American Tyranny: The Dark Side of the Lincoln Administration [annotated]


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Attorney Henry Clay Whitney joined Mr. Lincoln on the train to the first Republican state convention in Bloomington. In fifteen or twenty minutes he came back, his face radiant with happiness; he had found two delegates from Marion County. The point was this: No one was present will forget its climax. I have since talked with many who were present and all substantially concur in enthusiastic remembrances of it. The meeting was, if not the culmination, at least a major landmark on the way to establishing the effective political force for which Lincoln had implicitly called in his response to the Nebaska Act.

Douglas, whom he opposed for the Senate in and for President in How many were privy to the effort to have the Court decide as it did is impossible to say. What is indubitable is that the proslavery political combination that placed Buchanan in the White House knew that majority of the Supreme Court shared its political passion and would use its authority to place the interests of slavery beyond the control of electoral majorities. The campaign involved competing accusations of conspiracies. Since it emphasized the threat to the self-interest of Northern whites rather than to the slaves, the threat could be rendered more urgent and the need for action more immediate.

The Nebraska bill introduced this era — and it was gotten up by a man who twice voted for the Wilmot Proviso and the extention of the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific. This change in our national policy is decided to be constitutional — although the court would not decide the only question before them — whether Dred Scott was a slave or not — and did decide, too, that a territorial legislature cannot exclude slavery in behalf of the people, and if their premises be correct a state cannot exclude it — for they tell us that the negro is property anywhere in the light that horses are property in negroes above the jurisdiction of the territorial laws, enacted in the sovereignty of the people — it only requires another case and another favorable decision from the same court to make the rights of property alike in states as well as territories, and that by virtue of the constitution and disregard of local laws to the contrary — Buchanan takes this position now.

Lincoln tried to present his arguments against slavery in a logical but persuasive way. He believed that slavery was incompatible with republican self-government, and he wanted to prevent it from spreading. Lincoln recognized the existence of political and social white domination how could he not?

And had no objection to benefiting from it, but unlike Douglas he did not believe that it was rooted in an inherent natural order, one in which only people of European descent possessed natural rights. Douglas tried to conflate the issues of natural rights and civil rights at every opportunity. Lincoln wanted to keep them as separate as possible, because only then could his antislavery argument based on natural rights hope to prevail. One way of demonstrating this separation was by proclaiming his view in favor of one but not the other.

He offered voters a model that would allow them to join him in opposing the spread of slavery without giving up their belief in white supremacy and especially without endorsing social and political equality including black voting and racial intermarriage. These two commonsensical, but enlightened notions combined to form a congruous stance that he repeatedly stated during the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Hugh McCullough, who would become the third secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln, later recalled: Careless of his attire, ungraceful in his movements, I thought as he came forward to address the audience that was the most ungainly figure I had ever seen upon a platform. Could this be Abraham Lincoln whose speeches I had read with so much interest and admiration — this plain, dull-looking man the one who had successfully encountered in debate one of the most gifted speakers of his time?

The question was speedily answered by the speech. The subject was slavery — its character, its incompatibility with Republican institutions, its demoralizing influences upon society, its aggressiveness, its rights as limited by the Constitution; all of which were discussed with such clearness, simplicity, earnestness, and force as to carry me with him to the conclusion that the country could not long continue part slave and part free — that freedom must prevail throughout the length and breadth of the land, or that the great Republic, instead of being the home of the free and the hope of the oppressed, would become a by-word and a reproach among the nations.

In taking the stump again, Lincoln was motivated by a deep desire to defeat Douglas and his Democratic supporters. Douglas and the Democrats, Lincoln was convinced, had undermined the virtuous republic of the Founding Fathers, by permitting, if not encouraging, the extension of slavery and refusing to take a moral stand against the institution…. Others have been less charitable about the motivation of Lincoln and his fellow Republicans. In stressing anti-black rather than anti-slavery attitudes among Republicans, Berwanger admitted that the extent to which race prejudice motivated opposition to slavery expansion could not be measured precisely.

Lincoln himself tried to differentiate his arguments against the extension of slavery from questions of racial prejudice. The issue was whether slavery would ultimately triumph or ultimately perish in the United States. But Douglas understood the depth of anti-Negro feeling in Illinois, and he hoped to whip Lincoln by playing on white racial fear.

Richard Lawrence Miller wrote that according to Illinois statues: It stipulated heavy fines and even prison sentences for anyone other than slaveowners just passing through with their slaves who brought blacks into the state — possibly to act as servants or low-paid workers. Blacks who independently crossed the border into Illinois and remained for more than ten days were subject to a fine of 40 dollars a substantial sum at the time , which had to be paid immediately.

If, as would normally be the case, the accused could not pay the fine, his labor would be auctioned off to the highest bidder for a term negotiated at the time of the sale. Historian Bruce Tap noted: His arguments were carefully constructed. Lincoln scholar Fred Kaplan wrote: Persuasion was the only sensible and viable weapon of choice. Since neither history nor human nature could readily be changed, the best strategy was an appeal to an ideal moral standard and to gradual emancipation. Lincoln was an ambitious politician, but it would be the height of cynicism not to take him at his word on these matters.

His very success as a politician can be attributed in large part to his power in articulating these antislavery ideas and values, which he could not have done nearly so effectively had he not believed in them himself. Political success on the issue of slavery required political moderation disdained by the abolitionists. Lincoln was not a protester; he was a politician interested in having his views become legislation.

As leaders of the moderates, always the largest group in the party, what Seward and Lincoln emphasized, and what historians have unduly slighted, was the tendency of events. What direction, they asked in great earnestness was the nation headed? What would a reasonable man conclude was the probably outcome of the crisis. Lincoln was invited to New York City to give a speech in February , he saw an opportunity for the first time to expand his influence beyond the Midwest and to make his arguments on slavery to an eastern audience.

He gave a speech at Cooper Union on February 27 in which he reviewed the history of slavery in America and decimated southern rationales for pro-slavery positions and actions. That address generated many invitations for additional speeches in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire over the next two weeks. In Hartford, Lincoln illustrated the difficulty of dealing with slavery by comparing the institution to a rattlesnake. Lincoln returned to the rattlesnake analogy speaking in New Haven the next day as he attacked the positions taken by Senator Stephen A.

