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tompritchett
07-19-2006, 06:26 AM
http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5lincolnjul19,0,220852.story?coll=all-news-hed


Letter written by President Lincoln seeks governors' support on legalizing slavery.
By Daniel Patrick Sheehan Of The Morning Call

Seven score and five years ago, Abraham Lincoln wrote to all the nation's governors, seeking support for a 13th amendment to the Constitution one that would enshrine slavery as the law of the land.

That's right: The president remembered for abolishing slavery was willing to preserve that institution if doing so would preserve the union.

It didn't work, as the half-million dead of the Civil War prove. And most of the 1861 letters didn't survive. Until Tuesday, only three were known to exist. Then a Lincoln researcher from Illinois stopped by the Lehigh County Historical Society in Allentown to review its Lincoln-related holdings and found a fourth letter, addressed to ''His Excellency the Governor of the State of Florida.''

''It's a very cool document,'' said the researcher, 39-year-old John Lupton, sounding a bit more like an excited skateboarder than a sober scholar as news photographers snapped their shutters over the yellowed page bearing Lincoln's loopy signature.

The document, dated March 16, 1861 less than a month before war broke out was hiding in plain sight among the society's 3 million documents.

Society Director Joseph Garrera, himself a Lincoln scholar, knew the archives contained a letter signed by the 16th president, but wasn't overly excited about it. Lincoln documents, he said, ''are a dime a dozen,'' held in museum collections all over the country. Besides, no one on staff was sure if the document was the real thing. And Garrera, who came on the job only a few months ago, had more pressing matters.

On Tuesday, Lupton and his colleague, Erika Nunamaker, were at Moravian College in Bethlehem, scanning its Lincoln holdings onto a computer as part of a project to put all of the president's documents on the Internet.

They asked school officials if they knew of any other local institutions that might have Lincoln memorabilia, and were directed to the historical society at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Center.

There, Lupton and Garrera had a reunion of sorts they know each other from the Lincoln studies field and took a close look at the letter, which had been donated to the society years ago. They plugged its details into a computer database and realized at once it was a major find.

Not only is the letter one of just four on the topic, it is the only one addressed to the governor of a Southern state. Make that a former state Florida had seceded two months earlier.

The letter was part of the ratification process for the amendment, which Congress had adopted during the term of Lincoln's predecessor, James Buchanan.

Pushing the amendment ''was kind of a carrot to the Southern states,'' said Lupton, associate director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. ''But even by that point, it was too late. By that time, the Southern states felt Lincoln's election was an affront.''

Garrera said the letter shows Lincoln to be ''a pragmatist and a realist. He always hated slavery, but did not believe he could end it in his presidency.''

Once the union fell apart, Lincoln changed course, drafting the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 that declared freedom for slaves in Confederate territory. After the war, in 1865, 27 of the 36 states ratified the 13th Amendment the version that abolished slavery.

Garrera, who called Lincoln ''the central figure in American history,'' said he will consult with the society's board of directors to determine the best way to display the document. The society also is trying to figure out exactly who donated the letter.

''That really is an amazing find,'' he said.

daniel.sheehan@mcall.com

Remise
07-20-2006, 03:04 PM
That was in March 1861. By March 1865, not long before he was assassinated, Lincoln seemed to hold a somewhat different view, when he said, "Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

tompritchett
07-20-2006, 03:44 PM
That was in March 1861. By March 1865, not long before he was assassinated, Lincoln seemed to hold a somewhat different view, when he said, "Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

I am not sure that he did change his mind per se. Lincoln always felt strongly about slavery. Apparently, based upon the letters, he felt even stronger about preserving the Union. That is probably why the he never tried freeing the slaves in the states that remained in the Union but only freed those in occupied territories even as late as Spring 1865 when it was clear that an overall Union victory was in sight.

indguard
07-20-2006, 04:07 PM
That is probably why the he never tried freeing the slaves in the states that remained in the Union...

That is a bad assumption. Lincoln did not free the slaves in his states and territories fully controlled by the US government because slavery was a right directly outlined right IN the Constitution. It would had to have taken a Constitutional convention to alter the Constitution and Lincoln realized there was no desire to eliminate slavery in enough of the people to assure the success of removing it in the legal, proscribed way.

