From Pine View Farm

Betraying Abraham Lincoln 4

More lies (emphasis added):

Supporters of President Bush and the war in Iraq often quote Abraham Lincoln as saying members of Congress who act to damage military morale in wartime “are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.”

Republican candidate Diana Irey used the “quote” recently in her campaign against Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, and it has appeared thousands of times on the Internet, in newspaper articles and letters to the editor, and in Republican speeches.

But Lincoln never said that. The conservative author who touched off the misquotation frenzy, J. Michael Waller, concedes that the words are his, not Lincoln’s. Waller says he never meant to put quote marks around them, and blames an editor for the mistake and the failure to correct it. We also note other serious historical errors in the Waller article containing the bogus quote.

Why am I not surprised? The current Federal Administration bases its policies on lies. Why should not its supporters base their support on lies?



  1. Opie

    August 25, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    While I was explaining some detail of Lincoln’s life to our recent guest from New Zealand, my daughters interrupted to inform us that Lincoln was never really against slavery, and was really only interested in preserving the Union. The younger one even said Lincoln would have owned slaves if he could.

    Where’d they learn this? School, of course. And the younger one had only graduated from eighth grade.

  2. Frank

    August 28, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    Lincoln never really came out against slavery. To do so would have been political suicide.

    I am confident that he did not take office with the intention of abolishing slavery, but only to keep it from further expansion. The slave states, though, knew that, if they could not expand one-on-one with the free states, the imbalance in Congress would ultimately lead to abolition.

    Would he have owned slaves? I think not. It would have been inconsistent with the rest of his life (yeah, I know persons can be full of inconsistencies, but this one would ahve been too big).

    Did he, on Inauguration Day 1861, intend to abolish slavery? I’m certain that he did not.

    Did he realize that slavery was evil? I’m certain that he did. (And, no, I’m not going to plough through my 13 volume copy of the Writings of Abraham Lincoln for citations.)

    Secession occurred because the slave states saw the hand-writing on the wall, and it did, indeed, read, “Mene mene tekel upharsin,” and because Lincoln had the fundamental decency and moral strength to combine preserving the Union with ending a great evil.

    Did he end the entire evil? As one who grew up under Jim Crow and knows a bigot when I see one, I can say, No.

    He did not start opposition to slavery, but, as president, he started us, as a nation, on the road to confronting the evil of racism, a road we still travel.

    Your daughters still have a little to learn about the complexity of life. But so did you and I both in our high school years.

    (Of course, if the schools taught history instead of “social studies,” whatever that is . . . but that’s a different issue.)

    Frank Bell, AB History 1972

  3. Opie

    August 29, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    A few thoughts:

    1. While you are more generous to Lincoln than my daughters are, I’d like to see what a slaveholder voting in the election of 1860 would have to say about Lincoln’s attitude on slavery.

    2. When the war began, nobody knew if Lincoln would be able to “combine preserving the Union with ending a great evil.” If he truly valued preserving the union over ending slavery, like my daughters say, he’d been better off avoiding the war.

    3. If he had wanted to own slaves, he could have simply moved to Kentucky, home state to both he and his wife. They were still sold there, with certain restrictions.

  4. Frank

    August 30, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    1. Slaveholders opposed Lincoln. Hence, secession.

    2. Secession forced his hand.

    3. He believed slavery was evil. His personal writings confirm that. He also thought that abolitionism was dangerous for the Union; hence his reluctance to embrace it. When secession forced his hand, though, he moved slowly towards abolition–slowly, because he was well aware of the force of racism in American polity. It is, indeed, still alive and well.

    As an example, I submit this link: