By Walter Williams
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Steven Spielberg's “Lincoln” has been a box-office hit and nominated for 12 Academy Awards. I haven't seen the movie; therefore, this column is not about the movie but about a man deified by many.
My colleague, Thomas DiLorenzo, an economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, exposed some of the Lincoln myth in his 2006 book, “Lincoln Unmasked.” Now comes Joseph Fallon, a cultural intelligence analyst and former U.S. Army Intelligence Center instructor, with his new e-book, “Lincoln Uncensored.”
Fallon's book examines 10 volumes of collected writings and speeches by Lincoln, which include passages on slavery, secession, equality of blacks and emancipation. We don't have to rely upon anyone's interpretation. Just read his words to see what you make of them.
In an 1858 letter, Lincoln wrote, “I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists.”
In a Springfield, Ill., speech, he explained, “My declarations upon this subject of negro slavery may be misrepresented, but can not be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects.”
Debating with Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of ... making voters or jurors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
You say, “His Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves! That proves he was against slavery.” Lincoln's words: “I view the matter (Emancipation Proclamation) as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.”
The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal declaration. It detailed where slaves were freed, only in those states “in rebellion against the United States.” Slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion — such as Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware.
Lincoln did articulate a view of secession that would have been welcomed in 1776: “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. ... Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”
That was Lincoln's 1848 speech in the U.S. House regarding the war with Mexico and the secession of Texas. Why didn't Lincoln feel the same about Southern secession?
Following the money might help with an answer. Throughout most of our history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859.
What “responsible” politician would let that much revenue go?
Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Host of Steelers veterans look toward career survival mode
- Early-morning snowstorm hampers Western Pa. commuters
- UPMC doctor killed trying to help at 50-vehicle pileup
- Steelers film session: Polamalu not at fault on long run
- I-70 closed in Rostraver Township after truck crash
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- Young defensemen lift Penguins to win
- Monroeville police officer kills man in shootout
- Aliquippa’s Henry picks West Virginia over Pitt
- Pirates will shop while starting pitcher Burnett makes his decision