The Economist on Abe Lincoln's election in 1860 (good read!)

Discussion in 'Education' started by Neubarth, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Neubarth
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    Neubarth At the Ballpark July 30th

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    Abraham Lincoln's election | The Republican President's Creed | The Economist

    THE success of the Republican candidate for the Presidency in the United States will prove one of the greatest events of modern times, if it indicates, as we trust, no mere accidental fluctuation of public opinion in the direction of the Anti- Slavery cause, but the commencement of a permanent and sustained movement. It will be impossible to say how far this will prove to be as we should wish, till we see the details of the popular vote. It is a discouraging fact that the Republican President will not at first be supported by a Republican majority in either House or Congress, but there is good reason to hope that, now the tide has fairly turned, this defect may be remedied at the next Congressional elections.

    It would be a great mistake to suppose that Mr Abraham Lincoln is an extreme man. His views seem to us to fall far short of what may fairly be termed even a statesmanlike Anti-Slavery creed. Few in England have the smallest sympathy with the extreme party of Abolition,—those who maintain that to hold a serf for a single day in slavery after you have the power to release him is a deadly sin,—that Washington and Jefferson deserve infamy for holding slaves themselves, and admitting any compromise on the subject into the Constitution of the United States. This kind of fanaticism is a species of political insanity. The statesman will believe that the order of the most imperfect Government is better than anarchy, especially if it contain within it principles by which it may be gradually purified and improved. He will accept his position and use all the means within his reach to improve it. He will not throw away the only political instruments within his power because they are indelibly marked with traces of the evil he wishes to remove. It is not, therefore, because Mr Abraham Lincoln is very far from representing the extreme party of Abolition that we call his views moderate within the limits of statesmanlike moderation. But few Englishmen, only knowing that the Anti-Slavery candidate for the Presidency has at last triumphed, would be prepared to hear what his views really are. That they have roused the South to threats of immediate secession, which in some cases at least may not improbably be in part carried into effect, will scarcely be credited when we lay before our readers what the new President's creed on the Slavery question really is.

    He is not opposed to a Fugitive Slave Law, though he would modify the one actually in operation. He thinks it would be impossible to uphold the Constitution as between Slave States and Free States without some Fugitive Slave Law, so long as Slave States exist at all. He has not, we believe, declared himself as yet even in favour of prohibiting the internal Slave Trade between the different States,—a measure which is the only efficient step towards the extinction of slavery that is constitutionally within the power of Congress to effect. He has declared himself in favour of abolishing slavery within the Congressional district of Columbia (in which the capital Washington stands), but only under conditions which would entirely obliterate all the revolutionary character of the measure,—namely, that it should be done gradually,—that it should be done only with the consent of a majority of the qualified voters within the district,—and that compensation should be made to unwilling owners.
     
  2. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    Lincoln was hardly anti-slavery considering that he supported an amendment to the Constitution to make slavery a permanent institution where it already existed.
     
  3. Xenophon
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    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

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    Lincoln was against adding more slave states, that was a serious bone of contention at the time, as slave states were in the minority and they feared it would get worse.
     
  4. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Lincoln seems to have migrated from a moderate position to one that grew increasing weary of the excessive whining of the slaver class.

    The war was thrust upon him, folks.

    Had it not happened, Lincoln would have left office with slavery intact in the states where it had been the legal.

    He was, I think, first and foremost a nationalist and a pragmatist.
     
  5. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    The Civil War was avoidable. It certainly wasn't "thrust upon" Lincoln.
     

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