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The Real Lincoln by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

January 7, 2010 by  

Although he is called the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln embarked on a war that led to 620,000 deaths and the destruction of 40 percent of the American economy, not to free those held in slavery, but to centralize power in Washington, create “the American System” of Henry Clay and build an empire.

So says Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln, which has the subtitle: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda and an Unnecessary War.

DiLorenzo turns the myth that surrounds Lincoln on its head, and uses Lincoln’s own words and actions to do so. DiLorenzo writes that:

“According to one source, more than 16,000 books have been written on virtually every aspect of Lincoln’s private and public life. But much of what has been written about Lincoln is myth… Anyone who delves into this literature with an open mind and an interest in the truth cannot help but be struck by the fantastic lengths to which an entire industry of ‘Lincoln scholars’ has gone to perpetuate countless myths and questionable interpretations of events.”

DiLorenzo examines many of those myths in this book.

Lincoln was a proponent of Henry Clay’s American System (taxpayer subsidies for railroads and corporations and infrastructure improvements) for 28 years prior to becoming president. As a Whig Party and later Republican Party activist, he pushed that agenda.

He thought of himself as the heir to the Hamiltonian political tradition, which sought a much more centralized governmental system, one that would plan economic development with corporate subsidies financed by protectionist tariffs and the printing of money by the central government.

As president he achieved or set in motion the achievement of those goals and many more. As a result, DiLorenzo writes, historian Richard Bensel has observed that any study of the American state should begin no earlier than 1865. That’s because Lincoln’s policies virtually wiped out the previous 70 years of America’s highly decentralized, limited government existence.

On the subject of slavery, DiLorenzo quotes Roy Basler, the editor of Lincoln’s Collected Works, who has written that before 1854 Lincoln barely ever mentioned the issue, and when he did mention slavery he did not seem sincere.

But what Lincoln did write and say about slavery will shock those who have learned about him through the filter of revisionist historians and Lincoln scholars.

For instance, Lincoln stated many times that he was opposed to political or social equality of the races; he was not an abolitionist but denigrated them and distanced himself from them; and his primary means of dealing with the racial problem was to attempt to colonize all of American blacks in Africa, Haiti, Central America or anywhere but the United States.

And his Emancipation Proclamation, taught in schools as having been a document that freed the slaves, proclaimed them free only in rebel-held territories and exempted Northern States and much of the areas held by the Union Army. It was recognized in editorials of the time as being nothing more than a political gimmick.

In a famous public letter to New York Tribune editor Horace Greely in 1862, Lincoln explained he wasn’t particularly concerned about emancipation per se; forcing the secessionists to remain in the Union was his main objective.

In fact, as DiLorenzo writes, Lincoln’s true feelings on race mirrored the overwhelming majority of white Northerners at the time who discriminated against free blacks so severely that several states, including Lincoln’s Illinois, amended their constitutions to prohibit the emigration of black people into those states.

DiLorenzo uses extensive footnotes to back his claims about Lincoln’s real agenda and also has a chapter the deals with the long history of the right of secession in America. This disputes Lincoln’s assertion that no such right ever existed and that the federal government created the states, which were therefore not sovereign, and waged a war to prove himself right.

He also deals with the claim by so many Lincoln scholars that Lincoln “saved” the Constitution by suspending constitutional liberty in the North for the duration of his administration. As DiLorenzo writes:

Quite a few Lincoln  scholars have labeled Lincoln a “dictator” for launching a military invasion without the consent of Congress; suspending habeas corpus; imprisoning thousands of Northern citizens without trial for merely opposing his policies; censoring all telegraph communication and imprisoning dozens of opposition newspaper publishers; nationalizing the railroads; using Federal troops to interfere with elections; confiscating firearms; and deporting an opposition member of Congress after he opposed Lincoln’s income tax proposal during a Democratic Party rally in Ohio.

Even though many have labeled these acts as “dictatorial,” they usually add that Lincoln was a “good” or “benevolent” dictator. In reality, these precedents did irreparable harm to constitutional liberty in America…

For a truthful and unvarnished look at a president who has become larger than life—as  depicted by his monument in Washington—but whose legacy is built on myths, mischaracterizations and lies, this book is a must-read.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • David

    When I was in the 6th grade, (in Ohio) while we were learning about the civil war, everyone seemed to say that President Lincoln was the greatest man on Earth, and our best president ever, and that he was right to preserve the union, even if it meant war, and that the north was right, etc, etc. I was afraid to say this out loud at the time, but I remember thinking, if some states wanted to secede, why not let them? If a state is free to join the union, it should be free to leave. It is much more complicated than that, but but basically,
    if you are not a prisoner, you should be allowed to leave if you want to.

  • Pal Revere

    Mr Lincoln Like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D Eisenhower, Lindon Bans Johnson, are the Greatest Destroyer of the union Republicand,Finished off By Niggards Carter,Bushes,Clintons and Now Their Halfe White Barrack Hueisan Sortoros Oboma .And Used in Every Case Christians to Murder Christians and Destroy this Once Free Nation The All used Selected Slaves To Kill Slave Holdersand in all cases their was A Anti American Lobby Behind Them World Bar Assoation World Zionist OrganizationIluminatie ETC. and Changed Our Money Morals and Law. Each and every one saw to it that liberty has been taken away one step at a time and o new God Given Rights were protected by Government since the Constitutions were rarified.And we are now all in Slavery ,Giving up to 94 % in taxes to live on the Land we Aquired from the Natve Americans ,and Now we are Paying For The Privaledge to live on this Land,By Mandatory Auto Insrance Sales tax ,Income Tax, Property Tax Sewer user Tax,socila Security Ponzi Scam Tax Medicare and Medicade tax and Forced to get a Birth Certiicate drivers Licsence Marriage and Dog Licsences so they can use thes as Colatearl to borrow against your Future earning ,Usig Radar And Cameras on all withe the the Right to travel and did away with Due Process None of wich war before 1913 A.D
    Marry Christmas And A Happy Anti the AntiAmericans Tea Party New year
    ALSO Pray for Oboma ,Pelose Kerry Liberman Rham Emanuael
    Psalms 109.8
    in th Year of our Lord jan, 7 2010 A.D.

    • gruvdog

      Dude you have the right idea and make good points but use a speck cheller (inversion intentional) for crying out loud!

      8^ )

  • Chicagoan4Now

    This book is full of half-truths. 2 years ago Chicago’s Heartland Institute hosted a debate between this author and a brilliant constitutional attorney who is also a student of Lincoln.

    DiLorenzo went down in flames when challenged with facts.

    Here is a link to the talk, in book or downloadable PDF form.

    • s c

      Oh, mighty exposer of the truth in the name of social justice, what is the name of that ‘brilliant’ constitutional lawyer? Did you have a reason to keep that name out of your feedback?
      Progressives play a patronizing game that usually demonizes anyone who dares to challenge their ‘facts.’ Conservatives can play that game, too, bud.
      I’m betting that the so-called ‘brilliant’ constitutionl lawyer is a disciple of saul alinsky, and is also an Obummer robot. So how close am I?

      • Anthony

        This one is too dam(n) funny to pass up. OBVIOUSLY, it was way too much trouble to simply follow the link and see the name at the top of the PDF file they offer for FREE. THIS, is a great demonstration of true Liberalism. It’s always somebody else’s job, because actually getting involved is beneath them. What a maroon.

        Joseph Bast is the President of Heartland Institute and I have to say, in most of what I’ve ready – anyone who has been a part of the University of Chicago, almost always comes out spewing Neitzschie-ism from Day One of graduation. Mr. Bast’s comments demonstrate he may be the oddball out. I see nothing wrong in that at all. It’s the Bushes and the Obamas who were a part of that University who have shown how well the indoctrination program works inside their walls.

        – I have now read the whole debate and Bob is correct. Tom DiLorenzo fails in his discussion that Lincoln was a Dictator while President. Tom failed to inform anyone, that Jefferson davis was already President of the Confederacy for about two full weeks prior to Lincoln even being sworn in as President of the U.S. Therefore Lincoln entered into the Oval Office “on the defense”.. not being offensive as Tom tries to stipulate. Lincoln’s initial actions were that of trying to preserve the United States, not takeover like some Dictator – think Bush’s Executive Orders which you can read at your leisure / Obama is expanding on those very same E.O.’s, as we speak, btw.

        The bottom line on this whole discussion was seriously either missed by Tom DiLorenzo or purposely omitted by him. Either way, his avoidance for any discussion on the workings and efforts by the Rothschild Clan to re-engage the U.S. with a Central Bank, extends his entire argument against Lincoln into the realm of sophistry. And, if you read it carefully, Tom uses sophistry several times, even where there is no need to mention what the Rothschilds spent 80 years trying to get away with until they finally succeeded with (guess who) WOODROW WILSON and the creation of the 3rd Central Bank of this Country – The Federal Reserve, which is EXACTLY what the Rothschilds had intended back during the Civil War. (Yes, I realize it’s a run-on sentence – but you get the point, hopefully)

        His Opponent in the Debate lays it all out at the end of the discussion, as to exactly what would have happened had the South won, as the Rothschilds were hoping they would. We would have had the New England States, the Mid-Atlantic States, and the Southern States, and what about “How the West was won”…?

        It is my contention that Lincoln wasn’t shot over Slavery, Mr. DiLorenzo. He was shot by John Wilkes Booth, who was an Agent for the Rothschilds. Just as James Garfield was shot by the very same group of warped individuals that worked for the Rothschild Family. And, all of it over a Central Bank that (thank god, at the time) Andrew Jackson had successfully rid the Country of – it’s on his tombstone. Slavery just happened to be the product by which the Central Bank would make enormous profits all over the planet and especially in the South. THIS is the real truth of it.

        How about Tom DiLorenzo writing a book on John Rockefeller – who was also an Agent of the Rothschild Clan, not to mention one of the 3 men most responsible on Jekyll Island, for the Federal Reserve Act… written by Bankers. It is my contention that Mr. DiLorenzo “favors a Central Bank” and THAT is why he never mentions it in his writings about Lincoln. Nor, did he discuss how Lincoln certainly had to borrow money to fight a war “definitely started” by the Southerners, but that the New York Rothschild controlled Bank would only do so at interst rates of 24% and 36% – either way, the Bankers weer working to TAKE OVER THE COUNTRY and if was to be by Civil War, then, let’s scoop up ALL of the profit we can by supporting both sides — a not so novel idea that even ol’ Joe Kennedy did in his day, I might add.

        Now, you know the real reason why Lincoln created the greenbacks. THIS is what makes Lincoln a Great President – he stood up to the Central Bank…. That is exactly what JFK was trying to do, as well, when he wrote Exec Order 11110. Curious how both ended up dead along the way, isn’t it. Had these Agents for the Money Handlers failed in Dallas, we might have seen NO Vietnam, as it endeed up being and neither would over 50,000 lives been lost during the 5 years we had to put up with LBJ. Over my lifetime, almost NO ONE will discuss publicly the presidency of LBJ. They just won’t do it. But, oh, that IRAQ thing… it’s horrible. Really? 50,000 in five years, versus (what) 3,000 …. Yes, I understand, it’s horrible either way… and that BOTH situations were created by FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS… but LBJ is most certainly just as BAD as Bush 1&2 and in my mind, since I am a part of the Active ‘Nam military, at that time…. well, it just STINKS… to high heaven is my book on the matter..

        DiLorenzo needs to implement some Constitutional studies, especially about James Madison and his place in the course of human events. Another something he neatly left out of his side of the debate. Sir: Have you even read The Federalist Papers? Because, what your opponent (Joe) alluded to, is exactly what James Madison wrote as Anonymous.

    • http://n/a Brian

      I don’t know what you believe that link proves, but as I review it, is has nothing to do with either a Lincoln debate nor with supporting or contradicting Dilorenzo.

  • bbstacker

    There have been several occasions where Obama has referred to himself as similar to Lincoln. The revelations that Thomas DiLorenzo brings to the forefront certainly make a case for a closer examination of exactly what Obama intends or considers as his agenda. From the past 12 months, I have no confidence in this administration in preserving the Constitution and the Federal Republic as the Founding Fathers intended.

  • Narvick

    My paraphrase of Lincoln:
    “It does not seem to me that ignorance is any obstacle to advancement in politics. Rather, it would appear that, as with dishonesty, it is a distinct advantage. One might presume from this that one who excels in both could easily attain high office.”
    If Lincoln had uttered these words today, or if in fact he uttered them at all, he might have concluded with: “In support of this thesis, I need only to cite the successes of my fellow Republicans in the instigation and perpetuation of the Iraq war and the appointment of Agency Heads and Department Secretaries equally as ethically impaired and unqualified for their positions as those who appointed them.
    And, of course, their manipulation of 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns is also worthy of your scrutiny.” Tom Nass
    5th Marine Division – WWII

  • Annie Ladysmith

    Can you say “DEATH TO TYRANTS”, Honest Abe was just another big tyrant, he was also an illuminati and married into the Todd family, another illuminati lineage. These creeps are all the same, their game never changes–, war and death, control and tyranny. It is sickening, when they could do something good, they do evil instead.
    Yeah! Death to tyrants!

  • Thomas Dufresne

    David: Leaving is one thing. Destroying public property (Fort Sumter) is quite another. Remember it was the Confederates in South Carolina who began the physical fight by firing on Fort Sumter, not the North. What was Lincoln supposed to do? Just roll over and play dead? I think not.

    Paul Revere: Your spelling and grammar are absolutely bad. If that is your “normal” writing, I really think you need to get some remedial training. We don’t have a perfect system of government, but take a look around the world. Would you rather live in China or Russia or Europe? I certainly wouldn’t. I have visited Europe twice and while its a nice place to visit, I wouldn’t want to live in any of those other countries. Do we have a fair tax system? Of course not. Could it be better? Yes, but it could also be much worse. We need a military to protect us from foreign adversaries. We need police and fire protection. We need roads to drive on and our garbage picked up and running water and other utilities. Let me ask you something. When you drive to the grocery store and on your other errands and vacations, etc did you drive on paved roads? How do you expect to have paved roads if you are not willing to support those who do the paving? Do you have the funds to pave all the roads you drive on? I doubt it. Bill Gates might. However, most Americans do not. We all need to pitch in to do our part for the good and benefit of all of us. It’s either pay the taxes for these items, or pay a user fee everytime we drive on a public road or need the services of law enforcement, the military or the local fire department.

    I am not saying that everything is hunky doory in the USA. But we never are going to have a perfect system – none of us are perfect. If you really want to see things change for the better, then you need to get up from the chair and help make them better. Get involved.

    • Roy H Norris

      Mr Dufresne:

      Your ignorance of the facts is appalling. At the time the Confederate Government decided to fire on Ft. Sumter, the Charleston Harbor was blockaded by a Union Fleet and with a ship of armed reinforcements and ammunition preparing to enter Charleston Harbor to reinforce Ft. Sumter. The existence of this ship and its mission had been leaked to the Confederates by the Lincoln government in hopes that the Confederacy would fire on Ft Sumter thus giving Lincoln a pretense for declaring war and invading the South. That is exactly what Lincoln did and without the authorization of Congress as required by law. Lincoln was known to have quipped, “I guess it worked”, when he heard of the firing upon Ft Sumter.

      You see the Gulf of Ton-kin incident of Vietnam days was not the first time the United States has used the tactics of inducing and enemy to fire upon it as a pretext for starting a war. Lincoln thought he could invade the South with minimum casualties and the war would be over in a few weeks. Guess he got that wrong too.

      This information is readily available to anyone who cares to do the research of the original texts of the time that dealt with the run up to the Civil War. It’s only individuals such as yourself who have limited themselves to the myth that has been created about the “Noble North” and their desire to eliminate slavery as the reason for the Civil War that has been used to brainwash generations of students in our schools. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read Lincoln’s first inaugural address where he clearly states he has no intentions of freeing the slaves and felt he had no constitutional authority to do so. Also read Lincoln’s view of black people:

      this from the ‘great emancipator’ Mr. Lincoln:

      “What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races.” (Spoken at Springfield, Illinois on July 17th, 1858; from Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works, 1894, Vol. 1, page 273).

      “Why should the people of your race be colonized, and where? Why should they leave this country? This is, perhaps, the first question for proper consideration. You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this be admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. It is better for both, therefore, to be separated.” (Spoken at the White House to a group of black community leaders, August 14th, 1862, from Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol 5, page 371).

      “I will say, then, that I am not nor have I ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with White people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the White and black races which will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race.” (4th Lincoln-Douglas debate, September 18th, 1858; Collected Works. Vol. 3, pp. 145-146).

      If you want to know the truth about the Civil War Mr. Dufresne, you are going to have to get beyond the popular myth that was written post war to justify the atrocities of the Northern People against their Southern Brothers. They crucified the South, and in defeat, our “Great Republic” treated the people of the South worse than we treated the Germans, The Nazis, the Japanese, the North Koreans, or any other people we have defeated in battle. They ground their faces into the dirt while they stole their land, destroyed their homes, killed their cattle, burned what they couldn’t steal, an act from which the South and its people have never fully recovered.

      If the Civil War were fought today, Abraham Lincoln, General William Tecumse Sherman, and General George McClellan would be tried and convicted by an international war crimes tribunal.

      If you want to know the truth, read some of the following books; but I doubt very much you will. You seem very comfortable in your current fantasies.

