Lincoln's Eulogy and Air to Be Played at the Funeral of America

"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher."

As the founding architect of the Republic's untimely demise, Lincoln's florid spew here offered irony so thick that one might cut it with a bayonet.

Posted by goy at January 29, 2016 9:35 AM

Abraham Lincoln. First Amerikan dictator/tyrant.

Posted by Terry at January 29, 2016 9:54 AM

My heart was never broken as it was that day 20 years ago when I found everything they had taught me about him was a lie. It was then that I knew the worst thing thus rotten assed gov't had ever done was to hijack the education of american youth for THAT is at the base of all societal ills. The truth is inviolate but the gov't is built on lies.

Posted by ghostsniper at January 29, 2016 11:48 AM

Whatever each of us may think of Lincoln -- politically, morally, ethically -- his prophetic words describe well our present quandary.
Will we choose to repeat errors of the past or will we rise to the occasion to promote freedom, putting aside if you prefer, the person urging us to act nobly now?

Posted by Howard Nelson at January 29, 2016 12:25 PM

@Howard Nelson

I agree with you sir, the words are put together very beautifully. Mr. Lincoln was good at that. So is Mr. Obama. So was Mr. Hitler and others across history. The problem is words are meaningless and when used effectively, can be quite deadly. The Amerikan people are susceptible to being misled by prose. Look at our current dilemma. A virtual nation led by almost total propaganda and phony prose if you will.

Action is the truth of the man.

Posted by Terry at January 29, 2016 12:40 PM

And the truth is that letting the myths die and not sustaining them, as we see here, is one of the chief solvents for our present dissolution.

Posted by Van der Leun at January 29, 2016 2:00 PM

Lincoln certainly was of a fine exemplar of the internal threat to the Republic.

Posted by Bill Jones at January 29, 2016 2:27 PM

Gerard: You commenters are completely rancid.

Posted by Fat Man at January 29, 2016 3:01 PM

More and more people are judging Lincoln's decisions and the civil war by 150 years of hindsight. This is stupid and disgusting.

Posted by Andy Texan at January 29, 2016 3:04 PM

This sort of new received truth about Lincoln is quite common of late and deplorable. It amounts to nothing more than intellectual preening.

It's a kind of "let me tell you all the magic things I've learned that I becha don' know."

Posted by Van der Leun at January 29, 2016 3:17 PM

Hard feelings over the Civil War, gents?

Here in eastern Washington we're puking over the killing of this Sagebrush Rebel in eastern Oregon. So strange to watch aerial video of him being gunned down for evading a roadblock, and having a 9 MM pistol in his jacket pocket. That's illegal now (cough - cough).

Shit, meet fan.

Posted by Casey Klahn at January 29, 2016 3:59 PM

The devil is in the details; the truth is in all the details and the pertinent context and consequences. To know that truth is to be God or to have read the Akashic records to the end of time.

Go back in time, go to the cotton fields and go to the tobacco fields and go to the battlefields and go to the gallows and go to the broken black families and go to the unfairly treated white southern citizens, and impose your wisdom. If that is not doable, state your position better than did Lincoln and act better than did Lincoln in his context.

"The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside us while we live." -- Norman Cousins

Posted by Howard Nelson at January 29, 2016 4:37 PM

"sober judgment of courts"

uh huh. as long as the courts agreed with him. Lincoln acted as leader of the savage mob.

John Wilkes Booth - a tragedy that he was four years too late.

Posted by itor at January 29, 2016 9:47 PM

Andy Texan's big complaint is that none of us Lincoln truthers are 150 years old, thus we, and history itself, have no standing.

See what the public school system has done to people? Many of them can never break free and become self thinkers.

Stupid and disgusting indeed.

Posted by ghostsniper at January 30, 2016 6:06 AM

I remember this speech from Disneyland. Half asleep we stumbled in to rest, and the part about taking a drink from the Ohio made me open my eyes and listen. And now it seems prophetic, doesn't it?

