O Captain! My Tyrant!

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When it comes to Honest Abe, Americans aren’t always honest with themselves.

Sunday marked the 203rd birthday of the 16th President of the United States, The Great Emancipator: Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln Liked Racial Inequality

Lincoln is a President who many Americans hold in great esteem, and many take a peculiar notion from their earliest school lectures: Lincoln ended slavery and preserved the Union in doing so. This is false. Perhaps the end of slavery was a byproduct of the Civil War, but it is often duly noted that every other country that abolished slavery during the 19th century did so peacefully by means of emancipation compensation or waiting until industrialization effectively eliminated the need for slave labor. Historians have never ceased to argue whether this would have happened in the United States had the Civil War not occurred because Southern States rejected the idea of compensated emancipation each time it was proposed.

But Lincoln did not free the slaves. In fact, it could be said that the President effectively enslaved the 11 States that seceded from the Union to the will of a Federal government that today has grown into a mammoth of stifling bureaucracy.

The idea that Lincoln had any interest in freeing slaves was heavily based in rumors spurred by his Democratic challenger, Stephen Douglas, during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates during a Senate race in 1858. Douglas focused much of his campaign on issues of race relations and accused Lincoln, and Republicans in general, of advocating the political and social equality of the white and black races, and of thereby promoting racial amalgamation. Lincoln flatly denied the charge, saying that he simply wanted to stop the spread of slavery to the Western territories and new States to reduce the proximity between whites and blacks, thereby reducing chances of race mixing. Douglas won the election, but the Lincoln-Douglas debates had raised Lincoln’s political profile.

On Aug. 21, 1858, before a crowd of 10,000 in Ottawa, Ill., Lincoln declared:

I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.

When Lincoln became the Republican nominee for President in 1860, Southerners became very nervous. Though he and most Republicans contended that abolishing slavery was not an issue of central importance, Douglas’ accusations from 1858 stuck in the minds of many in the South. After the results of the election were known, South Carolina called for a State convention to vote on secession. Within 40 days of South Carolina’s secession, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed suit. The Confederate States of America was formed, and Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was inaugurated as its President — all before Lincoln took office.

Lincoln Opposed ‘The Consent Of The Governed’

In his inauguration speech on March 4, 1861, Lincoln again said that he had no ambition of freeing slaves, and he told his audience that no State had the right to withdraw itself from the Union:

I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it, so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or, in some authoritative manner, direct the contrary.

Lincoln held no regard for the Jeffersonian principle of “consent of the governed.”

The war to preserve the Union and forever make each State in it subservient to the edict of the ruling class began on April 12, 1861, when Southern secessionists sought control of the U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter, S.C., and so began Lincoln’s tyranny.

Violence in the United States gave Lincoln the opportunity to exercise practices expressly forbidden in the Constitution.

In 1861, in order to finance the Civil War, Lincoln signed the Revenue Act, imposing the first Federal income tax in U.S. history. The Revenue Act defined income as gain “derived from any kind of property, or from any professional trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere or from any source whatever.”

The President suspended Habeas Corpus in 1862 and, like a true despot, began to order the military arrest of thousands of critics in order to ensure that supreme power in the United States would forever be wielded from Washington, D.C., where the Federal income tax money was being sent. Federal bureaucrats have long thanked Lincoln for testing the waters of how far tyranny would be allowed to go in the United States, most recently paying tribute with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that allows for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.

When Chief Justice of the United States, Roger B. Taney, issued an opinion in the case of Ex parte Merryman (May, 1861) that declared Lincoln’s actions unConstitutional, the embarrassed tyrant did what any other would do: He ordered Taney’s arrest.

Professor Thomas DiLorenzo in his book The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War probably best summarizes Lincoln’s assaults on the Constitution:

Lincoln implemented a series of unconstitutional acts, including launching an invasion of the South without consulting Congress, as required by the Constitution; declaring martial law; blockading the Southern ports; suspending the writ of habeas corpus for the duration of his administration; imprisoning without trial thousands of Northern citizens; arresting and imprisoning newspaper publishers who were critical of him; censoring all telegraph communication; nationalizing the railroads; creating several new states without the consent of the citizens of those states; ordering Federal troops to interfere with elections in the North by intimidating Democratic voters; deporting a member of Congress, Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, for criticizing the administration’s income tax proposal at a Democratic Party rally; confiscating private property; confiscating firearms in violation of the Second Amendment; and effectively gutting the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution, among other things.

In observing today’s American political landscape, as lawmakers continue to do everything in their power to take away citizens’ rights, it is no surprise that people are still taught and still believe that Lincoln freed the slaves because he cared, saved the Union because the Constitution gave him the right and that the United State could not have survived — or would have been worse off in the long term –without him. He remains the most powerful propaganda tool the United States has ever seen for the advancement of Federal tyranny.

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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