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Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
08-16-2012, 01:20 PM
Post: #16
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
I'd just like to pipe in and say that I was raised in red-neck country here in Southern Maryland, but I never remember hearing that term until the last thirty years or so.

In response to this thread, at Surratt House we try to make people understand Lincoln's necessity to protect the Union above all else, and that required questionable tactics by our modern standards.
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08-16-2012, 03:59 PM
Post: #17
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
Thanks-Laurie.Each geographic area of our country has it's own unique way of life! Lincoln did what he had to due during an un-Civil War!
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08-16-2012, 05:07 PM
Post: #18
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
Interesting that Jeff Davis did the same things that Lincoln did--except that Davis went to his Confederate Congress first and got their agreement by having them pass laws to that effect. Lincoln refused to call Congress in 1861 and acted most to the time by executive order. Then he asked Congress to rubber-stamp his actions. He did it year after year--no wonder Congress was so angry that Andrew Johnson thought he could do the same in 1865 with Reconstruction.

The big quarrel was that suspension of habeas corpus can be done but it is in Congress' section of the Constitution. Given that Lincoln had a more reasonable Congress to deal with--not so prone to quarrel over state rights--he should have acted as did Lincoln and Lincoln acted as did Davis. Surely Davis was not a better politician! At least that has been history's verdict on him.

Maybe Lincoln's Congress was something else that historians have neglected--more unreasonable than the Confederate version? More oriented to state rights than we know? More racist that can be admitted?Uh, oh, now there is a problem.

To quote Alphonso Taft of the famous Ohio Republican family in a letter to Sen. Ben Wade, in 1864: "It is to be regretted that history should have to tell so many lies as it will tell, when it shall declare Lincoln's intrigues and foolishness models of integrity and wisdom, his weakened and wavering indecision and delay far-sighted statesmanship, and his blundering usurpation of legislative power Jacksonian courage and Roman patriotism, but one cannot help it. History goes with the powers that be."

Immodestly, I refer you all to my book, Sic Semper Tyrannis, the chapter entitled, How Did Anakin Skywalker Become Darth Vader?: The Abraham Lincoln John Wilkes Booth Knew.
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08-17-2012, 01:30 AM (This post was last modified: 08-17-2012 01:55 AM by Karen S. Campbell.)
Post: #19
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
Lincoln is not well liked by strict Libertarians today because they think that he invented "big government" during the Civil War. They also criticize him for government intrusion into the public sector through the Federal government's support of the Continental Railroad. They believe he destroyed the founding principles of the Republic and that he was an ego-driven interventionist and dictator!! They claim that the Civil War was not fought to end slavery or save the union, but to expand the powers of the central government. The CSA was fighting for small government and were the first to oppose "big government." They also paint Lincoln as a terrible racist.

The best known example of a Libertarian critic of Lincoln is economist Thomas J. Lorenzo, a senior faculty member at the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute. Lorenzo has written two books about the "real" Lincoln: Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe, Crown, 224 pages, 2006 and The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, Prima, 272 pages, 2002.

I wonder if Lincoln would recognize the Republican Party today since it has been so highly influenced by the far right. I doubt whether Lincoln could find much in common with Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" ideology or she with him. Nor would he have much in common with far right Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, who have adopted aspects of Ayn Rand's utopian ideology of ultra-capitalism, since he, although a man of faith during his Presidency, rejected the absolutism of creeds and doctrine, but not the faith itself or the basic Judeo-Christian morality. Lincoln was a true moderate as well as a practical politician with principles. He was not an ideological extremist.

You can listen to Lorenzo on YouTube, for example:




Karen S. Campbell
Southwest Ohio Research
Let the Journeys Begin Blog
What's New About Lincoln
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08-17-2012, 08:23 AM
Post: #20
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
(08-17-2012 08:16 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  Karen mentioned DiLorenzo's book. It is full of material that goes against what I was taught when I was in school. It also goes against the textbook I used as a teacher. But, as the purpose of this forum is education and looking at things from a variety of viewpoints, I will pick just one paragraph and ask folks how truthful they feel it is. Certainly, if true, it appears to me that Lincoln did exceed what I think would be necessary, even during war. Lincoln apparently felt these actions, IF TRUE, were matters of public necessity, although quite obviously extraconstitutional. But how true is it? There are no footnotes in the paragraph I am citing:

[Image: dilorenzo.jpg]
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08-17-2012, 08:55 AM (This post was last modified: 08-17-2012 09:13 AM by Gene C.)
Post: #21
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
My problem with the DiLorenzo quote above is his broad definition of "enemy" and "traitor".
With such a broad definition, who among us would not be an "enemy' or "traitor" to our government based upon DiLorenso's interpretation. As to prominent newspaper editors, Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, frequently disagreed with Lincoln's policies and actions. Can't recall his paper being shut down or Greeley thrown in jail. Does DiLorenzo site later in his book, the specific examples of "dozens" - (more than 24 ?) of newspapers being shut down, and editors thrown in jail?

