I see you're taking a bit of heat for this essay. I have to add my two cents & point out the irony of "preferring to take Lincoln at his word" i.e. characterize him as a white supremacist, because that is exactly what neo-Confederates, Lost Causers, etc. have done for decades.

See, per the neo-Confederates, the War Between the States® had nothing whatever to do with slavery. The hallowed South wasn't racist. As you, & they, point out the Emancipation Proclamation freed few, if any, slaves. & for the reasons you state. But you both left out the most important reason it was crafted thus: that was to keep the border states—Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland & West Virginia—in the Union. Try to imagine a Union victory without them ... impossible really.

Then, of course, Lost Causers quote Lincoln's statements from the debates, or his famous letter to Horace Greeley declaring he would leave all the slaves in bondage to preserve the Union. Case closed. Right?


I think it's obvious that no fire-breathing abolitionist was ever going to be elected President in 1860. Lincoln viewed his mission to preserve the Union. Something he couldn't do as an also-ran.

I understand why neo-Cons neglect to credit Lincoln for passage of the 13th Amendment, which, however imperfectly, did free the slaves. All of them. Granted he never lived to see it adopted, having been murdered by an actual white supremacist prior. But after shepherding it past the House, passage & adoption were thought to be sure things.

I understand why they leave it out, but I don't understand why you do.

To address a few points in your previous essay, perhaps I'm wrong, but I thought Lincoln's desire to return freed slaves to Africa was based on his belief that the Black man might never transcend the hatred felt for him by so many white Americans. I think some BLM leaders today might concur.

Certainly Lincoln did not believe the President had any authority, under normal circumstances to interfere with slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was made under emergency powers, while the 13th amendment was written, debated & passed during a period where the southern states couldn't interfere.

I haven't studied Lincoln's relationship with Frederick Douglass at length, but I know when Douglass appeared at the White House unanounced & left his card, he was ushered in right away to see the President. Lincoln also invited him to his second inaugural.

More ironically still, I think the biggest stain on Lincoln's administration is the way Bureau of Indian Affairs corruption forced Souix & Cheyenne to take arms because their families were starving. Again, neo-Cons love to point out how Lincoln "enjoyed" hanging Indians, even though he commuted most the death sentences that resulted from that uprising.

I don't think reasonable, honest people can disagree. Everything you've written about Lincoln might have come from the pen of a neo-Confederate.

And yet, even if one is convinced Lincoln wasn't a racist, how about his views on women's equality? Transgender rights? Access for the disabled?

And we get to my final point: suppose we replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman, or even the faces on Mount Rushmore. How certain can we be that the new icons will always pass muster, & with everyone? Did Harriet Tubman eat meat? How did Frederick Douglass feel about gays & lesbians? So far, Dr King has not been targeted by feminists for his rather liberal interpretation of marriage vows, but will this always be the case?

LA born & raised, now I live upstate. I hate snow. I write on healthcare, politics & history. Hobbies are woodworking & singing Xmas carols with nonsense lyrics