Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lincoln Speaks Against Blacks


I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people...

And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together
there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

-Abraham Lincoln, 1858

According to Howard Zinn, Abraham Lincoln didn't act against slavery until he was desperate to win the Civil War. Throughout his entire career, Lincoln was a man of good timing and would only pursue certain courses should sufficient support be present. In other words, Lincoln rarely went out on a limb and was doing what a good politician would do... pleasing his people.
So, was Lincoln truly an abolitionsist, or was he simply reacting to his public? What about the other presidents and there views on the equality of blacks? Read pages 188-210 and use excerpts from the book to support your argument.


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19 comments:

andrew said...

chyeah first comment chyeah so anyways lincoln was a very honest man but he was a people pleaser. most "good" presidents now a days are the ones that have an agenda and stick to it(unlike mr.bush) lincoln however adjusted his agenda to match that to the importance of the people. when the coalition against the south was being torn he put something on the table which the people of the north could latch onto. it was a very good move because not only did it give one universal objective but it also made the norths objective almost "holier" then the souths. they looked like saviors to the black. the soldiers of the north were looked at as great knights triumphing over the evil south which has oppressed the blacks for 250 years. he used it as a weopon against the south also. he threatened them with emancipation and used it to break the morale and bonds between the southern states.

Derrick said...

Abraham Lincoln was a president that did what he had to do. One of the main things he wanted to do was keep the Union together. Throughout while he was president he just did his best to keep the Union together. President Lincoln was not an abolitionist. President Lincoln himself had slaves. He realised during the war that there was no other way to keep the Union together or he really couldnt think of one, so he decided to create the Emancipation Proclamation which really did not free any slaves. It made it pretty much made it illegal to the North and not the South because the South were designing their own government and had their own President.

PHUONG IS A PRINCESS said...

It seems like most of the presidential leaders of that time, were all just saying what they believed would make them look better in the eye of the public.
It started with Lincoln; I thought he was a REAL abolitionist, untill i read that quote from one of his speeches.
Then Andrew JOhnson enacted the "black codes" while he was in term. In 1860s-1870s the KKK formed when Grant was in office. On page 204 it states that the national government becme less enthusiastic on defending the blacks, or arming them with weapons.
It just sums it up, nothing and no one was fair towards the blacks.
and that is pathetic.

Kevin said...

To be sure.. there is no proof that Lincoln himself ever owned slaves... In fact, Lincoln claims his father left Indiana for Kentucky because of slavery. Although there is proof that his uncle Mordecai, and his father's uncle Isaac may have owned slaves.

http://www.nps.gov/archive/libo/thoughts_on_slavery3.htm

Also, Lincoln probably couldn't afford to own slaves. He came from a very humble beginning where Lincoln himself was forced to do a lot of the labor. Lincoln nevery owned slaves.

jaslyn said...

An ex-slave said "Lincoln got praise for freeing us but did he do it?he gave us freedom without giving us any chance to live to ourselves..."
I feel confident in saying that all of the presidents used slaves to their advantage. I don't feel that Lincoln really had it in his heart to free slaves, but he felt that it was necessary to make himsellf look good to the public. He didn't beleive in the freeing of slaves until his election came up and he knew he needed the votes.(which he did get in favor of the north).

Adonis said...

Abe licoln was a good presiden tat that time. He really didn;t care if they kept slaves or not. He just felt that abolishing slavery was the right thing to do to keep the country together. Like Andrew said "He was a people pleaser". He wanted to make sure that most of the people felt that slavery should end and he dicided that was the right thing to do. Just like the other presidents, abe had slaves and that kind of changed the way i viewed him. I think that he had slaves at first untill he got into office, which he found out that the south did not like him Lincoln hated the way the south viewed things having a new president, government, and the way the south wanted to get away from the north.

*Amy N.* said...

Abraham lincoln was the president that mostly everyone looked up to. He was very honest. Lincoln thought of the African americans as the lower class, he does not agree with the fact that blacks could vote and be treated equally as a white man; but although Lincoln was not an abolitionist, he went and faught to abolish slavery in order to keep the north and south together. Then Lincoln was pressured by abolitionists and radical Republicans to issue an Emancipation Proclamation which stated that slaves were now free; but it never really happened untill later on.

Anonymous said...

asianname- I think lincoln was an aboltionist at heart, but being the president he must also be for the people and the peoples best interests. He might have wanted to abloish slavery and be for blacks as well as whites 100%, but he knew that it would not be a pretty sight it he did ( i mean look what happended when he voiced that he thought blacks should be treated better, and wasnt doing but so much about it). on page 189, lincoln said,"I have no purpose...to interfere with slavery...I belive I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." This quote really provides evidence that Lincoln was anti-abolitioninst. So it provides a contraversial standpoint on wether he was anti or pro.

