Lincoln and the Death of the Old Republic

From the August 2002 issue of Chronicles:

By Joseph E. Fallon

Official history
venerates Abraham Lincoln as an apostle of
American democracy who waged war on the South
to preserve the Union and free the slaves.
Official history is a lie.

Lincoln was a
dictator who destroyed the Old Republic and
replaced the federal principles of 1789 with
the ideological foundations of today`s
welfare/warfare state. His administration was
characterized by paranoia, a lust for power,
and rampant corruption. The magnitude of that
paranoia was evidenced by Lincoln`s secretary
of war, Edwin M. Stanton, who declared that
"Every department of the Government was
paralyzed by treason." "Traitors" were to be

in the
Senate, in the House of Representatives, in
the Cabinet, in the Federal Courts . . .
Treason was flagrant in the revenue and in
the post-office service, as well as in the
Territorial governments and in the judicial

In his bid
for absolute power, Lincoln used "treason" as
a pretext to unleash war and shred the
Constitution. Freedom of the press was
curtailed. The Chicago Times was one of over
300 Northern newspapers suppressed for
expressing "incorrect" views. As late as May
18, 1864, Lincoln ordered his military to
"arrest and imprison . . . the editors,
proprietors and publishers of the New York
World and the New York Journal of Commerce."

suspended habeas corpus. He criminalized
speech and legalized arbitrary arrests. Twenty
thousand political prisoners were held
incommunicado and denied legal counsel.
Maryland`s legislature was overthrown, and New
York City was placed under military

In his
December 1861 lectures in Boston and New York
City, Northern abolitionist Wendell Phillips
declared that "We live today, every one of us,
under martial law. The Secretary of State puts
into his bastile, with a warrant as
irresponsible as that of Louis XIV, any man
whom he pleases."

Lincoln`s war
against the South was not to preserve the
Union from treasonous secessionists. Lincoln
himself had championed the right of secession.
In a speech before Congress on the
Mexican-American War, he declared that "Any
people anywhere being inclined and having the
power have the right to rise up and shake off
the existing government, and form a new one
that suits them better."

Nor did
Lincoln wage war against the South to
emancipate black slaves. In his First
Inaugural Address, on March 4, 1861, Lincoln
emphatically declared: "I have no purpose,
directly or indirectly, to interfere with the
institution of slavery in the States where it
exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do
so, and I have no inclination to do so."

On September
11, 1861, Lincoln countermanded General
Fremont`s order freeing the slaves in
Missouri. And on May 19, 1862, he
countermanded General Hunter`s order
emancipating the slaves in Georgia, Florida,
and South Carolina. On August 22, 1862,
Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley, declaring:

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.

With the
demise of the Confederacy nowhere in sight,
however, Lincoln changed his position on
emancipation. On September 13, 1862, Lincoln
explained to a visiting delegation of clergy
the purpose of his forthcoming Emancipation
Proclamation: "I view this matter as a
practical war measure, to be decided on
according to the advantages or disadvantages
it may offer to the suppression of the

That the
Emancipation Proclamation was "a practical war
measure" can be seen in the fact that it did
not free a single slave within the
jurisdiction of the Union. The proclamation
only declared that "all persons held as slaves
within any State, or designated part of a
State, the people whereof shall then be in
rebellion against the United States, shall be
then, thenceforth, and forever free." Slavery
remained legally protected in those slave
states that stayed loyal to the
Union–Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri,
and West Virginia–and in those portions of
the Confederacy under Union occupation.

Emancipation Proclamation was an act of
military desperation designed to realize two
goals. Lincoln hoped, first, to dissuade the
British and the French governments from
intervening militarily on behalf of the South.
As Lincoln noted, the Emancipation
Proclamation "would help us in Europe, and
convince them that we are incited by something
more than ambition." Second, Lincoln hoped to
incite slaves to murder defenseless white
women and children on the farms and in the
cities of the Confederacy in the expectation
that the Confederate army would disintegrate
as soldiers abandoned the field to return home
to save the lives of their families. Lincoln
justified this goal by asserting:

. . . I
have a right to take any measure which may
best subdue the enemy; nor do I urge
objections of a moral nature, in view of
possible consequences of insurrection and
massacre at the South.