      A reading list for those who want to know the truth concerning the causes of the civil War (most available on Amazon):

      If you only read one, read:

      “The Origin of the Late War” by George Lunt in 1866
      Mr. Lunt was from Massachusetts, educated at Harvard, and was a Massachusetts State Senator and a United States Attorney. (Available from the Confederate Reprint Company – This was a suppressed book for many years because it completely exposed the myth created to justify the Northern Invasion of the South)

      1. “When in the Course of Human” Events by Adams, Charles, 2000
      2. “The Real Lincoln” by DiLorenzo, Thomas J., 2002
      3. “Slavery, Secession, and Civil War: Views from the UK and Europe, 1856-1865” by Adams, Charles, 2007
      4. “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”, by Davis, Jefferson, 1881
      5. “War Between the States” by Stevens, Alexander H, 1867
      6. “A Constitutional History of Secession” by Graham, John E., 2002
      7. “Cracker Culture – Celtic Ways of the Old south” by McWhiney, Grady, 1988
      8. “Plain Folk of the Old South” by Owsley, Frank L., 1949

  • Wayne G

    I basically agree with Mr DiLorenzo’s assessment of Pres Lincoln and for these reasons: 1-There is something missing in people who have not had a formal education starting at the age of 5 thru 18 which helps our brain develop-expand and has tremendous physiological aspects connected to the learning process. 2-Not once can anyone produce any document by Lincoln to propose PEACE and stop the slaughter of human beings and IT was a slaughter. 3-I’m glad that someone(Booth) had (for whatever reason) the guts to end his life for what he and others put this Country thru(600,000+ lay dead). Oh, by the way Jefferson Davis needed a bullet to. Fact or myth, Lincoln- you be your own judge, was not great enough to be put on a pedestal. Maybe he had to many “dark days” to deal with. To me-it means this guy had some serious brain malfunctions and how often did he have these? After all these years Mr DiLorenzo brings out facts that people don’t want to read or hear. Believe what you want. Sometimes the TRUTH is hard to accept. Some of my ancestors were in that horrendous War and NO ONE tried to stop it-NO ONE. Lincoln finally found a guy to do his bidding(to save the Union) in Gen Grant and look how he turned out. Here is one last thought: Mary Todd Lincoln did’t want or would not let her oldest son join the Union because she did’t want him to get “killed”. I often wonder WHAT Pres. Lincoln thought of that. Some of HER relatives sided with the South and as history reflects SHE DIDN’T CARE IF THEY got killed. My My My. W G D

  • http://personalLibertyDigest Ruby Smith

    BS, from another enemy of the United States of America, who wants to
    spread lies,about any American hero who helped to make this nation the greatest nation on earth. Were it not for men like Abraham Lincoln
    the black people would still be slaves in their own country of birth, as well as in the United States.
    Were it not for men like Lincoln, this whole nation would be under the control of Devil-led governmental people who are trying to take it now.

    • jbird

      Ruby, How sad that you choose to live in ignorance.

  • ScottyDog

    As Alan Stang wrote;”Lincoln’s victory in his Communist war to destroy the Union did exactly that. Because of it, the federal government regulates almost everything you do.”

    Lincoln destroyed habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights. He destroyed dozens of newspapers. He intimidated Congress. He said his mission was to preserve the Union. Instead, he destroyed the federal system the Constitution sets forth. Before Lincoln’s Communist War to Destroy the Union, we had a true confederation; after it we had and have a national government. Lincoln’s Communist consolidated, national government “ratified” the Fourteenth Amendment simply by kicking out the state legislatures that voted against it and installing impostors who did

    His legacy is the totalitarian juggernaut that replaced it. Marx, Engels and other Communists loved what he did.

    After one learns the real History of Abraham Lincoln, it boggles the mind that he is considered an American hero. The fact is that he did everything he could to dismantle what the founding fathers put together under our Constitution.

    I have to admit that if I was alive back during the “Civil War”, I would have been on the side of the Confederates not the Union.

  • noel bullard

    Joseph A. Morris is just another yankee lawyer trying to validate an obvious tyrant. Anyone w/ a brain understands that all wars are fought over land and money. i’m certain he’ll never mention in his argument the fact that the north was charging up to 85% tarriffs on southern goods and the fact that the south had too little representation in DC to do anything about it. The war was fought over money and states’ rights…PERIOD!!! Does taxation w/out representation ring a bell folks?

  • noel bullard

    NEVER forget, the winners write the history… right, and in this case, mostly wrong!

  • Gringoviejo

    Most of the laws passed by congress since Abraham Lincoln have been
    unconstutional since they give the central Federal government powers
    not granted to it in the constution. Thre was a purpose for our founding fathers limiting the central government only certain limited
    powers until Lincoln subordinated the constution.

  • Genie Coats

    I found a school history book from about the 1950′s a few years ago, and was surprized that in telling the complete story of Lincoln, and it included how he tried to HELP the South, after the war.
    It indicated that the government did NOT like this, and I concluded that that maybe was the reason that the guy was told to assassinate him. I was surprised and I thought this was very amazing that the government would act like this!


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