The Address: Seven Score and Ten Tears Ago

Beautifully rendered ... such a pleasure to read. Thank you. ~D

Posted by Deann at February 12, 2013 6:03 AM

In my advancing age, I increasingly read the Address as the greatest and most influential rhetoric written since Common Sense. The work of the War Between the States was not to preserve the Union. Lincoln could have done that without war. The war was to end slavery in the union. It was not to create equality. "-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-" was a cause finished in 1865. The Union could not have fielded a single division to fight over equality, and Lincoln knew it better than anyone.The most unfortunate legacy of the War of Northern Aggression is the permanent war of equality.

"We have learned to do a great many clever things. Our next great task will be to learn to not do them."-
Edmund Burke

Posted by james wilson at February 12, 2013 11:29 AM

Now Seven Score and Ten

Posted by Fat Man at November 19, 2013 5:12 AM

Got it. Thanks.

Posted by vanderleun at November 19, 2013 7:23 AM

I, on the other hand, am convinced that the Gettysburg Address is nothing but high-sounding gibberish, written as a throwaway piece on a train by the most Satanic president.

Posted by Lorne at November 19, 2013 9:10 AM

Hold that thought, Lorne.

Posted by vanderleun at November 19, 2013 9:49 AM

I lean with you Lorne. Lincoln understood better than anyone else in his time that the only way for his objective "Maniacally Strong Federal Government" to survive was to beat the South into submission and keep it and the rest of the country in servitude to Washington.

His "preservation of the Union" was the pitch he used to protect federal demagoguery and he didn't give a damn about how many Southern or Northern lives it cost anymore than he cared one whit about blacks, except to say they shouldn't be held in the bondage of slavery.

Destroying "states rights" was his only objective.

Posted by Jack at November 19, 2013 1:29 PM

I lean with you Lorne. Lincoln understood better than anyone else in his time that the only way for his objective "Maniacally Strong Federal Government" to survive was to beat the South into submission and keep it and the rest of the country in servitude to Washington.

His "preservation of the Union" was the pitch he used to protect federal demagoguery and he didn't give a damn about how many Southern or Northern lives it cost anymore than he cared one whit about blacks, except to say they shouldn't be held in the bondage of slavery.

Destroying "states rights" was his only objective.

Posted by Jack at November 19, 2013 1:29 PM

Hmm, too bad you can't blame this one on Bush. Oh, wait, the Illuminati were around back then, make it their fault.

You'll never see the stars if you keep looking at your shoes.

Posted by chasmatic at November 20, 2013 7:47 AM

Did Lincoln advance the primacy of the Federal Government, Yes. Did he seek the Presidency with that goal in mind, I don't think so. He was a westerner and a member of the Whig party and as such he would have been interested in the expansion of the country into the new territories and opposed to the Federal governments focus on the original east coast states and the money and business interests that were centered there. If Lincoln could have somehow taken office as President without the immediate outbreak of succession and war I think he would have been satisfied to keep slavery out of the western territories and to protect the rights of freedmen only.

But The War happened and slavery, and the dissolution of the Union got all wrapped together. As a westerner I think Lincoln was concerned about the North American Continent ending up broken into many different contending (possibly warring) nations and interests. Russia still owned large tracts of land in North America and Mexico was being threatened militarily by Europeans (by 1864, briefly, a French Satrap). To win his war, Lincoln used all the tools he could get his hands on. For better or worse, it has become our history. To suggest that Lincoln's intent was mainly to create a Dystopia not common in fiction until the next century is mostly comical.

Maybe if the Union had broken up we would have ended up with many different basically American nations. Each proudly independent and different. American slavery could have survived into the twentieth century. Or maybe today parts of the southwest could be a mainly Spanish speaking, French ruled mess. The northwest could be Russian, or Japanese, or British, or God knows what. Once you take a redo and toss the dice any result can come up. The Civil War was a fervent prayer made real with blood and gigantic effort to preserve the Union of American States. As Joshua Chamberlain said,"In great deeds, something abides". We are what abides. As every generation since Lincoln, it is up to us to shape the future and shape of his legacy.

Posted by John the River at November 16, 2014 12:31 PM

Ah, the American Lenin.

Posted by Shibes Meadow at November 16, 2014 1:06 PM

Agreement on the various causes of the war and their proportions will not likely occur.

Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, did not take the DoI idea "that all men are created equal" as a done deal. He spoke of it as a "proposition that all men are created equal." It would seem that event-to-event we are called upon to prove that proposition.
The equality that Lincoln spoke of was based in the DoI's "self-evident" truths -- exemplified by equality before the law, equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Lincoln, was properly obsessed with the DoI principles as the most moral/ethical foundation for government and for continuation of the USA. As described below, he did not believe that the complaints of the South justified secession -- secession as allowed for even in the DoI, under condition that they [the new government] are "deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed," which included the slaves, in Lincoln's view.

