Re: Anniversary of Lincoln Assassination, March 31:
Mr. Di Genio reminds us that Lincoln “succumbed to a single shot to the head” on April 15, 1865. When word got out that Lincoln had died, half the country rejoiced, because half the country viewed him as a bloody tyrant. Lincoln did not initiate the Civil War for the noble purpose of “freeing the slaves”, as we have been taught, but to keep the South from breaking away from the North.
Those thousands of Southerners who volunteered to fight and die in the war did not own slaves. Did not know any slaves or slaveowners. Slavery would have ended naturally in a decade or so without the horrendous bloodshed and destruction because economic conditions were changing. No, Lincoln started the war because the South wanted to secede from the Union and go its own way, as it had every Constitutional right to do, but Lincoln was determined to stop it.
Tyrant? Lincoln had no respect for the Constitution. He shut down unfriendly newspapers and jailed editors and publishers. In 1863 he suspended Habeas Corpus. He tried to force unwilling New Yorkers to fight in his war and caused bloody riots that lasted for days.
Yes, he “managed to hold the Union together”, as Mr. Di Genio points out.
This Union, by the way, since its beginning, has not gone a decade without war. Since Lincoln’s war, only the years 1935 to 1940 have been war-free, and that was because of the Great Depression. Today the U.S. is at war all over the globe, with a huge “Defense” budget and 800 military bases around the world. This “Union” that Lincoln preserved has become a big War Bully.
If the South had seceded, that secession might have encouraged other regions–the West, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast, etc.–to break away, and we would now have a different, and a much better, “country”. I can imagine New Jersey part of a confederation of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, with our own currency, laws, and passports, at peace with everybody.