Abraham Lincoln

Venerating Lincoln

A history of Abraham Lincoln's critics would be improved if the author weren't so smitten with Lincoln himself.

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Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present, by John McKee Barr, Louisiana State University Press, 471 pages, $35.95

Abraham Lincoln is widely considered the greatest president in American history, yet there have always been dissenters from this prevailing veneration. In Loathing Lincoln, the Lone Star College historian John McKee Barr offers a comprehensive survey of those who have condemned or simply criticized the 16th president.

These detractors, emerging even before Lincoln's election to the presidency and continuing right to the present, have included southern slaveholders, radical abolitionists, Lincoln's Democratic opponents, anti-imperialists, white supremacists, a small number of prominent African Americans, agrarian romantics, neo-Confederates, conservatives, and libertarians. With impressive and wide-ranging research into books, pamphlets, journals, newspapers, speeches, manuscript collections, and even letters to the editor, Barr's book is an exhaustive and scholarly compendium of those who have found fault with Lincoln. You will encounter in this tome's nearly 500 pages such diverse figures as Lysander Spooner, Lord Acton, H.L. Mencken, Gore Vidal, William Appleman Williams, and Ron Paul.

Given the major role that admiration for Lincoln still plays today in popular perceptions about American history and, as a result, in political discourse, any study that looks at Lincoln's critics is a valuable exercise. Reason readers will probably find Barr's final two chapters most interesting. One covers the debate over Lincoln among conservatives from 1949 to 1989—a debate that played out most prominently in the pages of National Review, with Willmoore Kendall and Frank Meyer disapproving of Lincoln while Harry Jaffa served as the Rail Splitter's champion. The other chapter looks at Lincoln's libertarian critics and defenders, including Murray Rothbard and Thomas DiLorenzo on the anti side and Timothy Sandefur on the pro. My own book on the Civil War, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, figures in the chapter as well.

Barr's summaries of what Lincoln's critics specifically wrote and said are largely accurate. I could quibble about some of his phrasing. For instance, Barr states: "Lincoln was therefore the cause, as Hummel (and Rothbard before him) put it, of 'the welfare-warfare State of today'" (emphasis mine). That is not precisely what I have asserted with regard to either timing or responsibility. What I claimed is that the Civil War represents the great watershed in American history. Prior to the war, successive ideological surges had brought about the long-term, secular erosion of power at all levels of government; the Civil War dated the reversal of this trend. Similarly, Barr's characterization of my Journal of Libertarian Studies review of Thomas Woods' Politically Incorrect Guide to American History as "brutally critical" is an exaggeration. I was very critical of parts of Woods' analysis, especially his discussion of Reconstruction. But mine was a mixed review that defended other parts of his book from some of the more blanket, vituperative attacks, including one published here in reason.

There is also a curious omission in Barr's chapter covering today's libertarians: He fails to mention that one of the Lincoln critics he discusses, Walter Williams of George Mason University, is an African American. Yet this is something Barr faithfully points out about every other African American who criticized Lincoln, all of whom, unlike Williams, could be fairly described as left-leaning. Nor does Barr hesitate to mention that Thomas Sowell, a conservative proponent of Lincoln, is black.

The major problems with Loathing Lincoln, however, are more general. Let's start with the title. While it may represent clever marketing, loathing is a very harsh word, implying a personal animosity that goes well beyond mere criticism. The book is laced with similar terms or phrases to describe Lincoln critics, such as "malice," "rage," "contempt," "despise," and most frequently "hatred." Many Lincoln detractors have clearly exhibited such emotions, especially the further you go back in time. But a scholar should be scrupulous with this accusation, making it only when the evidence justifies doing so.

To a limited extent Barr recognizes this. He exempts from the charge of loathing most of the abolitionists and African Americans who complained that Lincoln did not move fast enough to abolish slavery or that he harbored racist views. Barr also gives a pass to a few revisionist historians, such as Charles Ramsdell and James Randall, who saw the Civil War as an unnecessary conflict brought on by a blundering generation of politicians. My own book is apparently among the exempt as well, since Barr calls it "a reputable and scholarly work." But otherwise he can be overly promiscuous in his explicit and implicit wielding of the loathing allegation.

This goes hand in hand with a second general flaw. Barr conceives his task as not just surveying but also disputing Lincoln detractors. His factual criticisms are, more often than not, correct. (There are a few I would challenge, such as his cursory acceptance of Allen Guezlo's claim that the Civil War had no significant impact on the federal budget. Guezlo partly based this bizarre conclusion on a crudely misleading calculation of the inflation-adjusted value of 1865 government expenditures as a percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2011, not 1865.) The problem comes when Barr's disagreements go beyond factual matters to political values.

Historians do not have to exculpate the outrages of the past in order to empathically understand the motives of historical actors on their own terms. But Barr never comes close to any kind of Olympian detachment. To offer just two examples, he deplores the erection of "monuments to Confederate military and political heroes" in the post-Civil War South as an "insolent criticism of…Abraham Lincoln," and he excoriates the residents of Troy, Alabama—after a Confederate veteran erected "a small memorial honoring John Wilkes Booth…in his front yard around 1901" that embarrassed his neighbors—merely because the residents failed to order the memorial removed from "his own property" until "northerners protested" (emphasis his). Is it too much to ask that he be slightly more charitable to a people, admittedly all whites living in a land of segregation, who had been crushed in a devastating war? Isn't such charity something Lincoln called for in his second inaugural address?

Barr's frustration with some of the recent vehement condemnations of Lincoln is more understandable. Unfortunately, this is where he egregiously and without warrant plays the race card. Barr boldly proclaims that a "disgruntled and dissatisfied…mix of anarcho-capitalists, radical libertarians, and traditional conservatives" have "criticized Lincoln in order to attack the federal government and its ongoing support for civil rights and civil liberties for formerly marginalized groups." These critics, he writes, are motivated by opposition to "the political, racial, and sexual egalitarianism…resulting from the liberation movements of the post-Cold War era." While undoubtedly true of some, this broad-brush approach blurs crucial distinctions among these individuals.

Barr writes as though the chief reason anyone opposes federal intervention is a fear of racial equality. He furthermore worries that "contemptuous portrayal of Lincoln" could make Americans "hopelessly pessimistic that the federal government has any role to play in addressing national or international problems" (emphasis his), and that it indeed has already "helped delegitimize the nation's government and made effective governance, at least at the federal level, less likely, if not impossible, to achieve." He then has the nerve to turn around and accuse Lincoln opponents of trying to "alter the president's image in order to serve their political agenda," as though Loathing Lincoln didn't have an agenda of its own.

At times Barr is a mirror image of those who genuinely loathe Lincoln. He can brook hardly any negative evaluations of the 16th president. Witness his hostile tone toward those who objected when Bruce Barton's 1925 book, The Man That Nobody Knows, equated Lincoln with Jesus. Or his reprimanding those northern newspapers that had the sheer audacity to critique Lincoln's second inaugural by calling it "slip shod," "sophomoric," or "glittering generalities." Blinded by his reverence for the Great Emancipator, he is oblivious to the germ of a second, important book lurking within his volume, a book that could be titled Worshipping Lincoln. In discussing Lincoln's foes, Barr unwittingly offers a revealing glimpse into the long history of Lincoln idolatry.

Barr does admit that Lincoln was "a flawed human being"; that "part of the decline in Lincoln's reputation was probably inevitable" after World War II, as Americans became "more skeptical of authority"; and that some accusations against Lincoln, such as the charge that he harbored racial prejudices of his own, are "partially correct." But when he finally arrives at Loathing Lincoln's 10-page conclusion, Barr loses all perspective and descends into polemics. He concludes that "the contest over Lincoln's image from the nineteenth century onward has been nothing less than part of the struggle over whether freedom and equality are for the many, particularly people of color, or for the few." What makes this especially regrettable is that Barr is a good enough researcher and writer that he could have produced a far more valuable and perhaps enduring intellectual history, if only he had exercised a little more self-restraint.

Both those who loathe and those who worship Lincoln have lost their perspective. Though I object to the Lincoln cult, I have nonetheless distanced myself from the simplistic Lincoln bashing that can sometimes issue, for different reasons, from both extreme neo-Confederates and extreme neo-abolitionists. Like so many successful politicians, the 16th president was a complex combination of lofty idealism and cunning opportunism, with many likeable qualities and an exceptional mastery of the English language. Although I deplore many of his policies, why should subjecting Lincoln to the same searching scrutiny applied to other leaders throughout history be construed as hatred? Many of Lincoln's actions, particularly leading the country into a war—whether ultimately justified or not—were absolutely required by the political dynamics of the emerging Republican Party. The war would have likely been prosecuted by any of the other potential Republican candidates of 1860 if any one of them had been elected president instead. If the northern Democrat, Stephen Douglas, had been elected and the lower South had still seceded (an admittedly doubtful counterfactual), he would have been at least as implacable in suppressing secession.

The really fundamental issue behind these Lincoln squabbles is the Civil War itself, a conflict with both enormous costs and a momentous accomplishment. It decisively ended within the United States the vile institution of chattel slavery. Although the abolition of slavery was an unintended consequence of the war, the moral significance of this accomplishment cannot be overrated. But does that necessarily justify all of the war's enormous bloodshed and suffering, inflicted in many cases on the entirely innocent? Does that necessarily make all the political, economic, and social consequences of the war desirable? If the primary goal of Northerners had been to eliminate slavery rather than to preserve the Union, were there other conceivable options that might have destroyed the slave system by the end of the 19th century?

At one point, Barr grants that Lincoln and the Civil War pose "extraordinarily difficult historical problems" and "tough questions." Unfortunately, the book's overall message doesn't differ from the politically correct consensus that dominates Civil War scholarship today, in which any extended consideration of problems other than slavery is considered morally obtuse. As a historical fact, almost no one denies that it was the war that brought emancipation. Yet if history is to be more than just a factual rendition of past events, if we hope to make history something from which we derive insights, lessons, and perhaps even a moral sensibility, why foreclose any exploration of untried alternatives to war's carnage?

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  1. One of the most used and biggest weapons Leftists have is constantly accusing everyone on the right of being racists. It is of course and untrue and loathsome. It is, however, effective.

    Given that reality, it takes a special breed of aspy stupid for anyone on the right to think dying on the hill attacking Lincoln as a tyrant is a good idea. Seriously, what in God’s name do anti-Lincoln Libertarians expect to accomplish beyond being seen as a bit too in love with Jeb Stewart?

    1. Well I can’t speak for anyone on the right, but I think it’s pretty fair to criticize Lincoln for suspending haebus corpus and sending hundreds of thousands of people to needless horrible deaths to preserve something that never really existed in the first place.

      As far as racism goes, it’s always worth pointing out that Lincoln didn’t go to war in order to free the slaves, and that he only issued the Emancipation Proclamation to boost flagging support for the war.

      And as for Jeb Stewart, I’ve never even seen the Beverly Hillbillies.

      1. “And as for Jeb Stewart, I’ve never even seen the Beverly Hillbillies.”

        +1 Elly May

        1. You are thinking of Jethro Clempett. OTOH, it was revealed that Granny was Jeb Stuart’s love child.

        2. Elly May and her critters.

        3. Oooohh.

          Ellie May Clampett. One of my first dream girls.

        4. Oooohh.

          Ellie May Clampett. One of my first dream girls.

          1. She just passed away the first of this month; she was 82 years old.

      2. All you are doing there is reinforcing the Left argument that the us is racist. Was Lincoln perfect? No. But he was a lot better than the other side. And the country was by any standard better when he left than when he became President. If a big federal governemnt is the price we had to pay for ending slavery. That is just too bad for us. Blame the slavers not Lincoln for that.

        1. The country was only better when he left office by one standard, John. Slavery was on its way to being abolished. It certainly wasn’t better for having 600,000 citizens killed, countless others displaced, millions of dollars in property destroyed, and so forth. It also wasn’t better for the abuse of presidential power for which Lincoln gets a pass because of the slavery issue, and somewhat unfairly, since he allowed slavery to go on in Union territory while the war to supposedly end it was in progress.

          1. If you dont think slavery was that big if a deal, then yeah. But that is the whole point. And if your atitude is hey what is a few more decades if slavery, then you deserve the charge of being racist.

            1. Here’s an on-topic question about something I’d heard one of my father’s friends say years ago, which this thread reminded me about and I’m too lazy this morning to look up myself. He had said that Lincoln’s plan after the Civil War was to help return slaves to Africa, but the assassination prevented that. There seems to be so many knowledgeable about history who post here — any truth to what this guy said?

              1. Well from my readings on the subject it was less ‘return slaves to Africa’ and a more general belief in African American colonialism outside of the United States. For most of his career he’s on the record as saying that blacks and whites fundamentally couldn’t form a society together and thus it was ‘better for us both, therefore, to be separated.’ He mainly pushed for colonization in the 1850s. After he issued the Emancipation Proclaimation, he didn’t really mention black colonization afterwards, but even while he was drafting it he was holding conferences with freed slaves to push for setting up a colonial state in Central America. Throughout his career he pissed off a lot of abolitionists and black leaders for suggesting this stuff, so yes, I think there’s substantial evidence from both his own speeches and other sources that he felt this was the ideal scenario.

                Of course black colonization did happen to some extent, and was already happening before Lincoln’s term, the result is Liberia (which, in one of history’s great ironies, basically had a system of slavery for native Africans installed by American Africans).

              2. He had said that Lincoln’s plan after the Civil War was to help return slaves to Africa

                If I remember correctly, Lincoln talked about moving blacks to Africa in one of his inaugural addresses.

              3. “He had said that Lincoln’s plan after the Civil War was to help return slaves to Africa… any truth to what this guy said?”

                “Lincoln first publicly advocated for colonization in 1852, and in 1854 said that his first instinct would be ‘to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia’ (the African state founded by the American Colonization Society in 1821).”

                Link: http://www.history.com/news/5-…..ancipation

            2. And you deserve the charge of being an idiot who can’t argue with either honesty or integrity. Nowhere did I say slavery wasn’t a big deal. And nowhere did I say slavery should have continued. In fact I said exactly the opposite.

          2. Contrarian P|1.25.15 @ 1:27PM|#
            …”Slavery was on its way to being abolished.”

            Yes, it was, but the question is “when?”. Slavery was evil incarnate and through the agency of the government was made very profitable long after it should have died.
            What is commonly misunderstood is that neither Lincoln nor anyone else had to “outlaw” slavery; it was not a practice that needed “outlaw” status to end.
            It merely needed the *lack* of government support. Once the government rescinded the franchise on coercion to slave holders, it could not exist.

        2. All you are doing there is reinforcing the Left argument that the us is racist. Was Lincoln perfect? No. But he was a lot better than the other side. And the country was by any standard better when he left than when he became President. If a big federal governemnt is the price we had to pay for ending slavery. That is just too bad for us. Blame the slavers not Lincoln for that.

          John, the left will call anyone not left-wing a racist no matter what you do. The argument that we shouldn’t criticize someone when he deserves to be criticized because leftists will call us racists (which they’ll do anyway) is ridiculous.

      3. Was the results of the civil war worth the price? I say yes because there is no evil equal to slavery. Libertariians say no because they are not bothered as much by slavery as I am. When you think of it that way. Maybe the left is right. Libertariians are happy to have left millions of black people in generational slavery so they could have a small federal goverment. That is really all there is to it.

        1. John the libertarians in your head sound like pretty terrible people. Maybe you should stop trying to argue with them.

          1. Then you must agree that Lincoln wasnt so bad

            1. Well since the only options are supporting Lincoln or supporting slavery I guess I…hey wait a minute!

            2. Then you must agree that Lincoln wasnt so bad

              I think he committed terrible crimes when he suspended Habeus Corpus and attacked the First Amendment and I think he did immense good ending slavery.

              It’s almost like, wait for it, an individual person can be worthy of praise in some aspects of his life and criticism in others.

              Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been a better man if he hadn’t slept around, but arguing that his adultery was a personality flaw doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great man for his actions supporting civil rights.

              1. I think he committed terrible crimes when he suspended Habeus Corpus and attacked the First Amendment…

                Except if you look at the specific context for each one of the incidents where he was accused of abusing those institutions, his overreach was limited and proportional to the threat the incident directly posed to the outcome of the Civil War.

                Not to mention that, unlike Bush and Obama, Lincoln designed all of the additional authorities he took to end as soon as the war was over. People who call Lincoln a tyrant ignore the fact that he was much closer to Cincinnatus than Caesar.

        2. That is a pretty strong charge. Who are these Libertarians of which you speak?

          1. Anyone who wonders aloud if war was really necessary to end slavery in the US when it ended without war throughout the rest of the world.

        3. John, I think you’re getting a little bit worked up about it.

          IMHO, Lincoln ended slavery like FDR ended the depression.

          Is the abolition of slavery worth fighting for? Yes, libertarians would agree to that.

          Problem is, and this is self evident throughout our own history, and the history of almost every government through the world:

          Government does not change society.

          When societal changes are happening, the government sweeps in and tries to take credit, and in so doing, usually kills quite a few people in the process, and this is needless.

          You can look at slavery, Jim Crow, gay marriage, it doesn’t really matter. Society changes because people use their free speech and change hearts and minds. Slavery was going to be abolished. Would it have been as quickly as we would have liked? One cannot say, because Lincoln started a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people, and in the process set back race relations probably well over a century due to the animosity this war created.

          One has to understand human nature to understand why what Lincoln did was not a pragmatic approach.

          1. And in the meantime, Lincoln laid the foundation for a new kind of slavery, did he not? Maybe there are no whips and chains, but there are rape pens, no-knock raids, choking out people over selling cigarettes (which at another time in American history, any government agent trying to stop a bootlegger would have been tarred and feathered, but that is a difference conversation), etc.

            You should really understand the premise that you are starting from: That Lincoln single handedly ended slavery.

            Quite hard to argue when you treat that as an axiom.

            1. I should say government does not change society for the better above.

          2. Society changes because people use their free speech and change hearts and minds.

            90 years of communism in Russia would seem to say otherwise. The Russians got absolutely fucked by their government and have developed perhaps one of the world’s most maladaptive cultures in response. To say that their government made no change to their culture is to be blind.

            Likewise, I don’t see how the South was going to change through free speech when it was against the law to publish slave memoirs and abolitionist materials in most of the Southern states.

            Can we at least recognize that we are retroactively condemning actors of the past by suggesting that they be held responsible for events which were held to be very improbable by both Southerners and Northerners (and in any case, far preferable to what they expected if slavery persisted)?

            1. I didn’t realize that Communist Russia had free speech.

              I don’t doubt some people thought that way, and you’re right in that it is hard when you weren’t actually alive.

              Regardless, the point is that the only reason war was even feasible is because enough people in the country were against slavery.

              There was obviously a trend going on. How would that trend have ended? Can’t say, because a war happened instead.

              To make the claim that the North exercised all available options before war is like making the claim that Bush did the same. It is fantastical at best.

        4. Lol, I nominate the above for stupidest comment of 2015.

          1. Either that or you just can’t respond to it so you pretend it is just stupid.

            Truth hurts dipshit.

        5. Some people might find death worse than slavery. In fact, I’d say that every slave who didn’t try to run away or to kill himself thought that way.

          3M slaves. 800K dead. Is one death worth 4 slaves?

          Or to get all actuarial about it, most of the dead soldiers probably would have lived for another 40 years, a total of 30M years of live gone in exchange for 3M slaves. If slavery would have ended within 10 years, it would have been a wash in person-years. (I personally think slavery would have been over in 10-20 years if the northerners had put all their energy into the economy and shamed the slave powers as they stagnated.) That’s calling slave-years equivalent to free-years, a dubious proposition, but it’s also calling jim crow-years equivalent to free-years, also dubious. And it ignores the immense destruction and massive increase in federal government power and corruption which affected everybody.

        6. John,

          You have revealed your true colors at last. “Was the results of the civil war worth the price? I say yes because there is no evil equal to slavery.” And there your have it, The End Justifies The Means, restated.

          The true horror of African-American slavery is replaced with the slavery of the entire population of the US. But, hey dude, it is ok cause there is no evil equal to slavery.

          Except, Lincoln did not lay the groundwork for the slavery of the entire population to the government to eliminate slavery to private individuals, but rather to destroy the entire basis for the forming of the nation, and the virtual shreading of the founding documents.

          You … Are … A … Jackass. An evil, deceitful, smear upon humanity, jackass, just like the rest of your ilk.

          “Libertariians are happy to have left millions of black people in generational slavery so they could have a small federal goverment. That is really all there is to it.” and Progressives are happy to put all of humanity in slavery to central government if they can just find some good deeds to justify it with.

          The End Justifies The Means. The justification for nearly every horror throughout history.

          1. As hideously evil as the government institution of slavery is, it is not quite true that “there is no evil equal to slavery”. Even more evil is the enslavement of free men to kill and be killed in war.

            Lincoln’s war enslaved hundreds of thousands of free men, and forced them at gunpoint to kill their own countrymen, destroy their crops, burn their buildings, and rape their women. This actually happened, and there is no sugarcoating it the fact that slavery happened to end with the war. Abolition was a fortunate consequence, but it was not Licoln’s objective for the war.

        7. I say yes because there is no evil equal to slavery.

          Then you have no idea what evil is.

    2. Criticism of Lincoln is something like criticism of the Pledge of Allegiance.

      Americans have been so indoctrinated in government schools that they automatically think that any such criticism stems from some evil, alien worldview. (People say American schools are failing, but they succeed brilliantly in their primary objective.)

      One might as well tell a geezer that his Social Security check is welfare.

      1. Or trying to convince a libertarian ending slavery was a good result worth almost any price. Or that maybe the South was responsible for their own fate.

        1. Nobody here is (or has, as far as I know) arguing that slavery was in any way a noble thing and there’s no doubt that its end was a great moral good. On the other hand, arguing that noble outcomes (the end of slavery) do not excuse reprehensible tactics is perfectly valid. To put it another way: there’s no doubt that the United States did great good by helping to destroy the Nazis, but locking away Japanese Americans as part of the war effort is still wrong. Similarly, one of the outcomes of the Civil War, the end of slavery, was good, but it does not excuse every action that taken during that effort. I hope that clears up what is obviously great confusion in your mind.

          Characterizing libertarians as not being as bothered by slavery as you shows an incredible lack of understanding of what libertarianism is that frankly I’m surprised you still have after all your time haunting this site. Libertarians hold that people own themselves and that is an inherent right that cannot be taken away. It’s a core tenet of our philosophy. Therefore, we abhor slavery and are unquestionably against it in all its forms. I hope that isn’t unclear.

          1. Cato is the one comparing Lincoln to Mao. And it is not ghat you sre unbothered by slavery. It is that you wouldnt have wanted to end it if doing so required a bug government or any real sacrifice of principles

            1. What is “bug government”? I for one welcome our termite overlords.

              1. You’re building strawmen, now.

                Usually you’re more keen than this and stay away from such fallacious arguments.

                We get it that you hate slavery, so do all of us, yet you seem to be allowing your emotion to override your better judgement.

            2. I’m not comparing Lincoln to Mao.

              I’m comparing the cult of Lincoln to the cult of Mao.

              Ending slavery was a truly great consequence of the Civil War. No government institution is as contrary to libertarian principles as slavery. However, its end was not the war’s objective. And most countries ended slavery without war.

              BTW, the body count in the Chinese civil war was about 3 million out of population of around 800 million, less than 1%. The body count in the US civil war was about 800 thousand out of a population of 31 million, about 2.5%.

              1. Its end was not the *declared* objective of the war…it was very much the *real* objective of the war. That’s why Lincoln pushed to get the 13th Amendment through before accepting the South’s surrender…not only did he realize that it wouldn’t pass once the war ended, but he also realized we’d be going back to war over it in the future.

        2. “worth almost any price.”

          So there are some prices too high to pay for ending slavery? Tell us what you think is too high a price to pay?

          1. Well obviously he, John, is much to valuable to waste his life going off to the places where slavery still happens and trying to stop it. So that would be a price too high. But those hundreds of thousands of people 150 years ago? Totally worth it!

        3. “worth almost any price.”

          So there are some prices too high to pay for ending slavery? Tell us what you think is too high a price to pay?

        4. John,

          Again, your “End Justifies The Means” prattle is tiresome. Haven’t they missed you over at HuffPo yet?

        5. This is truly the most idiotic statement you’ve ever made, John.

          Slavery was indeed a good result, but it was not Lincoln’s objective.

          The United States deserved its fate for including Article IV Section 2 Paragraph 3 in its Constitution. It was an abomination, and still casts a pall upon American history.

    3. You’ve got to love the right (including quasi-right groups such as libertarians).

      They have a saying among the left – No enemies to the left! No matter how extreme or batshit insane, I never hear a criticism from one leftist of another for being an extremist.

