Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil War. He is proclaimed a hero, decisive, the man who saved the United States of America. I used to believe those things also without putting any thought into it – It was just a given for me. I however, have since changed my mind completely. I would say 180 degrees completely. Lincoln has moved from the top of my Best President list, to the very bottom. I can no longer deify a man who is responsible for the deaths of 600 to 700 thousand human beings. The maiming of hundreds of thousands more, the destruction of families, lives and property. We just drive by these numbers like fence posts. We see them, but pay them no mind.
Let’s look at it in today’s terms. The population of the United States is a little over 300 million. Which is about 10 times the population in 1860, so all we need to do is multiply the war numbers times 10. I dare you to try to just drive by these numbers. 6 to 7 million dead. Several million maimed and wounded, hundreds of billions of property damage. Now, how many of you would be ok with this level of destruction if 17 states decided to secede. Is it so important to you for others to think like you, that you would condone this destruction.
When the Civil War is discussed, it is mostly around the subject of slavery. The war however, was not fought over, or because of slavery. The war was fought over and because of secession. But, wasn’t secession illegal and traitorous? The very simple answer is, No. Secession was constitutional in 1860, before 1860 and is constitutional to this day. No where in the Constitution is secession prohibited to the States. This country was founded on an act of secession, when our forefathers seceded from the British empire. I guess it’s a good thing Lincoln wasn’t around then, for he most certainly would have been a loyalist.
Lincoln should have never resorted to military force to bring the South back into the Union. Much of the South was poor and backwards, and they would have seen the North leave them behind economically. Their destiny was to be united with the North. He should have used diplomacy only, and let time work to bring the seceding states back. During this time, the Constitution could have been amended outlawing slavery, which the seceding states would have to agree to in order to be re-admitted to the Union. I believe that the seceding states would have returned in time, and if they didn’t, that would be their decision, their right of self-determination…not Lincoln’s.