An African-American Icon Speaks Truth to the Lincoln Cult

Original Article: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo139.html


by Thomas J. DiLorenzo


“Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he is a church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom have a vested interest in [him] and who are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him.”

~ Lerone Bennett, Jr.,

Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream
, p. 114

The gigantic collection of myths, lies, and distortions that comprise The Legend of Abraham Lincoln is the ideological cornerstone of the American warfare/welfare state. It has been invoked for generations to make the argument that if the policies of the U.S. government are not “the will of God,” then at least they are the will of “Father Abraham.” Moreover, this legend – this false history of America – did not arise spontaneously. It was invented and nurtured by an intergenerational army of court historians who, as Murray Rothbard once said, are absolutely indispensable to any government empire. All states, said Rothbard, depend for their existence on a series of myths about their benevolence, heroism, greatness, or even divinity.

Since very few Americans have spent much time educating themselves about Lincoln and nineteenth-century American history (much of which has been falsified anyway), it is easy for members of what I call the Lincoln Cult to dismiss all literary criticisms of Lincoln as the work of “neo-Confederates,” their code-word for “defenders of slavery” (as though anyone in America today would defend slavery), or “racist.” Although they label themselves “Lincoln scholars,” the last thing they want is honest scholarship when it comes to the subject of Lincoln and his war. They are, at best, cover-up artists and pandering court historians who feed at the government grant trough, “consuming” tax dollars to support their “research” and their overblown university positions.

But they’ve got a big problem (more than one, actually). The big problem is the publication of a 662-page book by the distinguished African-American author Lerone Bennett, Jr. entitled Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream. The book was originally published in 1999 and was recently released in paperback. Bennett was a longtime managing editor of Ebony magazine and, among other things, the author of a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., What Manner of Man. Although several “Civil War” publications have labeled yours truly as the preeminent Lincoln critic of our day, Forced into Glory is a much more powerful critique of Dishonest Abe than anything I have ever written. The Lincoln Cult, which would not dare to personally attack a serious African-American scholar like Bennett, has largely ignored the book instead.

When they are not ignoring the book and hoping that it (and the author) would just go away, they “have responded by recycling the traditional Lincoln apologies,” writes Bennett. (Being a “Lincoln scholar” means taking some of Lincoln’s unsavory words and deeds, such as his lifelong support for the policy of “colonization” or deportation of all black people in America, and dreaming up excuses for why he was supposedly “forced” into taking that position).

Bennett argues that “academics and [the] media had been hiding the truth for 135 years and that Lincoln was not the great emancipator or the small emancipator or the economy-sized emancipator.” He presents chapter and verse of how the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one, since it only applied to “rebel territory,” and specifically exempted all the slave-owning/Union-controlled border states and other areas that were occupied by the U.S. army at the time. He quotes James Randall, who has been called the “greatest Lincoln scholar of all time,” as writing, “the Proclamation itself did not free a single slave.” It was the Thirteenth Amendment that finally ended slavery, he correctly notes, and Lincoln was dragged into accepting it kicking and screaming all the way.

So what was the purpose of the Proclamation? Primarily to placate the genuine abolitionists with a political sleight of hand, says Bennett, and to deter Britain and France from formally recognizing the Confederate government.

Since so few Americans are aware of these facts, Bennett correctly concludes that “the level of ignorance on Abraham Lincoln and race in the United States is a scandal and a rebuke to schools, museums, media, and scholars.” This of course is no accident; it’s exactly the way the state wants it to be.

Bennett is especially critical of how the Lincoln Cult uses black historical figures as pawns in its defense of “Father Abraham.” For example, he contends that there is no way to get around the fact that Lincoln was a lifelong white supremacist, loudly proclaiming that he was opposed to “making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.” He said far worse things than that, as Bennett documents. The typical response of the Lincoln Cult is to “find a slave or a former slave or, better, a Black officeholder to say that he adores Lincoln and doesn’t care what people say . . . “

Why, one would ask, is such a distinguished African-American journalist so incensed over the Lincoln myth? It is because of his twenty years of painstaking research, resulting in this book, that proves, among other things, what a vulgar racist Lincoln was. Bennett provides quote after quote of Lincoln’s own words, habitually using the N-word so much that people in Washington thought he was weirdly consumed by his racism. Bennett tells of first-hand accounts by some of Lincoln’s generals of how they left a meeting with him during a crisis in the war in which the president spent most of his time in the meeting telling off-color “darkie” jokes (Lincoln’s language). General James Wadsworth, for example, was “shocked by the racism in the Lincoln White House.”

I will not repeat any of this language here; suffice it to say that Bennett has scoured Lincoln’s Collected Works and demonstrates that he used the N-word about as frequently as your modern-day “gangster rapper” does. Bennett also describes how this has all been covered up by the Lincoln Cult. Despite the hundreds of examples that are right there in black and white in Lincoln’s own speeches, “Carl Sandburg, who spent decades researching Lincoln’s life, denied that Lincoln used the N-word.” And “Harold Holzer, who edited a collection of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, was surprised that Lincoln used the N-word twice in the first Lincoln-Douglas debate.” (Lincoln personally edited the transcripts of the debates, so there is no question that he said these things).

Original Article: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo139.html

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com

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  1. Thank you for this insightful article.




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