Tag Archive for ‘Abraham Lincoln’
The only time before his presidency when Abraham Lincoln held national office was a single term (1847-49) in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time, while debating the Mexican-American War, Lincoln zealously defended the constitutional prerogative of Congress to declare war and enact legislation against a perceived usurpation of these powers by the executive branch.
The Washington Times’ readers are told that there have been two occasions when “the very existence of the United States was in grave doubt.” The first time we were saved by the Founding Fathers and the second time by Lincoln. This is to skip over the minor consideration that the existence of the United States was not in doubt when the Founders acted—because the United States did not exist in the way this writer means. That is why they are called Founders.
The hallmark of the Lincoln regime was not the war crimes perpetrated by Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan (among so many other gallant officers who made war on civilians) but Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase’s decision to impose paper money as legal tender and to print the words “in god we trust” on coins. What a world of hypocrisy and idolatry lies in that single act and that little phrase.
Given Lincoln’s devotion to the Union—the cause to which he subordinated all others—it would seem that, for him as for Andrew Jackson, the tariff was not the end, but the means to the end: a greater, more glorious Union. Murray Rothbard was not too far off when he wrote that Abraham Lincoln “made a god out of the Union.”
Lincoln’s pretty words in the Gettysburg Address managed to have it both ways—he was, he claimed, preserving the sacred old Union and at the same time promulgating a “new birth of freedom” that was somehow necessary to save government of the people. But these were not the arguments normally used by the spokesmen of his party to justify their war.
Obama’s identification with Lincoln is all tied up with the issue of race and the idea that an Obama presidency is somehow the fulfillment of the Lincolnian dream of a land where the descendant of slaves could attain the highest office in the land. But of course there is nothing Lincolnian about this dream
Through use of rhetoric about a righteous and triumphant God, Lincoln exploited religious feelings in the North to carry out a four-year war against Southern civilians. Women, children, the sick, and the elderly were targeted; homes and cities burned; crops destroyed; and domestic animals slaughtered.
Though Lincoln was largely right about slavery, he was wrong about secession—a separate question, as most Northerners once understood. During his war, millions of Northerners who opposed slavery also recognized the right of a sovereign state to secede from the Union. This led Lincoln to crack down on dissent, closing down hundreds of newspapers (many permanently) and having a few thousand war critics arrested.
The main problem with free enterprise is that it is impossible to get Big Business to practice it.
The instinctive revulsion of at least a plurality of the people at the prospect of the bailout suggests a healthy level of distrust of both government and corporate leaders. Lincolnists consistently frame government giveaways and gifts to private interests as vital for the national interest and the common good. In so doing, they conceal the antirepublican character of the ideology of the first Republican president.