His freeing of those slaves in southern territories was a war measure meant to weaken the enemy. But, was also the foot in the door, the nose under the tent, toward eliminating slavery in the whole country.

It is a total misunderstanding of Lincoln to imagine he "didn't care" about slavery based on his narrow powers to affect it via the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln mentioned slavery over one thousand times in his writings and never once in a favorable light. He was utterly against it, but he was not King of the US. He was still just the president that had to get things done via political means and he knew that full well.

Jim Mayo
07-20-2006, 05:05 PM
The CW like all wars was a political war. Not exactly like the history books make it out to be but with hidden agendas which are not popular to talk about.

For the money spend conducting the war Lincoln could have bought every slave in the south and given them their freedom and 40 acres. Slavery had been abolished peaceably in all but a couple of small countries. It would have died a death in this country as well especially with the Northern balance in the Congress.

Lincoln was a wig and wanted to centralize the government. The best way to do that was to beat the independance out of the South. He miscaculated the Southern peoples resistance to his plans and it was not as easy as it seemed.

"ready, aim, fire"

indguard
07-20-2006, 08:26 PM
For the money spend conducting the war Lincoln could have bought every slave in the south and given them their freedom and 40 acres.

A pointless rumination for, no matter how many slaves might have been "bought and freed", slavery was STILL a legal RIGHT codified IN the Constitution! Lincoln buying all the slaves and freeing them would NOT have eliminated that right in the Constitution! Nor would every slave owner have consented to even SELL all his slaves to Lincoln. Your whole point is meaningless game saying of the issue.


Slavery had been abolished peaceably in all but a couple of small countries.

None of those other countries had the political situation WE had. Our Constitution was not conceived merely as a law, but one codified as a permanent law of a permanent Union. Other countries that had slavery were basically controlled by the whim of a King or a law that was developed over time. Ours, on the other hand, is one meant NOT to be changed but by VERY specific means, all agreed upon by the various states.

So, you absurd assumption that because other nations "peaceably" got rid of slavery means that we could have just as easily done so ignores the entire history of America from the 1600's all the way to 1860 and is based on faulty knowledge of our political systems and conventions.


It would have died a death in this country as well especially with the Northern balance in the Congress.

Dude, the South LEFT the Union because of that fear of Northern control. In FACT, the South feared and railed against Northern control for the entire of the 80 years before the war started! Why do you think the 3/5s clause was ALSO put in the Constitution??

Your assumptions about slavery are not well founded.

tompritchett
07-20-2006, 08:38 PM
I suggest that you re-read the article. In 1861 prior to the shots fired on Ft. Sumter, Lincoln was proposing a Constitiutional Amendment, but this time to further codify slavery into the Constitution in order to preserve the Union.


Seven score and five years ago, Abraham Lincoln wrote to all the nation's governors, seeking support for a 13th amendment to the Constitution one that would enshrine slavery as the law of the land.

That's right: The president remembered for abolishing slavery was willing to preserve that institution if doing so would preserve the union.

In 64 or even 65, with the Southern states no longer part of the Union, he could have easily proposed and probably passed a 13th Amendment to ban slavery except for two reasons. One, to do so would have legally recognized the secession of the Southern states (i.e., because they were no longer part of the Union, they no longer had a vote), and, two, it might have been the straw that broke the back for states like Kentucky, Missouri, and Delaware. But he did not. A preserved Union was even more precious to him that abolishing slavery. Very similar to the moral compromises the U.S. made in the last half of the past century when we actively supported non-democratic governments with overt, major human rights violations because they were not communists.

indguard
07-20-2006, 11:20 PM
In 1861 prior to the shots fired on Ft. Sumter, Lincoln was proposing a Constitiutional Amendment, but this time to further codify slavery into the Constitution in order to preserve the Union.

Inform me, if you would, what you think this means?

tompritchett
07-21-2006, 04:25 AM
In 1861 prior to the shots fired on Ft. Sumter, Lincoln was proposing a Constitiutional Amendment, but this time to further codify slavery into the Constitution in order to preserve the Union.

Inform me, if you would, what you think this means?

