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Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address (1 Viewer)

Ron_Mexico

I Love Doggies
Fellow countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it-- all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war-- seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered--that of neither has been answered fully.

The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

 
The Freedom from Religion people would have barbecued him alive...
I don't see anything in that speech I find offensive as an atheist.
It doesn't have to be offensive to fire up Freedom From Religion. All of those references to God would drive them up the wall.
Oh you meant those guys specifically. Yeah to me they are the PETA of atheism. Not much use and always fighting the wrong battles.
 
Lincoln was killed about 5 weeks after giving this speech and only 5 days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox; the speed of this amazes me and must of had the country in near upheaval.

 
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The Freedom from Religion people would have barbecued him alive...
I don't see anything in that speech I find offensive as an atheist.
It doesn't have to be offensive to fire up Freedom From Religion. All of those references to God would drive them up the wall.
Actually, I read the climax of the great speech to address the basis of doubt that many atheists recognize:"Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered--that of neither has been answered fully.""If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him?"
 
Lincoln, although a bit on the rough side, was a great man.
Not to mention one of the greatest vampire hunters in the history of the United States .
True
Always thought that Millard Fillmore was better but whatever...
His reputation was a bit tarnished from that time that a vampire flew overhead and he instinctively ducked. Also earned him the nickname of Mallard Fillmore among his fellow vampire hunters, but 13 kills is still a noteable accomplishment.
 
Lincoln, although a bit on the rough side, was a great man.
That's what I learned in government school, too.

Turns out he was a racist, a tyrant, a ruthless dictator and ultimately responsible for the deaths of over 600,000 people.

Other than that, he was great!

 
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.

 
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.
I see DiLorenzo has spoken out in support of the confederate state's right to sucede. Sounds like he doesn't have a dog in the race at all. I'll dig heartily into his work.

 
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.
Got to the 3:30 mark of the video and turned it off when he says Denmark's was able to eliminate slavery without bloodshed and therefore so should the U.S. He puts a large measure of the blame on Lincoln. Quite idiotic.

 
The Freedom from Religion people would have barbecued him alive...
I don't see anything in that speech I find offensive as an atheist.
It doesn't have to be offensive to fire up Freedom From Religion. All of those references to God would drive them up the wall.
Oh you meant those guys specifically. Yeah to me they are the PETA of atheism. Not much use and always fighting the wrong battles.
sometimes they get it right - http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/georgia-public-school-teachers-humiliate-kids-for-not-praying-to-god-our-father-lawsuit/
 
The Freedom from Religion people would have barbecued him alive...
I don't see anything in that speech I find offensive as an atheist.
It doesn't have to be offensive to fire up Freedom From Religion. All of those references to God would drive them up the wall.
Oh you meant those guys specifically. Yeah to me they are the PETA of atheism. Not much use and always fighting the wrong battles.
sometimes they get it right - http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/georgia-public-school-teachers-humiliate-kids-for-not-praying-to-god-our-father-lawsuit/
Even a broke clock is right twice a day. Yes this seems to be a very valid and necessary action. But in general these guys sets us back with their silliness. If they start sticking to stuff like this maybe I will come around on them.

 
AP Was There: Original AP report of Lincoln's assassinationOn the night Abraham Lincoln was shot, April 14, 1865, Associated Press correspondent Lawrence Gobright scrambled to report from the White House, the streets of the stricken capital, and even from the blood-stained box at Ford's Theatre, where, in his memoir he reports he was handed the assassin's gun and turned it over to authorities. Here is an edited version of his original AP dispatch:

___

WASHINGTON, APRIL 14 — President Lincoln and wife visited Ford's Theatre this evening for the purpose of witnessing the performance of 'The American Cousin.' It was announced in the papers that Gen. Grant would also be present, but that gentleman took the late train of cars for New Jersey.

The theatre was densely crowded, and everybody seemed delighted with the scene before them. During the third act and while there was a temporary pause for one of the actors to enter, a sharp report of a pistol was heard, which merely attracted attention, but suggested nothing serious until a man rushed to the front of the President's box, waving a long dagger in his right hand, exclaiming, 'Sic semper tyrannis,' and immediately leaped from the box, which was in the second tier, to the stage beneath, and ran across to the opposite side, made his escape amid the bewilderment of the audience from the rear of the theatre, and mounted a horse and fled.