If I saw a venomous snake crawling in the road, any man would say I might seize the nearest stick and kill it; but if I found that snake in bed with my children, that would be another question. The new Territories are the newly made bed to which our children are to go, and it lies with the nation to say whether they shall have snakes mixed up with them or not.

Abraham Lincoln and Louisiana

It does not seem as if there could be much hesitation what our policy should be! But an effort has been made for a policy that shall treat it as neither right or wrong. It is based upon utter indifference. It holds that it makes no more difference to us whether the Territories become free or slave States, than whether my neighbor stocks his farm with horned cattle or puts it into tobacco.

Publicity from the Cooper Union speech helped to deliver the Republican presidential nomination. A year later, after he took office as president, Lincoln as chief executive progressively expanded the focus of his administration from preservation of the Union to emancipation of all American slaves. Nevertheless, observed scholars James O. Horton and Lois E. Many Republican leaders courting white northern votes had made it clear that a stand against the spread of slavery was not a stand for racial equality. Although the South was horrified by his November election as president and considered him a radical, Mr.

Lincoln viewed himself as conservative slavery. He did not think that the Democrats, including Douglas, were true conservatives. We admit that it is more prominent, but we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who discarded the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of the question.

Would you have that question reduced to its former proportions? Go back to that old policy. What has been will be again, under the same conditions. If you would have the peace of the old times, readopt the precepts and policy of the old times. In the winter of as he readied himself to confront the secession of southern states, President-elect Lincoln saw clear limits to what the federal government could and could not do about slavery.

But that was not typical; his debates with Douglas and later public statements were characterized by their conservatism. Not only did he confess the right of Southerners to hold their human property, but he admitted an obligation to respect the fugitive-slave law and denied any belief in racial equality. His position was, in fact the lowest common denominator of the Republican antislavery creed. Although President Lincoln made clear that the purpose of the Civil War was to preserve the Union, the issue of slavery could not be dismissed.

One of the first tests of the Lincoln Administration in the Civil War was how to deal with escaped southern slaves. The questions which this state of facts present are very embarrassing. What shall be done with them? What is their state and condition? Upon these questions I desire the instruction of the department. The first question, however, may perhaps be answered by considering the last. Are these men, women, and children slaves?

Is their condition that of men, women and children, or of property, or is it a mixed relation? What their status was under the constitution and laws, we all know. What has been the effect of a rebellion and a state of war upon that status? When I adopted the theory of treating the able-bodied negro fit to work in the trenches as property liable to be used in aid of rebellion, and so contraband of war, that condition of things was so far met, as I then and still believe, on a legal and constitutional basis.

If not free born, yet free, manumitted, sent forth from the hand that held them, never to be reclaimed. Butler, merging his power as a general officer with his political savvy, had consequently originated a new policy on one of the most divisive issues of the war. But the rights of slave owners continued in areas loyal to the Union. Cameron replied to Butler on August 8: The war now prosecuted on the part of the Federal Government is a war for the Union, and for the preservation of all constitutional rights of States, and the citizens of the States, in the Union.

Hence, no question can arise as to fugitives from service within States and Territories in which the authority of the Union is fully acknowledged. The ordinary forms of judicial proceeding, which must be respected by military and civil authorities alike, will suffice for the enforcement of all legal claims. But in States wholly or partially under insurrectionary control, where the laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that they cannot be effectually enforced, it is obvious that rights dependent on the execution of those laws must, temporarily, fail; and it is equally obvious that rights dependent on the laws of the States, within which military operations are conducted, must be necessarily subordinated to the military exigencies created by the insurrection, if not wholly forfeited by the treasonable conduct of parties claiming them.

To this general rule, rights to services can form no exception. It follows, of necessity, that no claim can be recognized by the military authorities of the Union to the services of such persons when fugitives. Lincoln scholar Frank Williams wrote: Lincoln did much more a few months later with his more famous Emancipation Proclamation. So lacking in uniformity were the proceedings in the several judicial districts, and so vigorous the competition of the military for jurisdiction, that the President found it expedient to lodge supervision in the hands of the Attorney General.

His instructions to Marshals and district attorneys stipulated that only the property of persons arrested, prosecuted, and found guilty could be seized. But civil and military authorities had to confront another reality of military operations and the movement of slaves to liberate themselves. Historian Philip Shaw Paludan wrote: Moreover, white constituencies in both North and South still needed courting.

Southern Unionists would be more attracted by conservative than by radical changes in race relations; one within the Union fold they might be willing to take longer steps. The race card had been potent in past elections; Lincoln knew the power it retained. After having first impressed free black men into service for the Confederacy, the rebels secured initially through voluntary effort of the owners and later through impressment the labor of enslaved men to facilitate their prosecution of the war.

Southern slaves deserted plantations and fled to Union lines. Slaves also staged a few small insurrections during the war as the slave system itself began to unravel. Planters were stunned to see trusted house slaves and field drivers lead field hands in deserting to the Union army. I will take care of the matter. That placated the Border States but alienated many in the North. Gone were the fond hopes that the president would quickly perceive the need to strike at slavery in order to win the war.

Sharp criticism of Lincoln began to appear more frequently in abolitionist writings; it was not a time for pulling punches or speaking softly. There was a moral and political conflict in the North between conservatives and radicals over the question of human freedom. We must wait until every other means has been exhausted.

This thunderbolt will keep. Premature action might doom it to failure. It was a difficult and delicate task. She is the key to the situation. With her faithful to the Union, the discord in the other states will come to and end. She is now in the hands of those who do not represent the people. The sentiment of her State officials must be counteracted. We must arouse the young men of the State to action for the Union. We must know what men in Kentucky have the confidence of the people and who can be relied on for good judgment, that may be brought to the support of the Government at once. The Border states held the wheat, corn, meat and manufacturing that the cotton-bloated South lacked; they accounted for more than a third of the white population of the South; and they controlled the great inland rivers — the Ohio, the Mississippi, the Potomac — that were the highways of the American economy.

Lincoln did not have the luxury of dealing exclusively with the immorality of slavery. He had to deal with slavery in the context of the war to preserve the Union. And he had to deal with Border State slaveholders like Senator Davis. Only by winning that war could he create the context in which slavery could be destroyed.

The First was timing. He could only attack slavery if he could win the war; if he attacked slavery and did not win the war, then he accomplished nothing. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Previously, he had believed that providence would cause slavery to disappear gradually. Now, he believed that the war itself had provided the impetus to begin that gradual process: President Lincoln had to balance the different viewpoints in the Union coalition that was opposing secession with pressure from Radical Republicans for him to act forcefully against southern slavery.

Historian James Oakes wrote: By late , as it became clear that Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland would remain loyal, Lincoln began pressuring them to emancipate their slaves on the own. Abolition by state legislature was still the only legally certain route to emancipation. Everyone knew that as soon as the first slaveholder sued his way to the Supreme Court, the chief justice — Roger Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision — would instantly declare that contraband and confiscated slaves could not be freed by an power of the federal government, congressional or executive.

The congressman tried, but the state legislature did not act on a proposal that the president had developed. President Lincoln continued to try to work with the Border States because he believed that was the only constitutionally available way to end slavery short of passage of the 13th Amendment in January Lincoln wanted the Border States to take individual legal action. He repelled no one; he strove to make friends, not for himself so much as for the preservation of the government, and seeing clearly from the beginning that property in slaves was in the way of many, he urged them to accept compensation.

His wisdom and foresight is now apparent to all. If the Border States would have accepted compensation for slaves, or if Virginia had adhered to the Union, there would have been no war, and slavery would have been abolished by agreement and compensation. Channing, met with President Lincoln. Channing have begun by expressing his belief that the opportunity of the nation to rid itself of slavery had arrived, Mr.

Lincoln asked how he thought they might avail themselves of it. Channing suggested emancipation with compensation for the slaves. The President said he had for years been in favour of that plan. When the President turned to me, I asked whether we might not look to him as the coming Deliverer of the Nation from its one great evil. What would not that man achieve for mankind who should free America from slavery? President, do you believe the masses of the American people would hail you as their deliverer if, at the end of this war, the Union should be surviving and slavery still in it?

And, gentlemen, lives will be lost. Lincoln understood the need for northern abolitionist sentiment to counterbalance Border State conservatives. On March 6, , President Lincoln sent to Capitol Hill a special message urging compensated emancipation of slaves — it was designed to appeal to his diverse constituencies in Congress. He correctly believed that Sumner, a leader in the emerging Radical faction in the Senate, would be pleased with the emancipation proposal, despite the fact that the Massachusetts senator desired direct federal action to end slavery.

When Sumner read the sentence regarding reconstruction, he vehemently protested to the president. Rather than arguing with Sumner, Lincoln, who was in a hurry to send the message to Congress, bracketed the offending sentence for deletion from the proposal. A few days later, President Lincoln met with congressional representatives of the Border States to discuss his plan for emancipation.

One Maryland congressman reported his recollections of the meeting: After the usual salutations and we were seated, the President said, in substance, that he invited us to meet him to have some conversation with us in explanation of his Message of the 6th; that since he had sent it in, several of the gentlemen then present had visited him, but had avoided any allusion to the Message, and he therefore inferred that the import of the Message had been misunderstood, and was regarded as inimical to the interests we represented; and he had resolved he would talk with us, and disabuse our minds of that erroneous opinion.

The President then disclaimed any intent to injure the interests or wound the sensibilities of the Slave States. The New York Tribune was for it, and understood it to mean that we must accept gradual Emancipation according to the plan suggested, or get something worse. The President replied, he must not be expected to quarrel with the New York Tribune before the right time; he hoped never to have to do it; he would not anticipate events. In respect to Emancipation in Missouri, he said that what had been observed by Mr.

Noell was probably true, but the operation of these natural causes had not presented the irritating conduct to which he had referred, or destroyed the hopes of the Confederates that Missouri would at some time range herself alongside of them, which, in his judgment, the passage of this Resolution by Congress, and its acceptance by Missouri, would accomplish. The President replied that he had no designs beyond the action of the States on this particular subject. He should lament their refusal to accept it, but had no designs beyond their refusal of it.

The President replied, he thought there could not be. He then went off into a course of remark not qualifying the foregoing declaration, nor material to be repeated to a just understanding of his meaning. Crisfield said he did not think the people of Maryland looked upon Slavery as a permanent Institution; and he did not know that they would be very reluctant to give it up if provision was made to meet the loss, and they could be rid of the race; but they did not like to be coerced into Emancipation, either by the direct action of the Government or by indirection, as through the Emancipation of Slaves in this District, or the Confiscation of Southern Property as now threatened; and he thought before they would consent to consider this proposition they would require to be informed on these points.

President, if what you now say could be heard by the people of Maryland, they would consider your proposition with a much better feeling that I fear without it they will be inclined to do. The President said he saw and felt the force of the objection; it was a fearful responsibility, and every gentleman must do as he thought best; that he did not known how this scheme was received by the Members from the Free States; some of them had spoken to him and received it kindly; but for the most part they were as reserved and chary as we had been, and he could not tell how they would vote.

And, in reply to some expression of Mr. Slavery existed, and that, too, as well by the act of the North, as of the South; and in any scheme to get rid [of] it, the North, as well as the South, was morally bound to do its full and equal share. He thought the Institution, wrong, and ought never to have existed; but yet he recognized the rights of Property which had grown out of it, and would respect these rights as fully as similar rights in any other property; that Property can exist, and does legally exist.

He thought such a law, wrong, but the rights of Property resulting must be respected; he would get rid of the odious law, not by violating the right, but by encouraging the proposition, and offering inducements to give it up. Here the interview, so far as this subject is concerned, terminated by Mr. From March to July , Mr.

Lincoln tried to accommodate Border States by pushing compensated emancipation. President Lincoln made a final plea for compensated emancipation in that meeting with Border State congressmen on July In a written response to his July plea, the majority of these congressmen rejected his plea. The tenor of this meeting had already told Lincoln what he needed to know; the border states could not summon the will to accept his offer. He evidently despairs of prostrating the institution by force of the war-power; he looks to its existence in full vigor, throughout the Gulf States at least, when the war shall have ended.

