12 Biggest Myths About Abraham Lincoln
Free The Slaves, Enslave Speech
9. He Believed In Freedom of Speech
Mark Twain once said that "freedom of speech is the idiot's most valued treasure, especially on the internet." Well, maybe not precisely that, but the right to idiocy and deceit are enshrined in the First Amendment.
Abraham Lincoln cared neither for lies, as the moniker "Honest Abe" suggests, nor free speech. During his presidency, Abe had opposition newspapers suppressed by his administration, at points going as far as jailing editors without due process of law -- all because they were critical of him during wartime.
8. Constitutional Door Mat
Recent Presidents of the United States have endured harsh criticism for their handling of war detainees, at times even signing off on purportedly "excessive" torture methods. But both commanders-in-chief fall short of Lincoln's radical disregard for constitutional rights. On two separate occasions, Lincoln actually suspended habeas corpus. For everyone. This constitutional writ checks a state's power by requiring everyone be brought before a judge.
Lincoln suspended the writ first in 1861 in the state of Maryland, and then a year later nationwide. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens, war protesters in some cases, were jailed without due process or were tried before a military tribunal. There were instances where even U.S. senators and congressmen were put behind bars, a scenario which makes the sound of suspended Constitutional rights sound momentarily attractive.
7. "The South Started It..."
Speaking of the Constitution, Congress has the power to declare war. To a certain degree, the president has no more right than we do to bypass those of Congress' many civic duties.
Unless, of course, you're the 16th President of the United States....