On Lincoln's Presidency

Discussion in 'Off-topic Political' started by Thorsen, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Thorsen

    Thorsen New Member

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    EJR did a bit of a thread-jack on another post in response to a statement I made regarding Lincoln being one of our greatest presidents. I'm bored, so I decided to copy/paste and start a thread about Lincoln. I'll start with EJR's post, and if anyone wants to play along (even just argue devil's advocate), have at it ... it will keep me from studying corporate tax or losing more money playing on-line poker.

    Actually I imagine most of the posters on this board will be happy to jump on your bandwagon concerning Lincoln. We do live in the south where there are still some who are angry about the Civil War. There are also many on this board who consider the exercise of power Lincoln wielded to maintain the Union as being the death knell to the republic (I actually agree with that sentiment somewhat, but do not see that he had any choice in the matter - I'll explain that later). So you probably will have more people "ditto-ing" your sentiments.

    As to the sideways assertion you made (that being school's textbooks and media informed my opinion concerning Lincoln), you would be incorrect EJR. My opinion concerning Lincoln was made the same way my opinion regarding FDR was made, by reading, thinking and coming to my own conclusion. In Lincoln's case I agree with the majority of historians concerning his presidency's status in history. In FDR's, not so much.

    I am glad to see that you are not attempting to make the argument that the secession was not due to slavery as many do. Most people attempt to make the claim that it was over state's rights, but that argument was not even postulated by the south until after the Civil War.

    As to your belief, the south immediately began steps to establishing a governing authority, repudiated the republic they were seceding from, armed and mobilized for war. Lincoln had only once choice if he wanted to keep the union from breaking apart and that choice was by force of arms.

    Slavery was the issue that dogged our republic from before we were even a nation. Every president up to Lincoln had to deal with the issue as it was part and parcel to political power up until the issue was decided by the Civil War. Most of Lincoln's immediate predecessors are seen as weak presidents for the very reason that they would not address the issue and essentially kicked it down the road for another administration to deal with.

    As to simply buying the slaves, that would not have worked. You are assuming that there was a ready replacement for slavery in the south. Slavery allowed the plantation system to exist. While technology would most definitely have made slavery eventually a poor choice economically, at the time of the secession the agri-business of the south was tied to slavery. Political power in the south was therefore tied to slavery. And on the national stage, expansion into the opening territories was also tied into politics as the south saw the opening of non-slave states as a threat to their political power on the national stage.

    So was it necessary for Lincoln to maneuver the south into war by having them fire on union land? Only if you think the constitution was not just another form of the articles of confederation which it replaced.

    Actually Lincoln would have kept slavery alive as an institution if the south had given him a choice. Early in his presidency he clearly stated that he would accept slavery if it kept the union intact. So did he really push for war? Or was he forced into it in order to protect the Constitution of the US ... which is, after all the oath he took upon taking office.

    All correct. Well, perhaps the bit about the strong federal government isn't. I have never read anything written by him or those near him which stated that his goal was a dominant federal power. Did his actions lead to the centralization of power in DC? I think that would be a fair statement, but again I saw that he had no choice, either he could have let the south walk away which meant the Constitution was a document of convenience or he could enforce it.

    As to the Emancipation Proclamation, the primary reason he did it was to attempt to get slaves in the seceded states to rise up and fight for the north. It wasn't until later that slavery as an institution was written into unconstitutionality nationwide.

    Yep, that is why you have so many people attempting to argue that the south seceded on state sovereignty when if you read the minutes of the state legislative debates as well as the secession documents (for those states that decided to write them) you find that in every instance it was slavery that was the crux of the decision.

    Now, to claim it was just about slavery is simplistic. But as I stated before, slavery was the basis of political power. It was the basis of the south's economic engine. And the expansion of slavery was the only way southern states saw that they could maintain a strong voice in the federal government.

