Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Judge Napolitano on Lincoln

Judge Andrew Napolitano is quoted in this article on one of the American patriotic myths. (Via LRC)
"The Confiscation Acts," writes Judge Napolitano, "show that Lincoln did not have much concern for the slaves. He did not suggest to Congress that freed slaves should be granted civil rights or citizenship in Northern states. Once the freed slaves were transported out of the United States, they would no longer be Lincoln’s problem." This is also why Lincoln tinkered with proposals for compensated emancipation in the border states while they were under U.S. military occupation during the war. These proposals included immediate deportation of any freed slaves. He saw the occupation of the border states during the war as an opportunity to begin ridding the country of "The Africans," as he referred to black people, as though they were from another planet. Judge Napolitano quotes Lincoln in one of his debates with Stephen Douglas as saying what he repeatedly said throughout his adult life: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes." "Lincoln was more concerned about the failure of [the seceding] states to collect tariffs than he was about slavery, " says Napolitano.
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4 comments:

Elisa said...

During my junior year of college, I wrote a short research paper on a 1861 federal circuit court case ex parte Merryman which was about habeas corpus (bringing the person to court to hear charges).
As I researched, I was surprised that Lincoln had suspended the writ and didn't tell the important people who needed to know. (Chief Justice Roger B. Taney was one of them)
There's a similar parallel today!

elena maria vidal said...

Very interesting, Elisa!

julygirl said...

Even though I grew up in the South and totally understood the Southern mentality in seceding from the Union, I never understood why Lincoln was considered a tyrant until I read in recent years about various enactments which he felt were within his power as President. He may have felt they were necessary 'to preserve the Union', but they were scary.

elena maria vidal said...

The War between the States opened up a can of worms in more ways than one. Too bad slavery could not have been abolished peacefully.