The utmost reach of his practical dealing with the subject is to strip it of political influence in National affairs. It takes the form of a joint resolution submitted to the consideration of Congress. The possibility of one or more States discovering the impolicy of retaining slave labor is assumed. To such the joint resolution offers pecuniary aid in the task of emancipation, by engaging to pay a sum prefixed for each enslaved negro set at liberty. This bounty the President evidently believes will turn the scale in favor of freedom.

Satisfied of the good faith of the National Government in its professions of non-intervention in the legislation of the States, the States will be ready to look favorably upon a plan which, while it makes the merit of the act of emancipation their own, throws the cost elsewhere. And as the plan is adopted, one after another of the northerly Slave States will array themselves on the side of the free communities of the North.

Even as he advocated for compensated emancipation and colonization in the spring of , Mr. Lincoln was thinking through the Emancipation Proclamation he would issue in September. According to Missouri Senator John B. Lincoln told him of his intention to issue the emancipation proclamation. The action was not taken until six months later, and then the proclamation was made to take effect January, The President held out as long as he could in the hope that he might be able to carry out his border States policy.

This was the first of the bills. It was followed by others for Kentucky, Maryland and other border states which had slaveholders. Lincoln drafted the bill or whether I got it up, but the inspiration came from him. I did all in my power to press it. The proposition went through both House and Senate. But it was passed in somewhat different forms. The Senate increased the amount, and this difference had to be adjusted in conference. If the bill could have been got before the House in its finished form it would have passed as easily as it did in the Senate. He could not understand why the border State members should not be for it.

Here was a voluntary offer on the part of the government to compensate the loyal men in the border States for the loss of their property. They had exaggerated ideas of the results which would issue from a free negro population. If the Missouri bill had gone through the others would have followed undoubtedly and the loyal slaveholders in all of the border States would have received pay for their slaves.

15. Lincoln, Leadership, and Race: Emancipation as Policy

They argued that its implementation would be an entering wedge for direct federal intervention against slavery in the South. Although Congress approved it in principle on April 10, no border-state legislature accepted the plan. Lincoln responded to his pressure for emancipation by asking him to the White House: The Kentucky legislature is now in session. Go down and see how they stand and report to me.

While he tried to move Border State citizens toward emancipation, President Lincoln sought to restrain abolitionists and Radical Republicans who pushed him to move more quickly. Preserving the Union was vital if the goal of emancipation were to be achieved. Emancipation without preserving the Union would be meaningless. Theologian Reinhold Niehbuhr wrote: That hesitancy was not personal; it was the political calculation of a responsible statesman concerned to retain the loyalty of the border states Lincoln reprimanded the commanders who freed the slaves in those states.

Like most Republicans, he had long held the belief that if slavery could be contained it would inevitably die; a war that kept the slave states within the Union would, therefore, bring about the ultimate extinction of slavery. Pro-emancipation Republican leader Carl Schurz wrote in his memoirs: He was perfectly sincere in saying that, as the head of the government, he regarded the saving of the Union, with or without the destruction of slavery, as the paramount object to be accomplished. He was equally sincere in believing that the destruction of slavery would turn out to be a necessary means for the salvation of the Union, aside from the desirability of that destruction on its own merits.

Seeing the necessity of emancipation by the act of the government rapidly approaching, he wished, in the interest of the blacks as well as of the whites, that emancipation to be gradual, if it possibly could be made gradual under existing circumstances. Nor would he shrink from sudden emancipation if the circumstances so shaped themselves as to leave no choice.

But he would delay the decisive step until he could be reasonably sure that it could be taken without danger of producing a fatal disintegration of the forces co-operating in the struggle for the Union. This reasoning was doubtless correct, but it caused hesitations and delays which were sorely trying to the composure of the more ardent among the anti-slavery men. I have to confess that I belonged to that class myself, and that I did not fully appreciate the wisdom of his cautious policy until it had borne its fruit.

President Lincoln had to manage military opinion as well as civil attitudes on emancipation. Historian Bell Irvin Wiley wrote: Soldiers of the abolitionist persuasion criticized him severely for not striking a blow at slavery sooner than he did, and even accused him of trying to perpetuate the hated institution. But abolitionists, particularly avowed ones, were only a small minority of the fighting forces. His emancipation policy when first proclaimed had more foes than friends among the rank and file.

Opposition to emancipation was especially strong among soldiers from the loyal slave states and adjoining areas, and among the Irish. A number of generals, including [George B. Those few who championed it — John C. Most senior commanders, however, simply thought the political complexities of emancipation would outstrip any military benefits.

Emancipation did have one early success. Emancipation came to the District of Columbia when on April 16, Slavery remained legal, but Washington was the capital of a nation at war with a slave confederacy, and from the first shots at Sumter, it arose in the minds of every slave within walking or riding distance as the Promised Land.

By the census of there were, in the District of Columbia, 11, free negroes, 3, slaves, and 60, white people. It was considered the paradise of free negroes, where they were almost exclusively employed as laborers in household service. When the war broke out a considerable number of slaves ran away from disloyal masters in Virginia and Maryland, seeking safety within our lines and finding employment in the District of Columbia.

As the war approached, most of the slaves in the District were carried away by their owners into Virginia, and other southern states, so that in it was estimated there were not more than 1,, and probably not 1,, slaves in the District, while the number of free negroes increased to 15, As a matter of course, when Virginia seceded no attempt was made to recapture runaway slaves from that state, and they became practically free.

We have found by experience that though Abraham Lincoln is sure, he is slow; and that though he is slow, he is sure! In black neighborhoods, spirited minstrel songs viewed with reverent spirituals. Were I a drinker I would get on a jolly spree today, but as a Christian, I can but kneel in prayer and bless God. As preachers sermonized, some worshippers could not hold back, cutting loose with shouts of jubilation.

Still, it was not easy to implement the new law. Lincoln scholar Ernest B. In all cases were heard and claims accepted. Hundreds of Maryland and Virginia slaves had come into the District, hoping to become free, but the courts ordered that they be sent back to their owners. President Lincoln took a personal interest in the fate of newly-freed slaves and contrabands. She was also a leader in one of the nearby contraband camps. Historian Matthew Pinsker wrote: She remembered one occasion when the president and Mary Lincoln, along with a small entourage of guests, arrived to hear a musical performance arranged especially for them.

