A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Every year, when spring rolls around, you can count on numerous articles in the mainstream media, and elsewhere, reviling the Confederacy, and so-called Neo-Confederates, the Confederate Battle flag, Proclamations of Confederate History Month, etc, etc, … ad infinitum.
It never fails that Southerners are branded as “slavers” over and over, and readers are told how vile, and nasty, and ignorant, and just plain E V I L we Southerners are. Most of the ruminations by these writers and commentators are just plain garbage not backed up by REAL history but underwritten by revisionist history. In plain English -- it is BOVINE SCATOLOGY!
I know what I am about to attempt to tell you will fall on mostly deaf ears because many of you anti-Southerners don’t want to hear it, will not hear it, and will continue to deny the truth simply because the facts do not fit your life’s template. TOUGH!
Yes, we had slaves in the South. But so did the North. In fact, the North ran the slave trade. Many of the fortunes of wealthy northeasterners today were built on the slave trade.
My family had no slaves. As sharecroppers there were times when the slave’s living conditions were, in fact, better than theirs!
And I am sick and tired of the anti-southerner’s vindictive claims that the War Between the States was fought entirely to free the slaves. That, dear reader is a bald-faced lie!
Yes, many months into the war, the Lincoln Administration injected slavery into the “reasons for the war”. Remember, of all slave-holding and slave-trafficking countries on the globe at the time, America was the ONLY one to abolish slavery through war! THE ONLY ONE!
We are fed the idiotic pabulum of revised history in our public school system that Lincoln was the savior of the Black man in America. We are taught that Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. That, too, is a bald-faced lie.
One of the spoils of war is the right to write history the way you want it to be remembered and taught. The Confederate soldier knew that and Confederate General Patrick Cleburne attempted to impress upon his men the meaning of losing the war. He summed it up this way: “…It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be taught by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, or maimed veterans as fit objects for derision.” Gen. Cleburne was spot on!
As to Lincoln freeing the slaves, allow me to inquire… have you ever actually read the Emancipation Proclamation? I advise you to do so. When you DO read it, and read it carefully, you will quickly see that it did not free a single slave – NOT ONE!
In reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln, himself, said the following: "The [Emancipation] proclamation has no constitutional or legal justification except as a war measure." That statement was in a letter to Sec. of Treas. Salmon P. Chase; 3 Sep 1863.
The following is a quote from the London Spectator, dated October 1, 1862 concerning the Emancipation Proclamation: "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 government."
But, we Americans are taught that Lincoln LOVED the black people, right? Well, it isn’t exactly the truth.
Let us examine Lincoln’s own words and try to determine the degree of respect Lincoln held for the Black race:
Abraham Lincoln said the following on September 18, 1858 in a speech in Charleston, Illinois:"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races [applause]: that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." -- Reply by Abraham Lincoln to Stephen A. Douglas in the first joint debate, Ottowa, IL; 21 Aug 1858.
Lincoln also said this: “"I have never seen to my knowledge a man, woman, or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social or political, between Negroes and white men." This statement was in his opening speech, fourth joint debate with Douglas, Charleston, IL; 18 Sep 1858.
Lincoln thought the Black man should be equal to the While man, right? Well, think again! Lincoln said this about that: "Negro Equality! Fudge!! How long in the government of a God, great enough to make and maintain this Universe, shall there continue knaves to vend, and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagoguism as this?" A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as immediate separation is impossible the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. Such separation, if ever affected at all, must be effected by colonization. The enterprise is a difficult one, but 'where there is a will there is a way:' and what colonization needs now is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and at the same time, favorable to, or at least not against our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be." From an address by Abraham Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois, on June 26, 1857.
In a speech at Springfield Illinois on July 17th, 1858, Lincoln said the following: “What I would most desire would be the separation of the black and white races.”
Speaking at Charleston, Illinois, September 18th, 1858, Lincoln said this: “ … I will, to the very last, stand by the law of this state, which forbids the marrying of white people with Negroes.”
There is a very “telling” letter which Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, in response to an article Greeley had written entitled; “Prayer of Twenty Millions.” The letter from Lincoln is dated August 22nd, 1862. In the letter Lincoln says the following:
Dear Sir: I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptible [sic] in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
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." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and 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 save 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 it would help to 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.
Do you detect the slightest bit of political “double talk” in Lincoln’s letter? Never forget, Lincoln was, first and foremost, a politician! If you had ANY doubt, this letter to Greeley ought to dispel it.
So which is it? Was Lincoln Pro-slavery, of Anti-slavery? You decide.
