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Lincoln movie - my thoughts

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eliotn Posted: Fri, Nov 23 2012 12:27 PM

I went to see the new Lincoln movie with my family and some friends.  Here are my thoughts on the movie.

1. The one thing I liked about the movie was that it actually took time to show political corruption, backhanded deals, and the like.  I liked that it at least devoted some effort to showing how some people tried to bribe politicians to get the 2/3rds majority vote in the house of representitives.  Even if people agree with the ammendment, at least it shows that dubious means were used to get it passed.

2.  There were some moments that made me think, "Show me the historical sources", as they looked like fabrications or exaggerations.  One example was Lincoln casually meeting with black members of the military.  I also felt that it could have been an anachronism that they refered to the South rejoining as reconstruction before it actually happened.  It also did not portray lincoln as a racist at all, when things he did in the past contradict that, did he suddenly have a change of heart?

3.  The movie, I felt, did not show the real reasons for why the war was being fought, by emphesizing the 13th ammendment, it did disservice to what was really going on.

4. The movie was boring.  It appeared to drag on and on, and wasn't really all that interesting.

I would like to hear your thoughts on the movie, and would like it if my hunches on what is false could be researched.

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4. The movie was boring.  It appeared to drag on and on, and wasn't really all that interesting.

I thought it was riviting. I thought Day-Lewis was incredible, and as always, Spielberg knocked it out of the park.

It also did not portray lincoln as a racist at all, when things he did in the past contradict that, did he suddenly have a change of heart?

I never understood why, of all people, libertarians would take a politician's words and claim those words reveal what the politician believes to be true. I think the effort Lincoln made to pass the 13th Amendment proves he wasn't racist, and yes, that politicians (including Lincoln) lie. You have to look at what they actually do. Racist people who truly don't care about slavery one way or the other don't support the 13th Amendment. LvMI spends too much time bashing Lincoln.

Even if people agree with the ammendment, at least it shows that dubious means were used to get it passed.

The libertarian wouldn't have conscripted a military or suspended habeas corpus or printed fiat money to do it, but I don't see anything wrong with employing "dubious" measures like lying to end slavery. Who cares? I would have lied about Confederate negotiations, or encouraged WV to secede from Virginia, or blocked operations of the Maryland legislature if it could end slavery sooner.

What I hope people take from the movie is that you can admire the good things unlibertarian politicians do, like the passage of the 13th Amendment, or in Andrew Jackson's case -- remember, the Trail of Tears guy? the ardent defender or slavery? -- shutting down the central bank.

 

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 3:25 PM

QuisCustodiet:

And people shouldn't blow Dr. Paul's mentioning of "voluntarism" out of proportion. It's not code for anarchy. Why would he talk about the proper role of government and at the same time advocate statelessness? Libertarians shouldn't be the ones distorting history. Paul was not an anarchist.

QuisCustodiet:

Fair enough. Yeah, there's no doubt he sends people in that direction. And he has made it easier for a lot of people to be converted "all the way" later. It just pains me to see anarchists accusing him of not sharing his true beliefs. What an awful thing to say about one of the most honest congressmen in history.

QuisCustodiet:

I never understood why, of all people, libertarians would take a politician's words and claim those words reveal what the politician believes to be true. I think the effort Lincoln made to pass the 13th Amendment proves he wasn't racist, and yes, that politicians (including Lincoln) lie. You have to look at what they actually do. Racist people who truly don't care about slavery one way or the other don't support the 13th Amendment. LvMI spends too much time bashing Lincoln.

Huh?

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Dr. Paul could be a secret anarchist -- it's possible -- but it's unlikely. He's more honest than other politicians. It's also possible that he's secretly a Communist, but that's also unlikely. Jefferson could have been secretly an anarchist. Martin van Buren, too.

And Paul has always acted in such a way to defend the Constitution, not to abolish it. On the other hand, Lincoln acted to abolish slavery, so I'm on much more solid ground saying that Lincoln was opposed to slavery despire some of his rhetoric.

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It's also possible that Rothbard was secretly a minarchist. He obviously wasn't a poltician, but he still could have been lying. Maybe Lew Rockwell isn't actually an anarchist!

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 3:44 PM

There's too much stuff on this forum and by other people on Lew Rockwell's site about Lincoln's racism for me to bother pursuing this. Ron Paul's actions of being friends with known anarcho-capitalists and the fact that he is known as Dr. No couldn't possibly be an indication of his beliefs, but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that didn't free the slaves in the states that were still part of the Union (which means under Lincoln's authority), well that just is nothing but an indication that he hated slavery...