The groans of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed the fact that the President had been shot, when all present rose to their feet rushing towards the stage, many exclaiming, 'Hang him, hang him!' The excitement was of the wildest possible description...

There was a rush towards the President's box, when cries were heard — 'Stand back and give him air!' 'Has anyone stimulants?' On a hasty examination it was found that the President had been shot through the head above and back of the temporal bone, and that some of his brain was oozing out. He was removed to a private house opposite the theatre, and the Surgeon General of the Army and other surgeons were sent for to attend to his condition.

On an examination of the private box, blood was discovered on the back of the cushioned rocking chair on which the President had been sitting; also on the partition and on the floor. A common single-barrelled pocket pistol was found on the carpet.

A military guard was placed in front of the private residence to which the President had been conveyed. An immense crowd was in front of it, all deeply anxious to learn the condition of the President.

It had been previously announced that the wound was mortal, but all hoped otherwise. ...

At midnight the Cabinet, with Messrs. Sumner, Colfax and Farnsworth, Judge Curtis, Governor Oglesby, Gen. Meigs, Col. Hay, and a few personal friends, with Surgeon General Barnes and his immediate assistants, were around his bedside.

The President was in a state of syncope, totally insensible and breathing slowly. The blood oozed from the wound at the back of his head. The surgeons exhausted every effort of medical skill, but all hope was gone.

The parting of his family with the dying President is too sad for description.

The President and Mrs. Lincoln did not start for the theatre until 15 minutes after 8 o'clock. Speaker Colfax was at the White House at the time, and the President stated to him that he was going, although Mrs. Lincoln had not been well, because the papers had announced that he and General Grant were to be present, and as Gen. Grant had gone North he did not wish the audience to be disappointed. He went with apparent reluctance, and urged Mr. Colfax to go with him, but that gentleman had made other arrangements ...

(Here follows a lengthy description of the simultaneous assassination attempt on Secretary of State William Seward that left him wounded.)

Secretaries Stanton and Welles and other prominent officers of the government called at Secretary Seward's house to inquire into his condition, and there heard of the assassination of the President.

They then proceeded to the house where the President was lying, exhibiting, of course, intense anxiety and solicitude.

An immense crowd was gathered in front of the President's house (the White House), and a strong guard was also stationed there, many persons supposing that he would be brought to his home.

The entire city to-night presents a scene of wild excitement, accompanied by violent expressions of the profoundest sorrow. Many shed tears.

The military authorities despatched mounted patrols in every direction, in order, if possible, to arrest the assassins. The whole metropolitan police are likewise vigilant for the same purpose. ...

Vice President Johnson is in the city headquarters, and guarded by troops.

(Lincoln's death at 7:22 a.m. on April 15 was reported by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.)

EDITOR'S NOTE _ On the night Abraham Lincoln was shot, April 14, 1865, Associated Press correspondent Lawrence Gobright scrambled to report from the White House, the streets of the stricken capital, and even from the blood-stained box at Ford's Theatre, where, in his memoir he reports he was handed the assassin's gun and turned it over to authorities. Here is an edited version of his original AP dispatch.
150th Anniversary of Lincoln's assassination today.

 
Lincoln's death gets compared to Kennedy's a lot, but one thing that the assassins had in common was that the president's whereabouts were published in the local newspaper pretty close in time with the decision to murder them. The decisions and planning were made pretty quickly.

 
The Freedom from Religion people would have barbecued him alive...
I don't see anything in that speech I find offensive as an atheist.
It doesn't have to be offensive to fire up Freedom From Religion. All of those references to God would drive them up the wall.
I get it. It's kind of like how those people didn't even need to be participate in the conversation for you to get fired up about what their stance would have been.

 
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.
Got to the 3:30 mark of the video and turned it off when he says Denmark's was able to eliminate slavery without bloodshed and therefore so should the U.S. He puts a large measure of the blame on Lincoln. Quite idiotic.
Not just Denmark, but every other nation that had slavery ended it without war and endless bloodshed. How is that idiotic?

DiLorenzo is a revisionist historian, not a court historian. Of course he's going to differ from what you've heard all your life.