DiLorenzo appears to take a common tactic when people disagree politically. Take someones actions you disagree with, and over exaggerate it. Then critisize and ridicule it. Many of our media political analyst do this on a daily basis. DiLorenzo appears to have done this in the paragraph that Roger sited.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-17-2012, 10:00 AM
Post: #22
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
This is a situation where one takes something that did happen, and turns it around using 20th century sensibilities to say "just look how bad he was." Lincoln's use of prior restraint on the newspapers of the day was clearly unwarranted, but it wasn't as widespread as Di Lorenzo would have you believe. More often than not an order to shut down a paper or imprison someone was countermanded shortly thereafter.

I don't know of any serious historian who looks at the record of Lincoln with blinders and says that Lincoln was the model of perfection in office. He made mistakes and did things that should be questioned. But in the end, I still would have rather had him in office than any of his opponents in 1860. And just think what would have happened if McClellan had been elected in 1864.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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08-17-2012, 02:52 PM
Post: #23
Lincoln and Clement Vallandigham
Clement Vallandigham was probably the most famous "Copperhead" (Peace Democrats) in the north. He was always criticizing Lincoln for wanting to be a King and destroying the Republic. Peace Democrats demanded immediate peace with the South by going back to the status quo (accepting slavery as it was before the war). Some Copperheads even actively assisted the Confederacy. On May 5, 1863, Vallandigham was arrested in Dayton, Ohio (my home town) by General Burnside for being a violator of General Order No. 38, for declaring sympathy for the enemy in the military district of Ohio.

The Federal Circuit Judge upheld his arrest and his military trail. He declared it an acceptable exercise of the President's war powers. Vallandigham was found guilty but Lincoln did not want to make him a martyr to the Copperhead cause. He exiled him to the Confederacy! What a smart move, I think!! Eventually, Vallandigham found his way to Canada via Bermuda and then ran for governor of Ohio but lost. His platform was to take Ohio and any other willing states out of the Union if Lincoln didn't make peace with the South.

In this situation, "Tyrant" Lincoln showed great forbearance and good sense in his dealing with a northern traitor. I think he practiced mercy as much as he could . . . odd behavior for a dictator.

Karen S. Campbell
Southwest Ohio Research
Let the Journeys Begin Blog
What's New About Lincoln
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08-17-2012, 03:25 PM
Post: #24
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
Karen,That was a tremendous job of of research!
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08-18-2012, 06:02 PM
Post: #25
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
(08-16-2012 01:02 PM)Gene C Wrote:  Getting back to the original question, Lincoln may very well be considered America's dictator. But he doesn't deserve that label.

As Rob Wick pointed out so well, he took emergency measures in a critical time to preserve the country. Once the emergency was over, those measures were relaxed.

A difficult decision to make, when do the rights of a few have to be taken away to preserve the rights and/or safety of the majority. The powers of the govenment shoud be used to protect it's citizens, not to protect its politicians (from its citizens), and not to protect our enemies. Abraham Lincoln seemed to know where to draw that line.
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01-01-2020, 09:04 AM
Post: #26
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
I more often hear or read that Lincoln was a “tyrant.” That may be a distinction without a difference but I don’t think so.

Bill Nash
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01-01-2020, 10:08 AM
Post: #27
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
The measurements Lincoln took IN WARTIME with direct threats to the institution equilibrium, with Secessionists planned actions that we can label as terrorism, were the equivalent of a modern State of Emergency.
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01-01-2020, 10:57 AM
Post: #28
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
(01-01-2020 10:08 AM)Mylye2222 Wrote:  The measurements Lincoln took IN WARTIME

IMO, Emilie is correct. I think many American presidents in wartime have taken actions that can be described as extraconstitutional. For example, during World War II President Roosevelt ordered over 100,000 Japanese persons living on the West Coast (many of whom were U.S. citizens) moved to internment camps.
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01-01-2020, 01:08 PM
Post: #29
RE: Will Lincoln go down in History,as America's Dictator President?
(01-01-2020 10:57 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(01-01-2020 10:08 AM)Mylye2222 Wrote:  The measurements Lincoln took IN WARTIME

IMO, Emilie is correct. I think many American presidents in wartime have taken actions that can be described as extraconstitutional. For example, during World War II President Roosevelt ordered over 100,000 Japanese persons living on the West Coast (many of whom were U.S. citizens) moved to internment camps.

Also you can compare it with Former French President François Hollande, who took State of Emergency measures after the Bataclan attacks in Paris, November 13th 2015. Thus included house searching without mandate and protest restrictions. At the moment I cringed, but looking back it was justified. ISIS planned another attack against a kindergarten among other targets. And many perpetrators and accomplices were on the run.
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