A Critique Of Di Lorenzo's The Real Lincoln

1898 words - 8 pages

A Critique of the Real Lincoln

The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo completely shatters the illusion of the 16th President as the liberator of the slaves. DiLorenzo provides convincing evidence for Lincoln’s overt racism as expressed in his documented views on racial supremacy as stated in his desire to colonize all American blacks outside the United States (p. 4); Lincoln’s views were matched by the majority in the North who used such tools as state constitutional amendments to prohibit the emigration of black people into Northern states like Lincoln’s home of Illinois (p. 4); and that the Presidents war which killed 620, 000 Americans and destroyed 40% of the economy, was a singularly terrible, unjustified conflict given the proven success in the 19th century of the peaceful end to slavery through the policy of compensated emancipation (p. 4). DiLorenzo accordingly notes that, “Between 1800 and 1860, dozens of countries, including the entire British Empire, ended slavery peacefully; only in the United States was war involved (p. 4). DiLorenzo documents that history’s claims that the abolition of slavery as the leading motive behind the Union’s aggression against the South is untrue. He states that Lincoln’s motives were economic and political and in no way altruistic. Lincoln did oppose slavery, but his opposition did not stem from any moral motive. He wished to preserve white labor, and to avoid artificial inflation of Southern representation in Congress under the three-fifths clause of the Constitution, under which every five slaves counted as three free persons for the purpose of allotting number of congressional seats.
DiLorenzo explains that from the time of his entry into politics, Lincoln was devoted to the principles of what economist Henry Clay had labeled the “American System.” Its three leading views were protectionism, internal improvements, and a national banking system. DiLorenzo shows that Lincoln’s entire agenda was focused on advancing these three goals. Many southern states believed with the coming of Lincoln into the White House he would push for his agenda of increased federal government spending and control.
"So when Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeas corpus in order to arrest those accused of treason, the "Peace Democrats" had more ammunition against the president. There was much controversy as to whether the president had the power to suspend habaes corpus, and it was argued that only Congress had that right. The writ of habeas corpus protects people from arbitrary arrest and detainment. The power to do so was both that of the legislative branch as well as the judicial branch. It was unclear whether the Philadelphia convention placed it in Article I, just to identify it or define it as a legislative function. Either way, Lincoln did so, and the suspension of the writ of Habeas corpus brought on thousands of arbitrary arrests. Many of those who...

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