 
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.
Got to the 3:30 mark of the video and turned it off when he says Denmark's was able to eliminate slavery without bloodshed and therefore so should the U.S. He puts a large measure of the blame on Lincoln. Quite idiotic.
Not just Denmark, but every other nation that had slavery ended it without war and endless bloodshed. How is that idiotic?

DiLorenzo is a revisionist historian, not a court historian. Of course he's going to differ from what you've heard all your life.
What does this have to do with the USA?

You could also argue that the South and more specifically South Carolina could have avoided the whole thing by dealing with the restrictions on expansion more nimbly. As it was they attacked its own nation's armed forces and precipitated the destruction of their world, economy and culture. I say this as someone who is blocks from a statue of Robert E. Lee and a Confederate Museum.

 
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.
Got to the 3:30 mark of the video and turned it off when he says Denmark's was able to eliminate slavery without bloodshed and therefore so should the U.S. He puts a large measure of the blame on Lincoln. Quite idiotic.
Not just Denmark, but every other nation that had slavery ended it without war and endless bloodshed. How is that idiotic?

DiLorenzo is a revisionist historian, not a court historian. Of course he's going to differ from what you've heard all your life.
What does this have to do with the USA?

You could also argue that the South and more specifically South Carolina could have avoided the whole thing by dealing with the restrictions on expansion more nimbly. As it was they attacked its own nation's armed forces and precipitated the destruction of their world, economy and culture. I say this as someone who is blocks from a statue of Robert E. Lee and a Confederate Museum.
Aside from the fact that the war was not about slavery?

My main point is that revisionist historians can make important contributions to understanding these events, their origins and their consequences.

DiLoroenzo has published a great deal about Lincoln, including two books. For someone to dismiss him after three minutes of one video is a close-minded attitude. His prerogative, of course. But if someone read, say, his first book in its entirety, and didn't agree with its conclusions, I would respect that.

 
I can't speak to the author's work, that's a good point, I wouldn't presume to, I haven't read it.

As for the point about the cause of the war, here's Lincoln:

These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
That pretty much sums it up to me.

SC started it with this declaration:

That this General Assembly is satisfied that Abram Lincoln has already been elected President of the United States, and that said election has been based upon principles of open and avowed hostility to the social organization and peculiar interests of the slave holding states of this Confederacy.
 
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On May 25, 2008, DiLorenzo was interviewed by C-SPAN's Brian Lamb about his book, The Real Lincoln.

In February and March, 2012, Prof. Brooks Simpson's outstanding blog,Crossroads, featured a series of analyses based on a transcript of this interview. Here are links to the individual posts.

 
From one of the above links:

Crossroads Comments: Lincoln’s efforts to secure the peaceful abolition of slavery through a gradual, compensated emancipation with the option for freed blacks to relocate outside the United States were rebuffed by Confederates and most southern white unionists. Thus, the offer was made, and it was rejected. If Lincoln was the tyrant DiLorenzo makes him out to be, why did not the sixteenth president simply impose his solution on the nation?

If one is to ask whether it was necessary for so many Americans to have died to end slavery, one might with at least equal justice ask a similar question of Confederate leadership, who contributed to that death toll in order to preserve the enslavement of fellow human beings. Moreover, to attribute the costs of a war that no one could have foreseen in 1861 to the actions of a single individual while ignoring the presence of other actors seems to me to be problematic. One could with more than equal justice claim that Jefferson Davis was willing to sacrifice hundred of thousands of lives to preserve slavery. Yet, as we shall see, DiLorenzo denies white southerners agency and refuses to hold them responsible for their own behavior, in effect reducing them to helpless children. Nor does he appear to care about the continued suffering of slaves or their prolonged enslavement had the Confederacy survived.

If the Civil War was an unnecessary war, and abolition could have come peacefully, DiLorenzo would have to explain why white southerners rejected abolition and fought to protect slavery. He offers no evidence that white southerners would have accepted a peaceful end to slavery. In his efforts to focus on Lincoln, in fact, DiLorenzo denies any agency to white southerners, and refuses to hold them responsible for their own actions, two steps which demean white southerners. Nor does he outline a possible approach that would have led to the peaceful end of slavery in the United States.