The man suspends habeus corpus but doesn't free slaves in his own territory? Yup, that guy is as nonracist as they come...

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I'm willing to forgive Spielburg for this movie due to the fact that he's made several other films that highly appeal to libertarians, i.e. Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, and others.

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13th Amendment > Emancipation Proclamation. Freeing slaves without amending the Constitution is not a permanent solution. Lincoln easily could have blew it by not amending the Constitution.

Oh, and you know who else besides Ron Paul was associated with known anarcho-capitalists like Rothbard? Lugwig von Mises. Mises said on one occasion that whatever Rothbard had written was of the upmost importance!

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:11 PM

13th Amendment > Emancipation Proclamation. Freeing slaves without amending the Constitution is not a permanent solution. Lincoln easily could have blew it by not amending the Constitution.

If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. . . . I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

So basically, whatever Lincoln said is irrelevant, but whatever Paul says is relevant, unless of course he is talking about voluntarism and that the government is aggressive.

Okay.

QuisCustodiet:

Oh, and you know who else besides Ron Paul was associated with known anarcho-capitalists like Rothbard? Lugwig von Mises.Mises said on one occasion that whatever Rothbard had written was of the upmost importance!

You haven't been around here long enough, so I suppose this is forgiveable, but Mises was about as close to being an anarchist as one could be. The only writings he has against anarchism are against anarcho-communism, which was typically called "anarchism" in his day. Even Rothbard was initially against calling himself an anarchist because of this fact. Anyway, here is Hoppe on Mises' near anarchism.

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So basically, whatever Lincoln said is irrelevant, but whatever Paul says is relevant, unless of course he is talking about voluntarism and that the government is aggressive.

Facepalm. If Lincoln's actions didn't match his words, which they didn't, then his words are irrelevant. Paul has not acted so as to abolish government. He has acted and advocated shrinking it (very, very small), but you can't assign a meaning to his statements about government aggression for him. It doesn't mean whatever you want it to mean. "Oh, but what else could it mean?" Fund the government in other ways besides taxation and use it to defend free exchange. If you disagree with what he says is aggression, fine.

Mises was about as close to being an anarchist as one could be.

Yeah, but he could have been lying, like you think Ron Paul is. That was my point. Further, Rothbard could have been lying about being an anarchist; after all, he respected Mises so much...

It's hogwash. But I really don't want to make a career out of this kind of revisionism :/

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eliotn replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:28 PM

Reading some articles, and sort of taking back my comment on the corruption.  While at least it does show political corruption, it appears to be another fabrication to bring home the idea of Lincoln as a hero.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:32 PM
 
 

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. "

I've read a convincing argument that what Lincoln said here was an attempt to be politic. That this didn't represent his true feelings, but was what he had to say at the moment to preserve his intention to end slavery.

Take a look.

"Since the 1960s, it has been fashionable in some quarters to take cheap shots at Lincoln, asking such questions as "Why didn't he free all the slaves?" "Why did he wait so long?" "How come the Emancipation Proclamation didn't just come right out and say that slavery was wrong?"

 People who indulge themselves in this kind of self-righteous carping act as if Lincoln was someone who could do whatever he damn well pleased, without regard to the law, the Congress, or the Supreme Court. They might as well criticize him for not discovering a cure for cancer.

 Fortunately, there is an excellent new book, titled "Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation" by Professor Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College, that sets Lincoln in the context of the world in which he lived. Once you understand the constraints of that world, and how little room for maneuver Lincoln had, you realize what courage and brilliance it took for him to free the slaves.

 Just one fact should give pause to Lincoln's critics today: When Lincoln sat down to write the Emancipation Proclamation, the Supreme Court was still headed by Chief Justice Roger Taney, who had issued the infamous Dred Scott decision, saying a black man had no rights which a white man needed to respect..."

 
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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:38 PM

QuisCustodiet:

Facepalm.

Go facepalm somewhere else. You are not nearly as smart as you think you are.

If Lincoln's actions didn't match his words, which they didn't, then his words are irrelevant. Paul has not acted so as to abolish government. He has acted and advocated shrinking it (very, very small), but you can't assign a meaning to his statements about government aggression for him. It doesn't mean whatever you want it to mean. "Oh, but what else could it mean?" Fund the government in other ways besides taxation and use it to defend free exchange. If you disagree with what he says is aggression, fine.

