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Old November 28th, 2012, 09:20 AM   #1

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Founding Fathers + Lincoln - Copouts?


I keep seeing a theme come up in our history. I'm one of the people who love to have celebrities and people to idolize so I hate when you see bad things they did, but this one has really stuck with me. The founding fathers, and Abe Lincoln, with all of the radical, extreme, life threatening, political suicidal, and ballsy (for lack of a better word) things that they did, they saw slavery as bad (for the most part) yet no one wanted to touch it and take the leap to stand up against it. It really bothers me to see men like Jefferson and Lincoln preferring to keep their hands off and "let it die on its own" yet they were willing to risk everything for their own freedoms or advancements. Anyone else get this vibe? Considering writing a research paper on it..
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Old November 28th, 2012, 09:36 AM   #2

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Ah, the bashing blaming Jefferson recurring theme. Anyway.
I see the willingness to stop slavery in the US compared to today's
want to get the US off foreign oil dependency.
I think most people would love to have the US not be held hostage to foreign
oil and power, but how to stop it?
If someone said, "Everyone, stop driving your cars and take the bus or buy
electric cars." What would be the response? Right. People would look at you and
say, "You do it". Especially since all our lives we've always had cars and enjoyed
the freedom to travel where we want and go and do our business as we want and please.
People are too dependent on our cars and the nation was too dependent and entwined
with slavery to simply say, "go away."
Who would be the first to stop it all? As bad as slavery was, it was legal and part of
people's lives and no one knew how to get rid of it. Besides, there is always the giant
racial issues. How were blacks seen at the time by the nation at large?
As you wrote, Lincoln was no life long great champion emancipator, he was forced to
address it when the slaves voted with their feet and fled to Union lines. He saw a
rare chance in History to remove a cancer while the patient was flayed open on the
operating table, and he took it.
Despite his great, untouchable, pious, patriotic standing and image, Washington
did nothing to champion the cause of emancipation of slaves in his life time. Yes he
freed 'his' slaves, but not his wife's, but he did so only after he was dead. Alive he
used them to support his expensive and upper crust life. Dead, he didn't need them.
If he had spoken out against the evils of slavery, freed his while alive, used his
prestige to guilt others into ending slavery nationwide, but he didn't. He was silent
on the matter. A great wasted opportunity if you ask me.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #3

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While I don't disagree, it all strikes me as Realpolitik. We started a Civil War without the express aim of ending slavery. Publicly advocating the end of the "peculiar institution" would surely have done so earlier-not to mention being political suicide.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #4

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TJ, I'm a huge Washington fan, and Jefferson, and I share many of your views about Lincoln but still a fan. So I'm not blaming Jefferson any more than the others. My response to your oil crisis is that it's not a moral issue. It's not an issue that is denying the value of human life. So to me that's an incomparable example. As for what you said about Lincoln and Washington - I agree and I think you proved my point. Perhaps I should have clarified more though, I'm not saying any of them would have stopped it. I'm saying speak out about it - you're willing to risk everything else for everything else. Yet the issue of human bondage you cop out as being hands off, or claiming it's a necessary evil, or the wolf by the ears.

diddyriddick, I say to you that I disagree. Maybe culturally slavery is what 'started' the war. or indirectly. But I believe it was states' rights, the election of Lincoln, the occupation of federal forces and obviously the attack of Fort Sumter. As TJ said, Lincoln didn't make the abolition of slavery the goal of the CW until after a year into his presidency when he was forced to by rebellion, bloodshed, migration of slaves, and Europe's interest in seeing the Confederacy as a country then allowing it to gain allies. The Emancipation Proclamation didnt even free all the slaves.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucanefan View Post
I keep seeing a theme come up in our history. I'm one of the people who love to have celebrities and people to idolize so I hate when you see bad things they did, but this one has really stuck with me. The founding fathers, and Abe Lincoln, with all of the radical, extreme, life threatening, political suicidal, and ballsy (for lack of a better word) things that they did, they saw slavery as bad (for the most part) yet no one wanted to touch it and take the leap to stand up against it. It really bothers me to see men like Jefferson and Lincoln preferring to keep their hands off and "let it die on its own" yet they were willing to risk everything for their own freedoms or advancements. Anyone else get this vibe? Considering writing a research paper on it..
Your characterization of Lincoln is incorrect. He had been advocating for years that he wanted to stop the expansion of slavery, in the belief that that would lead to its "ultimate extinction". That's the platform he ran on, and that's the platform he was elected on. When Southern states started to secede as a result of his policy, some of his advisors asked him to recant it. He refused.

He understood that he had no Constitutional authority to touch slavery where it already existed (except as a war measure). Despite what some people say, he was not a dictator. But he did have the Constitutional authority to stop its expansion, and that he fully intended to do.

He was the ONLY President who stood up against slavery. And as a result, the country went into Civil War. And that answers why the other Presidents and Founding Fathers kept backing down to slavery.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #6

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I know it isn't an exact copy to compare our oil dependency/green house/global warming
problem with slavery, but it is the biggest comparison I could think of.
If you think about the comparison even more, a lot of people make a lot of money off of
oil drilling and production and do you think they have a conscience about anything other
than themselves? You said you were looking for other 'vibes', so I thought I would toss this one
in the ring. Anyone can attack and belittle Jefferson and get away with it, but if you shine a bight light
on Lincoln or Washington, you'll get attacked by angry birds and zombies.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:15 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucanefan View Post
As TJ said, Lincoln didn't make the abolition of slavery the goal of the CW until after a year into his presidency when he was forced to by rebellion, bloodshed, migration of slaves, and Europe's interest in seeing the Confederacy as a country then allowing it to gain allies. The Emancipation Proclamation didnt even free all the slaves.
Perhaps you should listen to what Jefferson Davis had to say then:

Quote:
"Finally a great party was organized for the purpose of obtaining the administration of the Government, with the avowed object of using its power for the total exclusion of the slave States from all participation in the benefits of the public domain acquired by all the States in common, whether by conquest or purchase; of surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited; of thus rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars. This party, thus organized, succeeded in the month of November last in the election of its candidate for the Presidency of the United States. " - Jefferson Davis, April 29, 1861

Source: Message of Jefferson Davis
Or perhaps Georgia Governor Joe Brown:

Quote:
"I do not doubt, therefore, that submission to the administration of Mr. Lincoln will result in the final abolition of slavery. If we fail to resist now, we will never again have the strength to resist." - Joe Brown, December 7, 1860

Source: http://civilwarcauses.org/jbrown.htm
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:35 AM   #8

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Ucanefan, you might also try listening to Lincoln himself:

Quote:
"Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT."
- Abraham Lincoln, February 27, 1860

Source: Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union Address
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #9

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Lincoln always "hated"slavery, yet he was very quiet on it before he was president. He only stood up to slavery when he absolutely had to with a civil war in his face.

Of course some people thought it was about slavery, they still do. It's obviously debatable look how many pages the thread on this has already gotten. "the myth the ACW was not over slavery"
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:44 AM   #10

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Yes Lincoln hated slavery and didn't want it to expand. But he was extremely reluctant to touch it otherwise. He preferred a hands off policy until a war and Europe looking to see the confederacy as legitimate nearly forced him to make slavery the unions' focus. The Emancipation Proclamation didn't even free all the slaves. Help me out here TJ lol
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