American History 101

Okay, time for a history lesson. Kids, pay attention, because you won’t read this in your public school textbooks. The really good history teachers will confirm it, but you won’t read it in your schoolbooks.

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln never freed a single solitary slave.

What? You’re shocked! You’re astounded! He is, after all, called “The Great Emancipator.”

The Great Dictator is a more appropriate title.

Don’t believe me? The next time someone tells you that Lincoln freed the slaves, ask them to name one.

Just one.

Any one.

That’s right, they won’t be able to because he never freed any.

You see, Lincoln was very much like Bill Clinton—he was a very good politician and he did things that needed to be done to accomplish his tasks. The Emancipation Proclamation was a brilliant move on Lincoln’s part—it accomplished what he wanted, which was furthering the cause of war. But it didn’t free any slaves. You see, Lincoln’s war wasn’t going well—the Southerners were winning most of the battles and embarrassing the Federal troops. England and France were close to recognizing the South as an independent nation. If that happened, they would likely help the South (because they didn’t really like the U.S.) and then Lincoln would lose his war. Slavery was the issue that was causing England and France to delay so Lincoln CHANGED the war and caused it to be about slavery (more on that at a later date).

But read The Emancipation Proclamation carefully. You can find it easily online. If you need to, check out one of those really cool big wall maps that your history teacher has hanging in the classroom. You’ll note that it does not sweepingly “free” all slaves. In fact, Lincoln did not free any slaves over which he had any authority—he left them slaves. Even the U.S. government acknowledges this, even if not loudly. The website explains “the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal Border States. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. … Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free a single slave, it fundamentally transformed the character of the war.”

If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to do so—it frees slaves “except” those in such and such a county, etc. All other counties, it says “are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.”

If Lincoln had intended to free the slaves, why didn’t he free them all?

It was because he really didn’t want to free them—he wanted to win the war. It wasn’t his intention to free any slaves. said the proclamation transformed the character of the war. It did indeed transform the war—it changed it from being a federal vs. state war to one of slavery.

Again, we have to credit Lincoln for being a brilliant politician. He was a tyrant and illegally threw many into jail, but he was a brilliant politician. What? You didn’t know that President Lincoln had many people who opposed him illegally thrown into jail? What? Want me to name one? Okay. Clement Vanlandingham. You can look him up easily. If that isn’t enough for you, go next to all the Maryland legislators who were opposed to Lincoln and the war.

The Emancipation Proclamation was simply another war strategy. It was a good one and a good move on Lincoln’s part in the war efforts, but it didn’t free any slaves.

So, the next time you hear someone say Lincoln freed the slaves, ask them to name one—they can’t because he didn’t.

This lesson was free, by the way.



Filed under Columns

6 responses to “American History 101

  1. John

    You know, I WAS taught this . . . however it wasn’t until college and it was because I was a social science major. My professor made it very clear to us that the E.P. only “freed” the slaves in the “rebelling areas.” Of course, some don’t believe there were any rebelling areas at all . . . rather just a legally formed second country on the North American continent. 🙂

  2. Keith Conroy

    He also declared Martial Law during that time…which effectively made him a dictator.
    In fact I believe there was a letter written to him by Karl Marx congratulating him after the war for keeping the federal power and government intact.
    Good stuff to look up. So, are you teaching History now; Professor Mann?

  3. Lincoln’s character was better shown in not what he accomplished or what measures he took to stop Rebels, but rather in what he did not do once he did act so “tyrannically”.

    He did not set up a dictatorship and had not intention of doing so. His motives and his methodology were tactical and they were also morally supported.

    Slavery had been abolished in England. But to end the profit from the slave trade, William Wilberforce had to – had to resort to secondary tactics to accomplish the goal.

    Lincoln knew that the Union had to be preserved. He also saw slavery as a great moral evil which he personally disagreed with – his speech “A House Divided” given to the Illinois legislature in 1858 shows this – and furthermore, Lincoln wanted, once the war was ended and all states were under federal control and the slaves were freed, to give them their own land – Liberia is a result of freed slaves returning back to Africa.

    Lincoln wanted to end slavery. Many of his constituents thought it impractical and impossible. He thus inched forward and did what he could. He knew men and yes, was a consummate politician.

    However, he had always been so. His “glorification” after his assassination colors this to us. What Lincoln did was set things up so that 1) If the Union won the war, the slave trade and ownership of other human beings would be illegal and 2) If the South won the war, there could be no hard feelings: he had done nothing to them. He was not going to establish a “hate the slave owners” relationship.

    So you are right – he did not free a single slave.

    Until the South lost, and Union control was established.

    I think God is pretty hacked off that there was no “year of Jubilee” or ANY chance a slave would be let go. Lincoln, in reading the Bible, saw that too, I believe.

    You cling to evil, God will remove your authority.

    In fact this issue of owning other men was the very reason the South despised Lincoln. He tried his best to be conciliatory, taking very small steps to end or at least limit the expansion of this evil.

