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The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
08-31-2022, 08:38 AM
Post: #16
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
Mike,

Don't forget, however, that compensated emancipation would have had to be approved by Congress since it controls the purse strings. I personally doubt that the Radicals would have approved paying a defeated South one cent for something that was on the way out with their defeat.

Roger, I agree wholeheartedly with Neely, which is why I believe not only would Lincoln have been stymied by the Radicals on anything less than total capitulation where slavery was concerned. I also think much of the public would have rejected anything that made their sacrifice seem unnecessary. While I have no solid numbers I would like to see a study on the average citizen's view of Reconstruction policy. I have also long held the belief that had Reconstruction been more punitive the Lost Cause school would have been less likely to hold sway throughout history like it has.

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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08-31-2022, 08:00 PM
Post: #17
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
(08-30-2022 03:28 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  David, in The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia, Dr. Mark E. Neely, Jr. writes:

"No myth has a stronger hold on the popular mind than the assertion that John Wilkes Booth's bullet killed the best friend the South ever had. Yet the mildness of Lincoln's plans for Reconstruction may well have been a lure to get a warring people back. What he would have done in peacetime remains unknown."

What do you (or anyone who would like to voice an opinion) think of that statement?

I think that President Lincoln did everything he could at any given time and in any way that he thought may be most conducive to progress. President Lincoln would do so by means of factual observation and rhetorical argument, at the appropriate time and place, and whether his argument was being made on an individual or group basis, or even speaking to the entire nation.

For example, the letter to the Louisiana Governor reads: "I barely suggest, for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in, as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone."

Perhaps the best example of this political persuasion philosophy is President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

"Fellow countrymen: at this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends is as well known to the public as to myself and it is I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

"On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it ~ all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place devoted altogether to saving the Union without war insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war ~ seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

"One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves not distributed generally over the union but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered ~ that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses for it must needs be that offenses come but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which in the providence of God must needs come but which having continued through His appointed time He now wills to remove and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him. Fondly do we hope ~ fervently do we pray ~ that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan ~ to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-02-2022, 02:19 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2022 02:20 PM by David Lockmiller.)
Post: #18
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
(08-31-2022 06:15 AM)AussieMick Wrote:  A major problem for the South (as I understand it) was that the War had brought massive poverty ... and this continued for many decades. Compensation for the slaves would, yes, have been a huge impost on the national economy. But, like the Marshall Plan for Europe after WW2, the $$$ could have been used by the South to re-build and the massive poverty could have been addressed ... rather than lasting until, what, the 1960's. And that 'huge impost' could have been wiped out and the potential resources (brains, labour, initiative, etc ) of all peoples (regardless of skin colour) in the South would have been effectively used.

President Lincoln’s last effort at compensated emancipation was made to his cabinet on February 6, 1865. Both Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her Lincoln Prize winning work Team of Rivals (at and about pages 695 - 696), and Professor Michael Burlingame, in his Lincoln Prize winning work Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Vol. Two, at and about pages 759 - 760) wrote about the cabinet meeting on this topic.

Professor Burlingame wrote:

On February 6, [1865] Lincoln introduced to the cabinet a resolution embodying the proposal he made at the conference [with the Confederate delegation at Hampton Roads] – to offer $400 million as compensation to slaveholders if the Confederacy would surrender by April 1. Half would be paid upon that surrender and the other half if the Thirteenth Amendment were ratified by July 1. Should Congress pass this resolution, Lincoln pledged that he would fully exercise the power granted him and that the “the war will cease, and armies be reduced to a basis of peace; that all political offences will be pardoned; that all property, except slaves liable to confiscation or forfeiture, will be released therefrom, except in cases of intervening interest of third parties; and that liberality will be recommended to Congress upon all points not lying within executive control.” (Message to Congress, Feb. 5, 1865, Complete Works of Lincoln (CWL), 8:261.)

In justifying his proposal, Lincoln asked the cabinet, “how long has this war lasted, and how long do you suppose it will still last? We cannot hope that it will end in less than a hundred days. We are now spending three millions a day, and that will equal the full amount that I propose to pay, to say nothing of the lives lost and property destroyed. I look upon it as a measure of strict and simple economy.” The cabinet unanimously rejected this pragmatic argument, which Lincoln used to justify compensated emancipation back in 1862. Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher speculated that Lincoln’s “heart was so fully enlisted in behalf of such a plan that he would have followed it if only a single member of his cabinet had supported him in the project.” Sadly, Lincoln commented, “You are all against me” and dropped the matter.

Lincoln evidently intended the $400 million to help revive the blighted economy of the South. It was an enlightened proposal designed to help restore sectional harmony. (Page 760.)

Doris Kearns Goodwin added the following information in her text at pages 695-696:

“The proposition met with unanimous disapproval from the cabinet, all of whom were present except Seward. . . . Had Seward been there, Usher mused, ‘he would probably have approved the measure.’ Without a trace of support among his colleagues at the table, Lincoln felt compelled to forsake his proposition, which, in any event, as Jefferson Davis made clear, was unacceptable to the Confederacy. So the war would continue until the South capitulated.”

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-03-2022, 12:14 PM
Post: #19
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
Doris Kearns Goodwin added the following information in her text at pages 695-696:

“The proposition met with unanimous disapproval from the cabinet, all of whom were present except Seward. . . . Had Seward been there, Usher mused, ‘he would probably have approved the measure.’ Without a trace of support among his colleagues at the table, Lincoln felt compelled to forsake his proposition, which, in any event, as Jefferson Davis made clear, was unacceptable to the Confederacy. So the war would continue until the South capitulated.”