He fully understood that racism extended across both the North and the South. Or was he to be held immobile in a degraded, servile position, unchanging for the next hundred years as it had remained essentially unchanged for the hundred years past? In the late spring and early summer of , agitation for emancipation increased.

He began to doubt his policy of supporting the administration. If their fears that peace might come before emancipation were groundless, the President had done nothing to allay them. In fact a Southern surrender in or even might have left the cause of abolition in a precarious state. Lincoln himself wrote in The moderate Republicans were ultimately responsible for its passage.

For one thing, the timing could not have been worse. Lincoln could not see the wisdom in threatening to confiscate property from people who had just demonstrated that they would fight to hold on to it. Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, was its leading proponent. The fact that John Helgerson—the inspector general at the CIA who is supposed to act as an independent watchdog—was called in by Cheney to discuss his tough report in is definitely surprising news.

Asked for comment, Helgerson through the CIA spokesman denied he felt pressured in any way by Cheney. They have also suggested it was very unusual that the Vice President interjected himself into the work of the IG. Fred Hitz, who had the same post in previous administrations, told me that no vice president had ever met with him. He thought it highly unusual. The only case so far that has been prosecuted in the criminal courts is that involving David Passaro—a low-level CIA contractor, not a full official in the Agency.

Why have there been no charges filed? Sources suggested to me that, as you imply, it is highly uncomfortable for top Bush Justice officials to prosecute these cases because, inevitably, it means shining a light on what those same officials sanctioned. Much remains to be uncovered. Conversation — August 5, , Conversation — March 30, , 3: Context , No Comment — August 28, , Frankly I was surprised it was that many.

Of course, there are good reasons why Mailer in particular should suffer posthumous obscurity with such alacrity: Initially I had the impression I was being heard out, if reluctantly, but as the years have passed, my attempts to limn the shape of this epochal transformation have been met increasingly with outrage, and even abuse, in particular from my fellow writers.

As for my attempts to express the impact of the screen on the page, on the actual pages of literary novels, I now understand that these were altogether irrelevant to the requirement of the age that everything be easier, faster, and slicker in order to compel the attention of screen viewers. T his is the story of how the institutions of British Jewry went to war with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party. Corbyn is another feather in the wind of populism and a fragmentation of the old consensus and politesse. He was elected to the leadership by the party membership in , and no one was more surprised than he.

Between and , Corbyn voted against his own party times. He existed as an ideal, a rebuke to the Blairite leadership, and the only wise man on a ship of fools. His schtick is that of a weary, kindly, socialist Father Christmas, dragged from his vegetable patch to create a utopia almost against his will. But in the ideal became, reluctantly, flesh. Satirists mock him as Jesus Christ, and this is apt. He courts sainthood, and if you are very cynical you might say that, like Christ, he shows Jews what they should be.

He once sat on the floor of a crowded train, though he was offered a first-class seat, possibly as a private act of penance to those who had, at one time or another, had no seat on a train. When Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, the British media, who are used to punching socialists, crawled over his record and found much to alarm the tiny Jewish community of , He invited the Islamist leader Raed Salah, who has accused Jews of killing Christian children to drink their blood, to Parliament, and opposed his extradition.

He was an early supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions BDS movement and its global campaign to delegitimize Israel and, through the right of return for Palestinians, end its existence as a Jewish state. His office now maintains that he does not support BDS. The official Labour Party position is for a two-state solution. The scandals bloomed, swiftly. She apologized publicly, was reinstated, and is now a shadow women and equalities minister. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.

I f necessity is the stern but respectable mother of invention, then perhaps desperation is the derelict father of subterfuge. That was certainly the case when I moved to Seattle in Not only had rent increased sharply in all but the most destitute neighborhoods, landlords now routinely demanded first, last, and a hefty security deposit, which meant I was short by about fifty percent. Over the first week or so, I watched with mounting anxiety as food, gas, and lodging expenses reduced the meager half I did have to a severely deficient third.

To make matters even more nerve-racking, I was relocating with my nine-year-old son, Ezra. Meanwhile, Radicals attacked the Hahn government. A further public relations problem was relevations that Hahn had collaborated with the Confederate government in and early Furthermore, defeated candidate J.

Abraham Lincoln and Slavery

Fellows alleged that money supposedly spent on the inauguration and election was really used for campaign expenses. Despite these problems, argued historian William B. Hesseltine, reconstruction seemed to be proceeding relatively smoothly at the beginning of An election for the constitutional convention was scheduled for early spring. At one meeting, a letter from Congressman Hahn was read declaring that President Lincoln wished that Louisiana be reorganized with a civilian government.

Despite, the criticism, Banks and Hahn went to work preparing for a constitutional convention.

Nevertheless, work proceeded on a new constitution. Convention delegates split on issues concerning slavery, but a motion to include emancipation as part of the constitution passed overwhelmingly on May 11, Historian Eric Foner wrote: Maine Congressman James G. The convention was organized early in April, and its most important act was the prompt incorporation of an anti-slavery clause in the organic law. On the eve of the election the military turned out all government and quartermaster employees for a torchlight procession in New Orleans.

While the constitutional convention was underway, Banks was being stymied on the military front in Louisiana. Symonds noted that in addition to northern political pressures, there were foreign policy pressures on Lincoln to reestablish Union control of Texas and to launch the Red River expedition that was much criticized then and since. Greed was also a factor in its unfortunate conclusion. Banks was under considerable pressure. Banks was accused of being inept and was politically ruined. The goal of Shreveport was never reached, and the botched effort used enough troops so as to delay the important attack on Mobile for 10 months.

Simms wrote of Banks: Banks was doing no better on the civilian front. Grant already had a negative impression of Banks, but Banks had done more than his peers in other reconstruction states so he was politically protected. Grant was anxious to dismiss or demote several generals — Banks among them. In May , General Henry W. Halleck responded to a critical letter about Banks by writing Grant: There will undoubtedly be a very strong opposition to his being removed or superseded, and I think the President will hesitate to act unless he has a definite request from you to do so, as a military necessity, you designating his superior or superior in command.