What it says. Lincoln knew that anything involving slavery required amendments to the Constitution. He also realized that the primary reason that the seven states that had left the Union left because they saw the election of a Republican administration as a direct and immediate threat to the very institution of slavery in all the U.S. and not just the territories. Therefore he was proposing a 13th Amendment that would further reinforce the Constitutional protections for the institution of slavery as a carrot to bring the seven seceded states back into the Union. Preservation of the Union of states was more important than abolition of slavery. This is nothing more than a continuation of the twin themes of his first inaugural address - concessions on the issues of slavery as carrots to the slave states and hardball on the issue of secession itself. However, once the Confederacy fired on the flag at Ft. Sumter, the die was cast and it was too late to preserve the Union by any means but force.

indguard
07-21-2006, 01:03 PM
That is correct, but I should have specified on what you think it means re Lincoln's feelings about slavery.

tompritchett
07-21-2006, 01:21 PM
I do not think that Lincoln ever changed his mind on slavery. Rather, as much as he detested the institution of slavery, his highest priority was always preserving the Union.

FWL
07-21-2006, 03:55 PM
A preserved Union was even more precious to him that abolishing slavery. Very similar to the moral compromises the U.S. made in the last half of the past century when we actively supported non-democratic governments with overt, major human rights violations because they were not communists.


That's right Tom, one of Lincoln's famous quotes (and I'm paraphrasing) was,

"if I could preserve the Union by freeing all of the slaves I would do it, if I could preserve the Union by freeing some of the slaves I would do it, if I could preserve the Union by freeing none of the slaves I would do it."

I hope I got that right. He had one thing in mind at the beginning of the war even though he hated slavery. I think this is why some of the PCers at our institutions of higher learning a few years back tried to paint Lincoln as a racist and pro slavery. They went after our revolutionary war fathers too as I recall.

Regards

indguard
07-21-2006, 05:09 PM
I do not think that Lincoln ever changed his mind on slavery. Rather, as much as he detested the institution of slavery, his highest priority was always preserving the Union.

Thanks.

Just wondering if you were one of those DiLorenzo nuts who imagined that Lincoln secretly liked slavery because he was a white-sheeted, racist.

Glad to see you are not.

tompritchett
08-22-2006, 07:53 AM
I believe the quote came from Lincoln's public response to a letter from Horace Greeley criticizing what Greeley considered Lincoln's slow progress in freeing the Southern slaves. The Greeley's letter and Lincoln's response can be found on the CCG forum at http://www.campchase.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=175&topic_id=767&mesg_id=767&page=
and
http://www.campchase.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=175&topic_id=771&mesg_id=771&page=
respeictively.

FWL
08-22-2006, 08:25 AM
Thanks Tom. Lincoln's letter response to verbose Greeley is amazing, short and clear. He first disarms his " old friend" then clearly states his opinion. The orignal documents are always the best.

Frank Lilley

Ozark Iron John
08-22-2006, 04:29 PM
Your assumptions about slavery are not well founded.

How do you feel about the supposition that slavery was a doomed institution because it was too expensive to maintain itself? Why should capital own labor when it can rent it?

If capital owns labor it has to pay for room, board, education, training, healthcare and even long term disability. If it rents it, it pushes the burden off onto labor itself.

I suggest that slavery in North America wouldv'e ended within one or two generations WITHOUT a War to Free the Slaves.

Lincoln and the radical republicans wanted to centralize control of the federal government and standardize our money supply. They wanted CHEAP LABOR for their corporate factories, mines and railroads. Slave Labor isn't Cheap. Slave Wages are Cheap!

indguard
08-22-2006, 05:28 PM
I suggest that slavery in North America wouldv'e ended within one or two generations WITHOUT a War to Free the Slaves.

I disagree that it would have been merely a "generation or two" and slavery would have been as dead as it was as a result of the civil war.

In fact, I'd bet we'd still have it today without the civil war. We would always have the ultra rich with their penchants for luxuries keeping a slave here and there. Economics do not always affect them the way it affects most everyone else after all.

Even if slaves were no longer an outright "workforce" like they were in 1860, it would still be a constitutional RIGHT to have one!