Posted by Excuse me for being American at January 30, 2016 7:51 AM

Lincoln preserved the Union, at terrible cost and using some tactics that would be considered over the top in the viewpoint of some today.
There was no "Internet", telegraphy was not that new, and was limited to the people of wealth for the most part. The newspaper and chewing the fat at the dry goods store, or feed & farm supply store, or at Sunday service was more common means of information exchange. Traveling salesmen and 'tinkers', or even snake-oil vendors were common methods of communication.
In those times, it was just luck that Lincoln got to DC alive.
I find it rich that people today know 'so much' about what life was like back then that they can judge fairly the facts of 150 years ago. They must belong to the same family of people that want to reconsider the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombing along with firestorm that destroyed Dresden.
We were not there, were not alive to know the conditions, and did not have the luxury of KNOWING WHO WAS GOING TO WIN.
Sure is easy to cast stones, especially at people long dead.
To those who wish the Confederacy still existed, I have one question: Was slavery, a condition for states joining the Confederacy by their Constitution, a good thing, to be continued endlessly? Was it 'Christian'? If you think it was a good thing, I am glad to not have your acquaintance. At least, I think so.
My thought is that Lincoln used the tools at hand, and would have put them away soon after. His plan for reconstruction was destroyed with his death, and Booth did a lot more damage to the South than is allowed by historians. To this day, I wish that Booth had failed.
I refuse to become one of the "knowitalls" that can judge after all the facts have become history rather than during the time of their occurrence.
My crystal ball is on the blink: "Things are blurry, ask later." is all i seem to get.

Posted by tomw at January 30, 2016 9:08 AM

"A republic is yours, if you can keep it"
- B. Franklin

"A Union is ours, if we can keep it."
- A. Lincoln

I realize both 'quotes' are not exact, nor perhaps attributed properly, but the ideas are the basis for the United States existing today.
Again, to those who decry Lincoln, what would be the current situation? Would the British or French have taken control of different States? Would the Confederacy still exist? Would the remains of the Union? Would slavery still be extant? Would the South still be the sleepy agricultural backwater? Would the North be industrialized? Would the Allies won WW-I or WW-II? Would Europe be Communist? Would it be under the descendants of the Kaiser? Would there be royalty or republic? Would France be a Monarchy? Germany? Italy? The war had far reaching effects beyond those of North America and the US in particular.
What would you expect? Or want?

Remember that some of the New England states had proposed a dissolution of the Union, and their secession, and actually had prepared secession documents, and sent them to Hartford(?), when history stayed their hand. Details on "The Web"... not in my head.
1861 was not the first time that 'things' had gone awry, and the War of Secession, or War to Preserve the Union, depending on your viewpoint, was fought at the behest of people of money, slaveholders in some cases, and industrialists in the other. Both 'the elite' in todays vernacular, who had been raising the temperature of the Nation for years before the first firing of cannon at Fort Sumter. Powderkeg meet fuse and match. It was all there to be lit off, and it was none of Abraham Lincoln's doing. The difference of opinion had been building for decades. Alternates to Lincoln as President would have faced the same problem set, with unknown outcome.

I re-read the preceding commentary, and find some of it rather arrogant. At the time, no one had the required "20/20 Hindsight" required to avoid the conflict, much less settle the differences peacefully. Those of you who 'know' different should have been there, obviously, to make things 'right'. Please elaborate on the tools that would have been used to either cast the union asunder or keep it together. Exactly what was it you wanted to happen that didn't? Exactly what tools used by Lincoln were evil, that you KNOW he would have used subsequent? What do you say of his plans for reconstruction?
It seems he is being judged in absentia, with no knowledge of the situation at the time, and with modern tools of communication as a measure. He did not have the tools, and faced the problems using what was at hand.
What now, my friends? Where to? We must deal with, or not be part of what "is" today. At least those are the two choices I find possible.
I don't really want to get into an argument, and don't plan on more 'missives' on Gerard's site, but find judging history from 'modern' viewpoints is rather unfair to the participants. Except in the works of Harry Turtledove, it is rather distasteful. Kinda like chewing the quarterback to pieces after a loss, when you could not get out there on the field and last 2 minutes.
We were not there.