In his first Inaugural Address before Congress on March 4th, 1861, Lincoln said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to intervene with the institution of slavery.”
Then, in another letter to Horace Greeley dated March 24th, 1862, Lincoln said: “I am a little uneasy about the abolishment of slavery in this District of Columbia.”
Confused? Oh, it gets even more confusing -- or enlightening -- depending upon the degree to which you admire the truth.
Ever hear of The Corwin Amendment? Some refer to it as the original 13th amendment to the US Constitution. Let’s take a look at it.
On February 28, 1861, the United States House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 133-65 (Page 1285, Congressional Globe). On March 2, 1861, it was approved by the United States Senate with a vote of 24-12 (Page 1403, Congressional Globe). A young Henry Adams observed that the measure narrowly passed both houses due to the lobbying efforts of Abraham Lincoln, who was then the President-Elect.
Why is the Corwin Amendment important? First let’s take a look at the text, shall we?The text of the Corwin Amendment is as follows:
“No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
Ratification efforts began soon after the measure was adopted and Lincoln endorsed it in his inaugural address. In fact, Lincoln said this about the Corwin Amendment in his first Inaugural Address on March 4th, 1861: “To the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the states, including that of persons held to service … I have NO OBJECTION TO ITS (THE CORWIN AMENDMENT) BEING MADE EXPRESS AND IRRVOCABLE.”
The proposal was ratified by the legislatures of Ohio (May 13, 1861) and Maryland (January 10, 1862). Illinois lawmakers — sitting as a constitutional convention at the time — also approved it, although some still question the validity of that action. It was also considered for ratification in several other states including Kentucky, New York, and Connecticut where it was either rejected or died in committee because wartime issues had begun to preoccupy the states and the nation as a whole.
So why is the Corwin Amendment important today? Because, dear reader, it IS STILL PENDING! As long as it remains a pending amendment, there is the possibility, however slim, that it could still be ratified. The President’s signature is not required, and a President cannot veto an amendment to the constitution.
Congress even passed the Crittendon-Johnson resolution on July 22, 1861 in which the Congress announced that the purpose of the war “was NOT interference with the rights or established institutions of those states, but to Preserve the Union with the rights of the several states unimpaired.”
Then, in December of 1862, in his State of the Union message to Congress, Lincoln proposed three constitutional amendments: 1 – Slaves not freed by the Emacipation proclamation were to be freed over a 37 year period, to be completed by January 1st, 1900. 2 – Provided compensation to owners for the loss of their slave property. 3 – The government would transport “FREED BLACKS,” at government expense, out of the United States -- and relocate them in Latin America and in Africa.
Now. Does any of this sound like the Lincoln you know -- or the Lincoln you were taught about in the government indoctrination centers we refer to as Public Schools? Probably not! Ask yourself how much more you DO NOT KNOW about President Abraham Lincoln.
For instance -- did you know that Lincoln started a war without the consent of Congress? Did you know that he illegally blockaded southern ports; illegally suspended habeas corpus and arrested tens of thousands of his political opponents; illegally orchestrated the secession of West Virginia; shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers and imprisoned their editors and owners; deported the most outspoken member of the Democratic Party, Congressman Clement I. Vallandigham of Ohio; confiscated private property, including, by the way, firearms; ignored the Ninth and Tenth Amendments; tolerated the arrest of ministers who refused to publicly pray for him; arrested duly elected members of the Maryland legislature, as well as Congressman Henry May of Baltimore; and supported a law that indemnified federal officials from all these illegal acts.
THIS, dear reader, is the Lincoln I know – not the “Saintly Lincoln” revised history forces on us today. The “air brushed” Lincoln we know today is pure propaganda.
The facts we enumerated above can be easily verified on the Internet. Once you begin digging don’t be surprised when you turn up even more historical accounts of Lincoln’s duality. Your research will present you with a choice. You must choose between the REAL Lincoln, and the REVISED Lincoln.
Someone once said “so much of what we know is wrong.” The wise man, in today’s world, questions everything.
Here in North Carolina we celebrate our Confederate history today. By “history,” I mean the TRUE history of of the Confederacy.
As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I took an oath to see that the true history of the of the Confederate soldier is preserved and passed on to generations yet unborn. It is a story of courage, bravery, audacity, faith, pride and honor. I will make every effort to see that his story is told and then passed on.
It is the oral tradition of passing on a people’s story, which is as old as man himself. In this way we can be sure that no matter what the revisionists do to the “official” record, we will have the truth. And it is the truth that makes one free.
J. D. Longstreet