Read it and think about what this young man says. Very interesting take, I offer a taste, but go read the entire piece.
Rich Trzupek today in Big Journalism drew up what he believed to be an essay on President Lincoln’s Legacy. In doing so he proved that the conservative/liberal prism-view of Lincoln really isn’t that much different. Lincoln is good. Honest Abe. He freed the slaves, he was a champion of blacks in America – the great emancipator. He saved the Union. He was a conservative, even – according to this writer.
Mr. Trzupek simply fails to mention, whether intentionally or not; a much darker side to the history of Abraham Lincoln. A darker side that reveals the lust for power that this man envisioned, the dismantling of and subterfuge of states rights. As anyone that has access to a modem, keyboard and a mouse will find – the list starts with Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus in Maryland and Midwestern states. On September 24, 1862 Lincoln wrote, ”That the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prisons, or other place of confinement, by any military authority, or by the sentence of any court-martial or military commission.”
Many argue that the Constitution allows for such – during times of ‘invasion, rebellion or when the public safety requires it.’ – as stated in Article One, Section 9 of the Constitution. I’ll leave this question to legal scholars and experts but the question remains – can you judge the intention of Lincoln as pure and noble on this subject or rather as a man using a means to the end of Federal control?
This suspension then led, during the Civil War, to Americans being arrested and their Constitutional rights trampled on. Chet Dembeck writes of Lincoln’s proclivity to imprison political opponents in his book “His Dark Side” –Lincoln’s Imprisonment of Baltimore’s May and Legislators. Abraham Lincoln literally locked up thousands of Americans under the auspice of mere suspicion against the Union.
Honest Abe, from my childhood history books, you say? Yes – truth is stranger than fictional history.
Essentially these actions point to the man. The Abraham Lincoln of folklore that simply just isn’t. Slavery was ostensibly used as well, as an ends to justify the means. The means to Lincoln were the all-encompassing state. The near-absolute abolition of the sovereignty of individual states and the concept of states rights. Evidence of this can be found in letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote a New Yorker named Horace Greeley, August 29, 1862. Horace Greeley penned an op-ed titled “The Prayer of the 20 Million” in which he called for abolition of slavery in the United States. Lincoln became aware of the the piece by Horace Greeley and wrote a response by his own hand. A summary perhaps would be what Lincoln wrote, “What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I don’t believe it would help to save the Union.”
That should stir some healthy historical debate.