Real Lincoln Not Found in Book; 'New Look' Merely 'Lost Cause' revisionism.(SATURDAY)(THE CIVIL WAR)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 4, 2002 | Go to article overview

Real Lincoln Not Found in Book; 'New Look' Merely 'Lost Cause' revisionism.(SATURDAY)(THE CIVIL WAR)


Byline: Mackubin Thomas Owens, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Thomas J. DiLorenzo's "The Real Lincoln" claims to provide a "new look" at Abraham Lincoln. It does no such thing. It is instead a rehash of Confederate propaganda spiced up with touches of Marxist economic analysis.

The book's thesis can be summed up by a passage from a speech delivered by the archsecessionist Roger Atkison Pryor in Charleston, S.C., just before the attack on Fort Sumter. He thanked South Carolina for annihilating "this accursed Union, reeking with corruption and insolent with excess of tyranny."

Indeed, to paraphrase what Harry V. Jaffa once said about the anti-Lincoln screeds of one of my former professors, the late Mel Bradford, everything in this book has its antecedents in Southern editorials during and after the Civil War. As Mr. Jaffa also said about Mr. Bradford, Mr. DiLorenzo writes as if the war were still going on, as in his mind it apparently is.

The story line of "The Real Lincoln" goes something like this:

Lincoln's aim was not to end slavery but to implement a neo-Hamiltonian Whig-Republican economic system. Unfortunately for him, he was blocked by the Constitution and the South, which favored states' rights and unfettered free trade. That slavery had nothing to do with the onset of the war is proved by the fact that Lincoln himself was a racist who was opposed to the political or social equality of the races and who favored colonization of blacks outside of the United States.

Fearing that the election of Lincoln, a sectional candidate, would further weaken the position of the South in the Union, seven states peaceably exercised their "right" to secede from the Union. Lincoln invented a fraudulent theory of government that held that the Union had created the states rather than the other way around. Moreover, the crafty fox then maneuvered the Confederacy into firing the first shots.

Lincoln then launched an unnecessary and cruel war against the South designed to yoke the region to the Whig-Republican economic model, during which time he repeatedly violated the Constitution. He abandoned "international law and the accepted moral code of civilized societies and wage* war on civilians."

His legacy was Reconstruction, a 12-year period in which the Republican Party plundered the South, exterminated the Plains Indians and centralized the economy, and that resulted in the death of federalism. "The war," Mr. DiLorenzo writes, "was not necessary to free the slaves, but it was necessary to destroy the most significant check on the powers of the central government: the right of secession."

So many things are wrong with "The Real Lincoln" that it is hard to know where to start.

Was Lincoln a racist? Mr. DiLorenzo joins Ebony magazine publisher Lerone Bennett and Southern 1950s- and 1960s-era White Citizens Councils in portraying him as such. Lincoln's statements on race, however, must be placed in historical context. Though Lincoln certainly was no abolitionist and shared the prejudices of most whites of his time, he nonetheless believed slavery was a moral evil.

During the first debate with Stephen Douglas, he argued that although a black may not be the equal of a white in terms of color, and perhaps moral or intellectual endowment, "in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is ... the equal of every living man." In addition, his attitude changed during the war as blacks swelled the ranks of the Union army and fought bravely in numerous engagements.

Mr. DiLorenzo claims that Lincoln could have achieved peaceful emancipation rather than plunging the country into a destructive war. The problem with such an assertion, of course, is that it ignores the fact that the South did not want to end slavery.

As Alexander Stephens, a U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Real Lincoln Not Found in Book; 'New Look' Merely 'Lost Cause' revisionism.(SATURDAY)(THE CIVIL WAR)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.