While the states may have voluntarily entered the Union, it was a matter for debate as to whether they could voluntarily leave it. While even Lincoln recognized a right of rebellion, Americans divided over a right of secession. The difference between the two concepts is important. Secession claims that leaving the Union is well within the rules, and those accepting the rules accept the legitimacy of secession. The right of revolution rejects the rules, and leaves resistance/coercion as a viable response. All we learn from the last sentence is that DiLorenzo and Lincoln disagree over the right of secession. Moreover, allowing secession would not have led to the destruction of slavery: it would have perpetuated it. Thus DiLorenzo’s expressions concerning abolition ring hollow. He offers no explanation as to how secession would have led to abolition.
 
The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
By Thomas DiLorenzo

The Real Lincoln is seriously compromised by careless errors of fact, misuse of sources, and faulty documentation. Although individually these flaws may seem trivial and inconsequential, taken together they constitute a near-fatal threat to DiLorenzo’s credibility as a historian.

--Richard M. Gamble, Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Chair in History and Political Science, Hillsdale College [

To get an idea of how truly awful this book is, consider that its author sneers at what he calls some "pledge of allegiance to the central government." (He means, of course, the pledge of allegiance to the flag and "to the republic for which it stands.") This offhand remark epitomizes Thomas DiLorenzo's feckless treatment of his subject, Abraham Lincoln and his place in the American political tradition.

--Ken Masugi, Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/17/the-rancid-abraham-lincoln-haters-of-the-libertarian-right.html
Libertarianism is supposed to make the Republican Party sleek and modern, but this variant of the creed—associated with Ron Paul—is stubbornly perverse and highly unappealing.

The dean of the Lincoln-haters is Thomas DiLorenzo, an economics professor at Loyola College in Maryland, who writes books and gives talks about the man he cleverly calls "Dishonest Abe" and believes was guilty of treason. His scholarship, such as it is, consists of rummaging through the record for anything he can find to damn Lincoln, stripping it of any nuance or context, and piling on pejorative adjectives. In DiLorenzo, the Lincoln-haters have found a champion with the judiciousness and the temperament they deserve.

He contributes to the website LewRockwell.com, the eponymous fever swamp of Lew Rockwell, who is widely suspected of having written Ron Paul's racist newsletters. Rockwell now serves on the board of the new Ron Paul foreign-policy think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

As a window into the DiLorenzo method, consider his treatment of Lincoln and race. In a recent posting, he deemed Lincoln "an obsessive white supremacist." Not just a white supremacist, mind you, but an "obsessive" one. For this proposition, he collects various Lincoln statements in opposition to black civil rights. The quotes are accurate enough, but denuded of context, they are stupidly and willfully misleading.

For instance, Lincoln said, "I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races." How could he say such a thing? Well, he said it in his debates with Stephen Douglas, when he was playing defense. Douglas used every low-down bit of demagoguery he could muster to portray Lincoln as favoring a full racial equality, including the dreaded prospect of putting blacks "on social equality with your wives and daughters," that was politically poisonous, especially in the most contested parts of the states.

In relentlessly arguing that blacks were among the men deemed "created equal" in the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln was testing the outer limits of what was politically sustainable. In a speech in Chicago that Douglas repeatedly attacked, Lincoln said, “Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man—this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position ... Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal.”

If DiLorenzo the friend of civil rights is appalled when Lincoln falls short of contemporary standards of racial tolerance, surely he must be heartened and inspired when he transcends the limits of his own day, when he defends the natural rights of blacks and their humanity, when he denounces the "tendency to dehumanize the negro—to take away from him the right of ever striving to be a man."

But on this and so much else, DiLorenzo is silent. In his rancid book-length indictment of Lincoln, The Real Lincoln, he favorably cites John C. Calhoun without pausing to inquire whether the South Carolinian might, perhaps, just have been a little bit racist.
ETA: formatting


 
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Jack White said:
Happy 206th birthday, Abe. :banned:
I agree. Right man at the right time after so many mediocre ones, we were really lucky. - Turns out this is not a national holiday everywhere anymore, our country owes its continued existence and some of its key underlying mores to him, that's all.
I'd be interested to hear what was mediocre about Lincoln's predecessors, and what was so great about Lincoln.

Lincoln has become a god, a veritable deity, in American society.

Most people are content with this narrative.

Anyone who's interested in exploring beyond the conventional narrative, however, would do well to check out Thomas DiLorenzo's work on the subject:

Articles

Books

This video of an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb is excellent.

