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Lincoln tyrant or savior of the Union - Abraham Lincoln - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Aug 31st, 2008 03:41 am
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44th VA INF
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Since the end of the war Lincoln in the south has some times been called a tyrant by many southron sympathizers i myself think he was a honbral man but bringing on the most terrible war in  american hishtory  was unesary and could have been avioded please share your thoughts on  the matter



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 05:59 pm
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martymtg
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Its hard to conceive anyone else being in his seat and keeping the union together.

I guess that if you believe we're all better off because the union was preserved, you think Lincoln a hero, and if you don't, you think him a tyrant.

Remember, he once said, "If I could preserve the union and avert the war by freeing ALL of the slaves, I would do it. If I could preserve it by freeing SOME of the slaves, I would do that. And if I could preserve it by freeing NONE of the slaves, I would do that also."

I apologize, that's not an exact quote, but I think I'm pretty close.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 06:41 pm
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Texas Defender
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martympg-

  I believe that you are referring to a letter written by Mr. Lincoln to Horace Greeley. He wrote:

" I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be: "The Union as it was." My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery. 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 it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union, and what I forbear; I forbear because I do not believe that it would help save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free."

  Mr. Lincoln, while personally opposing the institution of slavery (and especially its expansion), made it clear that his primary goal was always to preserve the Union. He was willing to take whatever measures necessary to accomplish this goal. He never wavered in his determination to accomplish his objective.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:21 pm
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mikenoirot
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While I am a huge Lincoln fan, has anyone ever wondered, how he would have been viewed had he not been assassinated? Booth's bullet made him a martyr throughout the north. I personally believe he would have still been one of our best presidents, as he would have had a much different, and I must say better, approach to reconstruction.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:31 pm
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martymtg
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Thanks for clarifying that, TD. Yes, that is the quote to which I referred.

The point is, the war was about states' rights and whether or not those rights had sovereignty vs. the preservation of the union. It was NOT a war to 'free the slaves', at least not initially.

It all goes back to the Constitution, and one's interpretation re state sovereignty.

The founding Fathers, as magnificent as their acheivements were, ignored the slavery issue, knowing full well it could blow up at a later date.

"Hey, we got us out from under the yoke of British rule and taxation, we're going to leave this slavery powderkeg for somebody else to figure out down the road."

Marty



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:44 pm
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mikenoirot-

  I believe that if Mr. Lincoln had lived, he would have been willing to, using his term: "Let em up easy." The Radical Republicans, wanting to punish the southerners, would have had a much more difficult time overriding a wildly popular President Lincoln than they did with an unpopular democrat from a southern state.

  We cannot know how Reconstruction would have worked out with Mr. Lincoln in his second term. Nor can we know if it would have made his legacy stronger or weaker than the one he was destined to have as a martyr.  But, clearly, the history of the years after the war would have been different.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:53 pm
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martymtg
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I think that's on the mark. The worst thing that could have happenned for the South and reconstruction was the assassination.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:53 pm
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martymtg-

  The Founding Fathers did not ignore the issue of slavery when they were writing the Constitution. But they could not resolve it. They had to make a number of compromises in order to get the southern delegates to approve the Constitution. These included the Enumeration Clause, the end of legalized importation of slaves in 1808, and the Fugitive Slave clause.

  The Founding Fathers were geniuses, but they could not resolve the issue. The seeds were sown for the problem to grow in the future, where more compromises would be needed to prevent the Union coming apart. Eventually, more than seventy years later, the expansion of the country brought sectional differences to a point where no compromises could be found.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:58 pm
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Captain Crow
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and a bloody price was paid for their(founding fathers) procrastination.....



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 11:03 pm
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martymtg
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Td,

Ignore is the wrong word, but they knew they had a problem that wasn't going away by itself. I'll go with 'couldn't resolve it'- the result was the same.



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 11:05 pm
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Wrap10
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"One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute."

That's from Lincoln's first inaugural speech. It's about as succinct, and accurate, an explanation of what caused secession and war as anyone could have made, then or now.

The previous quote, referring to Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley, is an accurate reflection of Lincoln's priorities relative to the Union itself. But there are two things that I think are usually missed when folks quote that passage to 'prove' that slavery was not the cause of secession and war. First, that it does not alter anything that took place prior to secession, which is where we have to look for the cause of secession. And second is what I consider to be an important point that Lincoln made in his letter - " My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery."


That's my emphasis, above. But I think that phrasing is significant. Lincoln's primary goal in the war was to restore the Union. Once that was done they could talk about the future of slavery. But the threat to the Union was being caused by slavery, or more specifically, the argument over slavery's future. Lincoln's ultimate goal for slavery was its extinction, but his preferred method was a gradual extinction, for several reasons. But the war created its own dynamic, and of necessity greatly accelerated his approach to slavery's extinction.

But the point here is that, as he indicated in his inaugural speech, Lincoln understood that the root cause of the war was the sectional friction over slavery. And it's worth noting that Lincoln held the entire country, and not only the South, responsible for the institution.

As for the original question, concerning whether Lincoln was a tyrant - no, not to me.

Perry



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 10:32 pm
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44th VA INF
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well now wrap 10 he was a honorable man but the south wanted peace when it seeceded and Lincoln did call for troops when all we were doing was defending our homes



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 11:46 pm
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Johan Steele
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44th, do you know that Davis called for 100,000 troops before the firing on of Ft Sumter? Lincoln caled for no troops until after Ft Sumter had been fired upon.



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 12:30 am
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ole
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The previous quote, referring to Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley, is an accurate reflection of Lincoln's priorities relative to the Union itself. But there are two things that I think are usually missed when folks quote that passage to 'prove' that slavery was not the cause of secession and war. First, that it does not alter anything that took place prior to secession, which is where we have to look for the cause of secession. And second is what I consider to be an important point that Lincoln made in his letter - " My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery."

What an incredibly astute observation, Perry! Thanks.

ole



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 04:56 pm
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Bighouse
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I beleive a war was inevitable, regardless of who led the nation. It may not have occurred at the same time in history, but eventually the issue would have had to have been resolved and resolved by force.
The assassination of Lincoln ruined the South's chances at a more amiable (if that's the right word) approach to reconstruction. Andrew Johnson was rabid about making the South pay for secession and it's "rebellion".



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 05:09 pm
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ole
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Unfortunately, Bighouse, you are probably right. To disagree with you, we'd have to fall into a vat of "what ifs."

ole



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 06:20 pm
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HankC
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44th VA INF wrote: well now wrap 10 he was a honorable man but the south wanted peace when it seeceded and Lincoln did call for troops when all we were doing was defending our homes

from whom were *we* defending our homes. Or was it anticipatory that Lincoln would attempt to put down the rebellion?
 
 
HankC



 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 02:11 am
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44th VA INF
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Well hank what i mean by defending our homes were when they  fired on fort sumter which we did only when they refused to leave confedrate land and when lincoln called for troops they did not call voulnteers to destroy the USA  mearly defend there families and homes



 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 05:24 am
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susansweet
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when they  fired on fort sumter which we did only when they refused to leave confedrate land

You were there to fire on Fort Sumter?   The Confederate land by the way was a man made island made by Federal  soldiers with a fort built on top of it by Federal soldiers.

Read  Allegiance  a very good book on the subject. 

 

  



 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 11:45 am
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PvtClewell
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Furthermore, the Federal government held the title to the fort:

http://www.civilwarhome.com/sumterownership.htm

Read the section on Fort Sumter in the bottom half of the essay.



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