Sure, by today, had the civil war not been fought and slavery not crushed violently, we'd find slavery not very wide spread, but we'd still have few of them. And that is intolerable in and of itself, even if all we had was ONE slave left.

So, as a viable economic institution I agree it was doomed. As an ideal, as a Constitutional right it was NOT necessarily doomed. The war killed slavery dead. Economics would only have made it "less of a problem".

But, SOME slaves is as bad morally as a LOT of them , wouldn't you say?

flattop32355
08-22-2006, 09:06 PM
If capital owns labor it has to pay for room, board, education, training, healthcare and even long term disability.

This assumes that "Capital" is willing to hazard the expense of these issues. In the antebellum South, education of slaves was banned, room and board was of the least possible degree for most slaves, healthcare nearly nonexistant if you were beyond assumed productive years, and training existed only to the extent that it served the master. I cannot speak to long term disability.


I suggest that slavery in North America wouldv'e ended within one or two generations WITHOUT a War to Free the Slaves.

You do not take into account the desire of the slave-holding elite to perpetuate their way of life and their elevated position in Southern society. Slavery would have lasted long past its economic benefit for the sake of propping up the position and status of those whom it benefited by other means.


Lincoln and the radical republicans wanted to centralize control of the federal government and standardize our money supply. They wanted CHEAP LABOR for their corporate factories, mines and railroads. Slave Labor isn't Cheap. Slave Wages are Cheap!

Those in power are always accused, and sometimes rightfully so, of taking measures to consolidate their power among their base. While Lincoln did believe that government had a role in improving the infrastructure of the nation to improve commerce, and so the standard of living of all Americans, I do not believe he was in thrall to the money managers and kings of industry of his time. His writings show a man more of conscience and of pragmatism than of economy and powerbrokering.

We each read into history what we wish, influenced by our own ideals and prejudices.

indguard
08-22-2006, 09:41 PM
B.B.


I do not believe he was in thrall to the money managers and kings of industry of his time.

It should also be pointed out that there WEREN'T "kings of industry" at the time of the civil war in the same way that there were in the 1880s and later. The business community was not as all powerful and as willing to ingratiate themselves with government during Lincoln's years as they came to be later. (Remember, Pres. Cleveland had to actually BORROW money from the Robber Barrons just to keep Washington open for business at one time!)

Government was just not as all involved in the people's daily lives when Lincoln was in office, so his ability to affect change in the business community was not as possible as it was for later presidents.

tompritchett
08-22-2006, 09:44 PM
I suggest that slavery in North America wouldv'e ended within one or two generations WITHOUT a War to Free the Slaves.

I am not as sure about that because of the inherent racism that permeated throughout most of American society at the time, even in the North. After all, outside of the New England states, most freed blacks were denied many of the basic rights that even the poorest white - rights such as the right to public education, the right to be tried by their peers versus an all white jury, and, most importantly, the right to vote. Most Americans outside of New England still felt that Blacks were an inferior race. It was the forced liberation of the Southern slaves that forced the Northern states also to address such inequalities in their systems, especially when those inequalities are being forced upon men that fought and bled for their country. There are numerous examples during the Reconstruction where it was the slighting of Black veterans brought such inequalities to light and forced necessary changes in Northern society (e.g., the right of black soldiers to ride the New York city trolley cars, and the the of black soldiers to vote in several Northern states). In fact, you could argue that even with the forced changes in Northern and Southern society brought about during the Reconstruction in the aftermath of the Civil War, Blacks were not fully freed until the Civil Rights movement in the mid 20th Century.

FWL
08-23-2006, 07:23 AM
In fact, you could argue that even with the forced changes in Northern and Southern society brought about during the Reconstruction in the aftermath of the Civil War, Blacks were not fully freed until the Civil Rights movement in the mid 20th Century.

I'm afraid you're right Tom. Recently I have been reading about reconstruction. We have to remember in the late 1870s about 1877 or so reconstruction was essentially abandoned (some of it should have been but contrary to many current views reconstruction was not all bad). Many of those forced changes did not last (rights of blacks to vote). From then until the Civil Rights movement separate but equal was doctrine in many parts of the south, you and I are unfortunately probably old enough to remember it.

