View single post by fight4right
 Posted: Sun Jul 9th, 2006 03:55 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 19th, 2006
Posts: 9

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First of all, Tom, what a great post.

Lincoln.  A very interesting man even if you don't agree with his tactics.  As has been said, he was just a man doing the best he could.  I think we forget how politics works.  Forgive the following description, but, it is not black and white.  No matter what way you look at it, this war was over slavery, indirectly or not.  The state right that always comes to question in the explanations given by the states is slavery.  All of the states that succeeded were slave states.  I agree, Lincoln was more worried with keeping the Union together than abolishing slavery.  He used the emancipation proclamation to boost Northern fervor in a time when the country's  morale was at an all time low and people were sick of war and needed a reminder of why they were killing, their brothers, cousins, friends.  But, Lincoln also had a personal stake in it.  He had been meeting with frederick Douglas and many other black men and inviting them to political functions at the White House as guests, something never done before.  I think he truly believed in freeing the slaves.  But, let us think of this rationally for a moment.  The whole southern economy was based upon slavery.  About 4% of the south made 90 something % of the wealth.  On their plantations, with slave labor.  No matter how you look at it, the south would be, and was destroyed, in a sense if/when slavery ended.  Lincoln was no fool.  He did not want to destroy the south.  He wanted to save the Union and find a better way.  It is easier to ease someone into a new way of life than to thrust it in their face and say deal with it.  Hence, he wanted to slowly rid the country of slavery.  Was that fast enough for everyone?  No.  But he was trying to cut down on the animosity between the Northern and Southern states and make everyone happy by compensating those in the south that drove the economy.  Not a perfect plan, but that is politics.  Sometimes you gotta compromise.

Next.  Let's tackle the issue of a colony of former slaves in Africa.  Again, Lincoln is not a stupid guy.  He knew the animosity there would be between Southerner's and their former property after they were freed.  He was obviously right, hence the KKK, segregation, etc.  So his solution, it would be best for the former Slaves to be somewhere else where they could start over.  Again, not a perfect solution.  Most of these men and women were born here in the US, it was their home and they did not want to leave it no matter how hard life would become.  Were the Northern free from prejudice?  No.  But I think this had more to do with other issues than race.  Heck, look at when the Irish came over, and other Anglo-Saxons from Europe.   They were also hated.  Not because of the color of their skin, but because they competed for jobs, property, mates, whatever.  This goes way deeper than skin color, it is just that was the most notable feature of the slaves and they stuck out like a sore thumb.  Plus, I am sure many Norhterners had never seen a person of color.  We all know the fear of the unknown.  Heck, I grew up in a town with one guy that was half-mexican and that was the only cultural diversity we had.  I graduated in the 1990s.  When I went to college, it was a bit of a cultural shock.  My black friends used to laugh their a**es off because I didn't know what ashy or nappy was.  I was raised to be accepting, not all people are so lucky.  But, I digress. 

Lincoln was trying to be moderate to appease many different people with many different ideas of what was right.  Not so different from today.  We can look back 140 years and say, "They should have...".   But,  I know everyone else can see what I am doing wrong with my life but me.  It is easy to chastize others without having walked in their shoes.  Lincoln was in a hell of a spot and I don't at all envy his position.  I think he was the best man for the job.  The worst thing that ever happened to the SOUTH was his death.  He was the one who wanted the southerners to not be punished for the rebellion, he staved off many executions.  He just wanted the Union to remain intact and not let anger destroy such a worthy nation built on such high principles.  Principles that we were not adhering to by allowing slavery to thrive.  He had a plan for reconstruction for the south while so many in his cabinet, and his VP, just wanted to punish the them, not bring them back into the family.  Have you ever seen such terms as those given to Lee and Johnston when they surrendered.  For god sakes, what more could the south ask for?  The men got to go home and take care of their familites.  They were not tried for treachery and rebellion, which would have been totally understandable if the north had.

Lincoln did have his faults, I agree.  He broke many laws, but war is not pretty.  It is not PC.  It is not an agreeable state of affairs.  Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.  These were taken on the part of the North and the South.  No one was free of sin.  They were doing the best they could with what they had.  Being driven by their own consciences'.  That is all we have at the end of the day.  The only person you truly have to live with is yourself.  So be true to that inner voice...


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