Posted by tomw at January 30, 2016 9:47 AM

@ tomw

My dear Sir. I agree we were not there. That is why books are our only connection to history. The ". . . were you there . . . [or] we were not there" quip is for smart a**ed leftists to use since they are unread "historians". I am not a professional historian. My wife and I are amateur history buffs with a book collection that rivals most university library HISTORY sections. And we read, and we read. We have no crystal ball. We only have what is available to every other person interested in history with which to study and attempt to learn.

I will not accept as fact the drivel that was drummed at me in public school as to how great Mr. Lincoln was anymore. There is too much information available now that contradicts the bull shit. This includes numerous private letters and correspondence between people in "the mix" at the time that has been released by families. Call me a Freethinker or Jerk, I could care less. We do not have an Inquisition in the country . . . yet.

Posted by Terry at January 30, 2016 12:36 PM

Tomw: Thanks.

Posted by Fat Man at January 30, 2016 12:57 PM

@Terry, save it, they refuse to see.
@Fatman, cowardly "me too!" wretch.

Posted by ghostsniper at January 30, 2016 5:28 PM

Patriotism, amorality, stupidity, unjustified assumptions ruled the day. Parse the responsibilities as you will, the old equation was evoked, Greed x Power = Cruelty.
Kidnapped blacks enslaved for profits black and white, and unfair tariff allocations.
Right and wrong lynched the peace. North and South tightened the noose.
Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery to the territories, not its continuance in the slave states. He expected that slavery would gradually disappear without sustenance from the territories' richer soil worked by slaves.

Dream tonight your priorities had you been then a slave.

For some other thoughts on this endless search for justifiable blame --

Posted by Howard Nelson at January 30, 2016 9:03 PM

I refer you to the 1938 National Communist Convention in Chicago, Ill. where Lincoln was center stage for his contributions to Communist development. Abraham Lincoln communicated with Karl Marx and was America's first Communist.

Posted by Henry Jones at January 31, 2016 6:17 AM

Paraphrasing some of the Lincoln worshipers above sounds like:

Oh sure, a few people were inconvenienced
by Stalin, but one must look at the bigger picture, at least he was able to maintain communism and the USSR

Posted by itor at January 31, 2016 12:23 PM

Lincoln did not "communicate" with Karl Marx. Marx wrote a letter to Lincoln, on behalf of the International Working Men's Association, to congratulate "the American people" on Lincoln's re-election. The letter was sent to the U.S. ambassador in London, who replied.

As to Lincoln's views on communism/capitalism, I refer you to the following genuine, well-documented quotations.

"I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else." (March 6, 1860; Speech at New Haven, Connecticut; Speeches and Writings, Volume II, page 144; Collected Works, Volume IV, page 24; originally in New Haven Daily Palladium, March 7, 1860.)

"The prudent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself; then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just, and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way to all—gives hope to all, and consequent energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty—none less inclined to take, or touch, aught which they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be lost." (December 3, 1861; Annual Message to Congress; Speeches and Writings, Volume II, page 296; Collected Works, Volume V, page 52; originally (?) in Complete Works, ed. Nicolay and Hay, Volume Two, 1894, page 106.)

"The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor—property is desirable—is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprize. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." (March 21, 1864; Reply to New York Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association; Collected Works, Volume VII, page 259; originally (?) in Complete Works, ed. Nicolay and Hay, Volume Two, 1894, page 503; "just encouragement" means "right or proper encouragement" not "merely encouragement".)

Posted by ELC at January 31, 2016 4:26 PM

"tomw" gets it right I think. I can't recommend Harry Turtledove's books on the alternate world in which the South wins the Civil War in 1862 -- I haven't read them, and 3,000 or so pages over the course of nine or so volumes is a trifle long for the average reader. (The length can be forgiven -- he's telling a story spanning the 1860s through a very dark version of the 1930s and '40s -- as if the 1930s and '40s our parents and grandparents knew wasn't dark enough already.)

But I have skimmed a few of the volumes, and I think Turtledove is correct to assert that a world in which the South wins the Civil War would have been hellish.

