Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation Part 2

Part 2 of 4 of an analysis of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation:

So if it was not from a humanitarian equalitarian abolitionist standpoint that Lincoln authored the Emancipation Proclamation, what strategy possessed him?  Clearly, slavery was the law of the land as supported by the Supreme Court's Dread Scott decision of 1857 which found that slaves and those of African descent were not citizens entitled to protection under the Constitution and that the U.S. Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in any state.  The Constitution provided that the states would have authority in self-determining the provisions for the institution of slavery within the rights established by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Nonetheless, in a tyrannical unconstitutional stretch of his executive powers, Lincoln felt compelled to issue a proclamation specifically violating this established law.  Surely, Lincoln meant to cater to the powerful abolitionist movement to garner support for his unconstitutional war against the Confederacy, bringing a moral component to what could only be previously viewed as a strong-armed attempt at preserving the tax base for the federal treasury.  So, Lincoln in his same letter to Greeley sought to appease the abolitionist appetite saying, “"If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong." Maneuvering to secure the endorsement of the war mongering abolitionists in the first debate with Douglas, Lincoln stated, “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”  Surely, Lincoln is more divinely inspired than the Bible itself in defining right from wrong and deploring the historical institution of slavery, no?  The proclamation sought to promote anarchy and chaos and security issues in the South as the abolitionists openly desired.  In 1829, David Walker published his highly controversial Walker’s Appeal praising slaves who defended themselves against their masters. Even in this early antebellum period when even abolitionists refrained from advocating violent and rebellious action against slavery, Walker dared to suggest that slaves kill their masters for their freedom.  Such anarchy of course found no restraint with William Lloyd Garrison author of the antislavery publication The Liberator who rejected slavery as well as the supporting Constitution, endorsing burning the founding document.  And of course, the Emancipation Proclamation itself explicitly overturned laws forbidding blacks in the armed forces of the United States stating, “I further declare and make known, that (all persons held as slaves within said designated [Confederate] States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward free) of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service. “  It is estimated that 180,000 blacks joined the Union armed forces as a direct result of this proclamation, substantially reinforcing the armies of the North, especially considering the armies of the opposing Confederacy numbered only about 750,000 in total.

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