You have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you educate yourself before you embarass yourself any further.

Yeah, but he could have been lying, like you think Ron Paul is. That was my point. Further, Rothbard could have been lying about being an anarchist; after all, he respected Mises so much...

It's hogwash. But I really don't want to make a career out of this kind of revisionism :/

I have never claimed that Ron Paul is a liar. Please provide a source for your accusation that I have claimed this or retract the statement.

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:41 PM

Anenome, read the link I provide for QC here. I love Sowell, but he is very much mistaken here.

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Go facepalm somewhere else. You are not nearly as smart as you think you are.

It's not that I think I'm smart it's just that I've already responded to your claim (words vs. actions).

I have never claimed that Ron Paul is a liar. Please provide a source for your accusation that I have claimed this or retract the statement.

Okay. You insinuated that Paul was secretly an anarchist while calling for a small government, and thus, that he was not telling the truth about his political views.

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:51 PM

It's not that I think I'm smart it's just that I've already responded to your claim (words vs. actions).

And I'm still waiting for you to read that article that disproves your claims.

Okay. You insinuated that Paul was secretly an anarchist while calling for a small government, and thus, that he was not telling the truth about his political views.

Please source where Ron Paul calls for small government as an end. As far as I can tell, he has always claimed that it is better than what we have now, even in his farewell speech. And then he throws out all the specific words and phrases that voluntaryists use on top of it. It looks like small government is a means to an end for Ron Paul.

I have never claimed that he is lying.

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What was Jefferson's end? I mean, he did write that you can alter or abolish a government that does injury to liberty.... It would distort history to claim he was therefore an anarchist.

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 4:56 PM

How is this relevant to the fact that you are not reading the article that disproves your claims about Lincoln?

What an evade. It's too bad it's obvious.

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I read it like 20 minutes ago. There is evidence he pushed for the amendment (and that it wasn't the other way around), but I don't have time to get into it. Even if he was pushed into it by others, expressing his support for it helped the cause.

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Kind of like how the Dodgers were pushed (by the market) into hiring a black baseball player. It's still good that it happened, and I can still be happy the Dodgers did it.

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 5:08 PM

I'll let the amendment slide, as DiLorenzo only talks about the author's evidence instead of citing it (it is a short article after all). However, I couldn't help but notice how you glossed over this stuff:

As a member of the Illinois legislature Lincoln urged the legislature "to appropriate money for colonization in order to remove Negroes from the state and prevent miscegenation" (p. 228). As president, Lincoln toiled endlessly with plans to "colonize" (i.e., deport) all of the black people out of America. This is what Bennett calls Lincoln’s "White Dream," and more recent research of the very best caliber supports him. I refer to the book Colonization after Emancipation by Phillip Magness of American University and Sebastian Page of Oxford University that, using records from the American and British national archives, proves that until his dying day Lincoln was negotiating with Great Britain and other foreign governments to deport all of the soon-to-be-freed slaves out of the U.S.

In Illinois, the state constitution was amended in 1848 to prohibit free black people from residing in the state. Lincoln supported it. He also supported the Illinois Black Codes, under which "Illinois Blacks had no legal rights. White people were bound to respect." "None of this disturbed Lincoln," writes Bennett.

Bennett also points out the clear historical fact that Lincoln strongly supported the Fugitive Slave Act which forced Northerners to hunt down runaway slaves and return them to their owners. He admittedly never said a word about slavery in public until he was in his fifties, while everyone else in the nation was screaming about the issue.

It's curious that you ignored this stuff in the article. Curious indeed.

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cab21 replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 5:28 PM

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html intersting article on lincoins race relations

ill see the movie when it gets o a cheaper theater

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Oh, yeah. I forgot. Dr. Paul's newsletters have racist things in them. Lots of people tried quoting them to prove he was racist. In reality, his policies would really help minorities. Lincoln's did, as well. Just putting that out there.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 5:40 PM
 
 

gotlucky:

Anenome, read the link I provide for QC here. I love Sowell, but he is very much mistaken here.

Eh, I found that article to say a lot of things out of context and ignoring a lot of history. It paints him as a racist for using the n-word--we perceive that word differently than past peoples did. It was as easily a descriptive term in past centuries without the strong perjorative connotations now.