      Unfortunately, the right also has no enemies to left, but will happily join in the denunciation of the “evil wacists!” – namely anyone a hair to the right of themselves.

      Maybe it’s time to find your balls and tell them to fuck off instead of hiding under the bed every time someone calls you a racist.

  2. The major problems with Loathing Lincoln, however, are more general. Let’s start with the title. While it may represent clever marketing, loathing is a very harsh word, implying a personal animosity that goes well beyond mere criticism.

    It seems to me that the title accurately expresses the author’s broadbrush appraisal of those who dare to criticize his hero. I imagine that Pope Francis holds vociferous atheists in higher regard than Professor Barr does the detractors of Lincoln.

    I rather like the title, and think Barr should proceed with similar works, such as Loathing Lenin, Maligning Mao, Berating Bonaparte, and Scorning Stalin. Maybe even Ostracizing Obama. It could be quite successful. Bill O’Reilly has done pretty well with his series of trite histories about assassinations. Barr could do something similar with various tyrants.

    1. If you think Lincoln is in any way comparable to Mao or Lenin, you are an idiot. Does the fact that the South lost and can no longer hold slaves bother that much? But Lincoln didnt want to end slavery. So what. Since when do intentions matter more than Results?

      1. One of the Results of the War Between The States was replacing the tyranny of the crown that the founders risked everything for to escape with the tyranny of the federal government. But since slavery was abolished in the process, anyone who points this out must cream their jeans when they reminisce about slavery. Yeah, sure. Whatever you say.

        1. You are blaming Lincoln for FDR. The government in 1870 was a humdred times better than now. You cant blame what happened 70 years later on Lincoln.

          1. Yeah, actually. I can. The stage was set. Without the war that established dominion of the federal government from afar over the states, effectively negating the revolutionaries’ shaking off the dominion of the crown from afar over the states, FDR’s federal government wouldn’t have had the power to do what it did.

            1. By that logic, you might as well blame the founders too. Had they not gotten rid of the Articles of Confederation, none of it could have happened.

              Lincoln is responsible for the government he left behind. He is not responsible for what people did with it, anymore than founders are.

              1. One thing the AoC and Constitution had in common was that the United States of America was plural. That ended after Lincoln.

                1. What actual infringement of liberty and consolidation of federal power happened after the War of Southern Aggression? Do you have a concrete example? Sure, habeus corpus and conscription were great evils, and no one gives Lincoln or the federales a pass on that, but how, post War, was the Federal Government more powerful than in 1860? States were still mostly sovereign, as they were pre War. The Federal Government was still mostly restricted to it’s enumerated powers (until FDR/ Wickard v Filburn). Rhetoric aside about “feeling” like one soverign nation rather than many, what actual fortification of federal power was built post war?

                  1. What Procrastinatus said. Lincoln gets blamed for a bunch of things that happened 70 years after he died.

                    If you want to call FDR a tyrant who ruined the country, you would be right, but not Lincoln.

                  2. “no one gives Lincoln or the federales a pass on that”

                    Except John.

                    1. Lots of people think conscription and suspension of habeas corpus are just swell.

                      Even today, when the US both has indefinite detention in Guantanamo and other black sites around the world and mandates registration for “selective service”.

                  3. what actual fortification of federal power was built post war?

                    Oh, shit. I dunno. Maybe “Don’t you dare contradict the federal government or we’ll send in troops to burn down your cities and kill your men”?

                    1. Imagine Europe for a moment. As it is, there is the EU, but it really has no power over the governments of the individual countries. But say some of the countries try to break from the EU, and there is a war to keep Europe unified. (meanwhile say slavery still existed and now it’s abolished) After the war it is established that Europe doesn’t mean an area on a map with countries in it, but rather the EU. The countries being subordinate. Then the EU proceeds to tyrannically abuse its power over the European states. Should that be given a pass since slavery was abolished?

                    2. Sarc, this was already the prevailing attitude after the War of 1812. Virtually everyone thought that the states were politically sovereign in most matters, but that leaving the Union was not an appropriate exercise of state power. This was true all the way through 1812-1855 and reflected the will of the Founders and the desire of the people to have a republican federal government with common, limited objectives so as to keep the states safe from each other or the colonial powers operating in the Americas. It was especially the case after the Feds were the main political mover for enabling colonization Westward and recognizing new territories, as was the case with every major expansion of the US after the Louisiana Purchase.

                      This view remained the majority view up until Roosevelt and Wilson.

                      You’re arguing in favor of a view which, even if it were a good idea, does not describe the antebellum US outside perhaps the earliest years of its conception.

                    3. “I dunno. Maybe “Don’t you dare contradict the federal government or we’ll send in troops to burn down your cities and kill your men”?”

                      That MIGHT be a valid argument had the Confederacy not started the war by attacking and conquering soverign U.S. territory. The U.S. had the casus belli after that, not the Confederacy. So really with slavery AND aggression, the U.S. was legally and morally in the right.

                    4. I’m guessing you’re referring to Fort Sumter as U.S. territory. From South Carolina’s perspective it was their territory that the United States government was squatting on without permission. South Carolina’s position was that as a sovereign state, it was allowing the Federal government to use its land to maintain a fort. When South Carolina left the Union, they expected the tenant of their land to move out. In their view, they were well within their rights to kick the Union out.

                      The first actual battle of the war, the first Bull Run, was a Union offensive into Confederate territory.

                    5. From South Carolina’s perspective it was their territory that the United States government was squatting on without permission.

                      Which is why it was important to adjudicate the issue — which is, btw, what Lincoln and many of Virginia’s political movers and shakers were trying to do before some hotheads decided tto resolve the matter by force.

                      If I’m filing for divorce from my wife and we’re tyring to figure out who gets the couch, I’m not in the right if I shoot her in the head just because I feel that my legal argument is better. SC didn’t even try to resolve the matter non-violently; the violent consequences are IMO on their heads and they are not the victim.

                    6. The couch is community property. Not a great example.

                    7. “From South Carolina’s perspective it was their territory that the United States government was squatting on without permission. ”

                      The thing is, the Federal Government is explicitly granted power in the Constitution (Article I Section VIII) to buy land with which to build forts and arsenals. South Carolina consented to that upon ratification. In any event, Sumter was actually a manmade island, not within South Carolina’s borders, and the Federal Government built it 30 years before the Confederacy even existed. The Condeferacy was forcefully seizing by arms property that the United States built and paid for, and that South Carolina authorized anyway even if it HAD been in their territory (of which the United States would have paid them for).

                      Everything else aside, even if we were to suppose that this was a War between two sovereign nations and not an insurrection against the Constitution, the Confederacy still started it.

      2. I think they are very similar and we are probably quite fortunate the bastard was shot.

        Slavery is morally wrong EVERY TIME. It is still wrong today, it was wrong in the slave south. It is NOT FIXED by changing the slave owner from individual to government.

        Of goody! More of your many alternate ways of saying “The ends justify the means” as “Since when do intentions matter more than Results?”

    2. Hou just called. Thea. Who waged the war that ended slavery the same as Mao. Why would a black person reading that not think you are racist? Was ending slavery just that horrible? Or ending just not that big of a deal such that it wasnt worth extreme measures or worth doing without the right motives? If Obama ended the drug war from the wrong reasons would you hate him too?

      1. Maybe your account was hacked. That’s the only possible explanation for posts this silly.

        As to your questions: Noble goals do not excuse any means, no matter how reprehensible, sorry. The reasons have nothing to do with it. If Obama ended the drug war because he thought it would promulgate the worship of Barney the Dinosaur as a religious icon, I wouldn’t care, and I’d support the policies, if not the reasons. On the other hand, if Obama ended the war on drugs while simultaneously locking up his political enemies in prison, I’d applaud the one while condemning the other. I’m amazed that you can’t grasp the distinction.

        1. I am amazed you think good results dont count unless they were the result of noble intentions. We are talking about inteentions not means. People hold up the fact that he didnt set out to free the slaves as if that matters. Means may matter in that evileams dont justify even good ends. But intentions never matter.

          You are the one who can’t grasp the difference between intentions and means.

          1. Perhaps you should try reading what I actually typed. No, try reading it over and over, about twenty times. Perhaps then you will see that you’re totally failing at comprehension. I didn’t say what you typed in your first sentence. At all. And no, “we” are not talking about “inteentions”. You seem to be arguing with voices in your head.

            1. You seem to be losing this argument badly and when you don’t have a response, fall back on “I didn’t say that”.

              Okay, what did you say? What is your point other than the fact that Lincoln’s waging a war that ended slavery doesn’t justify his means or is somehow negated by his intentions?

              1. When you are arguing against a point I never made, it’s no longer an argument, it’s just you yelling incoherently. I’m pretty sure if you took a poll, the only person convinced you are winning any argument here is you.

                Let me try to explain this to you another way, since you can’t seem to understand it:

                If someone sees a child that is starving to death and he goes out and gets some money to buy the food the child needs, that is a good thing. If he breaks into someone else’s house and steals their wallet in order to get the money, it’s still a good thing that the child was fed, however he also committed a reprehensible act. The two can coexist. The fact that you intended to feed the child does not negate that your means were wrong.

                You seem to be arguing that any criticism of Lincoln is tantamount to saying that slavery is the best thing ever and we should still have it today, which is ridiculous and something nobody here is arguing. Moreover, you seem to be gleefully glossing over the fact that Lincoln made statements to the fact that he was perfectly willing to let slavery continue if it would preserve the union. In fact, he did let it continue in Northern border states while the war was ongoing. So he was guilty of perpetuating the very same evil institution that you are lauding him for ending.

                1. This is John’s “Dig in totally and completely and defend that position at any cost” week.

                  Here’s the short version, John.

                  Slavery is evil.
                  Lincoln’s solution to ending slavery was also evil.
                  I’m not sure which of those is the greater evil.

                  1. Considering slavery was already on the way out I’m pretty sure throwing 600,000 young men into the sausage grinder was the greater evil.

                    1. Mass slavery and war both rank about a 10 on the 1-10 Pretty Fucking Horrible scale.

                      If you want to get into a debate about which is worse, then you have to start with the maths and the heads of pins.

                      Suffice it to say that committing an equivalent evil to stop another is about as stupid and worthless as it comes.

                    2. I don’t say this much, but John is correct in this debate.

                      The dynamic one sees here with libertarians (as in LIBERTY, which ACTUAL SLAVERY IS THE ULTIMATE OPPOSITE) downplaying slavery is frankly incredible. Many commenters here who would gnash their teeth and rend their garments in anger if some podunk town were requiring firearm registration or if the feds mandate you buy health insurance seem to think our nations long experience with government backed actual human slavery to not be a big deal. Wow.

                      It was the greatest stain on this nation and its ideals, the ultimate sin in the libertarian Bible. Those that opposed it were the good guys, those who supported it the bad guys, the worst bad guys we’ve had in this nation by far, exponentially worse than if you spliced FDR with Wilson and Obama. Sheesh.

                    3. So for the record, “good guys”=men who supported the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, forcibly enslaved people to fight their war for them, and believed the best course of action was to kick blacks out of the United States?

                      This is what happens when you treat history as a fictional Tolkienesque story of good-vs-evil. It’s not a matter of ‘downplaying’ slavery, it’s a matter of not viewing history in such an immature context. And frankly, it’s hilarious seeing a guy who complains about Jefferson favouritism ignoring the actions of other figures because they’re the ‘good guys’.

                    4. “men who supported the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people forcibly enslaved people to fight their war for them”

                      One group was willing to die to free their fellow Americans, the other to keep them enslaved. This isn’t close.

                      “believed the best course of action was to kick blacks out of the United States”

                      You say this, and yet when it came time to make policy they instead extended unequivocal citizenship to them.

                      “it’s hilarious seeing a guy who complains about Jefferson favouritism ignoring the actions of other figures because they’re the ‘good guys’.”

                      Er, because Jefferson himself was a slaveowner and supporter of slavery. Again, what can be a greater sin to an ostensible LIBERTarian than actual slavery? Good grief.

                    5. “One group was willing to die to free their fellow Americans, the other to keep them enslaved. This isn’t close.”

                      Profoundly historically ignorant view of American Civil War soldiers’ perceptions, particularly after conscription. Yes Bo, romanticize their actions as much as you can. Those men forced to fight and die were clearing doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and freeing African Americans. There certainly wasn’t riots or anything in regards to the issue of conscription.

