12 Biggest Myths About Abraham Lincoln
The Real Story
4. He Was A Civil Rights Saint
After Martin Luther King, Jr., Lincoln is probably seen as racial equality's most famous supporter. Even famous ex-slaves, such as Frederick Douglass, heralded him as a champion for the black race. But what is seldom discussed are Lincoln's not-so-progressive views of black people. For example, he said, "I will say that I am not... in favor of bringing about the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not in favor of making voters of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people." Not exactly something you want to be teaching 4th graders about our "greatest president."
In 2000, Time wrote of the man who freed the slaves: "He supported the noxious pre-Civil War 'Black Laws,' which stripped African Americans of their basic rights in his native Illinois, as well as the Fugitive Slave Act, which compelled the return to their masters of those who had escaped to free soil in the North."
If any doubt looms on his views, one only has to look to his plan for blacks, including celebrated free black thinkers like Frederick Douglass: Lincoln sought to buy and then deport all blacks to Africa and South America, probably forcing them to undergo similar treatment as their ancestors had undergone during the Middle Passage.
3. He Started The Civil War Over The Slavery Issue
Most people believe the Civil War was fought over slavery, but taxes had just as much to do with it. The urban North continually pushed for disproportionately higher taxes for the rural South until it couldn't take it anymore and decided to secede from the Union.
Even the Emancipation Proclamation was little more to him than a war tactic. It was Lincoln's prediction that freeing a slew of hostile blacks would allow the South to tear itself apart, or at the least, bring new recruits to the North. Many newspapers of the times, even those in the Union, criticized Lincoln for seeking to destroy the Confederacy at any cost.
2. Vote for Me, Or Else
Today, presidential campaigns are known for their slander and vile, but people would be surprised to discover that things were just as bad in the 1800s. Amid the chaos of the nation amidst the Civil War, Lincoln decided to employ re-election tactics that would make even Dubya demand a recount.
According to history documents and reporters of the time, Lincoln was using taxpayer dollars to pay for Union soldiers election furlough. Technically, any soldier could vote for any candidate, but there were claims that only pro-Lincoln soldiers were receiving leave to make the trip. While at the ballot stations, it was reported that Union Soldiers were then voting multiple times for friends who "couldn't make it," and in some instances even intimidating civilians into voting for a re-election of Lincoln...