On receiving such a formal request not a mere suggestion I believe, as I wrote you some days ago, he would act immediately. To do an act which will give offense to a large number of his political friends the President will require some evidence in a positive form to show the military necessity of that act. In other words, he must have something in a definite shape to fall back upon as his justification.

In the wake of the Red River disaster, Banks was effectively removed from command and that autumn was recalled to Washington. Canby took over his military responsibilities as commander of the Military Division of West Mississippi. Banks had been commander of the Department of the Gulf. In September, General Stephen A. Another issue was roiling Louisiana in Beginning in late , New Orleans blacks had begun pressing the case for black suffrage. The more than 18, free blacks who were living in New Orleans when the war came owned property valued at fifteen million dollars. Shepley shifted responsibility for an answer to Banks, who was effectively mute on the subject.

The goal was to reduce the high rate of illiteracy among black volunteers, which ranged as high as 90 percent. Although there was a shortage of trained teachers, by June at least nine military schools in New Orleans were serving on average twenty-four hundred soldier-students a day. Lincoln did not give much thought to the suffrage issue in Louisiana until early Lincoln said of black suffrage: It must come pretty soon, and will.

While the president and Banks lobbied Congress, their allies and agents on the ground in Louisiana…were championing the cause of black suffrage. In this connection, Banks asked a committee of colored men how many quadroons and octoroons there were in Louisiana. Other factors favored black suffrage.

Lincoln himself recognized that the opportunity offered in Louisiana was unique, for he did not urge that other states…follow the blueprint drafted there. Nor should one mischaracterize the division between Louisiana moderates and radicals. Both sides accepted limited black suffrage in principle, although they disagreed over how extensive it should be; both desired abolition. The question was how best to go about achieving these aims. The moderates had the vote.

Lincoln made sure that everyone in Louisiana knew that he backed ratification and would remember those who opposed it. African-American leaders who arrived in Washington in early March were Jean Baptise Roudanez, an engineer, and Arnold Bertonneau, who was a wine merchant. Impressed by Roudanez, Bertonneau, and the people they represented, he sat down the next day to write his now-famous though then-private letter to Governor Michael Hahn. Morever, by this time [] Negroes had enrolled very heavily in the armed services of the Union and, though they were used disproportionately as labor battalions and were denied the opportunity to earn commissions as officers, many units had been engaged in combat where they fought bravely.

He must finish the big job on his hands of crushing the rebellion, and in doing that, if it became necessary to prevent rebels from voting, he should do so. If the recognition of black men as having a right to vote was necessary to close the war, he would not hesitate. He saw no reason why intelligent black men should not vote, but this was not a military question, and he would refer to it to the constitutional convention in Louisiana.

Their petition asking to become citizens and voters being placed solely on moral grounds did not furnish him with any inducement to accede to their wishes, but that he would do so whenever they could show that such accession would be necessary to the readmission of Louisiana as a state in the Union.

Black suffrage was a pivotal issue. Domingue, initially eager to use a revolutionary moment to press their own agenda. And in contrast to the other slave states that experienced wartime Reconstruction, in Louisiana the issue became a subject of public recognition and debate. I barely suggest for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in — as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks.

They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom. But this only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone. Historian LaWanda Cox wrote: Durant, it will be recalled, was supporting the vote for freeborn blacks; Lincoln made no distinction between the freeborn and the freed. Initially, his views had minimal impact on events in Louisiana. Banks and Hahn worked hard to reverse that decision. The result was to widen the breach in Unionist ranks, turn the Radicals ever more sharply against the Banks government, and propel them, within a few months, down the road to universal manhood suffrage.

John A. Marshall (Author of American Bastile)

The state constitutional convention completed its work over the next four months. The delegates included many who sought to limit closely black rights to suffrage and education. Historian Steven Hay wrote: At the same time, the constitution not only outlawed slavery as Lincoln insisted it must , but opened the courts to all persons regardless of color and established free public education for both races. Accepting Negro suffrage was another matter; white workers feared that black men might seize the reins of power. Some also objected to having colored children educated by the government.

That point was finally conceded; but after delegates resolved against giving votes to Negroes. Only when great pressure was applied by Banks and Hahn did the convention yield a little. Voter ratification of the Louisiana constitution came on September 5 with very light turnout. The New Louisiana constitution did not enfranchise blacks but it did give the legislature that power.

I do not think you appreciate or understand the intense antipathy with which Southerners regard negroes. It is the natural antipathy of races, developed and Intensified by the servile, brutal condition of one — the insolent, despotic position of the other. Lincoln was pressured on the one hand by Radical Republicans trying to usurp his authority over reconstruction through the Wade-Davis bill and on the other hand by general public opinion which characterized his leadership as too sympathetic to emancipated black Americans. The congressional fight over black suffrage in the new territory of Montana set the stage for the battle in Louisiana and Reconstruction in the late spring and summer of Historian Michael Les Benedict wrote: First, the Wade-Davis bill was a peace bill; its effect was to delay Reconstruction until hostilities ceased.

The anti-slavery sections of the bill he questioned on constitutional grounds. Thomas Durant now earned his reputation as a troublemaker and ingrate. No nation will vote its own destruction, though the catastrophe may be accomplished by voting for incompetent men. Slavery was to be abolished, the Confederate debt repudiated, and all Confederate officeholders and military officers above the rank of major disfranchised.

The revised constitution was to be submitted to the voters for ratification. If the ironclad electorate approved the document, the provisional governor was to notify the President, who was, in turn, to ask the consent of Congress to recognize the regime. Should the new constitution not meet the conditions set by the bill, Congress reserved the right to reject it, and a procedure for electing a new convention was spelled out.

Only after congressional approval were elections to be held for a state legislature and for members to the U. There were many reasons for Radical Republicans to criticize Louisiana reconstruction. Others feared that the planters would simply take the loyalty oath and then dominate the reconstruction government. Radicals especially distrusted the planters and wanted to cancel their influence by giving the former slaves the right to vote and hold office.

