Lincoln Was the Great Centralizer

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Thank
goodness for Thomas DiLorenzo’s The
Real Lincoln
, and Walter Williams’s foreword to it. The
book presents a badly needed corrective to the history that presents
Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. Years before the war John C. Calhoun
had said, “the question is, whether ours is a government resting
on the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of
a majority.” Lincoln's win in the War To Prevent Southern Independence
put that argument to bed, established the Republican party, and
led us to the corporate Washington we have today, an unconstitutional
club of business and government bureaucrats and lobbyists responsible
to no one but themselves, with force, threats, and intimidation
being the order of the day.

This
is considerably at odds with the ideas of our founders. The full
title of the book is The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham
Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War.

As
DiLorenzo documents, the war was not fought to end slavery; if it
was, one wonders why a war was necessary? More than a dozen countries,
including the territorial possessions of the British, French, Portuguese,
and Spanish, ended slavery peacefully during the nineteenth century.

Abraham
Lincoln's direct statements indicated his support for slavery; He
defended slave owners' right to own their property, saying that
“when they remind us of their constitutional rights [to own slaves],
I acknowledge them, not grudgingly but fully and fairly; and I would
give them any legislation for the claiming of their fugitives” (in
indicating support for the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850). He also
admitted in a letter to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase: “The
original emancipation proclamation has no legal justification, except
as a military measure.” Secretary of State William Seward acknowledged
that the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to slaves in states
in rebellion against the United States and not to slaves in states
not in rebellion.

The
true costs of the war were not only the 620,000 battlefield-related
deaths (and 50,000 civilian deaths) out of a national population
of 30 million. The true costs included a change in the character
of our government into one where states lost most of their sovereignty
to the central government. This had been the fear of Jefferson,
Madison, Monroe, and Calhoun and many reasonable men.

Today
most Americans believe that states do not have a right to secede.
DiLorenzo marshals numerous proofs that from the founding of our
nation that the right of secession was seen as a natural one. The
Virginia delegates affirmed “that the powers granted under the Constitution
[] may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted
to injury or oppression.” Alexis de Tocqueville observed in Democracy
in America
, “The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement
of the States; in uniting together they have not forfeited their
nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one
and the same people. If one of the states chooses to withdraw from
the compact, it would be difficult to disapprove its right of doing
so . . . .” The New England states debated the idea of secession
during the Hartford Convention of 1814–1815.

This
was certainly settled in the war, and settled by force. A forced
solution, like any forced solution, is, in the long run, no solution.
Indeed, we have become the world's rogue state.

Lincoln's
vision for our nation has now been accomplished beyond anything
he could have dreamed. The Real Lincoln contains irrefutable
evidence that the most appropriate title for Abraham Lincoln is
the Great Centralizer, not the Great Emancipator.

March
2, 2005

George
Crispin [send him mail]
is a retired businessman who heads a Catholic homeschooling cooperative
in Auburn, Alabama.

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