I love history. I loved it in school. I believed that I was familiar with the Civil War. However, when I read Clouds of Glory, a biography of Robert E. Lee, I began to question what I had been taught in school. I realized I had never read an account of the war from the South’s perspective. It became clear that my history textbooks, while written from a Christian world view, were also written from one point of view: Lincoln’s.
Thomas DiLorenzo shatters the popular view of the Civil War and of the man, Lincoln.
Chapters include the following:
Lincoln’s Opposition to Racial Equality
Why Not Peaceful Emancipation?
Lincoln’s Real Agenda
The Myth of Secession as “Treason” (Don’t miss “Lincoln’s Spectacular Lie” in this chapter!)
Was Lincoln a Dictator?
Waging War on Civilians
Reconstructing America: Lincoln’s Political Legacy
The Great Centralizer: Lincoln’s Economic Legacy
The Costs of Lincoln’s War
After reading The Real Lincoln, I have a brand new view of this age old subject. This book carefully demonstrates with charts, newspaper articles, and quotations that the Civil War I thought I knew about was not the war my southern ancestors lived through.
For example, I’ve always wondered why the South didn’t try to negotiate with Lincoln, to find a peaceful solution? This is a good question. Eleven other countries had peacefully ended slavery prior to 1861, beginning with Argentina in 1813. (p.50). Mr. Di Lorenzo makes this valid point: “The man whom master historians would later describe as one of the master politicians of all time failed to use his legendary political skills and his rhetorical gifts to do what every other country of the world where slavery once existed had done: end it peacefully, without resorting to warfare. That would have been the course taken by a genuine statesmen.” (p. 52)
The South had every right to secede peacefully from the Union. Is this not what we had wanted from England in 1776, but could not attain? Our founding fathers never intended for the new government to become the colossal monstrosity that they themselves had fought against. Long before Fort Sumter, New England wanted to secede three times: 1803, 1807, and 1812. They ultimately did not do it, but at the time, their right to secede was never questioned, merely the reasons for it, which were varied. (pp. 93-100) Likewise, “Jefferson Davis appointed a peace commission whose mission was to travel to D.C. in March of 1861 (before the attack on Fort Sumter) and offer to pay for any Federal property on Southern soil, as well as the southern portion of the national debt. Lincoln refused to even see them or acknowledge their existence.” (p.121) The South was never allowed the right that New England had had in the early 19th century.
Lincoln put into effect many executive orders, much like modern Presidents have done. He closed newspapers that disagreed with him. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus (unconstitutional). He sent Union officers to imprison any northern Congressmen, like Mr. Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, who had Southern sympathies. And the list goes on.
Lest you think Lincoln despised the mistreatment of blacks, think again. Lincoln said in a debate with Stephen Douglas on August 21, 1858, “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races…” “I…am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.” (p. 285) Just imagine a politician saying this today! He would be hanged from the nearest tree! Yet, these are the words of “The Great Emancipator”.
And what about racism? I grew up in the South. I’ve had to hang my head in shame at being born into a former part of the Confederacy, the hated “slave-owning South”. Yet, interestingly enough, the “benevolent North” is a myth! Alexis de Tocqueville noted that racism was actually worse in the north than the south. (p.46) Hundreds of northern men fled to Canada or paid others to take their place in conscription after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Before this, men thought they were fighting to preserve the Union; the proclamation made the war about freeing the black man. They wanted no part of it.
The one good thing that came of the war was the end of slavery. But at what cost! “The monetary costs of the war alone would have been enough to purchase the freedom of every last Southern slave (and give each 40 acres and a mule.)” (p.275).
The highest price of the war? The shredding of states’ rights: “The loss of states’ rights is important because it meant that the people, as citizens of their respective states, would no longer be sovereign; the federal government would be.” (p.264)
Look around at our America today. The states get millions of dollars annually in subsidies from the Federal Government — as long as we’re being good. (Read: Doing what D.C. says) If we, the people in our respective states, decide to do something differently, then they threaten us with removal of their aid. The transgender bathroom issue? Out of our hands. Abortion? Not for us to say. Same-sex marriage? We must bow to the will of the all-mighty men in D.C.
And it all began with Lincoln.
People in both the north and south owe a debt to men like Lee, Jackson, Stuart, Longstreet, Davis and a host of Confederate soldiers who were willing to fight, not to keep their slaves, but to keep their rights. I wish they had succeeded.
If you love history, if you love the truth, you’ll read The Real Lincoln.