03. February 2005 · Comments Off on 1861 Revisited: How Lincoln Lied · Categories: History

After the minor firestorm set off by my last post, particularly the most recent commenter, who said, to paraphrase, “it happened, get over it.” Well, to that commenter, I must say “those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

I bring to bear this NRO book review, of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, by Allen C. Guelzo. ( I must confess here that I have not personally read this book, while I am previously familiar with Guelzo’s work).

In any event, as one might gather, who has read Guelzo’s, or several other works, Lincoln was (to his credit) an abolitionist, albeit a “gradual and compensated emancipation” abolitionist. As, frankly, placing myself in the 1860 timeframe, I am as well.

However, he was also a consummate politician (Is there a difference between that and “smooth-talking lawyer?”). So, faced with slave-State secession. And, not having moral standing to couch an abolitionist argument (as several slave States were still loyal, and that slavery is specifically spelled out in the Constitution as a State’s right). So, to effect his grand plan, he must couch his “preservation of the Union” argument in the very fringes of the penumbra of the “Necessary and Proper” clause.

One sees the intellectual dishonesty by simply juxtaposing Lincoln’s 7/4/61 address against the Emancipation Proclamation. Do you see how Lincoln claims emancipation is necessary for “readmission”? But, if secession was an impossibility, how can there be readmission? Infact, the Emancipation Procamation was merely a side-step of the requirement for Constitutional Amendment.

Tell me, how s it “Necessary and Proper” for the Union to be maintained, against secession by the entities which formed it, by force of arms? In fact, history has shown us that nations peacefully devolve as easily as they evolve. It is only when the trauma of warfare is introduced that the people suffer.

So, in his 7/4/61 address, Lincoln must carefully couch his argument, so Congress sees this more as something akin to the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion, than the invasion of a foreign power. f we juxtapose this against the Emancipation, we se the contradiction in terms: If the South had no right to secede, and were always US states, than there can be no special requirement for “readmission”

As I have intimated before, while it may have been morally correct, Lincoln’s call for war against the South was a sham, and it was totally unconstitutional.

Update: Ho-Hum… I’m still waiting for someone to bring up Texas v. White.

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