DiLorenzo was instrumental in opening my eyes on the subject. Before I discovered his work, I was no different than anyone else, assuming Lincoln ended slavery, etc.
Got to the 3:30 mark of the video and turned it off when he says Denmark's was able to eliminate slavery without bloodshed and therefore so should the U.S. He puts a large measure of the blame on Lincoln. Quite idiotic.
Not just Denmark, but every other nation that had slavery ended it without war and endless bloodshed. How is that idiotic?

DiLorenzo is a revisionist historian, not a court historian. Of course he's going to differ from what you've heard all your life.
I didn't specify whether the blame should be toward Lincoln or the comparison with Denmark's abolition of slavery was idiotic - however, I believe both are.

As to Lincoln, while he was personally against slavery, he would have accepted slavery in one form or another to keep the states together. The Civil War was fought over state's rights, but one of the underlying aspects of those rights had to do with the institution of slavery. Lincoln proposed a number of solutions toward the slave situation, including making a one-time payment to slave-owners (per slave).

As to Denmark, the importance of slavery to Denmark was in no way comparable to the importance of slavery to the Southern States. Nor did you have the dichotomy evident in the U.S. b/w the North and South. Just because the end result is the same doesn't mean that the surrounding issues are comparable. I therefore think it is idiotic to make such an assertation.

 
Alexander H. StephensSavannah, Georgia
March 21, 1861

When perfect quiet is restored, I shall proceed. I cannot speak so long as there is any noise or confusion. I shall take my time I feel quite prepared to spend the night with you if necessary. I very much regret that everyone who desires cannot hear what I have to say. Not that I have any display to make, or anything very entertaining to present, but such views as I have to give, I wish all, not only in this city, but in this State, and throughout our Confederate Republic, could hear, who have a desire to hear them.

I was remarking that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single drop of blood.

This new constitution. or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited. In reference to it, I make this first general remark: it amply secures all our ancient rights, franchises, and liberties. All the great principles of Magna Charta are retained in it. No citizen is deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers under the laws of the land. The great principle of religious liberty, which was the honor and pride of the old constitution, is still maintained and secured. All the essentials of the old constitution, which have endeared it to the hearts of the American people, have been preserved and perpetuated. Some changes have been made. Some of these I should have preferred not to have seen made; but other important changes do meet my cordial approbation. They form great improvements upon the old constitution. So, taking the whole new constitution, I have no hesitancy in giving it as my judgment that it is decidedly better than the old.

Allow me briefly to allude to some of these improvements. The question of building up class interests, or fostering one branch of industry to the prejudice of another under the exercise of the revenue power, which gave us so much trouble under the old constitution, is put at rest forever under the new. We allow the imposition of no duty with a view of giving advantage to one class of persons, in any trade or business, over those of another. All, under our system, stand upon the same broad principles of perfect equality. Honest labor and enterprise are left free and unrestricted in whatever pursuit they may be engaged. This old thorn of the tariff, which was the cause of so much irritation in the old body politic, is removed forever from the new.

Again, the subject of internal improvements, under the power of Congress to regulate commerce, is put at rest under our system. The power, claimed by construction under the old constitution, was at least a doubtful one; it rested solely upon construction. We of the South, generally apart from considerations of constitutional principles, opposed its exercise upon grounds of its inexpediency and injustice. Notwithstanding this opposition, millions of money, from the common treasury had been drawn for such purposes. Our opposition sprang from no hostility to commerce, or to all necessary aids for facilitating it. With us it was simply a question upon whom the burden should fall. In Georgia, for instance, we have done as much for the cause of internal improvements as any other portion of the country, according to population and means. We have stretched out lines of railroads from the seaboard to the mountains; dug down the hills, and filled up the valleys at a cost of not less than $25,000,000. All this was done to open an outlet for our products of the interior, and those to the west of us, to reach the marts of the world. No State was in greater need of such facilities than Georgia, but we did not ask that these works should be made by appropriations out of the common treasury. The cost of the grading, the superstructure, and the equipment of our roads was borne by those who had entered into the enterprise. Nay, more not only the cost of the iron no small item in the aggregate cost was borne in the same way, but we were compelled to pay into the common treasury several millions of dollars for the privilege of importing the iron, after the price was paid for it abroad. What justice was there in taking this money, which our people paid into the common treasury on the importation of our iron, and applying it to the improvement of rivers and harbors elsewhere? The true principle is to subject the commerce of every locality, to whatever burdens may be necessary to facilitate it. If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah river has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefited by it, bear the burden. So with the mouths of the Alabama and Mississippi river. Just as the products of the interior, our cotton, wheat, corn, and other articles, have to bear the necessary rates of freight over our railroads to reach the seas. This is again the broad principle of perfect equality and justice, and it is especially set forth and established in our new constitution.