The South was mightily displeased with the unfair distribution of import tariffs collected which forced them to buy the more expensive equivalent goods from the North.
The South wanted extension of slave holding to the western territories and soon-to-be-states, so that they could continue to grow their cash crops as inexpensively as possible, and to gain influence in Congress for fair tariff distribution. Enslaving others was their ticket to this greater prosperity.

The South, feeling provoked by the North, initiated the war by first seizing federal property and then firing on Fort Sumter.

The North was criminal in diverting collected tariffs primarily to the North, and by setting excessively high tariffs on goods needed by the South.
The North, in some combination of greed [loss of Southern state markets] and idealism, preferred war to accepting disunion, extensions of slavery, and loss of tariff funds collected on Southern imports.

That Civil War is over. We are now in a new, still cold Civil War between the increasingly tyrannical central government and adherents of liberty for all in a constitutional framework.

Teach your children well. What does the Common Core curriculum teach of our founding principles, and our warts and all contributions since 1776 and as a re-Union since 1865?

Posted by Howard Nelson at November 16, 2014 3:34 PM

Lorne, Jack, Shibes - it's nice to see that a few folks out there get it.

As Garry Wills observed, Lincoln's G'burg Address was "one of the most daring acts of open-air sleight-of-hand ever witnessed by the unsuspecting. Everyone in that vast throng of thousands was having his or her intellectual pocket picked." ( )

If people spent a bit less time straining for intellectual jingo-gasms over Lincoln's florid prose, and a bit more time examining his years as a legal shill for the railroads, his "American System" economic agenda, and the details and timing of his actions in 1860 and 1861, there might be a wider understanding of the degree to which his illegal, unnecessary war - and all the unpleasantness that followed during the so-called "Reconstruction" - led to the fundamental transformation of our Republic into the de facto empire we have today.

Posted by goy at November 16, 2014 5:00 PM

Why berate Lincoln for the "illegal, unnecessary war"?
The seceding states, began the war, but could have remained in the Union, as peaceful slave-holding states until an amendment to the Constitution terminated slavery everywhere in the USA. But no, their greed got the better of them, they preferred to remain frozen in time, bleeding the life out of their slaves. Blood money was their idolatry. And so they instigated massive blood-letting and wealth destruction on themselves and the North.
If the South felt provoked to start a war, perhaps they feared being as poor, and as poorly treated as their slaves. The onus is on them for not developing their culture to approximate the North's industrial growth -- they had time enough and wealth enough, but the South chose to revel in the riches derived from their slaves' labor, with no thought of, or nonacceptance of, the eventual future.

P.S. Tariffs were hardly mentioned at all among the reasons given for secession by the Southern states; only 4 or 5 states presented written rationales for secession.

Posted by Howard Nelson at November 17, 2014 5:20 PM

"Why berate Lincoln for the "illegal, unnecessary war"?"

Simple: it was illegal; and it was unnecessary. And it resulted in the untimely death or serious injury of over one million Americans. This was done for the express purpose of destroying State sovereignty and to protect the flow of federal government operating capital, most of which was being extorted from the States which chose to secede, rather than be decimated economically so that the federal government could pursue its agenda of Hamiltonian "American System" economics. This same crisis had emerged in 1832, at which point the federal government backed down, avoiding a conflict. Lincoln decided before he even took office that he would not do the same and, in his First Inaugural Address, threatened war, outright, if any State refused to comply with federal demands for cash.

"The seceding states, began the war,"

No. The seceding States... seceded. They did so peacefully. The States of So. Carolina and Florida struck agreements with the Buchanan government regarding negotiation and disposition of federal properties (i.e., forts Sumter and Pickens), which kept the peace for months... right up until Lincoln took office. Lincoln knowingly, and in bad faith, violated those agreements. He chose to take actions that he knew (read: hoped), based on the terms of these agreements, would be perceived as an act of the war and provoke an armed response that he could then twist into a "justification" for invasion. He went so far as to hide the documentary evidence of his illegal, unilateral actions in the case of Pickens, through the use of "executive privilege". This isn't even a question.

"Tariffs were hardly mentioned at all among the reasons given for secession"

The reason for this is also simple: the ordinances of secession did not provide "rationale", they laid out the legal, constitutional case for secession. As such, the only legal factor necessary was to cite the federal government's failure (read: refusal) to meet constitutional requirements laid out in Art. IV, Sec. 2. There was, thus, no reason to cite the destructive effect of the unconstitutional tariffs at all.

Posted by goy at November 17, 2014 7:08 PM

"Simple: it was illegal; and it was unnecessary."
I agree, for reasons different than those you state.
The South's preemptive violent attack on Fort Sumter, was their 4th stupidity -- it was illegal and unnecessary, as noted below.
The 1st stupidity was not simply stating that they were seceding due to what they [properly] believed was continuing mistreatment [tariffs ...] by the central government. They could have invoked the 2nd part of the 2nd paragraph of the DoI and Amendment 10 of the Constitution. Anyone would agree that the States agreed to the terms of the Constitution with the understanding that each would be treated fairly -- which was not the case for treatment of the South re tariffs.

The South's 2nd stupidity was belaboring the slave issue, which Lincoln clearly and repeatedly stated [1st Inaugural and earlier] would not be interfered with by the federal government, and that the Constitution was not specific as to whether States had the responsibility to return their 'owners' or whether it was a federal
responsibility, and what the timing for the return had to be -- days, weeks, years?

The South's 3rd stupidity was attempting to extort, via Pres. Buchanan, return of the federal property they'd seized illegally. Lincoln, properly, felt no obligation to collude in that crime. It's like a robber offering to return property he'd stolen from you for a finder's fee. The South could have peacefully seceded and waited for the federal response on tariff collection/disbursement before defending their position in war. Admittedly, not the best strategy if you believe a better stategy is to strike preemptively -- a maneuver putting you on the side if the angles not the side of the angels.

Provocation: Were the Japanese justified in preemptively bombing Pearl Harbor because FDR/USA were hampering Japan's expansion in Asia?

American history has many disgraceful incidents, where greed, need, compassion, and fairness were at odds. Who among us weeps for the Cherokees' expelled from their southern territories, onto their Trail of Tears?

Posted by Howard Nelson at November 19, 2014 10:24 AM

"The South's preemptive violent attack on Fort Sumter..." a figment of your (and, to be fair to you, of MOST Americans') imagination, as programmed through over a century of unwarranted Lincoln idolatry, created through a false history written by the victors.

Sumter was ultimately fired upon in response to an intentional act of war ordered by Lincoln... MONTHS after the initial secession. Lincoln ordered the same action at Ft. Pickens, thereby violating an agreement between the Florida State government and Buchanan, but failed to elicit an armed response there. He openly acknowledged this later, clearly admitting to this action in bad faith, when he referred to the agreement as a "quasi armistice", and refused to produce the documentary evidence of the orders involved in its execution ( ).

Sumter - like Pickens - sat unmolested for months following the initial secession. Even during the one and only incident of that period - when the Star of the West tried to sneak into Charleston Harbor in January carrying federal reinforcements, was fired upon and forced to withdraw after suffering no significant damage - Sumter itself was (still!) not attacked.

You need to get away from WikiPedia and get yourself a copy of John Shipley Tilley's Lincoln Takes Command, which meticulously chronicles the events of that period at both Pickens and Sumter using primary sources as his reference material. In short, it was not until Lincoln unilaterally granted himself the authority to provoke and wage war on civilians, and ordered actions which he knew would provoke an armed response, that the fort was (finally) fired upon in response... months after the initial secession. Given the actual facts, the notion that this was "pre-emptive" is absurd in the extreme, bordering on idiotic. The fact that so many Americans believe this to be the case demonstrates how completely the history has been distorted.

Whine all you like about the the seceding States' legal justification. The fact is that Lincoln made it clear in his First Inaugural Address that he wouldn't accept secession under any circumstances.

An examination of Lincoln's actions as a legal shill for the railroads, and the "American System" economic agenda he pursued while President, show quite clearly how Southern secession threatened the operating revenue he needed to achieve his Whig goals. But just as Obama could not be honest about how ObamaCare was foisted on the American People, Lincon couldn't very well be honest about this problem when he took office. So, in his FIA he simply rambled on for paragraph after paragraph with a stream of utterly ridiculous sophistry, in an attempt to "prove" that secession wasn't legal, claiming that because the "Union" was "older than the Constitution", that it was "perpetual" and that no State could leave it (forget about the 10A, Art. I Sec. 10, etc.). Americans elected Obama twice, so it's no surprise, really, that risible garbage like this was taken seriously back then. Either way, Lincoln openly threatened military action against any State that refused to comply with federal demands for cash. It would not have mattered at all what legal justification the seceding States cited.

Also, the seceding States did not "belabor" the slavery issue. Their legal justification did not question whether or not "slavery would be interfered with", it directly addressed the Art. IV question, noted above.

On your third point, and your fantasy about "extortion", your premise is false: Ft. Sumter was not "seized" by the South. So. Carolina seceded at the end of 1860; Ft. Sumter was in federal hands and occupied by federal troops until April of 1861. Your facts are in error.

In point of fact, the southern States DID peacefully secede, as noted above. You've simply been brainwashed into believing an alternate history that never actually occurred. We all have. Conservatives deride "liberals" all the time for refusing to question their programming. The fact is that we're ALL programmed. And we all need to question it.

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Posted by Howard Nelson at November 20, 2014 4:13 PM

"...I'm in complete agreement..."

That's good to know, Howard.

I started seriously questioning my programming only fairly recently. It was a depressing eye-opener.

When do you anticipate questioning yours?


Posted by goy at November 20, 2014 6:52 PM

goy, as a matter of fact I started many years ago, regarding Mumia abu Jamal. With your continuous prodding with differences of opinion and fact, which I thank you for, if I ever grow up I hope to learn to dig more deeply for what's real.
Again, thank you for the kicks in my butt and in my buts.

Posted by Howard Nelson at November 21, 2014 3:21 PM