                      You say this, and yet when it came time to make policy they instead extended unequivocal citizenship to them.

                      Which was not the position of many of the ‘good guys’ nor was the long term policy they were pushing for. I thought you didn’t believe in collectivizing people? Then why are you collectivizing the positions of very different people who did not do what you’re saying?

                      Oh Jefferson’s evil, but conscription’s fine as long as it’s done by the ‘good guys’? Guess you don’t have that much of an issue with slavery then, as long as the ends justify the means. What a horribly pure LIBERTarian you are.

                      Again, note how I’m not downplaying slavery at all. Slavery’s an awful institution that should have died a long time before. But unlike you I hold the ‘good guys’ to actual moral standard, rather than trumpeting a childish good-vs-evil story for bedtime.

                    6. You do realize that many of the Northern soldiers absolutely volunteered out of devotion to abolition and free state ideology? And many black soldiers came in later too. Were there some conscripted and did many resist that? Sure, but of course the CSA was no stranger to conscription.

                      As to your other points, good guys don’t have to be perfect, and that’s especially true when the villains are so heinous. There’s no villain more heinous than one fanatically devoted to actually enslaving other human beings. So, yeah, I’m a bit willing to say the North’s conscription doesn’t equate with the South’s slavery (and conscription).

                    7. Ah, so the ‘good guys’ stay the ‘good guys’ even if their actions are heinous, as long as their opponents are worse. Let’s not hold them accountable for any of their behaviour, because they’re the ‘good guys’. It couldn’t possibly be that history is vastly more complicated that your ‘good-vs-evil’ fever dream.

                    8. One group was willing to die to free their fellow Americans, the other to keep them enslaved. This isn’t close.

                      That explains why there was a riot in New York where conscripted Northern soldiers murdered African Americans because they blamed them for the war.

                      Er, because Jefferson himself was a slaveowner and supporter of slavery. Again, what can be a greater sin to an ostensible LIBERTarian than actual slavery? Good grief.

                      And most of the people who fought against the South were supporters of an anti-black apartheid state. The war occurred to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery. It’s a happy accident that slavery was abolished, but that wasn’t the primary reason for war.

                    9. That’s simplistic. For political and tactical reasons Lincoln certainly didn’t define the war as primarily about slavery at the beginning. But everyone then who cared about the issue, both in the South and the North, knew what was going on with the war. Abolitionists and blacks rushed to enlist with the North and Southerners loudly told potential volunteers that their ‘institutions’ were under threat.

                    10. That explains why there was a riot in New York where conscripted Northern soldiers murdered African Americans because they blamed them for the war.

                      I have absolutely no sympathy for the Confederacy and its backward-ass insanity, but this romanticized view of the Union soldier there to die to free the slaves is just completely absurd and ahistorical.

                    11. It’s absolutely true that many white soldiers volunteered out of a devotion to abolition and/or free state ideology. Yes, not all, but a lot did.

                      And, of course, thousands of black soldiers were motivated by abolition.

                    12. Nobody here is arguing that slavery wasn’t a big deal or is “downplaying slavery”. Find and quote where anyone said that.

                      Your fail at reading comprehension comes when you miss the part about hundreds of thousands of people died. Somewhere between 600-850 thousand people, depending on estimates, lost their lives in the Civil War. That’s in a nation of 31 million people at that time, about a tenth of our current population. So it’d be like 6-8.5 million of your fellow citizens dying today. Think about that for a minute.

                      I take issue with this idea that the sacrifice of that many lives is some kind of small price to pay to get rid of slavery. No, it was an enormous price, one that we are still paying today in many ways.

                      Dammit, Bo, the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of thousands is not chump change, even when compared to the heinous practice of slavery. If somehow it is to you, I’d suggest that you have no morals whatsoever. I’d suggest a political career.

                      There’s an argument to be made that the Civil War could have been avoided, and that slavery could have been ended through much less bloody means. That’s the point that you don’t seem to be grasping.

                    13. People here get mad about some infraction on our liberties every day and call for an immediate end, an immediate end though the heavens fall, if you will. But in this case, where you had mass, institutionalized total enslavement of a huge chunk of the population, it’s a bunch of ‘well, maybe we should have waited it out, or paid off the liberty infringers, etc.,” That looks terrible.

                    14. Except that nobody has said that. Arguing with people by giving them their opinions then fulminating against them is a zero sum game.

                    15. People here aren’t arguing that the War was a bad thing and Lincoln for fighting it because ‘slavery was on its way out’ and/or ‘we should have done what England did?”

                    16. They are arguing that the forced conscription of troops, which to a libertarian is tantamount to slavery, to fight and die in a war by the hundreds of thousands is a bad thing, yes.

                      That’s the thing that kills me about you, Bo. The inconsistency. Either slavery is bad or it’s not. I’m not understanding the difference in your mind between being conscripted to labor under extremely harsh conditions versus being conscripted be killed and maimed. Both are very, horribly wrong. You are essentially saying that because one is just wronger the other one is just a-ok. And it’s not.

                    17. It’s almost like some people recognize that responding to massive evil with more evil doesn’t magically make you ‘good people’ because you’re opponent is worse. You’re still engaging in evil behaviour and should be recognized for it. Fuck the Confederacy and their massively dysfunctional and evil society that wouldn’t have lasted fifty years independently, but that certainly doesn’t mean I have to excuse the shitty behaviour of the Union. And that’s really what it comes down to, excuses for shitty behaviour.

                    18. The argument that slavery is bad but conscription is too is better than the argument, which people are certainly making here, that the war should not have been fought because we should have waited for slavery to die out and/or paid off the slavers. But it’s still comparing a relative molehill to a mountain.

                    19. Paid off the slavers.

                      Ok, but then, hypothetically speaking, please explain how just buying off the slaves is morally inferior to fighting a war where hundreds of thousands of people died.

                    20. *When I say hypothetically speaking I mean in the context of I don’t think buying the slaves would have actually worked.

                    21. You don’t stop injustice by paying off the perpatrators.

                    22. But it’s ‘justice’ when you force the bloodshed of hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom you have forced to die for you, many of whom have nothing to do with the actual ‘injustice’?

                      ‘Justice’ is a pile of corpses?

                  2. Slavery is evil.
                    Lincoln’s solution to ending slavery was also evil.
                    I’m not sure which of those is the greater evil.

                    That is exactly my position. The only difference is that for me it is not even close. Slavery is the greater evil. Libertarians are fucking morons at best or evil morons at worst to even think there is any question about which was the greater evil.

                    1. It really makes you doubt how much someone saying that cares about liberty. Sheesh.

                    2. “It really makes you doubt how much someone saying that cares about liberty.”

                      This times eleventy billion, and I’m a libertarian rural southerner, born and raised. How can a “libertarian” tolerate the existence of an actual SLAVE state for even ten minutes, much less the “it would have eventually, maybe died out on it’s own. Someday” statements. Incredible.

                      That is not to say I don’t love the South or even the Confederate stories and legends. I can, for example, admire the Spartian martial spirit and at the same time recognize that they were reprehensible for their treatment to their Helots. There’s no contradiction for me to point out faults in people I otherwise like to think I relate to. In the same vein I can admire Lee or Jackson, of the 7th Arkansas (“my” local infantry regiment) and yet admit that the cause they faught so valiantly for was wrong.

                    3. This. I’ve lived in the South nearly all my life. I like a lot about the South. And I understand the Southerners who made the mistake of supporting slavery and the Confederacy were under interesting pressures of the times, that many of them had admirable traits in other areas, and that the North was not perfect either.

                      But when you prize liberty over everything else, then slavery is the worst thing ever. Those who defend it can’t be more wrong, and when they were beaten it was the most glorious day in our nation’s history.

                    4. By the same logic, I hope you get drafted to liberate North Korea. Sure, conscription is bad, but the human rights violations over in North Korea are just extremely atrocious. Really, whining about the draft at that pont is comparing a mountain to a mole hill, and the day you die being forced to liberate North Korea will be truly glorious, indeed. And there’s really just no way a true liberty lover could look at thT.

                    5. “By the same logic, I hope you get drafted to liberate North Korea.”

                      Except, that’s not the same logic at all. No one here on either side of the issue has argued that conscription is good, nor the suspension of habeas corpus, nor the imprisoning of newspaper writers, nor whatever straw man you will bring up to show that Lincoln or the Federal Government did bad things.

                      Also, the Confederacy started the War, so in your fictional scenario you should at least add that North Korea attacked us first. It doesn’t excuse the draft, but it would make it somewhat more understandable.

                    6. im sorry, but historical examples of fact are not straw men. You should Google that.

                      People did specifically claim that worrying about conscription when slavery is going on is making a mountain out of a mole hill, which is exactly what I was saying. If you personally disagree, fine, but it’s not a strain if it’s exactly what people said.

                    7. Oh, so this implies that the civil war would have been wrong if the CSA had not attacked Fort Sumpter. Is that correct?

                      If that isn’t the point, why bring it up? Just to make another special plead over a serial that doesn’t matter?

                    8. “If that isn’t the point, why bring it up? Just to make another special plead over a serial that doesn’t matter?”

                      Because it does matter. The CSA started actual hostilities by attacking Union territory. The Union had a legitimate casus belli at that point. So the evil of 600,000 deaths can be laid squarely at the Confederacy’s feet, as well as the evil of slavery, beginning conscription and pretty much every other evil of the war. That “libertarians” are here defending an actual warmongering slave society absolutely shifts my perceptions of what I thought the libertarian community was.

                      Anyway, they started it, so the North had the legal justification with that AND the “insurrection” clause of the Constitution. Ending slavery is just icing on the cake that gives them clear moral authority as the “good guys”. It’s like the Holocaust. We would have still went to war with the Third Reich, but it’s nice to know that we’ll be forever remembered as the “good guys” for “ending the Holocaust”.

                    9. No, the Confederacy did not start the war, unless you consider succession to be starting the war.

                      The first military action in the territory of the other after succession was by the Union army.

                    10. “No, the Confederacy did not start the war, unless you consider succession to be starting the war.”

                      Legally, they did. If we went by the Constitution, Article I Section 8 gives to federal government power to “call forth the militia” of the States to “suppress insurrection” and “execute the Laws of the Union”.

                      I realize that the Constitution isn’t the Libertarian Magna Carta or anything, but there’s also the fact that the Confederacy actually attacked sovereign US territory first. That’s always a casus belli for any sovereign nation.

                      And Fort Sumter WAS sovereign US territory, not part of the Confederacy. It was a man made island built and paid for by the Union thirty years before the Confederacy ever existed.

                      So they started it. So most the evils of the war can be traced to their aggression.

                    11. nailed it.

                  3. “Here’s the short version, John.

                    Slavery is evil.
                    Lincoln’s solution to ending slavery was also evil.
                    I’m not sure which of those is the greater evil.”

                    You left out body armor. I am sure body armor figures into that somewhere.

          2. So, you have no morals at all, anything done is ok as long as you can justify it after the fact.

            I hope you are single. Although it would sure be interesting hearing you justify your cheating on your spouse because it did end up making you feel better about yourself. Cause you know, the end justifies the means.

            The real fun might be seeing your spouse blow you away, or castrate you in your sleep.

            Which would be ok, since it would stop you from doing it again, and the end does after all justify the means.

      2. If Obama ended the drug war from the wrong reasons would you hate him too?

        Say Obama ended the drug war, but the price was abolishing capitalism and establishing a communist state. You think he would he hailed as a libertarian hero?

        1. That is a great question. Is the good worth the harm. In your case no. But in Lincolns case it clearly was. Lincoln didnt abolish capitalism and the government he left behind is a lot better than what we have now. I would take the government of 1866 over now in a heart beat. And the evil he ended was enormous, the worst evil in American history.

          1. See my response above.

            1. Even our government today, as bad as it is, is still better than slavery. If you could have a small federal government and an end to every policy you don’t like at the price of slavery still going on in the South, would you take the bargain? I wouldn’t. And anyone who would is either racist, evil or both.

              1. Slavery ended throughout the world without war. It’s just not economically viable. Because of that I do not subscribe to the premise that slavery would still exist today in the South had the war never happened.

                1. Slavery ended throughout the world without war.

                  Not in some places it didn’t. And it still goes on today. Moreover, who are you or I to tell people suffering under it they should have staid there for a few more decades or generations because they needed to trust us it would end on its own. Easy for you or I to say.

                  1. Sure, it’s better to throw away over a half-million lives in a pointless war.

                    1. Sure, it’s better to throw away over a half-million lives in a pointless war.

                      It wasn’t pointless to the people who were freed from slavery because of it. Don’t you get that. IT ENDED SLAVERY. That means it wasn’t pointless, unless you think slavery was okay. Then, yeah, it was pointless.

                    2. John, you are starting to convince me you are not evil. Unfortunately, you are doing it by convincing me you are an idiot.

              2. That’s a bullshit question and you know it.

                1. And it’s really not wasting a half million innocent lives anyway. Half were protecting slavery, so that’s the price they paid for being on the wrong side, morally speaking. We don’t blame the Founders for killing redcoat boys nor WWII vets for killing Wermacht boys, even if those boys were forced there by their government.

                  And every union soldier that volunteered, which was the majority (about 98%, according to Wikipedia) chose to be there. They answered the call, so I don’t think you can blame Lincoln nor the government for forcing them into it. They paid the price willingly.

                  If liberty isn’t worth some deaths, then again, the Founders were wrong too, as are anyone who talks about violence in the future no matter how oppressive our government may become.

                  Basically, if avoiding deaths is more important than securing liberty, than Libertarians aren’t at all who I thought they were.

                  1. There were in excess of 100 demonstrators killed in the streets of NY by militia under orders for martial law by Lincoln. They were protesting the draft.

                    You could avoid the draft by: paying a penalty, or paying someone else to go in your place. Lincoln need to keep the support of the wealthy you know. The ones who needed cheap raw materials from the US South to feed Yankee factories.

        2. The drug war is a bad thing, but it’s a prohibition of a relatively narrow range of behaviors. The CSA on the other hand relegated a huge chunk of their populations to ABSOLUTE SLAVERY. Total control. It’s incredible you find this anywhere near analogous.

          1. I get it: you’ve got to consider the price you pay for ending the drug war.

            Engaging in self-defense on behalf of slaves? There can be no cost to high, no evil too wrong to sink to.

            It’s a perspective that has all the maturity of a third grade social studies student: “Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, and if you got a problem with that, you’re no friend of freedom, and probably racist.” how nuanced and deep.

            1. I’ve never seen libertarians make so many straw men arguments.

  3. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
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    ?????? http://www.paygazette.com

  4. One of the bigger problems with history is attempts to treat ‘great men’ as ‘good men’. Which is often a complete contradiction. I think in the West this may partially be a product of Christian ethics, attempts to secularize sainthood and uphold very flawed human beings, such as Lincoln, Gandhi, etc. as something more than they are. Dan Carlin has a pretty good series of podcasts on the Mongol conquests where he discusses this phenomena, and how it applies to everyone from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan (he made the Silk Road safe, you see, and Mongol society was fairly religiously tolerant for the period, so ignore this massive pile of Chinese skulls). It’s incredibly important to recognize that ‘great men’ were simply men, who often engaged in what would be considered immoral actions. If you wish to justify bad or immoral actions for their results, go ahead, but ignoring them is to create fiction, not history.

    Barr seems to want it both ways: to state that Lincoln was a ‘flawed human being’ but also hold him up as some kind of virtuous saint that validates the federal government.

    1. But the Lincoln cult insists that he is beyond criticism.

  5. Lincoln abolished a really really bad form of slavery and reestablished it in another less bad form. I’d say he’s alright.

    1. You think of yourself as a slave? That is appallingly stupid and an insult to actual victims of slavery.

      1. When you find an actual victim of slavery who is insulted, I’m sure the goatherder will be first in line to apologize. In the meantime, I’m at a loss to understand how you claim to speak for them.

        1. I have never been raped either. Yet, when some feminist claims that she was “raped” because some guy looks at her, I can still find that claim insulting to actual rape victims.

          I am at a loss as to how you can’t understand that.

          1. You’re at a loss as to a lot of things, clearly. I am pretty much mocking you at this point, because you are coming across as unhinged.

            1. You are not mocking anyone but yourself. You can post whatever idiotic points you like. My only mistake is taking your seriously.

          2. British dictionary definition #2 John:

            2. a person who is forced to work for another against his will

            Lot’s of us meet this requirement.

            1. Lots***

              Need edit button plz.

      2. Are you forced to work for others against your will just in order to provide for your life and your family?

        Don’t be condescending John, I’ve thought this through too.

        1. Then every person in the history of the world who has ever paid taxes, which is 99% of everyone who has ever lived, is a “slave”.

          Do you think people didn’t pay taxes before Lincoln? People paid duties on imports and all sorts of taxes to the federal government. They were forcibly giving part of their income to the government and thus working for them.

          Your definition is so broad it is meaningless. Paying taxes is not “slavery” in any meaningful definition of the term.

          1. This is one of the core tenants of libertarian philosophy. Man has a right to his body and the fruits of his labor. An assault on those rights via the use of force is a violation.

            As I wrote in my original post, Lincoln replaced one really bad form of slavery (chattel slavery) with another less bad form (by taking away the right to self-determination of the southern states, by imposing various rights violating practices on other Americans etc. etc.)

            1. John doesn’t believe that not giving one third of your labor to your betters under penalty of being thrown in a rape pen or worse is the same as chattel slavery.

              This is true, but it like saying a girl wasn’t raped if the guy only stuck it in for a few seconds, and her claiming rape is an assault on true rape victims who endured hours of torture.

              He needs to understand that there are varying degrees of things, and those degrees may make things worse than those of a lessor degree. No one is claiming to the contrary.

              The thing is, murder 1, 2 and 3 are all murder. Rape is rape, slavery is slavery. You’re trying to change definitions here, John.

              1. Yes. And from my original post I made it clear that chattel slavery was not as bad as what exists now. But under a proper conceptual hierarchy what exists now can still be classified under forms of slavery.

                1. GOSH DARNIT! Chattel slavery WAS WORSE than what exists now. I really need to read over my posts before I hit submit.

                2. “And from my original post I made it clear that chattel slavery was not as bad as what exists now.”

                  Freudian slip?

                  1. Yes Bo. I think it was.

                    1. If you’re going throw around ad hominems I may as well join in.

                      I find it funny how Red John and Blue John are teaming up here and putting words in people’s mouths.

                    2. I didn’t put words in your mouth, you posted them, albeit unintentionally it seems. And my comment was more of a barb than some ultimate judgment.

              2. One third? I wish. That’s why I left the USSA. I don’t want to work to buy second houses and new cars for married, debt-ridden looters. I don’t want to pay for their kids, either.

          2. Do you think people didn’t pay taxes before Lincoln? People paid duties on imports and all sorts of taxes to the federal government. They were forcibly giving part of their income to the government and thus working for them.

            They sure as hell didn’t pay an income tax before Lincoln – not in this country anyway. And before Obama they never had to pay an Obamacare tax just because they exist either.

            Your definition is so broad it is meaningless. Paying taxes is not “slavery” in any meaningful definition of the term.

            And your definition is a joke. Apparently ownership of a human being by a private individual is slavery, but ownership by 300 million – or by their representatives – is not.

      3. Any portion of my earnings, purchased with varying portions of my life can be taken by the government.

        In order to leave and give up my status as a US citizen I must pay takes on all my possessions as if I were liquidating them and continue to pay taxes for a certain number of years as if I were still a us citizen.

        So, everything I have belongs to the government if they decide they want it. To leave I must purchase my freedom.

        What part of that leads you to assume you are free?

        All you have is a more “enlightened” master to attempts to manage the slaves for maximum return by letting them keep a portion of what they produce.

        1. This.

          Which is why I scoff when people claim that chattel slavery would not be economically viable in the long term.

          Our betters have mastered the art of slavery. Their slaves are more productive than anything the South could have ever come up with.

          1. Damnit, I meant would be economically viable in the long term.

  6. my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $67 /hr on the computer . She has been unemployed for 8 months but last month her income was $16675 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit here……

    http://www.Jobsyelp.com

  7. It is a complete myth that slavery would have ended on its own. Slavery was alive and well in 1860. The price of slaves was higher in 1860 than it had ever been. Slavery wasn’t dying out. The market tells you that.

    Further, the south could have easily adopted slavery to industrialization. We know from the 20th Century that slavery worked in the industrial context. The entire Soviet and Nazi war industries were based on slavery and did just fine. Slavery was going nowhere and wasn’t going to end any time soon absent some for of force. The choices were civil war or slave rebellion. Judging from what happened in Haiti, civil war was the better option.

    1. The entire Soviet and Nazi war industries were based on slavery and did just fine.

      *Thanks dog that my grandfather, a navigator on a B24, lived through WWII in no doubt thanks to Jewish slaves sabotaging German AA shells*

      1. Some of our rounds didn’t go off too. The industries were still enormously productive. Slave labor works. It has worked since the begining of time. There is nothing about economics or industrialism that prevents it from working.

        Plantations were not just full of slaves picking cotton. Many slaves were highly skilled tradesman. Indeed, the biggest driver behind Jim Crow was to prevent skilled former slaves from competing with whites for jobs. Slavery would have gone right along until it was forcibly ended.

        1. So why did it end in England without a war?

          1. They paid off the slaveowners.

            Libertarians today rightly get upset when the government takes someone property and ONLY gives them just compensation. But we’re supposed to have paid off those who owned other human beings?

            1. They paid off the slaveowners.

              Libertarians today rightly get upset when the government takes someone property and ONLY gives them just compensation. But we’re supposed to have paid off those who owned other human beings?

              Not only that, but slavery in England was never the sort of institution it was in the Southern part of American. There was nowhere in England where the way of life depended on slavery like in the south.

              If you’re a southern aristocrat whose aristocracy is only supported through slavery, you’re not giving that up without a war. The south prior to the Civil War had more in common with Sparta during the period when they had Helots than they had with England – and the Spartan Helots, like American slaves, were only freed by war.

              1. England didn’t need slaves. It had serfs.

    2. If by “just fine” you mean both societies collapsed, then I guess.

      I’m trying to figure out who you are arguing with that is advocating slavery. I’m still waiting to see those posts because they seem to only be visible on your computer.

      1. If you object to slavery, then what is your problem with Lincoln? The bottom line is either the result of ending slavery was worth the civil war or it wasn’t. If it wasn’t, then you need to explain how the civil war was a worse evil than slavery.

        I have yet to see you try that. All you have claimed is you don’t like slavery. Good for you. But that doesn’t answer the question. If you object to slavery, then why do you think Lincoln was so horrible for using extreme means to end it?

        1. Some of our rounds didn’t go off too.

          Not because of conscious sabotage.

          The industries were still enormously productive.

          Willing labor is enormously more productive than slave labor. Incentives work.

          Slavery would have gone right along until it was forcibly ended.

          Again I disagree. I can only speculate on how it may have ended and why, but I do not agree that absent-the-war there-was-absolutely-no-possible-way-in-the-world it-would-have-ended (some hyphens omitted because of the 50 character constraint).

          1. this was supposed to be a reply to this

        2. We also could have won our war against Japan by nuking the entire island all at once John. The end was good, no one is arguing otherwise. The means in which the end was accomplished are being discussed.

          If you can argue that the only way to free the slaves was to violate human rights and trash the constitution, then I will say Lincoln’s means were justified. I don’t think this is the case though John.

        3. Killed 600,000 people.
          Destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars of property (back then that was real money).
          Suspension of habeas corpus.
          Opened up the federal government to future abuses of power including the kind we face today.

          1. And freed millions of people from generational bondage.

            I think that is a huge deal, bigger than any of the evils you list. You guys don’t. And you wonder why people think you are racists.

            1. Your numbers are wrong. There were 600,000 slaves brought to the US and 13 colonies in TOTAL.

            2. I think that is a huge deal, bigger than any of the evils you list. You guys don’t. And you wonder why people think you are racists.

              I love that you engage in mindless left-wing argumentation when it suits you.

              “They’re criticizing specific actions of Abraham Lincoln! FUCKING RACISTS!”

              You’d better not whine the next time a prog claims you’re a racist based on non-existent evidence and the voices in their heads.

              1. No. Those who think that Lincoln was a tyrant for fighting the civil war are either stupid or racists.

                1. John, if he could have fought the civil war without trampling on the constitution and individual liberty and ended with free slaves, would you have supported that route instead? That’s all most people are saying here.

                  Freed slaves are good, but it would have been even better if he didn’t have to trample on people’s rights in the process.

              2. And you don’t think some of that comes close, if not crosses, the line of ‘the North and South were equivalently bad’ or ‘a pox on both their houses?’ One can recognize the North was not perfect and still think their fighting and winning the war that ended mass human slavery was the greatest day for liberty in our nation’s history.