    When the remnants of the Whigs combined with smaller single issue political parties (all of which were focused on abolition), and when their candidate won the election ... well the south saw it had no choice. At least the states that saw no choice beyond supporting slavery in order to maintain their economies and political power (remember slaves were counted as 3/5ths of a person).

    So, a new political party (republican), which was primarily made up of abolitionists nominated a candidate who ended up winning the election. The south therefore saw Lincoln as a threat, and that is why they seceded.

    Well, he was willing to let slavery remain an institution and that was not good enough for the south. What else could he have done?

    Well, to be honest the proclamation was not made to free slaves so much as it was to create anarchy in confederate held land.

    That is because their economy was based on slavery. Of course it would take a long time to recover when that basis was removed. As to Sherman, that is a discussion for another thread and I still don't know what I think about him. Sometimes I think he was ahead of his time in warfare, other times I consider him nothing more than a terrorist with an army at his back. Depends on what day you catch me.

    Again, he was willing to go against his party's wishes and allow slavery to remain an institution if it kept American from killing American. What else should he have done?

    Boo! I go and applaud you for rightly stating that slavery was a core issue to the secession earlier in your reponse and now you are claiming it was state's rights. Read the secession documents that exist EJR. Slavery is the preeminent reason given and in one case is the only reason given.

    Now to state a little something that I always find funny in arguments concerning Lincoln and the Civil War. Usually the people who lambast Lincoln in the south tend to love our seventh president Andrew Jackson.

    Yet, like presidents after him, Lincoln looked to history to help him decide what he should do when the south seceded. Specifically, he studied the nullification doctrine espoused by some southern states, especially South Carolina, which came to a head in 1833.

    Jackson clearly and unequivocally stated that he would use force to keep South Carolina in the union because he saw that allowing any state to dictate the terms of its remaining in the republic would destroy that US Constitution. And for all his faults, Jackson believed in the union above all else. When Lincoln was deciding what he should do when the southern states seceded, it was to Jackson and his fight with South Carolina 32 years earlier that he looked to.

    So, for those of you who despise Lincoln for using force to keep the southern states in the union (and it was successful as we are still in the union), keep in mind that he was taking the 7th president's arguments and making them his own.
     
  2. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe New Member

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    "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
     

  3. rmodel65

    rmodel65 Yukon Cornelius

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    didnt read the post its late and im tired...but i disagree that Lincoln was one of our best presidents...id venture to say he was one of the worst...only because he used force to maintain a voluntary union that was created by the states and some of those states choose to dissolve that union...the south would have returned to the union due to economic reasons im sure and they could have kept them from rejoining by requiring them to abolish slavery and accept the other conditions that were laid out etc etc
     
  4. CountryGun

    CountryGun New Member

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    Ever look at how many slaves were registered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York at the beginning of the war?
     
  5. rmodel65

    rmodel65 Yukon Cornelius

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    irc the largest slave cemetery is in NY
     
  6. EJR914

    EJR914 Cheezburger Operator

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    This basically wraps up how I felt about the whole situation.

    I do not think that Lincoln, no matter which former president's writings he was reading, should have used federal force to re-unite the Union. I agree with rmodel in that the southern states would have rejoined due to economic reasons. I also, believe that there are things Lincoln could have done to make it harder on the southern economy to hasten its return to the union. Like I said, there were more diplomatic things he could have done.

    Would it have been as quick? Probably not. But 600,000 lives are a lot of lives. I don't care who you are.

    I'm just not a big fan of the federal government forcing the States to do anything at the barrel of a gun, other than apply the Bill of Rights to them. I also think if a States legally succeeds, it should be allowed to succeed. After all, they all had to make the choice to be in the Union in the first place. I believe they'll be back due to financial problems shortly anyway. I don't think there is a huge need to have people fight and get killed to force the Union back together.

    My problem is with Federal forcing the Union. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't agree with the way Lincoln or Andrew Jackson prescribed forcing the Union to stay together. The would have been back soon enough. I'm big on State sovereignty, and I believe too much Big Federal government is the cause of many of our problems that we are seeing today.
     
