Gen. Donn Piatt re: Lincoln
I hear of him and read of him in eulogies and biographies, and fail to recognize the man I encountered for the first time in the canvass that called him from private life to be President of the United States. Piatt then goes on to describe a conference that he and General Schenck had with Lincoln in his home in Springfield. "I soon discovered that this strange and strangely gifted man, while not at all cynical, was a skeptic; his view of human nature was low; . . . he unconsciously accepted for himself and his party the same low line that he awarded the South. Expressing no sympathy for the slave, he laughed at the Abolitionists as a disturbing element easily controlled, without showing any dislike to the slave-holders. . . . We were not at a loss to get at the fact and the reason for it, in the man before us. Descended from the poor-whites of a slave State, through many generations, he inherited the contempt, if not the hatred, held by that class for the negroes. A self-made man, . . . his strong nature was built on what he inherited, and he could no more feel a sympathy with the abolition of slavery, but held fanatics, as Abolitionists were called, in utter abhorrence. While it seemed a cheap philanthropy, and therefore popular, to free another man's slave, the unrequited toil of the slave was more valuable to the North than to the South. *
Lincoln's white supremacist ideas are a well-kept secret. (Let it be known at this point that these views are Lincoln's and not the opinions of the authors.) In an 1858 debate Lincoln made the following statements**:
I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway 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 of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races. . . .I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.***
Some of the lesser known facts about the"great emancipator":
To silence his critics in the North, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus. The political prisoner count from this move was estimated by some to be as high as forty thousand.
Violated the First Amendment right to freedom of the press by shutting down 300-plus newspapers and journals by executive order.
Promoted Colonel John B. Turchin to the rank of Brigadier General of the United States Volunteers even though he was under a court-martial for crimes against civilians (and later convicted).
*The Real Lincoln, by L.C. Minor, copyrighted 1928,
by Atkins-Rankin Co., Sprinkle Publications
P.O. Box 1094 Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801
**The South was Right!, by James and Ronald Kennedy
and Walter Donald Kennedy, Gretna, LA: Pelican
Publishing Company, 1994, 431 pages, hardcover.
***Abraham Lincoln, as cited in The Lincoln-Douglas
Debates of 1858, edited by R.W. Johannsen (Oxford
University Press, New York, NY: 1965), pp. 162-63