In issuing
his Emancipation Proclamation as an incitement
for a race war, Lincoln was continuing his
policy of violating both the Constitution and
international law. Food and medicine had
already been declared contraband. Later,
Lincoln issued "Instructions for the
Government of Armies of the United States in
the Field" (General Orders, No. 100, 1863),
authorizing starvation and bombardment of
Southern women and children.

Since the
Emancipation Proclamation was "a practical war
measure," its enforcement was determined by
whether it advanced Lincoln`s war effort. As a
consequence, when Lincoln`s Army arrived,
"freed" Southern slaves often found themselves
re-enslaved under the fiction of a one-year
work contract. They could suffer a loss of pay
or rations for acts of laziness, disobedience,
or insolence and had to obtain a pass to leave
the plantation. Provost marshals ensured that
they displayed "faithful service, respectful
deportment, correct discipline and perfect

Other "freed"
Southern slaves found themselves forced to
build installations and fortifications for
Lincoln`s Army or were violently conscripted.

In a May 1862
report, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase
was advised that

The negroes
were sad . . . Sometimes whole plantations,
learning what was going on, ran off to the
woods for refuge . . . This mode of
[enlistment by] violent seizure is

As late as
February 7, 1865, Lincoln wrote to Lieutenant
Colonel Glenn, operating in Kentucky:
"Complaint is made to me that you are forcing
negroes into the military service, and even
torturing them."

In The
Plundering Generation, Ludwell H. Johnson
summarized the real reasons for Lincoln`s
violent opposition to the South`s

Manufacturers feared the loss of American
markets to a flood of cheap British goods
pouring through a free-trade Confederacy;
Northern shippers feared the loss of their
monopoly of the coasting trade and their
share of the trans-Atlantic carrying trade;
merchants feared the loss of the profits
they garnered as middlemen between the South
and Europe; creditors feared the loss of
Southern debts; the Old Northwest feared the
loss or curtailment of the Mississippi
trade; the Republicans feared the
disintegration of their party should it let
the South go and bring upon the North all of
the consequences just mentioned.

Lincoln waged
war on the South, however, to achieve more
than preservation of the status quo. War was
the means to establish the North`s hegemony
over the political and economic life of the
United States. War offered Lincoln, his party,
and Northern special interests a continental
empire to exploit. And they did so with
ruthless abandon.

In the North,
Lincoln`s Congress imposed excise taxes on
virtually all items; raised the protective
tariff to the highest level in the country`s
history (under the Morrill Act of 1861);
issued paper currency (Legal Tender Act of
1862); awarded Northern railroad companies
government loans and extensive land grants
(Pacific Railway Act of 1862); unilaterally
repealed Indian land claims; promoted
settlement of Western lands by Northerners
(Homestead Act of 1862); effectively
"nationalized" the country`s financial
institutions (National Banking Acts of 1863
and 1864); and furnished Northern businesses
with cheap labor (Contract Labor Law of 1864).

In the South,
Congress authorized the theft of tens, if not
hundreds, of millions of dollars worth of
Southern property (Confiscation Acts of 1861
and 1862, Direct Tax Act of 1862, and Captured
and Abandoned Property Act of 1863). The
cotton, alone, that the North stole has been
conservatively valued at $100 million.

legalized robbery was in addition to the
plundering by Lincoln`s Army. In December
1864, Sherman wrote, "I estimate the damage
done to the State of Georgia . . . at
$100,000,000; at least $20,000,000 of which
has inured to our advantage, and the remainder
is simple waste and destruction."

With Lincoln
came the wholesale corruption of the political
system. In 1864, Edward Bates, Lincoln`s
attorney general, lamented that "the
demoralizing effect of this civil war is
plainly visible in every department of life.
The abuse of official powers and thirst for
dishonest gain are now so common that they
cease to shock."

As Henry S.
Olcott, special investigator for the U.S. War
and Navy Departments, revealed in The War`s
Carnival of Fraud (1878), "at least twenty, if
not twenty-five, percent of the entire
expenditures of the government during the
Rebellion, were tainted with fraud." Later
estimates put the level of fraud involving
Army contracts at 50 percent.

institutional corruption defines the
post-constitutional America that Lincoln
created. The destruction of the Old Republic
ensured the entrenchment of a permanent
kleptocracy. That is Lincoln`s legacy. Since
1861, the United States has had a government
of special interests, by special interests,
and for special interests, dedicated to the
proposition that their power and profits
"shall not perish from the earth."

Published in VDARE.COM –
05, 2003