  7. Thorsen

    Thorsen New Member

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    The problem with how both you and rmodel are looking at this EJR is that you both are assuming the Constitution is a document that people in individual states can nullify on their own. They can not.

    The Articles of Confederation established a relatively loose association of sovereign states. Under the AoC interstate conflict was the norm and the centralized government was weak. James Madison addressed this in Federalist #39 where he discussed the republic the new Constitution established. He stated in Fed #39 that the problems with the weak AoC were corrected under the Constitution. The states retained sovereign police powers, but the federal government took preeminence on the powers spelled out in that document. He called it a blending of both centralized government and state sovereignty.

    So, when South Carolina threatened nullification (and went so far as to start training thousands of men for conflict with Jackson's federal troops), Jackson saw this as a direct threat to the Constitution itself which his presidential oath required him to preserve, protect and defend to the best of his ability. Lincoln agreed with Jackson, so when the Confederate states indicated they were separating themselves from the union Lincoln acted to preserve the union since without the union the Constitution was a worthless document.
     
  8. rmodel65

    rmodel65 Yukon Cornelius

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    where in the Constitution does it state that say Georgia can not divorce itself from the Union??? if the state agreed to that then so be it.....but ive never read such a statement it does state they cant make treaties etc or join any unions because they are already in one....but i dont believe it says anything about dissolving the present one
     
  9. EJR914

    EJR914 Cheezburger Operator

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    Where in the Constitution does it say that a State cannot succeed from the Union?

    James Madison and I disagree. I believe that the Articles of Confederation were a far superior document to the US Constitution, and I also believe that when the Federalist took over and pushed Thomas Jefferson out, leaving the federalist to be able to make this country into anything that they wanted, they bastardized the Constitution, and made it into something it should have never been. I know its a radical idea.

    I also think that we are exactly where we we should be, with respect to our Constitution. The Federalist wanted a strong central government, instead of a limited central government and they got it. I believe that many of our problems today are caused by some parts of the Constitution, and the fact that the Federalist had their way. I believe they have the Federal government way too much power over the States.

    I guess it doesn't really matter much anyway, because even if we had the AoC enacted right now, the federal usurpers would find away around all that as well.

    I'm not speaking of how things are, I'm speaking of how I wish they were, and I believe we would have been better off. Of course, with the criminals that we vote into office, I don't see how they would be bound to any superior legal document. Most politicians see our current Constitution as little more than an annoying piece of paper that they must find anyway possible to usurp and bastardize. However, I think it was meant to be this way all along since the federalist took control.

    Just about the only part of the Constitution that I agree with is the Bill of Rights, and I think Amendment I through V should be applied to the States. Other than that, I believe many other things should be left up to the States. I just find it funny how the 2nd amendment is not really applied to the federal government or the states right now. Both the federal and state governments have laws that infringe on our rights to keep and bear arms.
     
  10. Thorsen

    Thorsen New Member

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    "In order to form a more perfect union" along with the POTUS oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. The preamble recognizes the faults of the Articles of Confederation (which Madison expounded upon) and the presidential oath is to protect the Constitution itself. Without the union the Constitution is nothing. So therefore Lincoln had to preserve the union in order to preserve the Constitution. This was Jackson's logic in 1833 and Lincoln's in 1861, and I find no fault in it.
     
  11. EJR914

    EJR914 Cheezburger Operator

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    I find fault with it, and I also do not see that one line and the oath to mean that a State cannot succeed from the Union. That is awful weak sauce.

    Much like the Commerce Clause means that the Federal government can regulate everything that I breathe, drink, touch, crap, and do not want to buy. More weak sauce. I just don't see it.

    We joined into the Union as a free sovereign state, and I believe a state should be free to leave as well. How about from our other founding document, the Declaration of Independence?

    What if southern States really just wanted to secure their unalienable rights and provide new Guards for their future security, because there had been a long train of abuses and usurpations? What if they wanted to alter or abolish the current Union? Do you not think that the consent of the governed would have been followed?