Maybe it was imperfect, but he thought it a lot better than no civilian government at all. And in time, when prejudice and passion had subsided, its more glaring defects could be repaired. Moreover, President Lincoln had been to be unfortunate in his choice of subordinates in New Orleans. The cantankerous Butler was replaced by the unimaginative Banks. Hurlbut, who was unsympathetic to the rights of black Americans as well as to the abilities of local officials.

In addition to the matter of enfranchisement, the journal had another public grievance against the national administration. The newspaper labeled the federal land policy in Louisiana a travesty on justice and little better than slavery. Simultaneously, Hurlbut had assumed with Canby a regressive policy with respect to the freedmen at a time when Lincoln and Hahn had sought to extend the franchise to a few blacks, for which he had publicly professed support in the summer of In a letter to General Hurlbut on November 14, President Lincoln took Hurlbut, a longtime acquaintance, to task for his intransigence: I still indulged some hope that I was mistaken in the fact; but copies of a correspondence on the subject, between Gen.

Canby and yourself, and shown me to-day, dispel that hope. A very fair proportion of the people of Louisiana have inaugerated a new State Government, making an excellent new constitution — better for the poor black man than we have in Illinois. This was done under military protection, directed by me, in the belief, still sincerely entertained, that with such a nucleous around which to build, we could get the State into position again sooner than otherwise.

In this belief a general promise of protection and support, applicable alike to Louisiana and other states, was given in the last annual message. During the formation of the new government and constitution, they were supported by nearly every loyal person and opposed by every secessionist. And this support, and this opposition, from the respective stand points of the parties, was perfectly consistent and logical. Every Unionist ought to wish the new government to succeed; and every disunionist must desire it to fail….

Every advocate of slavery naturally desires to see blasted, and crushed, the liberty promised the black man by the new constitution. Hurlbut should join on the same side is to me incomprehensible. Neither is the military necessity for protecting the people against paying large salaries, fixed by a Legislature of their own choosing, very apparant. These things, if they have occurred, are, at the best, no better than gratuitous hostility.

I wish I could hope that they may be shown to not have occurred. To make assurance against misunderstanding, I repeat that in the existing condition of things in Louisiana, the military must not be thwarted by the civil authority; and I add that on points of difference the commanding general must be judge and master. But I also add that in the exercise of this judgment and control, a purpose, obvious and scarcely unavowed, to transcend all military necessity, in order to crush out the civil government, will not be overlooked.

The fact has been withheld from you, Mr. In December , President Lincoln appointed a military investigating commission to look into the corruption which Hurlbut had permitted in New Orleans. According to historian Jeffrey N. Canby on December 12, It is conceded that the military operations are the first in importance; and as to what is indispensable to these operations, the Department Commander must be judge and master.

But the other matters mentioned, I suppose to be of public importance also; and what I have attempted in regard to them, is not merely a concession to private interest and pecuniary greed. By the external blockade, the price is made certainly six times as great as it was. And yet the enemy gets through at least one sixth part as much in a given period, say a year, as if there were no blockade, and receives as much for it, as he would for a full crop in time of peace.

The effect in substance is, that we give him six ordinary crops, without the trouble of producing any but the first; and at the same time leave his fields and his laborers free to produce provisions. You know how this keeps up his armies at home, and procures supplies from abroad. For other reasons we cannot give up the blockade, and hence it becomes immensely important to us to get the cotton away from him.

Better give him guns for it, than let him, as now, get both guns and ammunition for it. But even this only presents part of the public interest to get out cotton. Our finances are greatly involved in the matter. This is much to be regretted; and while I believe we can live through it at all events, it demands an earnest effort on the part of all to correct it. And if pecuniary greed can be made to aid us in such effort, let us be thankful that so much good can be got out of pecuniary greed.

Most certainly there is no worthy object in getting up a piece of machinery merely to pay salaries, give political consideration to certain men. But it is a worthy object to again get Louisiana into proper practical relations with the nation; and we can never finish this, if we never begin it. Much good work is already done, and surely nothing can be gained by throwing it away. The House committee was the first to report, but only on February 11, , after the joint resolution excluding the electoral vote of Louisiana, Arkansas, etc.

The majority report recommended that Mr. Bonzano be seated as a representative from the first district of Louisiana. The minority report, signed by Messrs. On February 17th the committee reported favorably on two companion cases from Louisiana, the cases of Mr. Field, from the second, and Mr. Mann, from the third district…..

The House took no action whatever on any of the cases. Historian Michael Burlingame wrote: As the senate addressed their request in January, Lincoln tried to frame the debate by suggesting to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lyman Trumbull that the most important question before that body was: Having pushed Louisiana and the Union army into reconstruction, Lincoln was now blocked by Congress.

The Senate Judiciary committee proposed that the Louisiana state government be recognized, but when the legislation was taken up on February 24, Senator Sumner began a campaign to delay it while Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull championed its passage. Congressional agreement on reconstruction in Louisiana bogged down on the issue of black suffrage. He desired to have Congress impose black suffrage on all the states that had seceded, before admitting them. Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg wrote: There at his post, where once he had taken a merciless beating and come near death, there he would stand and speak and read — and read and speak — till the session officially ended.

Senator Sumner, to whom the remarks were particularly addressed, repudiated the charge of factiousness, but insisted that the Senate could not be brought to a vote that night. The impression made by the votes and the debate is that the resolutions of the committee would have passed that night [February 25] if they had been brought to a vote. Lincoln biographer Burlingame wrote: Field wrote the President:.

The military as it now stands, has been in every manner embarrassing the successful administration of our affairs, in matters in no way connected with military opperations: And if we are not to receive your aid under whose proclamation our Government in Louisiana was inaugurated, by the removal from Office, of these elements of opposition, it will then be useless for us to struggle any longer, but at once return to military rule.

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But, relying upon your perfect knowledge of the success which has attended our establishment of Civil Government, and the adoption of one of the most Republican Constitutions that can be found amongst the American States, and knowing the great desire you have had throughout your highly successful Administration, to encourage the return of the Rebellious States to loyal Civil Government. We feel assured that when you are made acquainted with the nature of the opposition we have had to encounter in this difficult work of restoring Civil Government in States where for a time it was overthrown, that you will be disposed, as far as you can, to remove the difficulties in our way, to which I have adverted.