Ivan said...

First of all I think that the abolition of slavery was one of Lincolns priorities. Unlike Jefferson who said that he would try hard to free the slaves he really didnt try as hard as Linciln did. Lincon went as far as any man could go so that the slaves could be free. Lincoln basicaly grew up doin the work of a slave and never had the money to own one. His father was like his master and Lincoln actually felt like a slave and had a sense of what a slave would feel like. Though keeping the union together durin the civil war was at the top of his list, slavery would have been his main priority if the civilwar had not started. And yeah i agree with what Andrew said about him being a "Peoples Pleaser" if he would have spoken up against slavery early in his career than his chances of becoming president would have gone real down.

sujal said...

i definatly agree with Andrew about President lincoln being a "People Pleaser". Lincoln said anything the people needed or wanted to hear that would keep the union, help abolish slavery and at the sametime, avoid the possibity of having a civil war. Also in the past many presidents like lincoln tried to help abolish slavery. President Jefferson, who wrote the declaration of independence, was of them. however, his efforts are questionable. He had promised his slaves that he would free them once he would clear all his debt. Though it never happened, if he had really tried to do so, he would have probably been successful in paying off his debt and furthermore freeing his slaves.

Kevin said...

as great as all your comments are.. I'm asking that you show me excerpts from the readings to support your argument about lincoln and some of the presidents after him. Please read what you are asked to read and don't just comment on what I've said in class. Let's bring NEW EVIDENCE to the table!!!

Naveed said...

I also agree with Andrew about President Lincoln being a 'People Pleaser.' He did say things the people needed or wanted to hear. If he had not, then he most likely would not have become president. Lincoln and Jefferson both had somthing in common. They both tried to abolish slavery. The only difference was that Lincoln succeded while Jefferson failed. The reason for that was because Lincoln tried harder. He had more of an experience in knowing how a slave feels because he had to do so much work in his youth. He basically felt like a slave and this experience led him into being against slavery.

John said...

Lincoln was a people pleaser. He said one time that if he had to keep slavery to keep the union he would do it if he had to free slaves to keep the union he would do it. All he really cares about is keeping the union doesnt really care about slavery very much. Just said that to make the people happy and thats all he will do.

Greg said...

Lincoln made the humans in the north look like the justice league and the humans in the south look like the legion of doom by fighting for the rights of the human slaves. Then the emancipation proclomation made him seem better because it made human slavery become illegal in the north. Lincoln also did what the humans wanted. A little human child mailed Lincoln a letter to shave and Lincoln shaved his beard.

asha said...

I dont think Abe cared weather slavery was abolished or not, he just wanted the union of America

Although he grew up, like a slave (doing things in a way slaves use to do them) and could kind of relate to slaves in some sence, i was still a white man growing up in a time were most people thought slavery was ok and wanted it. even though, yeah he grew up in the north and all that and people in the north wanted to "abolish" slavery, most of them still owned slaves. And with the comments he made in the passage posted, i cant agree with the fact that he really "wanted" to abolish slavery. He was just willing to do whatever it took to Unify America, even if it meant abolishing slavery. meaning he would basicaly do what ever it took at that time.

also I think he was a hypocrite. Wasn't he the guy who said all men are created equal, or believed all men are created equal........sooooooo, how could he say the stuff he said in that passage. It was the complete opposite.

grace said...

Lincoln as president wasn't favor of anything.he just wanted the union together.and slavery it didn't matter to him that much to a point of war. To me he was just a people person.
one thing that caught my attention in the reading was the laws. it became meaningless. it didn't contribute as much to the african-Ame.and so call Andrew Johnson he didn't want the blacks to have equal right.he even vetoed the bill to help Negroes. Even poeple became more less enthusiatic about defending blacks. from the reading i really think the whites were for them-selves

andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jasmine said...

I feel that Licoln was a great president, especially during the Civil WAr. I think that he did try to abolish slavery since he was beaten by his father as a child and he felt that it was immoral and evil and that no human should be mistreated. However, he did want to do watever he had to do to keep the Union together and if that meant keeping or abolishing slavery, then he was all for it but i think he still had heart because he wrote the Emanciption Proclamation, even though it didn't actaully "free" any slaves.

roz said...

I must say I was unaware of this comment by President Lincoln. I find it very interesting that he said this prior to his election. The bible speaks of slaves and slave owners, so it does not surprise me that he found it an acceptable speech to make. I wonder if he ever regretted making such a comment. I know I have regretted things I have said in the past. This only proves we are all just human.

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