Abraham Lincoln: Civil War President

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Abraham Lincoln and Civil War
President Abraham Lincoln History

16th President Abraham Lincoln : The Civil War President

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln . . .
• did NOT save the union? In fact, Lincoln did more than any other individual to destroy the voluntary union the Founding Fathers recognized.
• did NOT want to free the slaves? Lincoln, who did not believe in equality of the races, wanted the Constitution to make slavery “irrevocable.”
• was NOT a champion of the Constitution? Contrary to his high-minded rhetoric, Lincoln repeatedly trampled on the Constitution—and even issued an arrest warrant for the chief justice of the United States!
• was NOT a great statesman? Lincoln was actually a warmonger who manipulated his own people into a civil war.
• did NOT utter many of his most admired quotations? Author Thomas DiLorenzo exposes a legion of statements that have been falsely attributed to Lincoln for generations—usually to enhance his image.
 
In addition to detailing Lincoln’s offenses against the principles of freedom, equality, and states’ rights, Thomas J. DiLorenzo, in his latest book, Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe, exposes the vast network of academics, historians, politicians, and other “gatekeepers” who have sanitized his true beliefs and willfully distorted his legacy. DiLorenzo reveals how the deification of Lincoln reflects a not-so-hidden agenda to expand the size and scope of the American state far beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned—an expansion that Lincoln himself began.
 
The hagiographers have shaped Lincoln’s image to the point that it has become more fiction than fact. With Lincoln Unmasked, DiLorenzo shows us an Abraham Lincoln without the rhetoric, lies, and political bias that have clouded a disastrous president’s enduring damage to the nation.
 
Thought-provoking questions about Abraham Lincoln . . .
What if you were told that the revered leader Abraham Lincoln was actually a political tyrant who stifled his opponents by suppressing their civil rights? What if you learned that the man so affectionately referred to as the “Great Emancipator” supported white supremacy and pledged not to interfere with slavery in the South? Would you suddenly start to question everything you thought you knew about Lincoln and his presidency? You should. DiLorenzo, who ignited a fierce debate about Lincoln’s legacy with his book The Real Lincoln, now presents a litany of stunning new revelations that explode the most enduring (and pernicious) myths about our sixteenth president. Marshaling an astonishing amount of new evidence, Lincoln Unmasked offers an alarming portrait of a political manipulator and opportunist who bears little resemblance to the heroic, stoic, and principled figure of mainstream history.

Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

DiLorenzo is the author of The Real Lincoln and How Capitalism Saved America. A professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Barron’s, and many other publications. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Reviews for Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." - George Orwell, 1984.

Imagine an alternate world where the American patriots lost their war for independence against the British Empire. How would that loss have influenced American culture? What would American school children be taught about those patriots today, in an America that was still part of Great Britain? Imagine another alternate world in which Nazi Germany defeated the Allies in World War II. How would the official view of the war have differed in a Nazi-dominated Europe, as opposed to the free Europe of our world? Would Belgian children in such an alternate world be taught that Hitler was a villain, or one of the great and good leaders of history?

All too often we assume that history is a true and faithful account of events as they actually took place and people as they actually were. We tend to forget that people who lived in the past (and recorded the events of those days), were ordinary human beings who were as vulnerable to the temptation to color events according to their own beliefs, agendas and prejudices as are people living today. For this reason, it behooves us to constantly re-investigate and re-evaluate the past in order to be certain that what we think of as the truth is, in fact, the truth. Much of how we view ourselves in the present, and how we view our path into the future, is based upon how we view the past. If that view is inaccurate, if it is tainted by the prejudices of those whose word we blindly accepted, then we ourselves are helping to perpetuate old injustices -- to say nothing of the fact that we are deluding ourselves.

The obligation to constantly re-evaluate the past is especially important where wars and other clashes of of culture, religion and politics are concerned, because they are inherently based in ideology, and thus are especially vulnerable to manipulation. You may have heard the saying, "To the victor belongs the spoil." Well, one of the spoils of any conflict is the history and dominant view of that conflict. The side that prevails always colors itself as good and noble, while simultaneously coloring its opposition as (at best) misguided or (at worst) evil; and it does its best to pass its views down to posterity so that its perspective will remain dominant.