We've been top-dog for so long now (militarily since 1945, and economically since the 1920s) that we've forgotten that the USA of our great-grandparents' and great-great-grandparents' day (call it the mid-to-late 19th Century) was at best a second-tier power in the world, and one that didn't get along very well with the superpowers of that era -- Great Britain, France, and Imperial Russia. Much of what we take for granted as the "natural" advance of freedom and liberty in the world (however imperfect those are at here at home) is due to the fact that no one has dared mess with us since 1945. Replace an intact America in 1900 with two Americas (USA and CSA), weakened and distracted by constant cold and hot wars against each other, and you get a world dominated by powers hostile to everything America has traditionally stood for. Don't forget that Great Britain didn't become friendly to us until after the turn of the century, France was, well, French (they're an odd bunch), and Imperial Russia was often referred to as "the jailer of nations". Imperial Germany was only "getting started" on the international stage, and given that Prussia wasn't so much Germanicized as Germany was Prussianized, our long-term relationship with Imperial Germany (had it survived World War I) might not have been happy.

Lincoln did the best he could with the tools he had in the circumstances he found himself. If he hadn't saved the Union, we'd be a lot worse off now than we are.

Yes, as Gale Norton (a former Secretary of the Interior, as I recall) once put it, "The states lost too much after 1865". But is that loss -- both in terms of the dignity, prestige, and power of the states, and to the rights and liberties of the peoples of the states -- truly Lincoln's fault? Or is it the fault of our grandparents and great-grandparents, who bought the snake-oil called "Progressivism" being so vigorously promoted after 1900?

My father once told me that his father was in the habit of saying that the worst mistake he ever made when it came to politics was voting for Wilson in 1916. (Grandpa was a young man then -- he was born in 1892, and it was the first national election he could vote in.) Grandpa said that he voted for Wilson because he had "kept us out of the War", but I think he also regretted helping Wilson's ideology gain power -- Grandpa was also in the habit of referring to FDR as "King Franklin the First".

I think I'll go with my grandfather's take on things, and hold his generation partly responsible for the fix we're in. Our part, and our parents' part, in this mess is that we have let it persist.

The question before us is how to get rid of the parasites before they get rid of us.

Oh, and Gerard, Fat Man is right: some of the commenters here have gotten pretty rancid.

Posted by Hale Adams at January 31, 2016 4:45 PM


Right on!

Now, if we Libertarians could only find a charismatic figure to draw crowds to preach those ideas to, we'd be a lot closer to restoring the Republic whose demise ghostsniper and others so (rancidly) mourn.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by Hale Adams at January 31, 2016 5:00 PM

Photograph pretty much sums it up.

Posted by Henry Jones at February 1, 2016 6:18 AM

@ tomw “My thought is that Lincoln used the tools at hand, and would have put them away soon after.”
Your thought (it’s nice you have one) conflict with all known or recorded facts. Lincoln’s tools at hand included forced votes at gunpoint, disregard of the First Amendment, violations of the II, III, IV, VI, and VIII Amendments (he declared war to circumvent the V Amendment), obviously ignored the IX and X Amendments as well, and a number of other core Constitutional violations. Opposition to his aims was overcome with force of arms. In short, a military dictatorship.
Tools at hand my ass.

It’s true we cannot (now) forecast what would have happened is Lincoln had acted lawfully or responsibly, but we can accurately trace what happened from the actions he did take. From the No Child Left Behind and Common Core of the USDE; the federal ‘ownership’ of every gully or ditch under EPA; to whether it’s allowable to accurately label food. Lincoln started it all:
- The black codes. Gun controls. Eugenics.
- Genocide of the Plains Indians.
- The “right to privacy” of abortion, and public funding of them.
- The right to privacy as revealed by Snowden.
- Crony capitalism (corporatism/fascism) resulting in “free trade”, uncontrolled immigration, and record unemployment.
- Foreign incompetence in WWI, WWII, the endless debacles of Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen to name a few.

Almost every major malfunction of our current government can be traced directly to Lincoln. This doesn’t include the lives and livelihood lost in the deadliest war of American history, or the trashing of 15 states’ economies for over a century.

All Lincoln had to do was sit on his worthless, lobbyist butt and order 200 or so soldiers to come home. Unfortunately it was not to be. Just don't ask reasonable people to worship the worst, most law-breaking executive the government ever had.

Posted by hoodathunkit at February 4, 2016 11:04 AM