A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Lincoln and His Agenda
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
At the end of this article, beneath the notes I have cited, is "Actual Citation from Book," Mitcham's endnotes for Chapter XII.
LINCOLN'S AGENDA after he was inaugurated March 4, 1861 was "more centralized government, more power to the chief executive, more money from the South to benefit the North and the West, and the prohibition of slavery in the territories to stop the spread of black people."1
Mitcham writes that Lincoln is probably the "most overrated man in American history" because:
The real Lincoln was a reservoir of dirty jokes and well as Yankee stories. . . . He had many humorous tales, anecdotes, yarns, and stories about the New England religious hypocrites and their dishonest peddlers. . . . Of the twenty-three preachers in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois, only three supported Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860.2
Lincoln's closest friends did not believe him a Christian though he had memorized enough Bible passages to use them when needed. His law partner William Herndon did not believe Lincoln was a "believer" and Ward Hill Lamon stated Lincoln "'was not a Christian.'"3 He did, however, value clerical support:
Later, during the war, in areas occupied by the Union army, Union generals forced Southern preachers to pray for him [Lincoln]. Failure to pray led to arrest, often by being dragged from the pulpit, and preachers were held in jail indefinitely, so Lincoln did received support from the clergy, even if it was under duress.4
Lincoln was the son of a "shiftless farmer" who moved often. He grew up around "uneducated and often coarse men and women" and "used foul language." He became a "'a self-made man'" and "great public speaker and debater." He became a lawyer where:
He represented big corporations and big business against the little man. At various times, he represented the Illinois Central Railroad, the Chicago & Alton Railroad, the Ohio & Mississippi, and the Rock Island Railroad. Erastus Corning offered him the job of chief general counsel for the New York Central Railroad at $10,000 a year (about $265,000 in 2017 dollars), but Lincoln turned it down. He probably couldn't afford the pay cut.5
Slavery was used by Northern demagogues to rally Republican votes using hatred of white Southerners, but there was no concern for black people. Lincoln and company didn't want slavery in the West because they didn't want blacks near them in the West.
Lincoln's appointment of Salmon P. Chase as secretary of the treasury is revealing as to Lincoln, Chase, and most other abolitionists' feelings about the black man:
In 1857, William D. Chadick of Alabama visited Ohio. He was searching for a home for a group of slaves liberated by the will of the late Samuel Townsend, and he thought Chase (then governor of Ohio) would be deeply interested in the project. On December 27, he met with him, and Chadick recalled Chase saying, 'he would rather never see another free negro set his foot upon Ohio soil.' Astonished, the Alabama man asked why. 'Because their moral influence is degrading,' Chase answered. Chadick pointed out the 'glaring inconsistency' in him and other abolitionists, who wanted to free the slaves but did not want them living amongst them. 'I do not wish to have the slave emancipated because I love him,' the governor responded, 'but because I hate his master.'6
Lincoln later appointed Chase chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Of course, Lincoln's statements in the Lincoln-Douglas debates reveal his true feelings about blacks which, in fairness to Lincoln, were typical and widespread in the 19th century. Ignorant people today who apply 21st century standards to earlier eras are appalled but people in the past must be judged by the standards of their own time. That is how you understand the past.
Applying today's stupid woke standards to the past prevents understanding the past, which is the goal of the woke anyway. Their goal is political agitation via the liberal fraud news media and the cowardly mob in academia, not truth or understanding.
In Charleston, Illinois on September 18, 1858, Lincoln said:
'I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about, in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black 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 inter-marry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.' General Piatt, a fervent abolitionist, recalled: '[Lincoln] could no more feel sympathy for that wretched race [Negroes] than he could for the horse he worked or the hog he killed.' 7
Lincoln favored, his whole life, sending black people back to Africa or into a place they could survive. See black scholar Lerone Bennett, Jr.'s excellent book, Forced into Glory, Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 2000); and Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page's Colonization After Emancipation, Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011); and numerous other books and articles.
The deification of Lincoln occurred only after his death. Numerous books, too many to list, attest to Lincoln's true character such as Larry Tagg's The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln, The Story of America's Most Reviled President (NY and CA: Savas Beatie, 2009).
Even James McPherson, who adores Lincoln, said: "'Being assassinated when he was in a moment of victory made it possible to forget all the criticism of him, the failures and the frustrations of the war years, and to see only the martyr.'" He admits Lincoln "'is now romanticized" though he was "'an often ruthless man.'"