    Maybe the southern states saw it over 100 years ago? Maybe they realized that we had been bamboozled by the Federalist when they kicked Jefferson out, and made a strong central government.

    Maybe if we would have been able to straighten an over-reaching federal government out 130 years ago, we wouldn't be in this Euro-Socialist heaven that we are in today.

    I sincerely doubt it, because we see what kind of criminals we elect into office, but I literally cannot fault a State wanting to succeed from the Union because they feel that they no longer being heard and their unalienable rights are not being protected.

    I think a state should always be able to alter or abolish their current form of government and institute new safeguards for their unalienable rights, liberty and freedom, especially when there is a long train of abuses and usurpations.
     
  12. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    Not trying to ruin a good debate, but like all great men throughout history, all reviews of their lives and accomplishments are subject to the perspective of the reviewer. I sincerely doubt that King George would applaud the founding fathers, that the Germans after WWII praised Eisenhower or Churchill, or that most democrats idolize Ronald Reagan.

    Perspective on this topic has been created and fostered over a century and a half of two sided debate.....both of which have their roots in a much deeper understanding of the COTUS, state's rights and slavery.

    For me, I rank two individuals from this era among those great historic figures in history gifted to the American people by God......Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. Both of these great men, despite being tortured by personal loyalties, questions and misgivings, rose to greatness by following the path laid out for them by God and country and did so in a manner above and beyond that which could be expected by we mere mortals.
     
  13. JiG

    JiG Awaiting censure

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    Meh, we've been down this road before haven't we Thorsen?

    You still cling to the idea that once in a contract, always in a contract. If I sign a contract with Sprint cellular, does that mean I have to use Sprint the rest of my life? At some point, can I not nullify the contract and leave? Sure, there's some costs associated with breaking the contract, but Sprint won't be sending the military to force me to continue being a customer.

    Most do not understand why Lincoln was so important and why as we struggle with the destruction of our economy at the hands of the central bank and corporate-control of Washington, that it all really started with Lincoln, the Great Railroad Lawyer and inside-investor making himself rich by knowing where the railroads would be going and buying land for his own personal gain.

    If Lincoln did it to "save the Constitution", then why would it have been in danger of being lost by the states that would have remained? It wasn't in danger. Many states have their own Constitutions that cover pretty much what the US Constitution does.

    FWIW, I'm not angry the south lost. Dude, I wasn't alive then. I didn't lose someone I knew to the war. That was back when. Second, the South was NOT without fault. I'm not trying to side with them like their poop didn't stink. It did. In terms of who was fighting to ACTUALLY preserve the Union as it was, it was the South. The Lincoln presidency was akin to Obama or FDR coming in and making power grabs. The South was fighting for the status quo.... they couldn't "preserve the Union" as it once was with the North walking it own direction, so they wanted to let them go their own way, the South would go its own way.

    You can use the "The Union was preserved" bit all you want, the country as a whole after the war wasn't the same as what the founders set forth. Nothing was preserved. Just one step taken closer to tyranny.
     
  14. JiG

    JiG Awaiting censure

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    I was going to let your post slide until I read the last line, but do you see them as Gods?

    There's that "Lincoln was Jesus" thing again. Let me guess.... you went to government school? The subliminal message of Lincoln being the all-knowing great saint wins again. You are taught this because if you believe that anything Lincoln did was justified, then you will see no issues with a large central government exerting powers it wasn't supposed to have.

    But since I commented on your post, Robert E. Lee was a great man, Lincoln was a crook. Lee was the better man than Davis, Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, and well, about everyone. He was a man of principle, he didn't like slavery, and he did what he thought was right. He didn't terrorize northern towns during the war even though he could and the North was doing so to the South. He left non-combatants out, the same can't be said for what Lincoln and his cohorts did.
     
  15. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    As I stated above, most all reviews are subject to perspective and you're just as entitled to yours as I am mine.