            3. John = STUPID
              Done with you now.
              Will you go back to HuffPo now?

    3. Well if we’re just making up random alternative histories, it’s just as likely that the British Foreign and Anti-Slavery Society could have pressured the British government to restrict staple goods trade with the south until they ended slavery. It’s not like Britain doesn’t have a history of intervention over slavery in other cultures, and British and northern demand for southern goods was the only thing keeping them going economically and choking them off would force a conclusion.

      See, easy to dream up historical hypotheticals to support whatever you want.

      1. This is really to what the argument boils down. Could Lincoln have freed the slaves without violating individual rights and trampling over constitutional principles? How you answer that question will determine whether you see him as a saint or just as a pretty good guy. I think he’s a pretty good guy.

        1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_Amendment

          Double fuck Lincoln and the revisionist historians that have so obviously polluted the minds of otherwise intelligent people here.

          Lincoln was a fuckwad tyrant. End of story.

    4. “It is a complete myth that slavery would have ended on its own. Slavery was alive and well in 1860.”

      Yes, the CSA had just left and decided to start an entirely new society pumped up around maintaining it as a defining feature of their new nation.

      1. With very little chance of success. The North wasn’t going to trade with them and if the British had decided to join in on the boycott the Confederacy would have been flat broke in a shorter length of time than it took to fight the Civil War. The South at that time had essentially no industry and was almost entirely dependent on cotton and tobacco (one of the major reasons it lost the war). It’s very likely the CSA would have collapsed very quickly. Would have been fairly easy for the Union to bring the Confederate states back into the fold at that point with the terms being a dissolving of slavery. Would have quite likely taken less time and involved fewer deaths and suffering.

        1. Actually, there were additional factors beyond slavery that spurred the South to succeed. Among them were the fact that they were not permitted to export to England and Germany directly. Southern raw materials were (using Federal power to enforce) to be sold to the factories in the north so that finished goods could be sold to Europe.

          In short, the entire South was being used in exactly the same fashion that England had used the original colonies.

          The US would most certainly have purchased raw materials from the South, but they would have been forced to pay market rates for them.

          Lincoln fought the war to preserve low cost raw materials for the wealthy connected northern factory owners. He was full-on bastard.

          1. Hush now. One is never to imply that the North’s motivations in fighting the war were anything other than an altruistic desire to rid the nation of the scourge of slavery. Likewise, their reasons for hiring all those Irish and other immigrants at starvation wages were just a Christian concern for the welfare of those less fortunate than themselves.

    5. It is a complete myth that slavery would have ended on its own.

      Why is it then, that every country on earth except for the USA and Haiti were able to end slavery without a war?

      Why is it that the northern states were able to end slavery within their own borders without bloodshed? There were slaves in every colony in 1776. Why was that no longer the case less than a hundred years later?

      The price of slaves was higher in 1860 than it had ever been.

      …making them more expensive than free labor, dumbass.

      -jcr

      1. In fact, in South Carolina, it was common practice to hire recent Irish immigrants for dangerous work. Slaves were too valuable to risk in such work.

  8. The bottom line is either the result of ending slavery was worth the civil war or it wasn’t. If it wasn’t, then you need to explain how the civil war was a worse evil than slavery.

    The end justifies the means. We get it. In your fevered brain, there was no alternative to plunging the nation into war and killing hundreds of thousands* of Americans. You apparently think because it happened that way, it only could have happened that way. Some of us are not convinced.

    *Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War. This number comes from an 1889 study of the war performed by William F. Fox and Thomas Leonard Livermore. Both men fought for the Union. Their estimate is derived from an exhaustive study of the combat and casualty records generated by the armies over five years of fighting. A recent study puts the number of dead as high as 850,000.

    1. To be clear, there were only 600,000 slaves brought to the 13 colonies and the U.S. So the Civil War resulted in a net loss of free lives at the time. The end result though, of course, was generations of a more free people.

      1. Why would you compare the number of slaves brought to the original 13 colonies to the number enslaved in the CSA formed. Wasn’t it 3 million? So it was 600,000 lost to free 3 million, and of course, many of those lost were Confederates, while free men they were slave owners or supporters of slavery, and frankly I don’t count them for much as credit in the ledger of liberty.

        1. That is a good point. Half of that 600 thousand where people trying to keep others enslaved. Sorry, but the loss of their lives doesn’t do a lot for the ledger against the war.

          1. Half of that 600 thousand where people trying to keep others enslaved

            Maybe they were people defending their homes from invasion, like the colonists who fought the redcoats when there were slaves in every colony.

            -jcr

        2. Do you have a source for that 3 million? My source was Wikipedia. The best source? No.

          1. http://www.encyclopedia.com/to…..erica.aspx

            Your source wasn’t even relevant to the question, it was a source about how many slaves were transported to the original 13 colonies, and ignores natural increase and such.

            1. I was wrong and I admit it. Definitely a net gain of free lives.

              1. Props to you, honest props.

    2. Exactly. It’s kind of like someone arguing that we should place every American under constant surveillance and censor the internet to get rid of terrorists. Yes, eliminating terrorism would be wonderful, but I’m not willing to flush the bill of rights down the toilet in order to do it.

    3. The end justifies the means.

      Yeah, sometimes it does. It all comes down to how much slavery bothers you. It bothers me a lot. So, I am fine with the means used to end it.

      You think leaving millions of people in generational slavery was better than the price of the civil war. I don’t see it that way. And I am pretty sure no one who was a slave or decedent from a slave sees it that way either.

      1. John|1.25.15 @ 3:53PM|#

        The end justifies the means.

        Yeah, sometimes it does. It all comes down to how much slavery bothers you. It bothers me a lot. So, I am fine with the means used to end it.

        You’re thinking like goddamned red Tony. The end never justifies the means. If it did, hell wouldn’t be paved over with good intentions.

      2. Yeah, sometimes it does.

        No it fucking doesn’t, comrade. If the Union army just shot all the slave owners, you’d have a point, but they burned Atlanta to the ground without regard for the guilt or innocence of anyone living there.

        You think leaving millions of people in generational slavery was better than the price of the civil war.

        Oh, fuck off. Slavery was on its way out, and your hero Lincoln offered to let the south keep it in perpetuity if they would stop fighting and pay the tariff.

        -jcr

  9. I have always found all arguments that the Civil War could have been avoided either disingenuous or naive. They seem to me to ignore the tremendous amount of bad will that the behavior of the South had built up. Abolitionists, too, behaved badly. John Brown was, or appears to have been, a violent psychopath using abolitionist rhetoric as an excuse. The assertion that the Union could have “just let the Confederacy go” strikes me as absurd as the assertion (popular in some quarters) that FDR could have just let the Great Depression run its course. If men were rational creatures, unmoved by base emotions, possibly. In the real world? Not a chance in Hell.

    The men who ran the South considered themselves superior toNortherners, and passed up damn few chances to say so. They felt they had a right to use the leverage that their positions gave them to perpetuate their own pseudo-aristoicratic culture, at the expense of others, and did so at every opportunity. Their attachment to “States’ Rights” did not for one instant extend to Northern States declaring Slaves contraband; the Fugitive Slave Act is about as anti – States’ Rights as it is possible to get.

    Saying that the nation, as it then existed, could have avoided the Civil War is absurd. It betrays either a complete lack of understanding of the emotional currents of the time, or a broad intellectual dishonesty.

    1. All of that and more. The South was responsible for the Fugitive Slave Act, which was a worse abuse of power than anything Lincoln ever did. The South also launched raids into the North kidnapping freed blacks.

      The people who believe the war could have been avoided or that there was anything good about the South are just morons. They are stupid people who refuse to see the facts over their fantasies.

      1. Often they are just from or live in the South. Regional tribalism is a powerful thing. And Southerners are unfairly attacked a lot making for some defensiveness.

      2. I won’t go so far as to say there is NOTHING good about the South, then or now. The Aristocratic pretensions of the top layer poison a lot of it for me, though. I actually mind that more than I mind the slavery; their absolute certainty that they were, by right of birth and culture, superior to equally caucasian people living North of a certain line is the core of the flaw that allowed them to believe that slave-owning was acceptable. They were worse than racists, they were would-be aristocrats. Defeat and economic ruin were far to kindly to them; they SHOULD have been guillotined.

        1. I won’t go so far as to say there is NOTHING good about the South, then or now.

          My, how terribly gracious of you! If you think the “top layer” of the North did not have “aristocratic pretensions” as well, then you are sadly mistaken. They not only thought they were morally superior to everyone in the South, they also thought they were morally superior to many of their fellow northerners. It was an attitude that goes way,way back to when these shores were first colonized and still exists today.

  10. FWIW, Jeffrey Hummel’s book is excellent even when I disagree with some of its conclusions. If you haven’t read it and you’re interested in the topic, check it out.

    Fundamentally, the problem with both the cult of Lincoln and the Lincoln haters is the same: a lack of perspective. Lincoln had very little to do with the buildup of the slave state/free state issue and even less to do with the growing federal intrusion into slavery (which, prior to the Civil War, was mostly in ways that were damaging to the free states). He also had little to do with the suicidal way in which the slaveowning political powers-that-be in the South went absolutely insane and tore their own party apart and went with an agenda which would have greatly curtailed the states’ rights of free states for slaveowners’ interests. By the time Lincoln was elected, 7 states had left the union under dubious legality and less than a month into his Presidency many forts (including Sumpter) had been attacked.

    Also important is that, at the time, the idea that states could exit the Union was only held by a fringe: in 1855 most of the players who would become leaders in the Confederacy (such as Jefferson Davis, the CSA’s first and only President) held to the view that the Union was indissoluble (as was stated in the Articles of Confederation). Acting to stop a rebellion, far from being the result of manipulation, was already well within the mainstream thought among the people who were fighting the war.

    1. I mostly agree with this. People like Thomas Di Lorenzo blame Lincoln for shit that Lincoln was absolutely not at fault for. Then there are people like John who apparently believe that any criticism of specific actions Lincoln took makes you an apologist for slavery.

  11. Chile, Greece, Mexico, Peru, Britain and others all abolished slavery before the US without fighting a war.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A……80.931849

    The US was the only country that fought a war to end slavery.

    Slavery is not practical in the long run. You can force people to do simple manual labor, but that’s it. Slaves in the south who did more advanced work like diving got paid.

    http://www.drmagrann.com/magra…..on_JAH.pdf

    1. Chile, Greece, Mexico, Peru, Britain and others all abolished slavery before the US without fighting a war.

      Chile, Mexico, and Peru absolutely fought wars to abolish slavery, it’s just that those wars were their respective wars of independence. Had the Spaniards maintained control over those countries, slavery in them would not have been abolished. The wars for independence were partially wars by the people who were enslaved against their slave owners.

      Britain also did fight a war to end slavery – the war with slave traders that spanned virtually the entire planet. They didn’t have a civil war, but they resorted to the use of their navy to fight pirates and slave traders.

      The US was the only country that fought a war to end slavery.

      No. The Helots in Sparta were freed when Epaminondas invaded from Thebes. Most British colonies only had slavery ended when British soldiers ended the slavery of the locals through force of arms. There are a lot of other examples, so saying the US ‘was the only country’ that fought a war to end slavery is absolutely untrue.

      1. I meant to say the US is the only country that fought a civil war to end slavery.

        I knew it was mostly the guns of the British navy that ended the Atlantic slave trade.

    2. Those places were not the South. The American South was different. It would have been great if they had been willing to abolish slavery. But they were not. So saying other people did, says nothing.

    3. Nonsense. Latin America ended slavery as the result of violent revolutions which included the abolition of slavery as part of their manifesto (itself a result of a deal made by Simon Bolivar with Haiti in exchange for Haitian assistance in his war). Greece also fought a war of independence under Enlightenment principles, one of the sticking points being the Ottomans’ system of enslaving native Greeks to fight their wars (among other things). Brazil abolished slavery after the British Navy essentially destroyed its trade and harassed the Brazilian Navy. (Also, Brazil abolished slavery more than 20 years after the end of the Civil War, despite having a more favorable political climate for such in 1860 than the South did.) Outside of Western Europe, most of the world abolished slavery as a result of either gunplay (violent revolution or independence wars), or thanks to the British Navy.

      While there are some arguments worth considering RE: the abolition of slavery, in the actual historical timeline it was neither inevitable nor peacefully achieved by any means. If you would like to suggest why it should merely be assumed that such would be the case in a country with far more slaves and a far more profitable slave industry than Latin America or Greece, I’m all ears.

