|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Mon Jul 14th, 2008 09:25 pm||
While you are correct in your statements that Mr. Lincoln was strongly disapproving of the institution of slavery, I cannot agree with your apparent belief that he began the war with the objective of ending slavery.
I refer you to Lincoln's first inaugural address.
Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. U.S. Inaugural Addresses. 1989
I quote Mr. Lincoln's own words:
"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."
Mr. Lincoln, before being elected, was opposed to the expansion of slavery into the territories, but he never expressed an intention of destroying it where it already existed. (It was still legal in some northern states at that time).
After the war had proved to be bloody and difficult, it became politically expeditious for Mr. Lincoln to attempt to put the struggle on a higher moral plane in order to inspire continued sacrifices by the people in the north. As has been stated many times on this board, the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves at all until after southern territory was overrun. The last slaves were only freed by the ratification of the 13th Amendment, and they were still held in the north at that time.
I believe that if the southern states that had seceded before Mr. Lincoln's inauguration had by some magic decided to reverse their secession and recognize federal authority, that there would have been no war. The war was begun because Mr. Lincoln refused to recognize the validity of the right of states to secede, and it was his intention to preserve the Union, whether slavery remained legal or not.
In his letter to Horace Greeley on August 22, 1862, Mr. Lincoln explains that his purpose is to preserve the Union. I quote him: "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do that: and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."
Abraham Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley
I believe that Mr. Lincoln told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in both his inaugural address and in his letter to Greeley. I do not believe that he was cynical enough to say that he was fighting to save the Union while having some higher objective , namely, the destruction of the institution of slavery.