The Party of Lincoln

During this bizarre and unconventional presidential campaigning season in the US of A—that is far too long—political pundits ridicule and angst over the presumptive Republican candidate, Mr. Donald Trump. The Republican Party usually referred to as the “GOP” the Grand Old Party, also is sometimes referenced as “The Party of Lincoln.” I cringe when I hear that phrase because Abraham Lincoln not only waged war against his own people, he was a racist.

Mr. Trump’s truncated comments on cultural problems we face bring intense questioning, puzzlement at the answers, and wild interpretations. The media, his other political opponents, and established Republicans rehash every word Trump speaks—and add others they believe might damage his credibility, or distance themselves from his remarks.

No matter what he says, or how, they slap on racist stickers. His blunt, honest talk is so foreign to the ruling class and the media that they convulse in spasms of trepidation if he uses certain ethnic identifiers—Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans—without the proper deference and reverance demanded of every politician in Marxist multicultural-America. Race has replaced Social Security as the dangerous “Third Rail” of political hazards.

This brings me back to The Party of Lincoln.

Because of their paranoia about offending various ethnics, especially African-Americans—and now “Mexicans” (more correctly Amer-Indians)— Republicans cower in fear over “exclusion” charges and potentially being labeled with the “R”-word—too terrified to support anyone with lesser sensitivities than what they have chiseled into the Party platform.

But what were the original views of The Party of Lincoln regarding the Negroes? History reveals Lincoln’s stated positions about them—supported in all the Northern States.

Lincoln was well known as a “master of rhetoric” and a clever politician. Much has been quoted of his poetic prose, e.g. the Gettysburg Address, but his views about racial equality have been deliberately concealed or justified by most Northern historians because the facts largely dispel Lincoln myths established to justify the war he waged against fellow Americans in the Confederate States of America.

Still, there is a vast library of books and articles by independent historians that expose “The Real Lincoln”; one of the best books on the subject by that name was written in 2002 by Prof. Thomas J. DiLorenzo, an economic historian at Loyola College in Maryland. The quotes below come from his well-referenced book:

Anyone who embarks on a study of Abraham Lincoln…must first come to terms with the Lincoln myth. The effort to penetrate the crust of legend that surrounds Lincoln…is both a formidable and intimidating task. Lincoln, it seems, requires special considerations that are denied other figures…   

 ___ Robert W. Johannsen

(Lincoln) stated over and over again that he was opposed to political or social equality of the races; he was not an abolitionist but denigrated them and distanced himself from them; and his primary means of dealing with racial problems was to attempt to colonize all American blacks in Africa, Haiti, Central America—anywhere but in the United States.

___The Real Lincoln, Introduction

I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference,… I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary.

___Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Lincoln said unambiguously that he believed the Negro race was inferior to the White race. In Galesburg, he referred to ‘the inferior races.’ Who were the ‘inferior races’? African Americans, he said, Mexicans, who he called ‘mongrells,’ and probably all colored people.

___Lerone Bennett Jr., Ebony magazine

Lincoln defended the right 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. Lincoln promised to support the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

__The Real Lincoln, Chapter 2

In his first inaugural address in 1860, Lincoln said, 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.

__The Real Lincoln, Chapter 2

To be fair, Lincoln expressed the views on slavery and the exclusion of black people by all Americans during that period, except for a small number of radical abolitionists—even they didn’t want Negroes to live in Northern States. But the myth of the “Great Emancipator” persists.

Free black’s rights were severely restricted in Northern States in the 1850s. In Lincoln’s own State of Illinois, and others, State constitutions prohibited emigration of black people.

As Prof. DiLorenzo writes: “Such facts raise serious questions about the extent to which racial injustice in the South motivated Lincoln and the Republican Party to wage a long, bloody war.”

There are other problems with Lincoln and his Party. Why did they not “end slavery peacefully through compensated emancipation,” as did many Western countries? Asks DiLorenzo. Lincoln’s war agenda was economic, pitting his Whig, and later Republican Party, of centralized controlling Hamiltonian government against the State’s rights Jeffersonians. Lincoln violated the Constitution and cynically destroyed its liberties “in order to save it.”

DiLorenzo notes that many Lincoln scholars have labeled him a “dictator for launching a military invasion without the consent of Congress; suspending habeas corpus;  imprisoning thousands of Northern citizens without trial for merely opposing his policies; censoring all telegraph communication and imprisoning dozens of opposition newspaper publishers; nationalizing the railroads; using Federal troops to interfere with elections; confiscating firearms; and deporting a member of Congress…after he opposed Lincoln’s income tax proposal.”

In my opinion, Lincoln’s most egregious act was to wage war on Southern civilians, contrary to international law at the time and “the accepted moral code of civilized societies.” General William Sherman had a policy that to “secessionists…death was mercy.” Vengefully, he burned towns, murdered and pillaged his way across the South according to Lincoln’s war strategy.

Adding insult to injury the Republican Party “essentially plundered the South for twelve more years by instituting puppet governments that constantly raised taxes but provided very few public benefits. Much of the money was simply stolen by Republican Party activists and their business supporters.” Ex-slaves were used as political pawns to corrupt local governments and were given the right to vote—not allowed in some Northern States.

After Lincoln’s war against Southern independence, the Republican Party continued his “policy of crushing dissenters with overwhelming military might”—Generals’ Grant, Sherman and Sheridan’s genocidal war on the Plains Indians—in its “quest for empire.”

Based on this evidence, and much more, the Republican Party should widely distance itself from the label: The Party of Lincoln. It’s the political ‘kiss of death.’

Lincoln’s politics equates more with modern day “progressives” than with “conservative principles that Republicans claim to have, and the current destructive policies of Democrats. Ironically, in today’s political worldview, Lincoln was clearly a racist.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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