13 February 2011

Historians Embarrassed By Lincoln?

According to Eric Foner, yes.

". . . historians find Lincoln's embrace of colonization embarrassing." 

(Foner makes this observation in a 2000 review of Lerone Bennett Jr.'s not so complimentary book about Lincoln.)

Now why would a historian be embarrassed by facts about a 19th century President of the United States?


Douglas Hill said...

While not an authority on history, I apparently share an embarrassment with the more learned. Karl Marx, however, sounds like he was rather fond of ol' Abe: "The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world."

That collective "reconstruction of a social world" continues to this very day in insidious, deceptive ways; its goal- our demise.

Nowhere is touched upon the Great Liberator's support as expressed in his first inaugural address for the proposed Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1861 : "...I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable."

That proposed amendment, of course, forbad Congress from abolishing or interfering with institution of slavery, guaranteeing its perpetuity, or at least permitting its natural death.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes, but the argument is he "grew" while in office. His EP was a sign of that growth, not a sign of desperation and calculating political maneuvering.
Of course, the South's very late decision to allow blacks to serve in the army in exchange for their freedom, cannot be viewed as "growing" but as desperation.

See how this works?