SO, WHO WAS REALLY EMANCIPATED BY LINCOLN'S PROCLAMATION?
It's nearly that time of year again, President's Day, when children in the government schools will be taught about that "Great Emancipator", Republican President Abraham Lincoln. Obviously these schools don't actually have the children read the document or they would know better. I have certainly come to understand that when government schools put a lot of emphasis into extolling a particular person or cause, it is oftentimes a politically correct fairy tale. The truth behind the American Civil War and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation are no exception.
Children today are taught that Lincoln was a champion of equality and that the main cause for the War Between the States was to abolish slavery, but an honest study of history does not support that view. Lincoln in his own words tells us something quite different. On Aug. 21, 1858 in his first debate with Stephen Douglas, on the subject of emancipation Lincoln stated, " Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this… We cannot, then, make them equals." In that same debate Lincoln acknowledged the right of slaveowners to their property and said "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 reclaiming of their fugitives". What Lincoln promised was that he would support the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which would put the full power of the Federal government behind making sure that slaves would be returned to their owners. Does that sound like someone who was against slavery? Slavery was already dying out in many places and would have most likely died a natural death if the Fugitive Slave Act was simply not enforced.
Could it be that Lincoln changed his mind once he reached the presidency? No way. In his first Inaugural Address he says, " I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." In this speech he again promised to strengthen the Fugitive Slave Law. Notice that Lincoln mentions he does not intend to interfere with slavery IN THE STATES WHERE IT EXISTS. Like most politicians Lincoln talked out of both sides of his mouth, but generally if you heard him speaking out against slavery he was talking about the EXPANSION of slavery into the new territories. He wanted all new territories to be preserves for whites only. If you check it out, you will find that the North had a far more inhumane "Black Code" than the South did. Many Northerners actually feared emancipation because they did not want free Blacks moving up North to live among them.
Lincoln wrote a letter to the editor of the "New York Tribune" in 1862 stating his purpose for war with the South. He said, "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 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."
So then what was the Emancipation Proclamation all about? According to "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, " Lincoln was one of the nation's preeminent lawyers and as such, was careful to craft the Proclamation in a way that would guarantee that it would not emancipate any slaves." The Proclamation pertained only to the REBEL states. It even specifically exempted by name some of the southern states that were occupied by Federal troops, like West Virginia and many parts of Virginia and Louisiana. In Federally occupied territory, the slaves (and other property) were confiscated and put to doing the dirtiest work of the army. So much for emancipation.
Obviously Secretary of State, William Seward, understood and also admitted that the Proclamation didn't free any slaves when he said, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."
A "New York World" editorial claimed, "The President has purposely made the proclamation inoperative in all places where we have gained a military footing which makes the slaves accessible. He has proclaimed emancipation only where he has notoriously no power to execute it. The exemption of the accessible parts of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia renders the proclamation not merely futile, but ridiculous."
One of the most telling quotes about the Proclamation came from "The London Spectator". It said, "The principle is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own himself unless he is loyal to the United States." This is the statement that really hit the nail on the head. President Lincoln had no sympathy whatever toward the slaves. In fact Lincoln did not believe that sovereignty rested with ANY people, but with the Federal government alone. His cause for this bloody war was to do away with the Constitutional Republic that was set up by our founders to acknowledge that the individual states and the people were sovereign. Why did Lincoln fear a sovereign people?
The Constitution, which acknowledged the sovereignty of the individual states and the people, limited the power of the Federal government. It stood in the way of the economic agenda that Lincoln had been devoted to for almost 30 years - long before he became president. What was this economic agenda that he so greatly wanted to implement? Lincoln was a fan of Henry Clay and what Clay called "The American System". Lincoln sought a more powerful Federal government with protectionist tariffs and taxpayer subsidies for railroads and other corporations. (This agenda is responsible for the murder of the Plains Indians, which was carried out by some of Lincoln's previous generals, to make way for the government- subsidized transcontinental railroads.) He also wanted the nationalization of the money supply to help pay for the subsidies." Unfortunately the Constitution stood in the way of Lincoln's big government political ambitions. What was he going to do about independent states that were resistant to national government?