Regards

Frank Lilley

indguard
08-23-2006, 11:17 AM
The newest issue of North and South has a great article that shows the abrupt change of a large amount of Union soldiers of the negro question. As the war ground on, the soldiers began to accept that the war MUST be about ending slavery for fear that all their efforts would end up being for nothing if it wasn't.

The article also revealed how many of the soldiers' folks at home didn't understand why their soldiers suddenly were all "for the negro" because few of them, before they went to war, cared much about slavery.

This is some evidence that slavery would NOT have just "gone away" because no white had any interest in the welfare of freedom of blacks until the war occurred! It would have been a LONG time before a social conscious on the matter could have been raised without the great shedding of blood of the civil war.

So, I say that we would STILL have slavery today (granted few slaves would exist) had we NOT had the civil war.

Ozark Iron John
08-23-2006, 12:03 PM
But, SOME slaves is as bad morally as a LOT of them , wouldn't you say?

I'll say this with regards to that matter. The war killed a whole lotta people just like me. A whole generation of 'em in fact. Hard working, freedom loving, independent minded, law abiding, God fearing people who didn't have nothing to do with slavery.

Slavery STILL exists. It always has and it always will. Lincoln and the Abolitionists didn't abolish it. They just killed a bunch of independent minded men who wouldn't work for slave wages in their corporate factories, coal mines and railroads.

If you ask me, the black man in North America had it pretty good. He could've ended up in the Carribbean or Central or South America. Now them slaves had it RUFF! A black African slave on one of them sugar or rice plantations in Brazil or one of them Carribbean Islands were road hard and put away wet. Don't kid yourself, it wasn't NOTHING like working for da mass'r in Mississippi. Yet them southern boys had to get all shot to he11 cause of it. They didn't go over to Africa and catch and enslave them people. They didn't sell 'em into bondage either. They was just doing the best they could with a very difficult situation and Lincoln and the Abolitions did NOT offer a viable solution.

Now I ain't advocating slavery. I ain't advocating white supremacy or manifest destiny. I'm just saying that war wasn't fought to free the black man and the neo-abolitionists need to wake up and smell the coffee. The war was fought to enslave US to a centralized national government with elite corporate cronies and international financiers.

Ozark Iron John
08-23-2006, 12:08 PM
Government was just not as all involved in the people's daily lives when Lincoln was in office, so his ability to affect change in the business community was not as possible as it was for later presidents.

My point exactly!

After Lincoln the Republican Party had their way with the country. They wrote the rules and enforced 'em too. They set themselves up as an elite and they've been running things their way, lining their own pockets, ever since.

I know its hard for ya'll to believe. It hurts. We've been screwed and are still being screwed by an elephant.

bill watson
08-23-2006, 12:31 PM
"As the war ground on, the soldiers began to accept that the war MUST be about ending slavery for fear that all their efforts would end up being for nothing if it wasn't." -- Indguard

I look forward to reading the article. I'd arrived at a similar conclusion. It is plausible, if not proven, that slavery was pretty abstract to a lot of Yankee boys until they got into the south and saw it on a massive scale. It is not unreasonable to suppose there was a gradual reaction like "Oh. Well, no, I don't much care for this." Which is enough, but might very well be followed by occasional thoughts that there really wasn't anything that limited servitude to a particular color, that there was already cultural precedent in the north for white indentured servitude, and that probably it would be better for everyone for this go away completely.
----
I'm not sure comparisons of Republicans then and Republicans now are valid. Both political parties have evolved into new forms, both serve vastly different segments of vastly different societies than what we had in 1860. There is no soft place in my heart for any of them, but really the only agenda any of them seem to hold with any consistency is to get the power to make decisions, and keep that power. So unless this part of the discussion can be shown to offer an insight into the events of the Civil War, I'm not sure it's quite to the point.

indguard
08-23-2006, 04:36 PM
Mr. "Ozark Iron John",

With your last two replies I have to assume you are just spoofing what you believe to be a "typical southerner". Since you couldn't possibly be serious with your reply, I'll have to find our discourse at an end. It's a shame that you couldn't be honest with us, though. Heck, you couldn't even keep modern politics out of the conversation!