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Thread: Lincoln Letter Found on Slavery

  1. #1
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    Default Lincoln Letter Found on Slavery

    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-...l=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
    Thomas H. Pritchett
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  2. #2
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    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

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    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.
    Thomas H. Pritchett
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    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.

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    Default Centralized government

    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"
    Jim Mayo
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    http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/j_mayo/index.html

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    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.

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    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.
    Thomas H. Pritchett
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    www.campgeiger.org

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    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?

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    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.
    Thomas H. Pritchett
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  10. #10
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    That is correct, but I should have specified on what you think it means re Lincoln's feelings about slavery.

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