Magazine article USA TODAY

Lincoln Also Prevented Slavery in Latin America

Magazine article USA TODAY

Lincoln Also Prevented Slavery in Latin America

Article excerpt

The 200th anniversary of Pres. Abraham Lincoln's birth has been a lime for people to learn mere about the U.S's 16th president, says a Civil War historian from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. "Pres. Lincoln is on a lot of people's minds today, partly because of Pres. Barack Obama," indicates Robert May, professor of history and author of Manifest Destiny's Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America and The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire: 1854-1861.

Obama has patterned his Cabinet choices on Lincoln's, quoted from Lincoln's speeches, and taken the oath of office with the same Bible Lincoln used. Both took office in times of emergency, with little background in military affairs or foreign policy, and neither had substantial national experience beyond brief stints in Congress.

"No wonder Obama draws on Lincoln's memory," May declares. "It is a safe assumption that, if the Confederacy had won the Civil War and established its independence, the subsequent history of not only this country, but also the world, would have been significantly altered. That the Confederacy failed had a lot to do with the man judged by many historians to have been America's greatest president.

"It is well known that Lincoln first gained national attention by opposing slavery's expansion into the American West, particularly the Kansas territory. What Americans don't seem to know is that Lincoln was worded that Southerners, if they were given a free hand, would also try to spread slavery throughout Latin America, and that Lincoln tried to stop such aggression. A craze for territorial growth was sweeping the country during Lincoln's early political career. Many people believed white Americans had a mission to spread their system of government and way of life, which, for some, included slavery, through the entire North American continent, as well as Central and South America. …

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