Roger, what do you (or anyone who would like to voice an opinion) think of these statements?

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-03-2022, 02:15 PM
Post: #20
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
Offhand I think I agree with the Cabinet. A plan that gives money to the slaveholders, but not to the slaves themselves, just doesn't seem right to me. If the proposal had also included help for the former slaves, then I would be more supportive of it. I realize adding such a proposal would be dismissed by the Confederacy, but it (the Confederacy) wasn't going to accept Lincoln's proposal anyway.
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09-03-2022, 08:08 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2022 08:09 PM by David Lockmiller.)
Post: #21
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
(09-03-2022 02:15 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  Offhand I think I agree with the Cabinet. A plan that gives money to the slaveholders, but not to the slaves themselves, just doesn't seem right to me. If the proposal had also included help for the former slaves, then I would be more supportive of it. I realize adding such a proposal would be dismissed by the Confederacy, but it (the Confederacy) wasn't going to accept Lincoln's proposal anyway.

That is a good point: "A plan that gives money to the slaveholders, but not to the slaves themselves, just doesn't seem right to me."

"Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces but let us judge not that we be not judged."

Perhaps the plan should be considered in two phases.

The object of the first phase was to end the Civil War as one nation and with Black slaves gaining their freedom forever. The former slave holders were to be compensated for the loss of the constitutional property right to own the slaves, as an accepted term of defeat.

In the second phase, cotton would be still the "king." The former slave holders now had a substantial cash surplus to pay for the labor on the open market, free blacks and free whites. Cotton production was highly profitable. When costs rise, the prices paid to the cotton plantation owners also increase. Free black families could start a new life in the west very cheaply. However, many northern states had enacted their own exclusionary black laws, fearing cheap labor. Congress may also authorize payments to former slaves.

But in the first phase, the former black slaveholders had to be compensated for the loss of their property rights. But that did not happen, and so . . . .

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-07-2022, 08:54 AM (This post was last modified: 09-07-2022 09:01 AM by David Lockmiller.)
Post: #22
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
(09-03-2022 08:08 PM)David Lockmiller Wrote:  
(09-03-2022 02:15 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  Offhand I think I agree with the Cabinet. A plan that gives money to the slaveholders, but not to the slaves themselves, just doesn't seem right to me. If the proposal had also included help for the former slaves, then I would be more supportive of it. I realize adding such a proposal would be dismissed by the Confederacy, but it (the Confederacy) wasn't going to accept Lincoln's proposal anyway.

That is a good point: "A plan that gives money to the slaveholders, but not to the slaves themselves, just doesn't seem right to me."

On February 6, [1865] Lincoln introduced to the cabinet a resolution embodying the proposal he made at the conference [with the Confederate delegation at Hampton Roads] – to offer $400 million as compensation to slaveholders if the Confederacy would surrender by April 1. Half would be paid upon that surrender and the other half if the Thirteenth Amendment were ratified by July 1. Should Congress pass this resolution, Lincoln pledged that he would fully exercise the power granted him and that the “the war will cease, and armies be reduced to a basis of peace; that all political offences will be pardoned; that all property, except slaves liable to confiscation or forfeiture, will be released therefrom, except in cases of intervening interest of third parties; and that liberality will be recommended to Congress upon all points not lying within executive control.” (Message to Congress, Feb. 5, 1865, Complete Works of Lincoln (CWL), 8:261.)

In justifying his proposal, Lincoln asked the cabinet, “how long has this war lasted, and how long do you suppose it will still last? We cannot hope that it will end in less than a hundred days. We are now spending three millions a day, and that will equal the full amount that I propose to pay, to say nothing of the lives lost and property destroyed. I look upon it as a measure of strict and simple economy.” The cabinet unanimously rejected this pragmatic argument, which Lincoln used to justify compensated emancipation back in 1862. Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher speculated that Lincoln’s “heart was so fully enlisted in behalf of such a plan that he would have followed it if only a single member of his cabinet had supported him in the project.” Sadly, Lincoln commented, “You are all against me” and dropped the matter.

Lincoln evidently intended the $400 million to help revive the blighted economy of the South. It was an enlightened proposal designed to help restore sectional harmony.

(Abraham Lincoln: A Life Vol. Two, at and about pages 759 - 760)

Doris Kearns Goodwin added the following information in her text at pages 695-696:

“The proposition met with unanimous disapproval from the cabinet, all of whom were present except Seward. . . . Had Seward been there, Usher mused, ‘he would probably have approved the measure.’ Without a trace of support among his colleagues at the table, Lincoln felt compelled to forsake his proposition, which, in any event, as Jefferson Davis made clear, was unacceptable to the Confederacy. So the war would continue until the South capitulated.”

I can't think of what more President Lincoln could have done, under all of the circumstances that he faced.

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-07-2022, 01:51 PM (This post was last modified: 09-07-2022 04:09 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #23
RE: The Reputation of Presidents Takes a Hit in Their Second Term
(09-07-2022 08:54 AM)David Lockmiller Wrote:  I can't think of what more President Lincoln could have done, under all of the circumstances that he faced.

Fido says ....
Just pass the buck over to Andy Johnson and Ed Stanton.
I'm sure they can put their heads together and agree on a suitable solution.
(You can tell Fido is in one of his moods today)

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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