Another feature to which I will allude is that the new constitution provides that cabinet ministers and heads of departments may have the privilege of seats upon the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives and may have the right to participate in the debates and discussions upon the various subjects of administration. I should have preferred that this provision should have gone further, and required the President to select his constitutional advisers from the Senate and House of Representatives. That would have conformed entirely to the practice in the British Parliament, which, in my judgment, is one of the wisest provisions in the British constitution. It is the only feature that saves that government. It is that which gives it stability in its facility to change its administration. Ours, as it is, is a great approximation to the right principle.

Under the old constitution, a secretary of the treasury for instance, had no opportunity, save by his annual reports, of presenting any scheme or plan of finance or other matter. He had no opportunity of explaining, expounding, enforcing, or defending his views of policy; his only resort was through the medium of an organ. In the British parliament, the premier brings in his budget and stands before the nation responsible for its every item. If it is indefensible, he falls before the attacks upon it, as he ought to. This will now be the case to a limited extent under our system. In the new constitution, provision has been made by which our heads of departments can speak for themselves and the administration, in behalf of its entire policy, without resorting to the indirect and highly objectionable medium of a newspaper. It is to be greatly hoped that under our system we shall never have what is known as a government organ.

Another change in the constitution relates to the length of the tenure of the presidential office. In the new constitution it is six years instead of four, and the President rendered ineligible for a re-election. This is certainly a decidedly conservative change. It will remove from the incumbent all temptation to use his office or exert the powers confided to him for any objects of personal ambition. The only incentive to that higher ambition which should move and actuate one holding such high trusts in his hands, will be the good of the people, the advancement, prosperity, happiness, safety, honor, and true glory of the confederacy.

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” the real “corner-stone” in our new edifice. I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph.

Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that “in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread,” and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.

But to pass on: Some have propounded the inquiry whether it is practicable for us to go on with the confederacy without further accessions? Have we the means and ability to maintain nationality among the powers of the earth? On this point I would barely say, that as anxiously as we all have been, and are, for the border States, with institutions similar to ours, to join us, still we are abundantly able to maintain our position, even if they should ultimately make up their minds not to cast their destiny with us.

That they ultimately will join us be compelled to do it is my confident belief; but we can get on very well without them, even if they should not.

We have all the essential elements of a high national career. The idea has been given out at the North, and even in the border States, that we are too small and too weak to maintain a separate nationality. This is a great mistake. In extent of territory we embrace five hundred and sixty-four thousand square miles and upward. This is upward of two hundred thousand square miles more than was included within the limits of the original thirteen States. It is an area of country more than double the territory of France or the Austrian empire. France, in round numbers, has but two hundred and twelve thousand square miles. Austria, in round numbers, has two hundred and forty-eight thousand square miles. Ours is greater than both combined. It is greater than all France, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain, including England, Ireland, and Scotland, together. In population we have upward of five millions, according to the census of 1860; this includes white and black. The entire population, including white and black, of the original thirteen States, was less than four millions in 1790, and still less in 76, when the independence of our fathers was achieved. If they, with a less population, dared maintain their independence against the greatest power on earth, shall we have any apprehension of maintaining ours now?

In point of material wealth and resources, we are greatly in advance of them. The taxable property of the Confederate States cannot be less than twenty-two hundred millions of dollars! This, I think I venture but little in saying, may be considered as five times more than the colonies possessed at the time they achieved their independence. Georgia, alone, possessed last year, according to the report of our comptroller-general, six hundred and seventy-two millions of taxable property. The debts of the seven confederate States sum up in the aggregate less than eighteen millions, while the existing debts of the other of the late United States sum up in the aggregate the enormous amount of one hundred and seventy-four millions of dollars. This is without taking into account the heavy city debts, corporation debts, and railroad debts, which press, and will continue to press, as a heavy incubus upon the resources of those States. These debts, added to others, make a sum total not much under five hundred millions of dollars. With such an area of territory as we have-with such an amount of population-with a climate and soil unsurpassed by any on the face of the earth-with such resources already at our command-with productions which control the commerce of the world-who can entertain any apprehensions as to our ability to succeed, whether others join us or not?