    I am afraid history shows that the South has treated African Americans perniciously and hatefully even though they compromise 50-60% of the population.

    Lincoln REFUSED to treat the South as purely an enemy; many advisors were NOT so kind.

    History shows that Lincoln won the war, treated the defeated FAR kinder than they treated him.

    Jefferson Davis was not hung, nor imprisoned for treason.

    Lincoln was assassinated.

    I like Lincoln. I have very little love for those who support a system that enabled men to abuse, starve, torture and imprison other human beings as if they were animals.

    No follower of Christ can stomach such an idea.


  4. Justice, you’ve been successfully duped by the Cult of Lincoln that exists in this country and are severely lacking in facts, my friend.
    Despite the idol worship the Cult would have you do, Lincoln was indeed one of the worst Presidents this country has ever had. Slavery was NOT the reason for Lincoln’s war and didn’t become so until the EP (which WAS a good political move on his part). There are far too many instances for me to quote here of Lincoln stating before his election that he had no intention of abolishing slavery, but he did hope to halt it’s spread. There is a big difference.
    There is no proof that Lincoln would have been kinder to a defeated South than Johnson. There is much speculation. However, it is difficult to accept that a man who would illegally imprison 1,500 people simply because they were political opponents would be so kind. But, again, Lincoln is quoted as saying he would LEAVE EVERY SLAVE A SLAVE if the South would return to the Union. Freeing the slaves, my friend, was a political move, pure and simple.
    Also, it is a very well known fact that Jefferson Davis was imprisoned for over 2 years with NO CHARGES. Which, just to remind you, is illegal in the USA. Lincoln didn’t have anything to do with that as he had already been killed. Doesn’t make Davis’ imprisonment any less real. In fact, many lawyers were asked to prosecute Davis, but none would accept the job because they didn’t feel they could win a legal argument against secession. Further, Davis was NOT a popular man UNTIL his imprisonment. Many in the South blamed him for the failure of the Confederacy, but his mistreatment and illegal imprisonment caused many to be sympathetic to him.
    Tis okay that you like Lincoln, my friend, but do not falsely attritube things to him which he did not do. In comics, that’s called “retconning,” and I don’t like it any better there. 🙂

  5. Keith Conroy

    However you’ve got to give Lincoln credit for reigning in the banking system…a move which got him assassinated.

    Lincoln had to bring the national banks under his control, out of the condition of anarchy and treason. Lincoln succeeded, through the enactment of two bills, the National Currency Act of February 1863, and the National Banking Act of June 1864.

    Since the time of Andrew Jackson’s removal of government deposits from the Bank of the United States, there was no national bank and no national currency, which, in effect, meant no national sovereignty. Each bank issued its own notes. In January of 1862, there were 1,496 banks in the U.S., 7,000 legitimate notes and 5,500 counterfeit notes. The specie payment on these notes was now suspended.

    Banks had no one in the federal government to answer to–only state banking inspectors, who were frequently bribed. The banks had little or no capitalization or reserves, and operated often solely on the connections of the bank’s chairman. Banks promoting the most outrageous schemes and responsible to no one were the order of the day. The large private banking houses, like the House of Morgan, used large credit lines from Europe to add to the chaos.

    Lincoln attacked the British dominated banks through the following steps:

    * First of all–strict federal supervision of bank chartering, eliminating chaotic state banking practices. State chartered banks fell from 1,466 to 297, while federal banks increased to over 1,600.

    * Secondly–regulations were imposed covering minimum capitalization, reserve requirements, the definition of bad debts, reports on financial condition and identity of ownership and other elements of safety to depositors. Every bank director had to be an American citizen, and three-quarters of a bank’s directors had to be residents of the state in which the bank did business. Interest rates were limited by state usury laws, with the maximum allowable rate set at 7%.

    * The third step concerned the control of currency. There were to be two kinds of legal money: greenbacks and bank-issued notes. Government-authorized bank-issued notes were strictly regulated. Banks were required to deposit bonds with the Treasury to qualify as a circulator of notes, and strict specie and money reserves were also required.

    During the war, $450 million in greenbacks were issued. It is doubtful the war could have been won without the issuance of the greenbacks. By creating $450 million worth of greenbacks, Lincoln increased, by increasing government credit, government spending by 300%! The revolutionary nature of the greenbacks, of putting a nation in charge of its own currency, cannot be overstated. The Venetian system of finance was based upon limiting payment to gold, and controlling the gold supply, as was the Venetian-inspired British system.

    Eventually Wilson sold the US out to the international banks with the acceptance of the Federal reverse. But it took sometime for them to pick up the pieces.

  6. You are so right! Lincoln’s own words show he was anti black and hated civil rights.

    There is a great movie clip from 1940, about Lincon’s owns rabid anti black words, see how much he really hated blacks, and wanted them to be deported.

    People have tried to edit Lincoln’s quotes to make him look like he cared– well guess what, Lincoln was all about blacks being inferior. It’s time Lincoln’s clear meaning was known!!

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