      1. If you would like to suggest why it should merely be assumed that such would be the case in a country with far more slaves and a far more profitable slave industry than Latin America or Greece, I’m all ears.

        Because certain libertarians like to live in a fantasy land where you never have to compromise any of your principles in order to achieve a necessary outcome.

        Therefore, they want to imagine that if we’d just waited it out, slavery would have ended because otherwise they’d have to admit that war and the federal government did something great for the cause of liberty.

        Whatever enhances liberty and freedom is a good thing. The fact is that it required war and death to end slavery because the south was run by pseudo-chivalrous idiots who would only stop holding people in bondage if forced to at gun point. Slavery is such an abomination that shooting at the slavers seems justified.

      2. The northern states abolished slavery on their own without much fuss.

        What I’m getting at is it is possible to get rid of slavery without a war. It happened in many places.

        It would have been cheaper just to buy the freedom of all the southern slaves rather than fight a war.

        1. The northern states abolished slavery on their own without much fuss.

          Again: Slavery was never as ingrained in the culture of the north as in the south and there was never a northern aristocracy dependent upon the continuation of slavery.

          1. Actually, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Maryland were all slave states and remained in the Union. Slavery was plenty ingrained there, but they went along with the abolition of it just like everyone else when the war was over (of course they kept on with it during the war with no inexplicably no interference whatsoever from the freedom loving Lincoln, including being omitted from the Emancipation Proclamation).

            1. Congress required West Virginia to adopt a policy of gradual emancipation, which was of course superseded by the 13th Amendment’s policy of immediate emancipation.

        2. It would have been cheaper just to buy the freedom of all the southern slaves rather than fight a war

          Of course it would have, but there is no way anyone could have known this prior to the start of hostilities or that it was politically feasible. Both sides thought that a show of force would bring the other side into the fold; the first force assembled to attack the South after Sumter was a relatively small all-volunteer force for this reason. After-the-fact calculations are useless unless one can provide evidence that these figures were known or estimated at the time that the decision was made — it is hardly fair to expect precognition from Lincoln or any other historical figure.

          At any rate, this sort of solution strikes me as naively libertarian in the same way that it would be if a “solution” to WWII had been to buy all of the land needed for Hitler’s lebensraum for fair market value and sign the deeds over to the Nazis. Such would only have been successful if it legitimately pre-empted any other cause for violence from the other party — and is awful bargaining strategy. The real world does not present such neat alternatives for us to choose from.

          1. It’s also the kind of solution that seems to lie behind things like the ‘retreat doctrine’ in self defense. The contrary view, usually endorsed by libertarians, is that you have the right to stand your ground and you shouldn’t have to retreat, even it the retreat option is somehow overall less costly to the public and its order. Likewise, you stand up to wrongdoers and demand they stop, you don’t pay them off. Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute…

            1. . Likewise, you stand up to wrongdoers and demand they stop, you don’t pay them off. Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute…

              Then perhaps the slave-holding states should not have been asked to join the precious Union in the first place. As it was they had to join under a representational disadvantage in the House.

    4. Chile, Mexico, and Peru may have abolished slavery, but they continued a tradition of wealthy aristocracy or pseudo-aristocracy that in varying ways cripples South America to this day.

      Britain abolished slavery largely after it was no longer economically attractive, and did not actually make one man owning another a crime until a wave of legal-housecleaning reforms in the post WWII era. I’m tempted to say the ’60’s, but I’m not sure.

    5. The US was the only country that fought a war to end slavery.

      Haiti also ended slavery by revolution.

      -jcr

  12. I once made the mistake of asking why it was bad for the south to secede from the US, but good for the US to secede from Britain.

    Seems like the same principle is at work in both. In another version, I asked if secession would have still been wrong even if the south did not have slaves.

    1. When you’re seceding primarily because you want to continue the process of owning human beings, it’s pretty obvious there’s a difference between that and seceding because you want to set up a liberal Democracy.

      1. But slavery was also legal in 12 of the 13 colonies at the time.

        So in both cases, you have slave owners who want to split off from an larger country that permits slavery.

        The revolutionary was led by a slave owner and the founding documents were written by slave owners. And the system they outlined was not a liberal democracy- they wanted a system where white male property owners called all the shots.

        1. The revolutionary was led by a slave owner and the founding documents were written by slave owners. And the system they outlined was not a liberal democracy- they wanted a system where white male property owners called all the shots.

          The most radical parts of the country during the revolution were the northern sections who willingly abolished slavery themselves. The only southern state to supply founding fathers/lots of troops was Virginia. The rest of the south was largely loyalist.

          Think of the most radically anti-British people during the revolution:

          Samuel Adams: Anti-slavery, actually ordered his wife to free a slave woman who came into his household.

          John and Abigail Adams: Anti-slavery, never owned any slaves.

          Thomas Paine: Vehemently anti-slavery

          Alexander Hamilton: Never owned any slaves

          There were slave owners among the Founding Fathers, but the Revolution was not waged to preserve slavery and the parts of the country that were the least pro-slavery (namely the northern sections) were also the parts that were the most revolutionary and anti-British. The slave states, meanwhile, were the most loyalist.

          1. I should also point out that, with the exception of Washington/Jefferson, most of the support for revolution in the south came from poorer, younger people in rural areas, rather than the slave holders on their plantations. Slave holders were actually the most vehemently pro-Britain.

            That’s why at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Loyalists (who were mostly southern gentry, rather than hillfolk) were obliterated by backwoods hicks who knew the land. The revolutionaries in the south largely came from people who were not slave owners, so the argument regarding slavery and the Revolution makes no sense.

          2. Also to add my .02;

            With the American Revolution, we succeeded for more freedom. Slavery still existed, but government without representation did not.

            The Confederacy seceded to protect slavery. Period. One may argue that the War proper wasn’t over slavery, but the secession was, and their Constitution specifically protected slavery in Article I Section IX.

            So American Revolution = more freedom = good.

            Confederacy = less freedom/ more protection of slavery = bad.

            That’s my reasoning.

    2. First, we didn’t leave Britain for the single purpose of preserving slavery. So there is that. Second, from the British perspective, our leaving wasn’t so good. So, big deal? Was our revolution pure? No. The Brits were not that bad and if we hadn’t left it wouldn’t have been the worst.

      1. we didn’t leave Britain for the single purpose of preserving slavery.

        …and the south didn’t have to leave the union to keep their slaves. Lincoln offered to let them continue slavery forever.

        -jcr

        1. So why did they leave JCR? What was their legal reason? We know the Election of 1860 triggered it, and we know that the Election of 1860 was one carried out in accordance with the Constitution that all of those States agreed to. That event (the Election) was the flash point, so why secede because of it?

          We also know that the newly born Republican Party was the national refuge of abolitionists like Fremont. We know from countless surviving sources of the time that literally all Southern print called Lincoln an abolitionist and the “Black Republican” theme was talked about everywhere. We also see threats of secession all over southern print if the “abolitionist” party won the election.

          Which is what they did. No, I don’t think that you honestly believe that secession wasn’t primarily about slavery.

          1. So why did they leave JCR?

            Probably because Lincoln threatened to invade them over the tariff. Did you ever read his first inaugural address?

            -jcr

  13. John “It is a complete myth that slavery would have ended on its own.”

    Nonsense. It took the gov’t 89 years to “end” slavery. It then took another 75 years to “end” the jim crow laws that followed the black codes of 1800-1866. That’s a despicable record. These laws were backed up by force, coercion, and violence by the very gov’t that was supposed to “secure the blessings of liberty”. When individuals protested, they were beaten, had their homes burned, and subjected to all sorts of violence that even the government turned a blind eye to.

    Customer: I would like to hire some security guards to protect my customers and the store.
    Agency: sure, we’ll be there in 75 years.

    The power of liberty, and the market would have eradicated slavery far faster, as there wouldn’t be a central authority going after folks for violating the “law” of which gov’t employees willingly followed. If they disobeyed their masters, they would be fired, or violence would have been used against them also. When violations of, or aggression against liberty occurs it can be dealt with immediately. Not “wait four years for only but a chance not to be robbed or extorted”.

    Government cannot protect the liberty of individuals. If it were so great, it would be voluntary and not forced upon individuals at gunpoint. You mentioned that slavery doesn’t exist. That is also nonsense. Anyone forced to work for the benefit of another is a slave and not free.

    1. The power of liberty, and the market would have eradicated slavery far faster, as there wouldn’t be a central authority going after folks for violating the “law” of which gov’t employees willingly followed.

      You live in a fantasy world. The government of the Southern states would have stepped in and never allowed that to happen. And Jim Crow only happened after the Federal Government left the South and ended reconstruction.

      It would have never ended on its own.

      1. Fantasy world? I’m not the one who believes that because someone is elected and puts on a fancy suit, it gives them magical powers that all of the sudden make socialism magically efficient, and that forcing folks to work for the benefit of others doesn’t make them slaves.

        “The government of the Southern states would have stepped in and never allowed that to happen.”

        Lol, just like the original revolution could never have happened because the British wouldn’t allow it. You make a great case for how violent government was incapable of protecting the rights of individuals.

        1. Right vamp. The Confederacy would have ended it’s oppression of blacks if just left alone. Governments are known to just give up power like that. Liberty just naturally evolves from slavery. Violence usually isn’t needed.

          I think you should listen to your own arguments more often.

      2. It would have never ended on its own.

        Economic incentives would have been enough as it was in several cases in history. One of the most common ways slavery was abolished by governments, was for the government to stop subsidizing the slavers and to stop forcing people to participate in slave catching militias. Without government support and in the face of advances in labor saving technology, slavery became impractical.

  14. If every state with a Democrat majority coalition in charge announced tomorrow that they were tired of living in the US with its red staters, that they were going to secede, and that every registered Republican and libertarian in their states would hereafter be slaves of Democrats, that they must report to their local county Democrat Party headquarters to be assigned their owners, and the rest of the nation declared an intention to amass an army, retake those states and prevent that, how many people here would be saying ‘you know, we should just wait this out, it’s going to die out sometime soon’ or ‘we should really just buy back those people from their new owners.’

    Heck no they wouldn’t. If those Blue States just tried to rescind one (albeit important) facet of freedom like the 2nd Amendment I bet we’d see chomping on the bit to invade.

    1. This would make a great comedy movie.

      INVASION OF THE LIBERALS

    2. I simply don’t get why people don’t understand that the Civil War was about money.

      Just like every other war ever.

      Did slavery play a part in that? Yep. But it isn’t even close to the whole story. Slavery, protectionism, state’s rights, power struggles in the admission of new states, bitter feuding within the federal government, these things all came together to create a perfect storm.

      Anyone who sits back and says simply Lincoln good, South bad, is a fucking moron.

      The real truth is, South bad for wanting slavery to continue, Lincoln bad for being a tyrannical asshole who shredded the Constitution.

      1. Except, the South shredded the Constitution. I mean, they literally disbanded it and adopted and entire new Constitution in it’s place.

        I’m not giving a pass to Lincoln for what he got wrong. At all. And I agree with you that money played a huge part in it, but the plantation owners started the whole boondoggle. They like their aristocracy. They liked their slavery of black people, and their overlordship of all other white people, and the enormous wealth that came with it.

        Being part of a Union that threatened that was unacceptable, so they left. I agree it was about money and power, but the Confederacy started it.

  15. What’s funny is that the pro/contra Lincoln has completely overshadowed the legitimately complex and morally nuanced issues raised by Southern history — namely, Reconstruction and the South’s present-day relationship to its own history.

    For better or for worse, the Southerners’ predictions about how awful Republican rule in the South would be was right on the money. Lots and lots of enfranchised blacks and the politicians they supported absolutely fucked the South for the benefit of some Northern cronies. Lots and lots of blacks died alone and starving thanks to the abolishment of their prior way of living. There are letters from former slaves all the way into the 1900s saying that slavery was better than what they had after. And of course, Southerners themselves were absolutely fucked by Republican rule in the South. Longstreet (a formerly popular and excellent general) turned from popular hero to Judas purely because of his association with Republican politics after the war.

    The South has a fair claim that they were treated like shit by the rest of the country, and it is right on the money to point out that most of those noble abolitionists (aside from some crazy Christians and/or Marxists) didn’t give two shits about the suffering of the freed blacks, having moved on to other issues like Prohibition.

    But instead of having this discussion, we have libertarians going to bat for the worst political class this nation has ever had in power.

