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John Chuckman


You express it a bit strongly, but you are essentially right about Abraham Lincoln and brushing aside the American Constitution.

In fact, Lincoln’s record goes well beyond ignoring the liberties granted by the American Constitution.

He pretty much instigated the Civil War itself. He sent men and supplies into Fort Sumter at a time of great unease as a deliberate provocation.

The South was uneasy about Lincoln’s election because he was seen as an abolitionist, but he was definitely not an abolitionist. He was a property-respecting lawyer who did a lot of work for corporations like the Illinois Central Railroad, work which made him a reasonably well-off man and a well-known figure.

The South’s firing on Fort Sumter after resupply started the war, but even then things might have gone differently had Lincoln wanted them to go so.

At any rate, the Civil War was entirely unnecessary.

If the South had been allowed peaceably to go its own way, slavery would have died in a matter of decades anyway, just as it did in places like Brazil. Perhaps, then, the South would have returned hat-in-hand to ask to re-enter the Union.

Whether that happened or not, the war was not worth the 600,000 lives it cost, still by far the greatest number of losses the U.S. ever experienced (compare American losses of only about 300,000, a century later in WW II).

Many readers may believe, because it is an untrue concept endlessly promoted, that the Civil War was about slavery, but it most certainly was not.

Lincoln used the slavery issue as a tool against the South. He himself said he would be glad to see an end to the war just so long as the Union was intact, with or without slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves, was not issued until 1863 in a war which started in 1861.

The Civil War was actually about the disturbing and unstable matter of the relative powers of the individual states versus the national government. This was a vexing issue left unresolved by the original framers of the Constitution, and Lincoln was determined to solve it, and he did.

In the process of doing so over four years, the United States was turned into a great new military and industrial power in the world.

All of America’s later long record of imperialistic wars, such as the Spanish-American War, effectively grew out of that fact.

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