Lincoln's Dilemma: Inconvenient Facts Likely to be Omitted
March 1, 2022 | View PDF
Advertisements for “Lincoln’s Dilemma” have been aggressively promoted. It is said to begin with the January 6, 2020, event that some call a riot and some call an “insurrection”—a so-called insurrection with no weapons, individuals walking around taking pictures and chatting with Capitol personnel, and a few mysterious instigators with seemingly nefarious intentions, e.g., Utah’s John Sullivan (connected to CNN) and Ray Epps. In similar fashion, competing views of the War Between the States exist but we typically only hear the “Yankee” version.
Anyone who has studied primary source documents should understand the propaganda that has been (and still is) used against the South for over 150 years. Much of the agitprop coincided with the creation of the mythical Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, witnessed it at the outset: “The ceremony of Mr. Lincoln’s apotheosis was planned and executed by men who were unfriendly to him while he lived…” One of those planners, Union Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, often called Lincoln “the original gorilla.” After Lincoln’s death, Stanton gloriously proclaimed, “Now he belongs to the ages.” Naturally Stanton, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and other Radical Republicans were going to offer glowing praise—Lincoln spearheaded the treasonous invasion of sovereign States and denied their right of self-government—these men were part of it.
The Lincoln’s Dilemma promo references a metamorphosis of Lincoln transitioning from being mildly anti-slavery to being a staunch advocate for its abolition. This phenomenon is supposedly from a man who supported the Original 13th Amendment (the Corwin Amendment), which would have perpetually removed the institution from federal interference. Doris Kearns Goodwin believes Lincoln wrote the Corwin Amendment. He also initially sanctioned the Fugitive Slave Act, including the most draconian element concerning runaways.
We have been led to believe the Republican Party was adamantly against slavery and/or its spread. While many members were anti-slavery, they consistently leave out a key piece of their reasoning, i.e., their goal was to keep Blacks confined to the Southern and Border States. Lincoln wholeheartedly agreed with this position. Union Secretary of State William Seward explained—the Republican Party’s opposition to “the extension of slavery had always really been concern for the welfare of the white man, and not an unnatural sympathy for the Negro.” New York Tribune Editor Horace Greeley concurred, stating the “unoccupied territory…shall be preserved for the benefit of the White Caucasian race—a thing which cannot be except by the exclusion of slavery.” Greeley and Lincoln corresponded affirmatively on this topic.
On September 18, 1858, Lincoln proclaimed: “I will say, then, 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…” On August 14, 1862, Lincoln said, “Your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence…But even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race.”
Relative to his treatment of the slave controversy, in an August 22, 1862, letter to Greeley, Lincoln stated: “What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union…” The Emancipation Proclamation supposedly freed slaves out of Lincoln’s reach and kept enslaved those within his reach. England’s Lord Palmerston scoffed at this hypocritical stratagem;
Lincoln called the proclamation what it was: a “war measure.” New England historian Edward Channing said: “Of course, it did not abolish slavery as an institution anywhere.” Another angle identified by fellow Alabama Gazette columnist John Sophocleus is Lincoln’s timing of the proclamation (January 1, 1863) based on the anticipation of a broken blockade (January 31, 1863). The “war against slavery ruse” thus created an impediment of perception to deter British and French intervention.
Most Southerners were not anxious to go to war. Confederate General Richard Taylor (son of President Zachary Taylor) was alarmed at Southerners who naively thought the North would allow the South to govern itself. Having been educated at Harvard and Yale, Taylor knew the mercenary nature of the power brokers in the North. Three meetings between Lincoln and Southern representatives (who tried to talk Lincoln out war) in April 1861 failed to produce a peaceful resolution as Lincoln told them all the low duty tariffs through Southern ports would put the North out of business and “he might as well shut up housekeeping at once.”
In Colonization after Emancipation, Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page uncovered documentation in British Archives that Lincoln was still attempting to deport Blacks from these United States virtually up to the day he died. I have a gut feeling that this (and everything else in this piece) will not be mentioned in Lincoln’s Dilemma.
John M. Taylor [Foreword by John P. Sophocleus], Union At All Costs: From Confederation to Consolidation;
John S. Tilley, Facts the Historians Leave Out;
John S. Tilley, The Coming of the Glory;
James R. & Walter D. Kennedy, The South was Right;
Phillip W. Magness & Sebastian N. Page, Colonization after Emancipation;
Matthew Pinsker, “Letter to Horace Greeley (August 22, 1862),” at: https://housedivided.dickinson.edu/sites/lincoln/letter-to-horace-greeley-august-22-1862,”
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, “The Economics of Slavery,” at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/2002/09/thomas-dilorenzo/the-economics-of-slavery
[Correction: The Hampton Roads Conference was February 3, 1865, not February 5. Sorry for the mistype.]