I speak in behalf of my colleagues and the loyal people of Louisiana, which State I insist is as true to our national flag today any state in any part of our Government. Louisiana planter James Madison Wells, who was serving as lieutenant governor, replaced Governor Hahn when he is elected to the Senate in January Either the State should be sustained in full force vigor and independent life free from interference and control on the part of the Military Officers and without any responsibility on the part of the United States for their action, or the supremacy of the Executive through the Military commanders should be plainly and distinctly understood.

I do not think that the electors of New Orleans are to be trusted with this franchise. In addition the Enormous increase of expense to the taxpayers deserves consideration. Army quartered at Shreveport and Alexandria with unnumbered rebel sympathizers within our lines, with constant communication through our lines under Cotton Permits and otherwise with our forces within the State depleted to the last degree by the Mobile Expedition — it is unsafe to the Government to permit the Exercise of the functions of Sovereignty by the people of Louisiana under their State Government.

Hyperlink reference not valid. Authorities on all matters of moment and is endeavoring to root out the Corruptions Engendered by these times. In Every respect in which he has called for assistance from me it has been granted, readily and willingly, and always will be. The real and personal Estate of known rebels has been seized by the Government and the burden of Taxation therefore falls on the loyal or at least the quiet.

Direct Tax is being collected. Local assessments for various causes, for Levees and other purposes swell the List, and I am unable to see how this impoverished and broken people are to meet these demands. This thing has not been done but the contrary rather by this Experimental body. If the officers of the army have no responsibility for these things we shall be greatly relieved. If we have responsibility for this state of things we should have the power to correct these abuses when manifest. If the present State of things continues the Course of the Government will constantly suffer loss in the Estimation of Citizens.

Events in Louisiana made this issue the subject of national attention. Contemporary John Brigham wrote: It was a dark night and rain was falling; hundreds of umbrellas massed together made an imperfect covering for the shivering crowd. The dim lights from the outdoor gas jets and from the executive mansion gave a weird appearance to the throng, and the hollow sound of raindrops falling upon the canopy of umbrellas accentuated the strangeness of the scene.

Conscious of the importance of the subject, the President rarely lifted his eyes from the manuscript, and then only to round some familiar period. President Lincoln had prepared his speech carefully. They would be his first substantive comments after the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox on April 9. He reviewed some of his actions regarding reconstruction in Louisiana and concluded:.

Their Legislature has already voted to ratify the constitutional amendment recently passed by Congress, abolishing slavery throughout the nation. Now, if we reject, and spurn them, we do our utmost to disorganize and disperse them. If, on the contrary, we recognize, and sustain the new government of Louisiana the converse of all this is made true. We encourage the hearts, and nerve the arms of the twelve thousand to adhere to their work, and argue for it, and proselyze for it, and fight for it, and feed it, and grow it, and ripen it to a complete success.

The colored man too, in seeing all united for him, is inspired with vigilance, and energy, and daring, to the same end. Grant that he desires the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps toward it, than by running backward over them? Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it? Again, if we reject Louisiana, we also reject one vote in favor of the proposed amendment to the national constitution. To meet this proposition, it has been argued that no more than three fourths of those States which have not attempted secession are necessary to validly ratify the amendment.

I do not commit myself against this, further than to say that such a ratification would be questionable, and sure to be persistently questioned; while a ratification by three fourths of all the States would be unquestioned and unquestionable. Can Louisiana be brought into proper practical relation with the Union sooner by sustaining or by discarding her new State Government?

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And yet so great peculiarities pertain to each state; and such important and sudden changes occur in the same state; and, withal, so new and unprecedented is the whole case, that no exclusive, and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to details and colatterals. Such exclusive, and inflexible plan, would surely become a new entanglement. Important principles may, and must, be inflexible. I am considering, and shall not fail to act, when satisfied that action will be proper. It was just like Abraham Lincoln. He never shocked prejudices unnecessarily. Having learned statesmanship while splitting rails, he always used the thin edge of the wedge first — and the fact that he used it at all meant that he would if need be, use the thick as well as the thin.


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Abraham Lincoln gave his word that you will be free, and enjoy all the rights invested to citizens. I was with him a considerable time. He referred among other things to the Louisiana situation, and to the speech he had made the night before, adding: Lincoln offered to appoint me Collector of the Port of New Orleans, and advised me to take the place. He explained that I would be the first collector since before the war, and that the position was very important at this time; that the gentleman now discharging the duties of the office, few words, to be careful and discreet in the discharge of my duties, he bade me goodbye.

Although the fear of grass-roots racism caused most but by no means all Republicans to maintain a pragmatic silence on the controversial topic of enfranchising Northern blacks, the notion that the ballot could be an important weapon in the hands of the loyal freedmen appealed to supporters of laissez-faire as well as state intervention within the ruling party. Influenced by his own border state Whiggery, a temperamental dislike of extreme measures, an astute awareness of white racism among voters, and a genuine respect for the role that blacks had played in defeating the Confederacy, Lincoln found himself, in his last public address, willing to declare a personal preference for partial suffrage but still unable to demand this as a condition of restoration.

A Capers, Gerald M. Work-Labor Even before General Banks assumed command in Louisiana, President Lincoln was concerned with the status and employment of former slaves in the state which might form a model for his policy elsewhere. Interior Secretary John Palmer Usher recalled one part of the cabinet discussion concerning what areas of the South were to be exempted from emancipation because they were already under Union control: After Cottman visited the President Lincoln on December 15, President Lincoln outlined his goals for unified action in a letter to Cottman: He was particularly critical of the judicial system: Constitutional Convention Despite, the criticism, Banks and Hahn went to work preparing for a constitutional convention.

Field wrote the President: He reviewed some of his actions regarding reconstruction in Louisiana and concluded: A Life, Volume I, p. Sherman, The Memoirs of William T. Fehrenbacher, editors, Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln , p. Paul Finkelman and Martin J. Hershock, editors, The Political Lincoln: An Encyclopedia , p. The Louisiana Experiment , p. A Life of Benjamin F. Butler , , p. Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life , Volume II, p.

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