Lincoln - good guy?
Last comment by SusanS 4 years, 2 months ago.

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Here is a portion of Lincoln's letter to Horace Greely that appeared in Harper's Weekly on September 6, 1862.

"As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was."

If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree wish them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave 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. What I do about slavery and the colored race I do because I believe it helps to save this Union. And what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the came; and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shell try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free. Yours, A. LINCOLN."

What ch'all think? Keep it clean, please.

Latest Activity: Feb 12, 2010 at 3:33 PM

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SNOOPY commented on Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 15:59 PM

A very interesting blog, Brother.

I already knew Mr Lincoln's focus was to save the Union. However, the writing was on the wall for slavery. If there could be no new slave states, it was simply a matter of time before they were legislatively overwhelmed and slavery ended.

ohbrother commented on Friday, Feb 12, 2010 at 17:03 PM

Well, everyone says he started the war to end slavery, but I think this shows very clearly his decision to send hundreds of thousands of Americans to their death was not over the topic of slavery - he had other priorities.

ohbrother commented on Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 10:57 AM

That may very well be, but this clearly shows Lincoln's intentions in pushing the Civil War was to preserve the union - not to free the slaves, as so many seem to believe.

Sure, he kept that proclamation in his desk drawer until it became politically and militarily expedient to do so. If the war, in Lincoln's mind, had been about slavery first and foremost, he would have unleashed the E.P. as soon as he had a chance. But the Union was more important.

Was slavery a hotbed issue for many at the time - both North and South? Yes. Was it the primary reason Lincoln pursued the Civil War as is mistakenly taught in every primary school textbook? No. Clearly this letter shows that.

SusanS commented on Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 13:48 PM

I'm going to jump in here for a moment and just state some important facts about the time in our country's history.

The Constitutional Convention was held to discuss and create states rights basically. Many people at that time felt that states rights were more important, and that they should have their own autonomy.
The issue of States individual rights covered many, many subjects.

Slavery could be considered an underlying issue for some of the states at that time. But it was not the initial reason for the war. There were 34 states at that time. 23 were Union states and 11 called themselves confederate. There were really only three states that had strong feelings regarding slavery at that point.

One of the main reasons for the start of the war was disagreement over a national versus a federal government.

Yes, you could say the election of Lincoln started it. South Carolina stated firmly that they would secede if Lincoln was elected.

Interestingly, Steven Douglas (who was involved in a lot of the debate) was a democrat who was in favor of slavery.
My understanding is that Fillmore was no longer in a position of power at this time, and did not necessarily support slavery. But Buchannon and Taylor did.

As a result of the separation between the North and the South, a good chunk of the state of Virginia broke away and became what we know as West Virginia They were part of the Union.

One of the big downfalls for the South was that they didn't consider the economic issues involved in breaking away.
The states were all dependent on each other for certain kinds of goods and trading among the states was very big. Without the support of such a large number of states, the South did not have the resources it needed to win such a war.

None of this is my interpretation. This is all mere fact taken from very good sources that date back to that era in our history.

Personally, I believe we have to be somewhat cautious in reading about history. If we are reading literature that has been written more recently, there is a larger possibility that facts and information have been skewed.

Some of the best and most accurate history is written by the hand of those who were actually there.

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