This is a pattern that is demonstrated time and again throughout history; and yet, quick as we are to spot it in the histories of other lands, we Americans are very reluctant to acknowledge it here. We are too idealistic in our view of ourselves, too slow to believe that any kind of prejudice has colored our history.

I think I can establish otherwise rather quickly.

Let me ask you this: was Ronald Reagan a good president, or a bad one? How about George Bush? Bill Clinton?

How you answer this question will depend on your own personal political viewpoints, but I believe I can say with some certainty that you hope your viewpoints on these men will prevail as the dominant viewpoint accepted by future Americans. And if your viewpoint does not prevail, will you not think that future generations will have been deprived of the truth?

Am I wrong? Be honest.

Now, is it really so far-fetched to believe that others who lived in eras before you might have felt the same way, and that they might have done whatever they could to ensure that future generations accepted their views?

With that in mind, I ask you to fairly consider what so many seem prepared to dismiss out of hand: namely, the idea that Abraham Lincoln might not have been the towering giant of greatness and goodness that he was made out to be by the generation that won the War of 1861-1865. In "The Real Lincoln" and "Lincoln Unmasked", Thomas DiLorenzo has done a fine of job of re-evaluating Lincoln and demonstrating that neither he, nor the war he inaugurated, are as we have been led to believe.

For instance, were you aware of the following facts about Lincoln and the war?

- He did not believe in racial equality, and stated this publicly a number of times (such as when he pledged to uphold Illinois' law against interracial marriage).
- As a lawyer, he once defended a slave owner's right to keep his slaves, but never defended a runaway slave.
- Lincoln and Republicans opposed the extension of slavery because they wanted to keep the territories free for white settlement.
- He favored a constitutional amendment (the Corwin Amendment) that would have guaranteed the existence of American slavery in perpetuity and would have been irrevocable.
- He was willing to leave every slave in slavery if it would "help save the Union".
- He preferred that all American blacks be "colonized" outside of the United States, and actively worked for this - including during his time as president.
- The Emancipation Proclamation was strictly a military measure designed to "suppress said rebellion", not a humanitarian gesture; and it freed only those slaves in parts of the Confederacy that were not under Union occupation. Slaves in the border states and occupied areas were unaffected by it. As his own Secretary of State said, it applied to slaves where Lincoln could not reach them, but left them in bondage where he could have easily freed them.
- He ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Roger Taney, when Taney referred to Lincoln's suspension of Habeas Corpus as an act of despotism.
- He and his military machine closed down anti-war newspapers; censored telegraphs, sermons and sheet music; unlawfully arrested thousands for expressing anti-Lincoln or anti-war sentiments (including in the Northern states); and made pitiless war against Southern civilians in an effort to win this "peoples' contest". Entire towns and cities, such as Meridian, Mississippi and Atlanta, Georgia, were laid waste, their inhabitants left destitute and starving.
- Secession is not forbidden by the Constitution, and is a more American ideal than that of Union by force. The United States of America came into existence as an act of secession, justified by the Declaration of Independence, which states that all people to have a right to a government of their consent.

DiLorenzo uncovers and skillfully presents these and other facts about Lincoln and his war in "The Real Lincoln" and "Lincoln Unmasked". You may find these things hard to believe, but they are indeed facts, and it is time more Americans knew it.

At the very least, before you dismiss DiLorenzo as a "revisionist", a "neo-confederate", or a crazy (as so many seem to be doing) for daring to challenge conventional wisdom, bear in mind man's tendency to color events to serve his own interests, and do yourself a favor and evaluate DiLorenzo's information and arguments on their own merits. You may be surprised by what you learn.

"Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise." - Benjamin Franklin

From an American history teacher at a community college

"The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; and in uniting together they have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the states chooses to withdraw from the compact, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so, and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims either by force or right."--Alexis de Tocqueville

I teach American history at a community college. The country that our Founding Fathers established, politically, is much different from the country we have today. Most Americans, if they even think about our early history, interpret it through the current nationalistic perspective. "The Union is inviolable." Thus, the South was wrong for breaking it, the North (and Lincoln) to be honored for preserving it.