It is true, I believe I state but the common sentiment, when I declare my earnest desire that the border States should join us. The differences of opinion that existed among us anterior to secession, related more to the policy in securing that result by co-operation than from any difference upon the ultimate security we all looked to in common.

These differences of opinion were more in reference to policy than principle, and as Mr. Jefferson said in his inaugural, in 1801, after the heated contest preceding his election, that there might be differences of opinion without differences on principle, and that all, to some extent, had been Federalists and all Republicans; so it may now be said of us, that whatever differences of opinion as to the best policy in having a co-operation with our border sister slave States, if the worst came to the worst, that as we were all co-operationists, we are now all for independence, whether they come or not.

In this connection I take this occasion to state, that I was not without grave and serious apprehensions, that if the worst came to the worst, and cutting loose from the old government should be the only remedy for our safety and security, it would be attended with much more serious ills than it has been as yet. Thus far we have seen none of those incidents which usually attend revolutions. No such material as such convulsions usually throw up has been seen. Wisdom, prudence, and patriotism, have marked every step of our progress thus far. This augurs well for the future, and it is a matter of sincere gratification to me, that I am enabled to make the declaration. Of the men I met in the Congress at Montgomery, I may be pardoned for saying this, an abler, wiser, a more conservative, deliberate, determined, resolute, and patriotic body of men, I never met in my life. Their works speak for them; the provisional government speaks for them; the constitution of the permanent government will be a lasting monument of their worth, merit, and statesmanship.

But to return to the question of the future. What is to be the result of this revolution?

Will every thing, commenced so well, continue as it has begun? In reply to this anxious inquiry, I can only say it all depends upon ourselves. A young man starting out in life on his majority, with health, talent, and ability, under a favoring Providence, may be said to be the architect of his own fortunes. His destinies are in his own hands. He may make for himself a name, of honor or dishonor, according to his own acts. If he plants himself upon truth, integrity, honor and uprightness, with industry, patience and energy, he cannot fail of success. So it is with us. We are a young republic, just entering upon the arena of nations; we will be the architects of our own fortunes. Our destiny, under Providence, is in our own hands. With wisdom, prudence, and statesmanship on the part of our public men, and intelligence, virtue and patriotism on the part of the people, success, to the full measures of our most sanguine hopes, may be looked for. But if unwise counsels prevail if we become divided if schisms arise if dissentions spring up if factions are engendered if party spirit, nourished by unholy personal ambition shall rear its hydra head, I have no good to prophesy for you. Without intelligence, virtue, integrity, and patriotism on the part of the people, no republic or representative government can be durable or stable.

We have intelligence, and virtue, and patriotism. All that is required is to cultivate and perpetuate these. Intelligence will not do without virtue. France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers become Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government Organized upon principles of perfect justice and right-seeking amity and friendship with all other powers-I see no obstacle in the way of our upward and onward progress. Our growth, by accessions from other States, will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which neighboring States belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas cannot hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our constitution for the admission of other States; it is more guarded, and wisely so, I think, than the old constitution on the same subject, but not too guarded to receive them as fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future, and, perhaps, not very far distant either, it is not beyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the north-west will gravitate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them, but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle.

The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty if we pursue the right course. We are now the nucleus of a growing power which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, this process will be upon no such principles of reconstruction as now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them.

But at first we must necessarily meet with the inconveniences and difficulties and embarrassments incident to all changes of government. These will be felt in our postal affairs and changes in the channel of trade. These inconveniences, it is to be hoped, will be but temporary, and must be borne with patience and forbearance.