    1. I think you’re overselling the faults of Reconstruction and its supporters. Many abolitionists from all over the country sacrificed quite a bit of their time, money and effort in honest attempts to help the newly freed slaves. The corruption of Reconstruction governments has been exaggerated. A great deal of the hatred towards the GOP in the South can just be explained by some deeply ingrained racism and the outrage that blacks might have equal rights.

      Eric Foner’s books on Reconstruction are good sources on the subject.

      1. I think you’re overselling the faults of Reconstruction and its supporters

        For effect, yes. I have read Foner and others and — though he gives too much of a pass to the Republican administrations — I generally agree with his conclusions. Even so, you have to agree that Reconstruction is a far more complex and deserving topic RE: federal expansion and so forth than the typical nonsense that comes into play with anti-Lincoln hysteria.

  16. Here’s what Lincoln himself said about slavery- bolding mine:

    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.

    1. Like many pols Lincoln has quotes all over the place on many issue. He certainly wanted to avoid war and not spook border states.

      What, though, did he actually do?

      1. Spooked the border states. NC, VA, TN, and AR didn’t secede until after he called for invading the South.

        1. NC, VA, TN, and AR didn’t secede until after he called for invading the South.

          This.

        2. Virginia in particular didn’t secede until Lincoln demanded that they provide troops to invade SC.

          -jcr

    2. My point is the national feel-good story kids are taught about the civil war is incomplete. It wasn’t the triumph of the good, freedom-loving north over the evil, racist south. We just tell ourselves that because the truth is a lot messier. Things like:

      Most white people at the time, whether they owned slaves or not, were racist.

      Lincoln’s primary goal was not ending slavery, but saving the union.

      Most southerners did not own slaves.

      Some tribes fought on the south’s side because they thought the federal govt was worse.

      Many high-ranking confederates were Jewish and more than 10,000 Jews fought for the south.

      Irish men in north rioted because they did not want to risk death to fight for the liberation of black people.

      Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and imprisoned people who wrote things he didn’t like.

      And so on.

      Just because slavery was ended because of the war does not mean that is the only way to end slavery.

  17. You think leaving millions of people in generational slavery was better than the price of the civil war.

    Fuck

    off.

  18. held to the view that the Union was indissoluble

    You are not free if you are not free to leave. Which is why slaves were/are slaves. If you are suggesting that the States that voluntarily joined the Union should never be allowed to voluntarily leave the union, you are advocating slavery. Also, no where in the Constitution is the federal government granted legitimate authority to prevent a State from leaving the union. Keep in mind that secession is NOT insurrection. The whole of the Lincoln administration is a stain on the history of the united States, as is the government supported institution of slavery.

    Also, I have noticed that some on here have accepted the false premise that the Lincoln admin. went to war to end slavery. He did not. Lincoln supported the original propose 13th amendment that would have enshrined slavery in the constitution. He went to war to ensure the collection of tariff taxes from the States that seceded. In his first inaugural, he literally threatened violence and bloodshed on States that refused (note that tariff taxation was explicitly verboten in the confederate federal constitution). He went to war to “preserve” the mythical union that existed in his head. In doing so, he destroyed the voluntary union that was created by the founders.

    1. If you are suggesting that the States that voluntarily joined the Union should never be allowed to voluntarily leave the union, you are advocating slavery

      Slavery is a status which only inheres to a person, not a political institution. States are not persons, they are political building blocks.

      no where in the Constitution is the federal government granted legitimate authority to prevent a State from leaving the union

      Judicial review is not mentioned, either. It developed because it was a natural way to enforce what was said in the Constitution; the view held by most everyone prior to hostilities was that the power to suppress insurrection combined with the nature of the document, Founders’ intent and preceding language in the Articles all made a strong case against a right to secession. (And anyways, how to determine valid secession if the Constitution makes no provision for such?)

      Keep in mind that secession is NOT insurrection.

      In the case of the Civil War, it was both. I recall a bit of shooting at forts in the general vicinity of those seceding states…

      He went to war to ensure the collection of tariff taxes from the States

      This is not stated by Lincoln or any of the war’s supporters at any time that I can see, though I do see quite a lot of reference to preservation of the union and to the idea that the South shouldn’t have preferential treatment in this union.

      1. Slavery is a status which only inheres to a person, not a political institution.

        States contain people. If States may not leave the union, the people within them are slaves.

        Founders’ intent and preceding language in the Articles

        Are irrelevant. The USG was not granted the authority to prevent any State from leaving the union. Plain and simple.

        In the case of the Civil War, it was both. I recall a bit of shooting at forts

        No one was killed in the Fort Sumter bombardment. The confederate militia fired on the fort because Lincoln had dispatched a fleet to reinforce the fort. The fort existed as a foreign stronghold on sovereign territory of South Carolina. Lincoln’s fleet arrived during the bombardment, but did not engage because the desired result had already been achieved. (ie provoking confederates to fire on union soldiers so they appear as the aggressors.) Lincoln mentioned as much in his subsequent letter to the fleet commander.

        This is not stated by Lincoln or any of the war’s supporters at any time that I can see

        Hm…

        The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the
        property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.

        http://www.loc.gov/teachers/ne…..nFirst.pdf

        1. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere

          A quote addressing the tasks of the invasion force, not meta-objectives. This is quite simply not a rationale for war but an explanation of tasks of an invading force. Forts + duties and imposts were the only concrete representations of Union in the sovereign states; I don’t know how, exactly, one would claim that federal writ still ran if either one of those items can be defied at will by state governments. This is particularly true if this selective enforcement is a preferential option given only to Southern states attempting to secede. (It should be noted at this time that there is zero controversy over the Constitutionality of tariffs, provided that they come from the Congress.)

          I can tell that we are not going to agree on the rest.

      2. Judicial review is not mentioned, either. It developed because it was a natural way to enforce what was said in the Constitution;

        It “developed” as a power misappropriated by Chief Justice John Marshall. It developed in much the same way as many other over-reaches and expansions of the federal government.

  19. Dammit. I had to leave this morning on an emergency grocery trip and missed the discussion. It seems that we are refighting the civil war here and John has gone into bezerker mode.

    I slogged through about half of the discussion and agreed with most of what was argued against John but then he said something that made me reconsider. He mentioned that slavery still exists today, which is true. I thought about the people who are still holding slaves today, the kinds of people they are and the conditions that they create.

    Given an opportunity I would kill them. I would not hesitate to shoot every last one and burn their houses to the ground and I would never lose a minutes sleep over it. If you want to call me names over that I don’t give a damn.

    I still say Lincoln was a shit, but I imagine he doesn’t give a damn.

    1. That is just it Southern boy. Imagine if right now today California held 3 million people in chattel slavery and they decided that they were leaving the nation so they could keep their institution.

      Be honest, would you want to let them go or would you want to just forcibly conquer and burn the place down?

      1. I believe I answered that in my post above.

      2. So lets invade the middle east and all muslim nations to prevent the slavery of women?
        Let’s put up or shut up. We can be the world’s anti-slavery crusade.

        1. Middle East? When do we invade the People’s Republic of China or North Korea to free all the people enslaved by communism?

      3. Being born and raised in the rural South I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and I’ve had to really, really struggle with conflicting beliefs at certain times, but ultimately I agree with Suthen. I love the South, but I love freedom more. Waiting until slavery maybe, hopefully eventually died out is not acceptable.

        A libertarian cannot advocate the continued existence of a slave society, even if its for ten more minutes, and truly still be a libertarian.

  20. Most Lincoln lovers don’t know anything about Lincoln.

  21. So I take it that War and the USG are bad except for the Civil War and Reconstruction?

  22. So do libertarians support the US invading Africa?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S…..ary_Africa

  23. Good thing Iran and Russia aren’t slave states because then otherwise libertarians would be calling for war against them.

    1. Good thing frogs don’t have wings too.

  24. So how about the blowback from the Civil War? Public accommodations laws for one. Tony, Shriek and Elizabeth Warren. Not to mention the Clintons, Bushes, Jimmy Carter (otherwise they would have stayed in New England). And of course Woodrow Wilson.

  25. John Brown was a hero. Abraham Lincoln was an opportunist. Giving Lincoln credit for ending slavery is like giving the king of France credit for ending British rule of 13 north American colonies.

    Lincoln didn’t go to war to free the slaves, he went to war to force the south to keep paying the tariff. He made several offers to the south, during the war, to keep slavery in perpetuity if they would surrender and pay the tariff.

    Slaves who crossed Union lines during the war weren’t freed: they were captured and forced to work for the union, held as “contraband of war”. Lincoln used slave labor.

    -jcr

    1. The status of “contrabands” was highly ambiguous, actually. The facts on the ground – slaves escaping into Union lines – outran the ability of the law to cope with the situation.

      But as the war went on, Congress prohibited the military from sending the “contrabands” back into slavery, declared slaves who worked for the Confederacy to be free, then freed those who were even owned by pro-Confederates. The Lincoln declared that slaves in Confederate territory, whatever the allegiance of the owners, would be freed.

      1. The Lincoln declared that slaves in Confederate territory, whatever the allegiance of the owners, would be freed.

        Which further exemplifies how the Lincoln admin used the institution of slavery as a political tool, and nothing more.

  26. Did someone say “Lincoln?”

    I admit I didn’t read every single post, and if I missed anyone I’m very sorry.

    I think the problem is just as much with Lincoln’s so-called “defenders” as with Lincoln himself. Lincoln did some harsh stuff – war, internment without trial, censorship of the press, paper money – but we can at least understand his perspective: he thought the Union was facing an *existential threat* justifying emergency measures. To him, his wartime measures were not intended as precedents for peacetime, or even as precedents for more limited wars.

    Many of Lincoln’s intellectual defenders, however, are so enamored of federal power that they seem to see Lincoln’s war measures as good precedents for peacetime, which would I think have horrified Lincoln himself.

    When I see much of the work of the Lincoln-praisers, it’s not just that “he restored the Union and freed the slaves, hurray!” but “he showed that an activist federal government is a good thing as a general rule, not just in special emergencies.”

    1. So here’s what bothers a lot of people – that the kind of intellectual who wets his panties over Lincoln is also the kind of intellectual who wets his panties at the thought of a stronger central government, for wartime and peacetime, world without end, amen.

      Maybe Lincoln needs a better quality of defenders?

      1. I think he’s got some quality defenders on here, and within the libertarian community. John and I both argued here that after Lincoln and the War, the Federal Government was basically of the exact same scope and power it was pre war, so he didn’t really increase it. The modern fed.gov we know of today didn’t exist until FDR and Wickard v Filburn.

        He did some wrong, and I’m not enamored with him, but overall his actions brought a net increase in freedom to the nation. Libertarians should recognize that.

        1. Unless you were one of the 700,000+ men, women, and children who were killed in the war. If you were one of those, your liberty was likely somewhat diminished.

          Though death could be viewed as the ultimate liberation if you’re so inclined.

  27. Holy shit! Abortion thread wasn’t enough – now we have off-his-meds John and Botard! I couldn’t make it past about 1/2 way.

    *looks outside for phase of moon*

  28. I prefer the view Lincoln seemed to be suggesting in his Second Inaugural: God Himself used the Civil War not only as a way to free the slaves, but as a way to punish the whole country for the sin of slavery.

    Individual human beings are immortal, so they can receive rewards and punishments after death, nut countries are mortal, so if they’re going to be punished they must be punished in this life.

    1. *but* countries are mortal.

  29. I don’t recall where I read it, but I’ve had the understanding that the issue of slavery was a tool used by Lincoln and his administration to motivate people in the “North” to fight against the “South”. If it was just a matter of keeping the Union intact and preventing secession, most in the North would not have fought and risked their lives.

  30. Just so that you know – Lincoln was the only U.S. president who was OK to admire in the Soviet Union, biographies being published not only in Russian but also in minor languages, and all that.

    1. Didn’t Marx and Hitler have nice things to say about Lincoln?

  31. Yeah that guy is just cool like that. Wow.

    http://www.BestAnon.tk

  32. Lincoln in less than 100 words:

    terrible childhood, massively depressed, becomes complete control freak, supports American System (centralized control, neo-Hamiltonianism), gets elected president, centralized power threatened, angry at generals for failing to win war against militarily inferior opponent, angry at civilians for criticizing him, cracks down on all, frees slaves in states not loyal to him, finds a couple of generals willing to commit atrocities to win the war. Wins war, is assassinated, apotheosis ensues.

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