It casts him as racist for pursuing ideas of deportment to Africa of freed slaves. But this need not be racist, Lincoln may have believed this is what Black people wanted, and that it was the just thing to do, to return them to the place they'd been taken from.

It quotes the usual statement of not wanting to free slaves in other states, blah, blah, read my article. It explains how Lincoln was very cognizent of the political constraints he acted under and had to couch his attacks on slavery for that reason. What we view today as white supremacy may have been far more on the progressive side against slavery in his day.

I'll say that I'll cautiously review the material from here and see which side seems most reasonable, but I don't find that article necessarily compelling. I could see how it would be compelling for someone who didn't know the wider context that Sowell points out, and someone who hasn't read the book he cites.

But I trust Sowell far more than the editor of Ebony Magazine.

"Analysts as diverse as Frederick Douglass and historian Richard Hofstadter have ardently criticized Lincoln's "passive" attitude toward abolition. These critics frequently point out that the Emancipation Proclamation was, in practical terms, meaningless, since it freed only those slaves in areas under Confederate control and left slaves in the Union border states in bondage. In this fine work of counterrevisionism, history professor Guelzo strives to resurrect the traditional image of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. Despite Lincoln's frequent assertions that the preservation of the Union was his paramount goal, Guelzo insists that Lincoln was committed to abolition once hostilities commenced. His repudiation of efforts by John Fremont to liberate slaves were merely tactical retreats, according to Guelzo, and when he deemed the moment appropriate, Lincoln struck a mortal blow against the institution. Guelzo marshals considerable evidence to support his views, but this is hardly the final word on the subject. Still, his work is a valuable counterweight to those who too easily dismiss the importance of the document and Lincoln's role in eliminating slavery."

 
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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 6:07 PM

Anenome:

Eh, I found that article to say a lot of things out of context and ignoring a lot of history. It paints him as a racist for using the n-word--we perceive that word differently than past peoples did. It was as easily a descriptive term in past centuries without the strong perjorative connotations now.

Well, I excerpted some lines from the article in a post above. The fact is that supporting the fugitive slave act is not anti-slavery. Supporting the Illinois Black Codes is not friendly to blacks.

It casts him as racist for pursuing ideas of deportment to Africa of freed slaves. But this need not be racist, Lincoln may have believed this is what Black people wanted, and that it was the just thing to do, to return them to the place they'd been taken from.

Let black people decide what they want to do (as individuals). There is no good reason to force them to do anything, whether it is staying in the states or leaving for Africa. Even if Lincoln were to think this is what they wanted, apparently he didn't think enough of them to make decisions on their own.

It quotes the usual statement of not wanting to free slaves in other states, blah, blah, read my article. It explains how Lincoln was very cognizent of the political constraints he acted under and had to couch his attacks on slavery for that reason. What we view today as white supremacy may have been far more on the progressive side against slavery in his day.

I read Sowell's article, and nowhere did he provide proof of Lincoln's supposed anti-slavery. Sowell's articles typically make bare assertions, and this is yet another one of those times. I typically don't care that he doesn't source, as that would take up a lot of space for his very short articles, but here he makes an assertion into what Lincoln believes, and there is no evidence anywhere that Lincoln was anti-slavery.

At least with Ron Paul we get hints of voluntaryism and government is aggression. But Sowell's argument is: "Let's assume Lincoln is not racist. See, look at the time period. He would never have been able to say what he really means. He must always talk about hating black people and calling them inferior, but he didn't really mean it."

Well, Lincoln supported the Illinois Black Codes and the Fugitive Slave Act. So if we are going to ignore his statements about saving the Union no matter what, then let's not ignore his support for anti-black legislations.

I'll say that I'll cautiously review the material from here and see which side seems most reasonable, but I don't find that article necessarily compelling. I could see how it would be compelling for someone who didn't know the wider context that Sowell points out, and someone who hasn't read the book he cites.

Sowell doesn't provide proof of anything. It's just bare assertions. I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, but if he is going to claim to be able to read a man's mind, then I would like some evidence to support that claim. Just saying that he couldn't because of the times is not evidence. Evidence would be things he said, legislation he supported, that sort of thing. And if we start from a neutral position, Lincoln looks pretty damn racist.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 8:10 PM
 
 

Sowell's article was a book recommendation.

Ostensibly then, we'd expect to find such evidence and citations in that book. That's about as far as I'm willing to go to prove anything.