As to whether we shall have war with our late confederates, or whether all matters of differences between us shall be amicably settled, I can only say that the prospect for a peaceful adjustment is better, so far as I am informed, than it has been. The prospect of war is, at least, not so threatening as it has been. The idea of coercion, shadowed forth in President Lincoln’s inaugural, seems not to be followed up thus far so vigorously as was expected. Fort Sumter, it is believed, will soon be evacuated. What course will be pursued toward Fort Pickens, and the other forts on the gulf, is not so well understood. It is to be greatly desired that all of them should be surrendered. Our object is peace, not only with the North, but with the world. All matters relating to the public property, public liabilities of the Union when we were members of it, we are ready and willing to adjust and settle upon the principles of right, equity, and good faith. War can be of no more benefit to the North than to us. Whether the intention of evacuating Fort Sumter is to be received as an evidence of a desire for a peaceful solution of our difficulties with the United States, or the result of necessity, I will not undertake to say. I would feign hope the former. Rumors are afloat, however, that it is the result of necessity. All I can say to you, therefore, on that point is, keep your armor bright and your powder dry.

The surest way to secure peace, is to show your ability to maintain your rights. The principles and position of the present administration of the United States the republican party present some puzzling questions. While it is a fixed principle with them never to allow the increase of a foot of slave territory, they seem to be equally determined not to part with an inch “of the accursed soil.” Notwithstanding their clamor against the institution, they seemed to be equally opposed to getting more, or letting go what they have got. They were ready to fight on the accession of Texas, and are equally ready to fight now on her secession. Why is this? How can this strange paradox be accounted for? There seems to be but one rational solution and that is, notwithstanding their professions of humanity, they are disinclined to give up the benefits they derive from slave labor. Their philanthropy yields to their interest. The idea of enforcing the laws, has but one object, and that is a collection of the taxes, raised by slave labor to swell the fund necessary to meet their heavy appropriations. The spoils is what they are after though they come from the labor of the slave

That as the admission of States by Congress under the constitution was an act of legislation, and in the nature of a contract or compact between the States admitted and the others admitting, why should not this contract or compact be regarded as of like character with all other civil contracts liable to be rescinded by mutual agreement of both parties? The seceding States have rescinded it on their part, they have resumed their sovereignty. Why cannot the whole question be settled, if the north desire peace, simply by the Congress, in both branches, with the concurrence of the President, giving their consent to the separation, and a recognition of our independence?
 
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.

The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.

The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.

The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.

It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.

It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.

It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.

It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.

It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.

It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.

It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.
We don't have to guess why the 7 states seceded before Lincoln took off. They told everyone plainly.

http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/secession/

 
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.

The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.

The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.

The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.

It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.

It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.

It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.

It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.

It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.

It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.

It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.
We don't have to guess why the 7 states seceded before Lincoln took off. They told everyone plainly.

http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/secession/
But, but it was about states rights....

 
The Freedom from Religion people would have barbecued him alive...
I don't see anything in that speech I find offensive as an atheist.
It doesn't have to be offensive to fire up Freedom From Religion. All of those references to God would drive them up the wall.
Actually, I read the climax of the great speech to address the basis of doubt that many atheists recognize: "Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered--that of neither has been answered fully." "If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him?"
It also contains the answers that many theists cling to.

 
One of my favorite Lincoln stories was the time he ridiculed the state auditor in a newspaper article over the state's plan to allow the failed state bank to close. The offended party wrote an angry, threatening letter, demanding Lincoln disavow what he had written.

Lincoln refused to retract his remarks. He returned Shields's letter with the request that Shields rewrite it in a more "gentlemanly" fashion.

Instead, Shields challenged Lincoln to a duel. It would be held in Missouri, where dueling was still legal.

Since Lincoln was challenged by Shields he had the privilege of choosing the weapon of the duel. He chose cavalry broadswords "of the largest size." "I didn't want the d-d fellow to kill me, which I think he would have done if we had selected pistols," he later explained. For his own part, he did not want to kill Shields, but "felt sure [he] could disarm him" with a blade. At six feet, four inches tall, Lincoln planned to use his height to his advantage against Shields, who stood at a mere five feet, nine inches tall.

The day of the duel, September 22, arrived and the combatants met at Bloody Island, Missouri to face death or victory. As the two men faced each other, with a plank between them that neither was allowed to cross, Lincoln swung his sword high above Shields to cut through a nearby tree branch. This act demonstrated the immensity of Lincolns reach and strength and was enough to show Shields that he was at a fatal disadvantage. With the encouragement of bystanders, the two men called a truce.

 

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