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 Posted: Wed Jan 28th, 2009 03:09 pm
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HankC
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What is it about economics professors and Abraham Lincoln? The sad thing is that these folks must know a lot about the Civil War to find the few nuggets that 'prove' a 'point'. However, mining for gold in a lead mine does not make it a gold mine...

 

my comments in brackets:

 

http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/09/PresidentObamasInauguration.htm

 

President Obama was sworn into office placing his hand on Abraham Lincoln's Bible. That is the last Bible I would use to be sworn into office. You say, "Why? Didn't Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation free your ancestors?" It all depends where they were living. Let's examine the document's text to see why.

 

            President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which reads, "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free …" The key phrase is "in rebellion against the United States" because slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion. [Lincoln had no constitutional authority to free slaves in areas not in rebellion. The act was a 'war powers' act to use modern phrases.]

 

            The Proclamation is specific about the states where slaves were freed, to wit: "Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued."

 

            Slaves in the excepted Louisiana parishes were not freed because those parishes were not in rebellion. Neither were slaves in West Virginia. [ correct. war powers did not apply in these areas] By the way, West Virginia's June 1863 admission as a state, formerly a part of Virginia, was a clear violation of the Constitution's Article IV, Section 3, that reads in part "but no new States shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress." [there *was* an operating loyal Virginia legislature - a sham one of course, but a legal one as well ] But what the heck, Lincoln had much of the Constitution under siege by then.

 

            The hypocrisy of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation came in for heavy criticism. His Secretary of State William Seward said, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." The New York World wrote, "He has proclaimed emancipation only where he has notoriously no power to execute it. The exemption of the accessible parts of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia renders the proclamation not merely futile, but ridiculous." The London Spectator mocked, "The principle (of the Proclamation) is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States." Lincoln admitted in a letter to his Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase that his proclamation had no legal justification. [ a clear misstatement - Lincoln really wrote 'it has no justification except as a military measure'] Lincoln's motivation for proclamation was the war was going badly for the Union and there was the possibility that England and other European powers, who had recently abolished slavery, might give the Confederacy economic and political aid, but would not do so if the war was seen as a war against slavery. [not sure why this matters - having more than one reason for an action is a bad thing?] An excellent reference [ha!] for this period is "The Real Lincoln" by Loyola College of Maryland's economics Professor Thomas DiLorenzo.

 

            President Obama can be forgiven for celebrating the hypocrisy of Abraham Lincoln because the victors of wars write their history and glorify the winners. The recognition that slavery is a despicable institution does not require hero worship [he pretty much equates any admiration as 'hero worship'] of a president who made the largest contribution to the unraveling of our Constitution. After all when it is settled by brute force that states cannot secede, as they thought they had the right to in 1787, then the federal government can ride roughshod over states and their people's right -- in a word make meaningless the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. [ a quick twist at the end of the column - with no substantiation]

 



 Posted: Wed Jan 28th, 2009 06:09 pm
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ole
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So there's another DiLorenzo out there? Great.

It's an argument often heard: Why didn't Lincoln just free all the slaves? How about that "persons held in servitude" is written into the Constitution? Lincoln could, as a war measure, declare emancipation of slaves in all areas now in rebellion; he could not Constitutionally free slaves in areas not in rebellion -- that would take an amendment, and it did.



 Posted: Wed Jan 28th, 2009 07:35 pm
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Doc C
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One important reason, is of Lincoln's intense concern for the border states and their reaction to emancipation if it would cover the the entire country rather than the CSA. Ole's correct that Lincoln couldn't do it even if he wanted to in the border states because of constitutional restrictions. Even so, I doubt seriously if he would have emancipated slaves in border states for fear of losing these states.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu Jan 29th, 2009 02:56 am
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ole
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True enough, Doc; Lincoln wanted the border states and didn't want to irritate them. However, it does remain that they were more or less secured well before his preliminary and official proclamations. One single fact stands out: he had no power to free slaves in states not at war with the United States. He could not and would not contravene the Constitution in states and areas not at war with the U.S.

I'll not deny that he pushed the edges some, but most of that was exercising war powers. He couldn't and wouldn't free slaves of loyal citizens. For that adherence to the Constitution, he gets flak. It really didn't matter that he wanted to keep the loyalty of the border states.

Ole



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