And sure, Lincoln was a statist (very few weren't back then), as you point out, in his support of recolonization efforts. But that's moving the goal-post; the question was whether his support of that was necessarily racist, and I'm not sure it is.

You also assume a lot of black people hadn't decided to go back to Africa--I'm not at all sure this is true. Large numbers went back eventually and founded Liberia. It's not a clear cut case that his support of this effort is evidence of racism on his part. And almost every other thing cited in that article of yours as evidence of his racism has similar potential extenuating circumstances.

Which makes it a circumstantial case.

Maybe I'll have to actually read the book Sowell recommends after all, but at least I think you should reserve judgment. Just because we're free to denounce him for being a statist doesn't mean we should discount progressive anti-slavery sentiments he held, if he did indeed hold them.

 
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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 8:22 PM

 

Sowell's article was a book recommendation.

Ostensibly then, we'd expect to find such evidence and citations in that book. That's about as far as I'm willing to go to prove anything.

Sowell has a track record of not citing in general. I'm not surprised he can't even bother to cite a page number or even chapter from the book about Lincoln's motivations. I like most of his articles, but history is not his specialty, so I can't just take him at his word, given his track record of never citing.

And sure, Lincoln was a statist (very few weren't back then), as you point out, in his support of recolonization efforts. But that's moving the goal-post; the question was whether his support of that was necessarily racist, and I'm not sure it is.

The goal posts haven't moved. If you read what I said, I said:

gotlucky:

Even if Lincoln were to think this is what they wanted, apparently he didn't think enough of them to make decisions on their own.

You also assume a lot of black people hadn't decided to go back to Africa--I'm not at all sure this is true.

I don't assume that. I have no idea how many did or didn't want to go to Africa. Could you point to where I said that?

Large numbers went back eventually and founded Liberia. It's not a clear cut case that his support of this effort is evidence of racism on his part. And almost every other thing cited in that article of yours as evidence of his racism has similar potential extenuating circumstances.

Large numbers went back eventually and founded Liberia. It's not a clear cut case that his support of this effort is evidence of racism on his part.

The only case I've seen for Lincoln's supposed anti-slavery sentiments is that he freed the slaves. Considering Lincoln said he did it in order to preserve the Union, the matter should pretty much be settled there. We could go further and look at his support for the Fugitive Slave Act and the Black Codes. That's pretty anti-black.

Maybe I'll have to actually read the book Sowell recommends after all, but at least I think you should reserve judgment. Just because we're free to denounce him for being a statist doesn't mean we should discount progressive anti-slavery sentiments he held, if he did indeed hold them.

Perhaps he didn't actually think blacks were inferior, even though he stated otherwise. But there is a mountain of evidence that demonstrates Lincoln was racist, and the only evidence that is ever provided in his defense is that he freed the slaves. Considering that he was reluctant to do so and that he supported the Fugitive Slave Act, well, damn.

 

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 8:30 PM
 
 

Lincoln's letter to a friend:

"I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel.

And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. It was in the oath I took that I would, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. I could not take the office without taking the oath. Nor was it my view that I might take an oath to get power, and break the oath in using the power.

I understood, too, that in ordinary civil administration this oath even forbade me to practically indulge my primary abstract judgment on the moral question of slavery. I had publicly declared this many times, and in many ways.

And I aver that, to this day, I have done no official act in mere deference to my abstract judgment and feeling on slavery. I did understand however, that my oath to preserve the constitution to the best of my ability, imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensabale means, that government -- that nation -- of which that constitution was the organic law.

Was it possible to lose the nation, and yet preserve the constitution? By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb.

I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the constitution, through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it. I could not feel that, to the best of my ability, I had even tried to preserve the constitution, if, to save slavery, or any minor matter, I should permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution all together.

When, early in the war, Gen. Fremont attempted military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it an indispensable necessity. When a little later, Gen. Cameron, then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable necessity.

When, still later, Gen. Hunter attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity had come.

When, in March, and May, and July 1862 I made earnest, and successive appeals to the border states to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation, and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition; and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union, and with it, the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the latter.

In choosing it, I hoped for greater gain than loss; but of this, I was not entirely confident. More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it in our foreign relations, none in our home popular sentiment, none in our white military force, -- no loss by it any how or any where.

On the contrary, it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen, and laborers. These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there can be no cavilling. We have the men; and we could not have had them without the measure.

