a “saintly” man like Abraham Lincoln, then wholesale violations of the Constitution are justified in order to accomplish the greater good. That is, the ends justify the means.

    These are the sort of arguments used in favor of those provisions of the Patriot Act of dubious constitutionality, and for giving the president the power to detain “terrorists” without legal recourse, as in the National Defense Authorization Act, and even trusting the president to make judicious use of a “kill list.” I recall asking my own congressman about some provisions of the Patriot Act, and he responded that he believed we could trust President George W. Bush to be restrained in its use. I was taken aback, but recovered to point out to the congressman that, even if we could entrust Bush with such power (not conceding that we could), whatever power you give to one president would be given to the next president, as well.

    As Thomas Jefferson said, "In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." It would be wonderful to watch a motion picture showing the folly of allowing government to break loose from its constitutional restraints even when the intent is to accomplish noble ends, but it is unlikely that such a movie would be made by Steven Spielberg.

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    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln

    Book: Lincoln sought to deport freed slaves

    Comments (40)

    By Stephen Dinan
    -
    The Washington Times

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011


    • Enlarge Photo
      DISCOVERED DOCUMENTS: A new book shows President Lincoln pursued colonization of freed ... more >


    The Great Emancipator was almost the Great Colonizer: Newly released documents show that to a greater degree than historians had previously known, President Lincoln laid the groundwork to ship freed slaves overseas to help prevent racial strife in the U.S.

    Just after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Lincoln authorized plans to pursue a freedmen’s settlement in present-day Belize and another in Guyana, both colonial possessions of Great Britain at the time, said Phillip W. Magness, one of the researchers who uncovered the new documents.

    Historians have debated how seriously Lincoln took colonization efforts, but Mr. Magness said the story he uncovered, to be published next week in a book, “Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement,” shows the president didn’t just flirt with the idea, as historians had previously known, but that he personally pursued it for some time.

    “The way that Lincoln historians have grappled with colonization has always been troublesome. It doesn’t mesh with the whole ‘emancipator,’ ” Mr. Magness said. “The revelation of this story changes the picture on that because a lot of historians have tended to downplay colonization. … What we know now is he did continue the effort for at least a year after the proclamation was signed.”

    Mr. Magness said the key documents he and his co-author, Sebastian N. Page, a junior research fellow at Oxford, found were in British archives, and included an order authorizing a British colonial agent to begin recruiting freed slaves to be sent to the Caribbean in June 1863.

    By early 1864, the scheme had fallen apart, with British officials fretting over the legality of the Emancipation Proclamation and the risk that the South could still win the war, and with the U.S. Congress questioning how the money was being spent.

    Roughly a year later, Lincoln was assassinated.

    The Belize and Guyana efforts followed other aborted colonization attempts in present-day Panama and on an island off the coast of Haiti, which actually received several hundred freed slaves in 1862, but failed the next year.

    Michael Burlingame, chair of Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said there are two ways to view Lincoln’s public support for colonization.

    One side holds that it shows Lincoln could not envision a biracial democracy, while the other stance — which Mr. Burlingame subscribes to — says Lincoln’s public actions were “the way to sugarcoat the emancipation pill” for Northerners.

    “So many people in the North said we will not accept emancipation unless it is accompanied by colonization,” said Mr. Burlingame, adding that Lincoln himself had always made clear colonization would be voluntary and nobody would be forced out of the United States.

    The newly released documents underscore just how hot a topic colonization was in the 1800s, when prominent statesmen debated whether blacks and whites could ever live together in a functioning society.

    Earlier in the century, the American Colonization Society already had organized efforts to ship thousands of black Americans to Africa to the colony of Liberia, and the debate over colonization raged even within the black community.

    Frederick Douglass, one of the country’s most prominent free blacks, generally opposed colonization, though Mr. Burlingame said on a couple of occasions he showed signs he might embrace it — including appearing open to a venture in Haiti during the Civil War.

    Still, Douglass also rejected the argument that blacks and whites couldn’t live together, and he pointed to places in the North as examples of where it already was happening.

    Mr. Burlingame said some abolitionists viewed colonization as a plot to preserve slavery by getting rid of free blacks in the North, while others saw it as a way to undermine slavery by fundamentally questioning the principles slavery was based on.

    Mr. Magness, a researcher at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, said he first got wind of Lincoln’s efforts while researching a meeting between the 16th president and Union Gen. Benjamin Butler in the waning days of the war, at which colonization had been discussed.

    Most of the U.S. documents about the Belize and Guyana deals have gone missing, but Mr. Magness and his co-author tracked down what he called an “almost untapped treasure cache of Civil War-era records” from the British side that showed Lincoln’s deep involvement in the planning and authorization.

    With 4 million blacks in the U.S. at the time of the war, colonization would have been a tricky and pricey move.
    The Belize project’s first shipment of laborers would have only been 500, and even if the project had been seen through to fruition, it would have accommodated just 50,000.



    The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (2003)
    - Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo



    Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe (2006)
    - Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo

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