Well, old honest Abe is back in vogue. The recent plethora of documentaries, movies, and books about him are all polishing up his halo once again. While they are putting the final coat of wax on the man and his presidency I have only three words to say: not so fast.
What would you say if you heard that a ruler of a country suspended its entire constitution, its entire bill of rights, forced a draft, and jailed every major writer and editor who disagreed with him? You might say that this ruler was a dictator, now wouldn’t you? What if this ruler invaded the rest of his own country by force and killed and maimed anyone who disagreed with him, and then went on to steal their land to use for corporate interests. Dictator? Sure looks like it to me.
And then what if this ruler glossed everything over with fanciful words and flowery speeches. Then, there were literally thousands of books written applauding this ruler and that he was taught in the public schools of this country as a hero not to be challenged. It would seem that the final coat of wax has been applied. This sounds like something that happens in 3rd world countries with dictators. Something so far away that we as Americans can’t even relate to. Well, surprise surprise… it happened here. All in the name of doing good, of course.
If you think that our rights are being stolen from us now with the Patriot Act, FISA, Homeland security, and the NDAA, this is kids’ stuff compared to what Abraham Lincoln did.
Books like The Real Lincoln by Thomas Dilorenza, or Lincoln Reconsidered by David Donald, not to mention Gore Vidal’s work on Lincoln, would never be allowed anywhere near a public school. Anyone who knows me knows that I despise any kind of racism or slavery. But the Lincoln presidency had nothing to with that. Just as losing our rights today has nothing to do with fighting terrorism. Abe and his cronies had one goal in mind: consolidating federal power for themselves. Lincoln was never an abolitionist. In 1850 he supported the Fugitive Slave Act, and in 1861 he refused to support liberated slaves. His agenda was British style mercantilism. Pure and simple.
The British and the French and other countries liberated slaves through the peaceful method of parliamentary procedures. The Americans could have done that too. And if the Founding Fathers of America had been alive when Lincoln began to pull his takeover, they would have hung him in the town square. This consolidation of Federal power was the seed for the American Republic to move from Republic to Empire at the turn of the 20th century with the Spanish-American war. And it has been downhill ever since. Now that we are the policemen and plunderers of the world, it is that that will lead to our downfall.
According to progressive historian Howard Zinn, 4 out of 5 landowners did not own slaves in the south, and yet they were taken over by this dictator and his robber barons. President Lincoln’s legacy is one of massive bloodshed and shame. It is this myth that needs to be exploded once and for all or we will always be under the spell of other presidents that try and do the same. His movie this year may get the Oscar, but that should come as no surprise, for Empires always award the most wicked among them. That is why Empires fall.
Howard Zinn’s “Three Holy Wars” (shorter version)
from the archives
Howard Zinn: Myths of the Good Wars (Three ‘Holy’ Wars) (must-see) (longer version)