And now let any Union man who complains of the measure, test himself by writing down in one line that he is for subduing the rebellion by force of arms; and in the next, that he is for taking these hundred and thirty thousand men from the Union side, and placing them where they would be but for the measure he condemns. If he can not face his case so stated, it is only because he can not face the truth.

I add a word which was not in the verbal conversation. In telling this tale I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain.

If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln"

Seems to me Lincoln was deeply anti-slavery, but equally or moreso a statist! He was deeply conscientious in his execution of the powers of the presidency, which conflicted with his anti-slavery stance. Still, in the end, he went ahead and did it when he could, having found a reason to do so during the war.

But those opening lines are powerful.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 8:32 PM

Perhaps he didn't actually think blacks were inferior, even though he stated otherwise. But there is a mountain of evidence that demonstrates Lincoln was racist, and the only evidence that is ever provided in his defense is that he freed the slaves. Considering that he was reluctant to do so and that he supported the Fugitive Slave Act, well, damn.

He was a politician trying to get elected. I think we can all agree that means he was a liar. But in this case he had to lie about just how anti-slavery he was :\

Also, his support for the fugitive slave act was an expression of his support of the rule of law. He couldn't just act like an imperial president in those days and get away with it. Unlike modern presidents.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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gotlucky replied on Fri, Nov 23 2012 8:56 PM

He was a politician trying to get elected. I think we can all agree that means he was a liar. But in this case he had to lie about just how anti-slavery he was :\

It's possible, but in order to prove this, you have to start with the conclusion that freeing the slaves really was his goal, and then you find certain evidence that supports it (well, slaves were freed, weren't they?). But throughout his political career, he did many actions that were counter to this goal. So, it could be that he believed the end justified the means, so that it's okay to support the Fugitive Slave Act so long as in the end the slaves are freed. But what of the accusation that Lincoln was relectant to even do this?

Why attribute to Lincoln a view of racial equality under the law as his motive when another motive, retaining the Union, is far easier to defend and explains his actions far better, and he even stated it as his motive? It's far simpler than claiming that Lincoln's entire career was focused on freeing the slaves and he lied throughout in order to achieve this. What a risk he would have taken, supporting the Fugitive Slave Act along the way, if he had failed in this supposed final goal.

Also, his support for the fugitive slave act was an expression of his support of the rule of law. He couldn't just act like an imperial president in those days and get away with it. Unlike modern presidents.

I don't see any evidence that Lincoln valued the rule of law. The Emancipation Proclamation was absolutely against the rule of law, as well as suspending habeus corpus. Lincoln was very much an imperial president.

You may be interested in Walter Williams' foreword to Thomas DiLorenzo's book The Real Lincoln (or the book itself). From the foreward:

Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was little more than a political gimmick, and he admitted so in a letter to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase: "The original proclamation has no...legal justification, except as a military measure."

You might find this court case in chapter two to be interesting:

Lincoln was a highly skilled lawyer who, from 1837 to 1860, tried literally thousands of cases and was frequently employed by other lawyers as a consultant. He was one of the top attorneys in the Midwest, and his clients included the Illinois Central Railroad, then the largest railroad in the world. By the 1850s his income averaged $5,000 per year, three times what the governor of Illinois was paid.

Lincoln tried all kinds of cases, from those dealing with disputed wills, taxes, foreclosures, and debt to slander, assault, murder, divorce, and horse theft. He argued before the Illinois Supreme Court dozens of times and once appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court. In twenty-three years of litigation he never defended a runaway slave, but he did defend a slaveowner.

His client was a wealthy Illinois farmer named Robert Matson who brought slaves into Illinois from Kentucky during part of the year to work his farm. Matson's mistress became agry with him and threatened to sell the slaves in another state. Anthony Bryant, a freed black who was Matson's overseer, smuggled the slaves away to an innkeeper's house, and Matson brought suit to have his slaves returned.

Lincoln defended Matson before William Wilson, the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. The slaves' attorney argued that since Illinois was a slave state, the slaves had to be set free. Lincoln countered that the Illinois Constitution did not apply because the slaves were only seasonal workers and did not reside in Illinois the entire year; they returned annually to Kentucky, which was a slave state. On October 17, 1847, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled against Lincoln and emancipated Matson's slaves.

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Just went to go see Skyfall. My thoughts? It was enjoyable. Libertarian themes? Not too much to it.

