Critique of “The Real Lincoln”
In the second chapter of The Real Lincoln, author Lorenzo brings up many facts about Lincoln that I had not previously been aware of. Throughout the chapter he addresses Lincoln’s outlook on slavery. In a debate with Senator Stephen Douglas, Lincoln admits that he had no intentions of freeing the slaves. Lincoln says “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two…”(DiLorenzo). Most of the chapter was DiLorenzo explaining just how clear Lincoln made it that he was not for equal rights, even though he did feel slavery was wrong. These two should not be confused with each other.
Also, he illustrates that not all northerners were abolitionists and most treated black badly. They, overall, cared little about the welfare of slaves and treated blacks among them as garbage. Contempt, ridicule and discrimination were some ways they were treated. Violence was rarer but it occasionally happened.
DiLorenzo does say that in the end Lincoln acted as his intentions were to free the slaves. However, Lincoln also was for new housing for free white people. This was land personally reserved for whites. The shut out blacks, in other words they were not allowed in. Alabama was one of these states. This is another example that shows Lincoln was opposed to slavery.
In chapter three DiLorenzo examines that Lincoln had no intention of emancipating the slaves. The only way he would willfully do so would be because he was forced to emancipate them. He states multiple times throughout the chapter that, if Lincoln’s true intentions were to free the slaves, that he would have done it peacefully. Like so many other places who once had slavery they emancipated them peacefully through compensation. Lincoln was not a naïve man and he knew this was an option but cared little about slaves.
After hearing of Fremont’s proclamation to take the land and free the slaves of anyone who resisted the feral army, Lincoln stripped Fremont of his command. DiLorenzo on page 35 states that any attempt at emancipation from Lincoln was done solely for preserving the Union. On top of that, the famous emancipation proclamation did not actually have any effect. It failed to free a single slave. This is because the only states this proclamation applied to were revel states not federal states. DiLorenzo admits that the proclamation helped Lincoln gain power but that was about all it did. It appeased abolitionists and attempted to subdue the rebels into submission.
The author brings up many great arguments. Bringing up the point of peaceful emancipation definitely raises some eyebrows. If freeing slaves was the main cause then doing so peacefully would be the best option, instead of waging and unnecessary war. Unless of course there was alternative motives, which there were. Lincoln’s main goal was to secure the Union and keep the glue together. Again we see this when he strips Fremont of his command for wanting to free slaves. Lincoln would not have this.
If Lincoln not supporting emancipation wasn’t good enough, chapter 4 looks at how Lincoln was in favor of banks and tariff tax. The beginning of the chapter makes this very clear by starting off with a quote from Lincoln himself, which serves as hard evidence. Abe says “My policies are short and sweet like a young women’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank…in favor of the internal improvements systems and a high protective tariff”(54).
This helps make the connection of Lincoln being a part of the Whig party. Whigs believed in protectionism, government control of money, supply through national banking system and government subsidies for railroads, shipping and canal building businesses. Finally, according to DiLorenzo in 1859 Lincoln came out as being a part of the Whig party.
Historians have constantly compared Lincoln to Henry Clay because of...
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