Since the founding of our great nation there has been a division between those who wanted a strong central government and those who were afraid of centralized power. Southern statesman way back to Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were very much against centralized government. They knew the general public always suffered at the hands of big government. The few rich at the top get richer while the general population gets poorer because they are the ones that get hit with oppressive taxation and are hurt the most by political corruption. And when power is in one centralized authority, what do you do when your government gets tyrannical?
The American Revolution was fought on the grounds that the founders of the United States could secede from Great Britain when King George III proved to be a tyrant. The Declaration of Independence is rightly called the "Declaration of Secession" from England. The war between the North and the South was really a second American Revolution because it was fought over the right of people working through sovereign states to secede from tyrannical government. Lincoln made sure that would never happen.
The one absolute good that ended up being a result of Lincoln's war was the abolition of slavery, but it had nothing to do with Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. That Proclamation freed absolutely no one. In fact what Lincoln really did was to enslave an entire nation - making them bound to oppressive taxation, conscription and all of the other dictates of a strong central government- a government that controls or heavily regulates almost every human activity. Preserving liberty is impossible without being able to check government power. Our country's founders knew that the Federal government would never check itself and that it was necessary to disperse and divide that power. The ultimate check on power is federalism or state's rights. Lincoln's cry to preserve the Union was a call to abolish state's rights by force.
It is interesting to note that John C. Calhoun, who was vice-president under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, said that without the sovereignty of the state, the only alternative was for the "black-robed deities of the Court" to tell us what orders we have to obey no matter how ridiculous their interpretations of our Constitution might be. We can see that Calhoun was right, for that is exactly the road that we have traveled since 1865. Judicial tyranny is here.
Don't you ever wonder why most of our founding fathers are vilified while Abraham Lincoln is practically held up as a saint? Maybe it is because our big government masters who now control the textbooks don't want the real story told of the liberty Americans once had. No doubt adoration for Lincoln is taught in our government schools because our modern day behemoth government started with Lincoln's agenda, and I'm sure has gone even beyond his wildest dreams. Americans have no idea what they have lost. They are happy believing that they are free because that is what the textbooks tell them.
While I was really surprised a few years ago when I first found out about the real Lincoln, one of the biggest surprises was realizing that the Republican Party has always been just another party of big government. It is incredible to think that so many individual Christians and many Christian churches hold up the Republican Party as the party of God and country. While God warned His people in the book of First Samuel about the evils of human government, they turned a deaf ear. They still rejected Him and wanted a king like the other nations. Thankfully, God can turn even the greatest evil to good for those who love Him. Later in Romans 13 we are told that government is for good and that only evildoers need to fear. So, is God a liar? Certainly not. But then why is it that our government is not good? Could it be because God uses means? After all, we are His hands and feet. God expects His people to hold their leaders in check and to make them accountable for works that displease Him. If the people do this, they will have good government. If the people will not restrain their leaders from evil, they become a party to that evil and get the fearsome government that they deserve.
Just like ancient Israel, we are a nation that has turned her back on the One True Sovereign and have put government in His place. Not only are we illiterate about the people who gave their all trying to preserve our liberty, but we are biblically illiterate as well. We are ripe for judgment. It is only because of His divine mercy that it has not yet happened. Each one of us will be held accountable for his own actions before God. Keep that in mind as we enter the voting booth again this year. Regularly make your voice heard loud and clear that only those who put their trust in the authority of God and His uncompromising word deserve to be put in a place of leadership over His people.
© 2004 Debbie O'Hara - All Rights Reserved
Debbie O'Hara is a homemaker, wife and mother of eight children. During her business career she held a position in management in the aerospace industry in Southern California. She left the business world to become a full time mother. She is an avid reader, and did the necessary research to provide a comprehensive homeschool curriculum for her children. This led her to closely examine the political direction our country has been following. Debbie and her children are now active in the political process both locally and nationally. Debbie is a contributing writer to www.NewsWithViews.com. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Just like ancient Israel, we are a nation that has turned her back on the One True Sovereign and have put government in His place."