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Are DiLorenzo's books credible?  Does he overlook evidence contrary to his aims?  I like to read dissenting views, but those books look pretty sensationalized.

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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Nov 26 2012 9:42 AM

Well I went to see the movie... Here's my thoughts:

1. Good movie overall. Very good at representing the time period

2. Overall a rather poor and unrealistic view of Abraham Lincoln. It was really rather pathetic. If you wanted to copy and paste the public's view of this political icon this would be it. He was represented in an almost Christlike way. The only thing that stopped this from being a case was that it showed that his relationship with his wife was rather messed up, but in the political realm he was represented as perfection itself, seamlessly combining benevolence, idealism, and pragmatism. The old fashioned ideas surrounding slavery, the old prejudices which plagued mankind were with EVERYONE except for Lincoln. He was the only one who seemed to have thoroughly modern views on everything.

I frankly find this entire thing disgusting and wrong. No one is that perfect, no one. Even Christ despaired on the cross, but no such weakness, in the political realm, is displayed by Spielberg's Lincoln. Any weakness or human frailty which he does display is always in the personal realm, which always increases his humanity to the audience. I think that in large part this comes from the fact that the book is partially adapted from Doris Goodwin's "Team of Rivals" which pretty much paints Lincoln out to be the greatest political mastermind who ever lived, devoid of any sort of flaw. I had a civil war historian come to my school to give a talk once and so I'll quote from him: "My problem with her book is that you can't always know what what's going to happen all of the time".

What's most disturbing is that it flat out lies to the audience. It lies to them to their faces and it wouldn't even have to. At one point a free black woman asks Lincoln if he would "get used to them", that is to say if he thought that blacks and whites would happily coexist in America. He responds along the lines of "I think so", but the true answer is NO. NO HE DID NOT. The fact that he could answer that question without mentioning the FACT that he thought the vast majority of, if not practically all, blacks would leave for Liberia, in large part because he thought that the two races would have an extremely difficult time coexisting. The fact that he could answer this question, and many of Lincoln's supposed views, especially on matters of race and slavery were discussed without once mentioning this plan is disingenuous and tantamount to lies. I think that there is plenty of evidence that Lincoln was ultimately against slavery, although to what extent is far less clear. I also think that there is plenty of evidence that he was a racist in a way that would be considered incredibly severe in our day, and rather liberal in his own. And do the modern American citizen and Lincoln historian I say : Deal with it. Your leaders weren't f***ing saints.

Ultimately this film can be reduced to propaganda.

Also I thought that the guy who played Lincoln didn't have the voice for the part. I mean the man looked like a gorilla, he almost certainly had a deep and burly voice, not a rather high pitched and reedy one... But whatevs.

3. The acting was superb throughout the movie. I thought the guy who played Thaddeus Stevens was really good, his speeches were great, and I practically cheered when I saw that the guy who played Gale on Breaking Bad had a part, and a significant one, in this movie. He did a really good job.

4. One thing which was surprisingly upsetting to me was this fire effect which happens just after Lincoln dies. It zooms in on this flame and slowly the flame evolves into one of Lincoln's past speeches. It was a little detail but it was so Hokey and B-Movie like that it stuck in my mind.

Overall it's quite a good work of fiction.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Watch Pearl Harbor if you want to watch another work of fiction (not necessarily good).

1. Love story

2. Love story

3. Love story

4. Pearl Harbor gets attacked for no reason at all and all of the Japanese are evil

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Bert replied on Mon, Nov 26 2012 10:29 AM

Fun fact:  My co-workers brother is an extra in this movie.  He was supposed to only film for 2 days, but due to lack of extras filmed for 2 months and is seen in a majority of the movie.  The part where everyone starts yelling at one another (I assume more than one) the director said just to get up and just do that, sort of improv, and my co-worker told me his brother stood up and to the guy next to him yelled "You sir are a fool, and I pity you!"  All I know is he has a beard, if I can find a pic I'll post it.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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idol replied on Mon, Nov 26 2012 11:20 AM

Lincoln is a difficult subject for me. On the one hand, he played a big role in freeing the slaves...On the other, he was a despotic statist. 

Rothbard's argument, for me, is the strongest against Lincoln: that we should reject his mission, even if it was to free the slaves, just as we reject so-called "humanitarian" missions that the "anti-war" progressives are always urging. 

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