It's not quite that easy. Contrary to one review of this book, the right to secede was almost taken for granted in early America. Our Founding Fathers seceded from England; who could deny the same right to others who did not "consent" to the government they lived under? Texas seceded from Mexico, and that was ok, too; that state joined the Union. But the South couldn't secede from the Union? That's really what the Civil War was fought about. It was actually the North, more often than not, that wanted to secede early in our history. Vermont threatened to secede over the Louisiana Purchase. Massachusetts threatened to secede over the Embargo Act of 1807, the War of 1812, and the annexation of Texas in 1845. Secession as a right was taught to the cadets at West Point. Jefferson, Hamilton, even Lincoln said it was a right that was "to liberate the world." Yet increasingly, as the 1800s drew on, "Union" became more sacred, especially as the financial ties between North and South deepened. Yet, even when the South seceded, many, many Northerners argued that they had the right to do it, and wanted to let them go. The Civil War destroyed that right, once and for all. It was a different country then, and most Americans don't understand it, mainly due (at least according to this book, and probably rightfully so) to being taught, in school, the "nationalist" interpretation of America. The North won the war. Winners get to write the history.

Now the losers are starting to speak up. And some of the winners don't like it.

Thomas Dilorenzo's "Lincoln Unmasked" is a highly unfavorable, interpretive look at Abraham Lincoln. This is not the only book that a person should read about Abraham Lincoln; one would come away with a rather distorted view of our 16th President if that were the case. Dilorenzo presupposes some knowledge of early American history in this work; those who don't have it probably won't understand the book very well and see it only as a negative screed. Yet Dilorenzo is writing from his understanding of what the Founding Fathers created--states' rights, limited government, free market economics, an America that minds its own business and avoids "entangling alliances." Dilorenzo argues that Lincoln and the Civil War destroyed that America and replaced it with an all-sovereign, omnipotent federal government, which has had no restraints upon it in mushrooming into the Leviathan we have today. Dilorenzo doesn't like this current government, and largely blames Abraham Lincoln for it. Those who like the current American government won't like this book.

Abraham Lincoln was a human being, a product of the 19th century, and a politician--a very good one. Dilorenzo attempts to "humanize" Lincoln some, by showing the issues that bound Lincoln to the Republican party and thus demanded he go to war to keep the South in the Union, resulting in the all-powerful federal government we have. And he demonstrates how many today use Lincoln to justify active government involvement, here at home and abroad. There are no new facts in Dilorenzo's book; what he does is interpret them from his understanding of what the Founding Fathers established and how Abraham Lincoln destroyed that. Other Lincoln biographies will often refer to the same facts (suspension of habeus corpus, for example), but if they applaud the Civil War and the current American system, they will simply see Lincoln's actions as necessary to win the war and preserve the Union. Those who accept the latter view will NOT like this book, as you will see from some of the reviews of it here.

Love this book or hate it, Dilorenzo will make you think. Please don't listen to the reviewers who try to tell you this book is trash. It's not, far from it. You may not agree with it, but it's a worth a read and it's worth investigating whether Dilorenzo's understanding of the Founding Fathers and early America is correct.

From a reader with the pseudonym "Fruit Loop"
Mr. DiLorenzo's well-written and well-researched expose of Abraham Lincoln tells truths long ignored aka hidden by modern historians, chiefly his undeserved reputation as "the Great Emancipator" who fought a war out of strictly benevolent reasons. The harsh truth, as he so eloquently points out, is that the Emancipation Proclamation freed NO ONE AT ALL, and that although slavery was one cause of the war, it was not "the" cause.
 
While no intelligent person alive today would not admit that the end of the south's "peculiar institution" was the only good thing that came out of the war, the ugly fact remains is that Lincoln was no less racist than most men of the day, and that he used that cause as a propaganda tool. The man who claimed to despise racism gave free reign to federal troops in the west to wipe out the Indian tribes while supposedly advocating equality to all in the northeast and south!
 
We do historical figures no honor by elevating them to martyrs, and prevent future generations from benefitting from the mistakes of the past. I highly recommend this book to serious students of politics, of the antebellum period, Lincoln buffs.

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