    No, I didn't attend government school and no, I don't consider them Gods. I do consider both men "gifts from God" and respect them both for their convictions, their accomplishments and their willingness and proven abilities to lead.

    Funny how you immediately extracted "Lincoln was Jesus" from my post mentioning both men in the same likeness and sentence!!

    Perspective, perhaps?????
     
  16. JiG

    JiG Awaiting censure

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    No, no, no, I extracted "Lincoln was Jesus" from the "we mere mortals" line you used (I did highlight that in my original post to show you what I was looking at). You see yourself, and the rest of us, as lowly, commoners, serfs, what-have-you, and these people were "gifts from God" as you say, making them still in your perspective, something supernatural. That's why I was asking.
     
  17. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    You're reading way too much into "gifts from God" and "we mere mortals". And, even so, given your thoughts above, you should have mistakenly extracted, "Lincoln AND Lee were Jesus".....but you didn't! Rather, you used your perspective on both to single out only "Lincoln".

    BTW, "we" are "mere mortals"!! :righton:
     
  18. Thorsen

    Thorsen New Member

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    Some other things to consider on succession. It has long been established that the Supreme Court has self-abrogated to itself the right to determine constitutionality. Whether you agree with that power or not, the court has held it since Marbury v. Madison (1803). So now we look to SCOTUS to determine constitutionality of a wide range of issues, laws and even to determine what can be learned in the penumbra of the constitution.

    While I know of no rulings that were made on the constitutionality of succession prior to the Civil War, there have been some since that time. One that I vaguely remembered and looked up this morning was Texas v. White (1868) where the Supreme Court stated:

    Looking forward to our court of today and specifically the strongest textualist we have on the court, Scalia, what would he say about succession? Well in 2006 a screenwriter asked Scalia about his opinion on the constitutionality of succession. Scalia is quoted stating:

    So, in defense of the union over secessionists so far I have shown Jackson's and Lincoln's reasoning based on their interpretation of their obligation under the oath of office they took. I have shown one Supreme Court case which clearly states individual states have no right to secede. And I have shown a quote from probably the greatest textualist to ever sit in a chair in the Supreme Court.

    Now are presidents always correct in their interpretation of the constitutionality of their activities? No. Is the Supreme Court in total correct in their constitutional determinations in all instances? No, they too are sometimes fallable. Is Scalia the final word on all things constitutional as a constitutional interpreter that most of us on this board respect? He too is a man, so I would say no. But taken in total? In total I think all of them point at the correct answer, and leave those of you arguing the opposite position with a lot of beliefs and very little substance to stand upon.

    Oh and Bulldawg, Robert E. Lee is one of my favorite Civil War era personalities, perhaps my overall favorite. Truly a great man of conviction.
     
  19. rmodel65

    rmodel65 Yukon Cornelius

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    So, in defense of the union over secessionists so far I have shown Jackson's and Lincoln's reasoning based on their interpretation of their obligation under the oath of office they took. I have shown one Supreme Court case which clearly states individual states have no right to secede. And I have shown a quote from probably the greatest textualist to ever sit in a chair in the Supreme Court.

    Now are presidents always correct in their interpretation of the constitutionality of their activities? No. Is the Supreme Court in total correct in their constitutional determinations in all instances? No, they too are sometimes fallable. Is Scalia the final word on all things constitutional as a constitutional interpreter that most of us on this board respect? He too is a man, so I would say no. But taken in total? In total I think all of them point at the correct answer, and leave those of you arguing the opposite position with a lot of beliefs and very little substance to stand upon.

    Oh and Bulldawg, Robert E. Lee is one of my favorite Civil War era personalities, perhaps my overall favorite. Truly a great man of conviction.[/quote:34s69sy2]




    How does a court that has no Jurisdiction(USofA) tell a sovereign jurisdiction(state that has split ties) that what it is doing is unconstitutional???
     
  20. Thorsen

    Thorsen New Member

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    Quite simple. Judge that the states who have split have done so unconstitutionally and enforce the constitution.