Abraham Lincoln and the Union army are often credited with “freeing the slaves” out of a moral imperative.
Lincoln’s own words debunk this popular lie.
“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it,” Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley in 1862.
The full context exposes Lincoln’s apathy towards enslaved people:
“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”Abraham Lincoln, 1862
His efforts to abolish slavery were entirely political.
“The Emancipation Proclamation was more about preserving the Union and winning the war than it was a heartfelt desire for justice and racial equality in America,” as pointed out by Undivided Nation.
Below is a quote from Abraham Lincoln speaking at a debate in Charleston, Illinois, expounding on his stance against “equality” for blacks and whites. Hard line stances include no black voters or politicians, no interracial marriages and certainly not “social and political equality.”
“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, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”Abraham Lincoln, 1858
The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 only applied to 11 Confederate States, as an act to seize enemy resources and cripple their economy.
Only states “in rebellion against the United States” were affected (the South), while the U.S. continued the practice of slavery.
The Emancipation Proclamation did not abolish slavery in northern states, where Union propagandists claimed moral high ground while simultaneously exploiting African workers as slaves. There were 451,021 slaves counted in the 1860 census in states and territories that would make up the Union during the Civil War. It wasn’t until the end of 1865 that the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution would outlaw slavery completely.
USHistory.org outlines the Union border states that were exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation:
The Emancipation Proclamation was a publicity stunt and a tool of war.
There were three main reasons for it: Politics, Labor and Fear.
POLITICS: Countries like England and France had already abolished slavery and The Union wanted to guarantee that Europe was on their side. By playing into the blossoming sense of morality seen across the globe, they could guarantee that Europe would not support the Confederacy. It’s basically “virtue signaling” while they make land grabs.
LABOR: The Yankees wanted to encourage blacks in the south to come north and join the Union Army, where they were placed into racially segregated infantry, artillery, and cavalry regiments, and almost always led by white officers. During the Civil War, black troops were often assigned tough, dirty jobs like digging trenches. (Constitutional Rights Foundation)
FEAR: Haiti had declared its independence in 1804, the first successful slave revolt in history, and word was getting out. Many whites feared that it would instigate a bloody revolution in their own country. “Liberty or Death!” was the slogan chosen by Dessalines during the Saint-Domingue uprising. Western imperialists have always feared Haiti’s success, and to this day still work to break their country. Another Haitian leader, Toussaint Louverture, once wrote a letter to the Earl of Balcarres, Governor of Jamaica, threatening to “send some blacks across in canoes to burn down the plantations and start a revolt” unless their English troops evacuated his Republic that is now Haiti. Louverture’s threat worked, and the invading troops evacuated.
Lincoln and U.S. imperialists never cared about black people. They just knew their time was up.
“Blacks have no reason to feel grateful to Abraham Lincoln. How come it took him two whole years to free the slaves? His pen was sitting on his desk the entire time,” said American writer and professor Julius Lester.
In our own state we’ve seen Confederate monuments being torn down and vandalized. If these self-declared “progressives” had any knowledge of history, they would tear down racist monuments on both sides, including the Lincoln Memorial.
If they truly cared about racism, they would tear down the courts that house judges who continue to give black people more time behind bars than white people for the same crimes. Americans are too cowardly to revolt though, so they just complain about things and attack inanimate objects.
Statues don’t enable modern day racism, living people do.
History is doomed to repeat itself if we simply try to erase or combat it. We should investigate things deeply and aim to understand what really happened and why. Putting all the blame on one side reduces us to Tribalism and allows propaganda to manipulate us. In reality, the racist history of America belongs to both sides, the North and the South, and continues to affect us all today.