The Ignorant David Shuster on “Morning Joe”

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Joe Scarborough’s stand-in on the “Morning Joe” television program, David Shuster, once again has tried to smear Ron Paul, and once again reveals his ignorance in doing so. This morning Ron called in to correct the lies that various neocons like Shuster have been spreading about what he said to Tim Russert about Lincoln and his war. Shuster adamantly claimed that Ron had “embarrassed himself” by claiming that Lincoln did not invade his own country to free the slaves. But it is Shuster who is embarrassingly ignorant of his own history. In fact, it would be hard to find a single American historian with any credibility who would argue that in 1861 an invasion of the Southern states was launched to free the slaves. Shuster is not only unaware of what is written in my book, The Real Lincoln, but also of what is in almost all other books on the war.

Slave owners in the border states occupied by the U.S. Army were allowed to keep their slaves. Whenever any of Lincoln’s generals, such as Gen. Fremont, took it upon themselves to emancipate some slaves early in the war he rebuffed them, reversed their decisions, and demoted them. The Emancipation Proclamation itself very specifically exempted all areas of the country that were controlled by the U.S. Army, guaranteeing that no slaves would be emancipated by the Proclamation.

In his first inaugural address Lincoln referred to the proposed “Corwin Amendment” to the Constitution that would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with slavery. He said that he already held the legality of slavery to be “implied constitutinal law,” and “I have no objection to its being made express and irrovocable” by enshrining slavery explicitly in the Constitution.
Not only that, but it was Lincoln, working with William Seward, who orchestrated the passing of that amendment through the U.S. Senate. Even Lincoln worshipper Doris Kearns-Goodwin documents all of this in her book,Team of Rivals (p. 296). Shuster, of course, knows nothing at all about this, nor does anyone else in “the media,” apparently.

In an August 22, 1862 letter to newspaper editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln explained the purpose of the war:

“My paramount objective 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 slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.”

Of course, in reality he destroyed the voluntary union of the states that was established by the Founders.

The U.S. Congress concurred with Lincoln’s statement. On July 22,1861, it issued a proclamation sayhing that the purpose of the war was not “interference with the rights or established institutions of those states” that had seceded (i.e., slavery), “but to preserve the Union with the rights of the several states [including slavery] unimpaired.”

This is an ugly truth, but it is the truth. It is also something that David Shuster is totally unfamiliar with.

9:40 am on December 27, 2007