Lincoln's contemporaries and associates were frank:
Abolitionist Wendell Phillips called him 'A huckster in politics . . . a first-rate second rate man.' General John C. Fremont said he had an 'incapacity and selfishness, with disregard of personal rights, with violation of personal liberty and liberty of the press, with feebleness and want of principle.'8
Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, who despised Lincoln, went further:
Lincoln had been called in as a legal consultant on the McCormack Reaper patent infringement case. He [Stanton] called Lincoln a 'giraffe' to his face and threatened to throw up his briefcase and leave if he joined the legal team. ' . . . he treated me so rudely I went out of the room,' Lincoln recalled. McCormack appealed to Stanton, who replied: 'I will not associated with such a damned gawky, long-armed ape!' Lincoln, who was in the next room, heard every word. When McCormack returned, Lincoln refunded his fee and left for home.9
Other words used by Stanton about Lincoln were 'orangutan', 'baboon' and 'low, cunning clown.'10
It appeared few of Lincoln's close associates respected him and included not only Chase, Fremont, Phillips, but also:
Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, Secretary of State Seward, . . . Senator Sumner, Senator Lyman Trumbell of Illinois, Senator Ben Wade of Ohio, Thaddeus Stevens, Senator Zack Chandler of Michigan, Henry Ward Beecher, . . . and Horace Greeley. On February 23, 1863, Richard H. Dana wrote to Thomas Lathrop: '. . . the lack of respect for the President in all parties is unconcealed . . . He has no admirers . . . '11
Mitcham writes that "The Thirty-Sixth Congress met in December 1860, preoccupied with solving the secession crisis" and of the "more than 200 resolutions" and "fifty-seven constitutional amendments" three stand out: "the Southern peace commissioners, the Crittenden Compromise, and the Corwin Amendment."12
The three Southern peace commissioners were Martin J. Crawford of Georgia, John Forsyth of Alabama, and Andre B. Roman of Louisiana but Lincoln refused to meet with them and his secretary of state, William H. Seward, lied to them repeatedly.
Seward promised to remove the Union garrison in Fort Sumter at the same time that Lincoln was plotting to send a naval force to Charleston and Pensacola to reinforce the forts, which he knew would start the war.
Major Robert Anderson, Lincoln's commander inside Fort Sumter, confirms Lincoln's intent to start the war. When Anderson was informed that Lincoln was going to reinforce Fort Sumter, Anderson wrote Lincoln and secretary of war Cameron and stated:
. . . a movement made now when the South has been erroneously informed that none such will be attempted, would produce most disastrous results throughout our country. . . . We shall strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced. . . . (Emphasis added.)13
Anderson sees that the war "is to be thus commenced" by Abraham Lincoln, who had to hurry up and get it started or soon the South with European trade and military alliances would be unbeatable.
The Crittenden Compromise showed great promise. It revived the old Missouri Compromise line (36 degrees, 30 minutes) that prohibited slavery above it but allowed slavery below it. It had worked beautifully for 30 years and would most likely have worked in 1861 but Lincoln and racist Republicans refused to consider it.
They had forbid the extension of slavery into the West in their platform because they wanted the West for themselves and their white political allies. They did not want blacks anywhere near them in the West so slavery in the West, the Crittenden Compromise and its revival of the old Missouri Compromise line, were out.
Of the three attempts to deal with secession, the Corwin Amendment "won traction":
In December, 1860, President Buchanan asked Congress to set up a committee to draft an "explanatory amendment" vis-a-vis slavery. In the House, Thomas "Black Tom" Corwin of Ohio was chosen as the chairman. Corwin was a veteran politician who, at various times, was a state legislator, congressman, governor, U.S. senator, and congressman again. His amendment would forever prevent the federal government from interfering with slavery in the states where it existed.14
Lincoln supported it. He mentioned it in his inaugural. He wrote letters to governors in support of it.
The House "approved it one hundred thirty-three to sixty-five on February 28, and the Senate adopted it on March 2 by a vote of twenty-four to twelve." It got the two-thirds it needed.
Buchanan signed it and it was ratified by "Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Illinois" but the war made it moot.15 The Corwin Amendment was the true feeling of Lincoln and the North toward slavery. It left blacks in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress, where slavery already existed.
Republicans could then agitate to keep the West white by prohibiting blacks from being there as slaves or freemen.
Some abolitionists were disgusted with Lincoln's support for the Corwin Amendment. Lysander Spooner, "a conspirator with John Brown" who "advocated violence and guerrilla warfare against the slave states," wrote:
'On the part of the North, the war was carried on, not to liberate the slaves, but by a government that had always perverted and violated the Constitution, to keep the slaves in bondage; and was still willing to do so, if the slaveholders could be thereby induced to stay in the Union.'16
Spooner was an astute observer who believed the "moneyed interests in the North" greatly influenced the government:
Their interest, he wrote, was 'to monopolize the Southern markets, to maintain their industrial and commercial control over the South . . . '17
Spooner wrote after the war:
'. . . these Northern manufacturers and merchants lent some of the profits of their former monopolies for the war, to secure to themselves the same, or greater, monopolies in the future. These---and not any love of liberty of justice---were the motives on which the money was lent by the North.'18
The Corwin Amendment failed to persuade the Cotton States to return, which is understandable. Southerners had an insatiable desire for independence and their own powerful, free-trade nation where states were supreme and the federal government was weak and subservient. In the South, 1861 was 1776 all over. They knew their glorious history and their Revolutionary sires. They were not about to return to tyranny and the Northern yoke, just as the Colonists were not about to return to tyranny and the British yoke, thus:
[I]t became clear to the president and his cronies that they had two choices: 1) let the Confederacy go in peace and deal with the ensuing economic disaster or 2) go to war with the South.19
A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Over the Edge
(Click Here to go to previous week: Part Nine: Chapter XI, The Real Cause of the War)
(Scroll down for:
It Wasn't About Slavery, Actual Citation from Book)
1 Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War (Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2020), 121.
2 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 122.
3 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 123.
6 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 123-124.
7 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 124.
9 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 125.
11 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 125-126.
12 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 127.
13 Gene Kizer, Jr., Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. (Charleston and James Island: Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2014), 91-93.
14 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 127.
16 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 128.
19 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 129.