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Bush Reads Lincoln To Learn About Bush

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Bush is on vacation. Again.

No, I am not bashing the man for going on vacation. He has one of the hardest jobs there is, and sucking at it is "hard werk." I am, however, going to go off on his book selections. Not because Bush is reading them, but because of the messages those books tell me.

During his annual retreat to Crawford, President Bush is going to be reading historical books again. He read the same genre last summer on his vacation, only this year he is giving himself less time to do it in. Shorter vacation this year. Cindy must be putting a strain on his relaxing maybe?

This summer, he is reading two books on Lincoln and one on the history of polio. The polio book sounds rather uninteresting to me, but to each his own. I would love to be in the room as he reads that book though:

Karl, Laura! I need help! There are no horses in this book! How can you have a book about playing polio without horses? Oh, wait. It's probably water polio. Never mind. Almost looked dumb there

However, I am rather concerned by the Lincoln books. I see many parallels between Bush and Lincoln that only a person who is not a fan of either's performance as President could see.

My opinion of Lincoln is not popular in America. Actually, I get yelled at quite a bit over my opinion of him. I believe Lincoln did more damage to this country than was done by the evils he fought against.

Done throwing things at me yet? Good. Now, please hear me out. I am not a supporter of slavery, rather I am a proud Southerner who is not a racist redneck. There are many more of us down here than there are of them for the record. I am not positive if it was Lincoln's intent or the intent of historians after his death, but somehow everyone believes the South were all evil slavers while the North was the great emancipators. Give me a break, everything has two sides, and history only records the winner's tale.

The North cared about slavery? The North? The same North that fought against Unions? The same North that fought against the 40 hour work week? The same North that opposed overtime laws, ergonomic, worker safety, child labor laws, health insurance for workers, and a fair wage? This is the North that was so concerned over the enslavement of people in the South? I do love the irony of the Union fighting unions though.

Let's say they were that concerned. Let's say the American Civil War was over slavery. Why didn't Lincoln try for a constitutional amendment to end slavery? Why did Lincoln feel the need to bully his ideas through when there was an already established way to change the Constitution?

Who really broke the Constitution then? The South, who was following the Constitutional law regarding slavery, or the North that tried to change the rules without regard to process and procedure? This nation was founded so that the whim of those in leadership can NOT alter the course of the country. It takes two-thirds of each house to pass a Constitutional amendment and three-quarters of the states to approve. Slavery, while horrible, was constitutional. That means there is only one way to stop it, and Lincoln's power grab was not it. Never forget that Lincoln is the only President to suspend several constitutional rights. How did he get that power exactly?

Now let's examine the set-up of the country at that time. The South was agricultural and the North was largely industrial. The South got its steel from the North and the North got its agriculture from the South. If the South left the nation, then the North would have to import its crops. The South would also be free to negotiate with Europe on its own for its cotton rather than have Congress do it. This would put the South in a greater economic position than the North. The North could not have that. While barely paying their people, they still had to pay them while the South got its labor for free. The North did not factor in the fact that the food, shelter, and clothing supplied to the slaves probably came to about as much as the salary the North paid their employees. No, the slaves of the South and the trapped workers of the North were both slaves.

Lincoln is credited with saving this nation and that is true, sort of. He destroyed much of it while trying to save it. He killed a lot of what made America great by forcing a strong central government that rules over the States opposed to the system the Founding Fathers created. A system where powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people is now a system where the states are only allowed to do what the country thinks is o.k.

You see this again and again in issue after issue, whether it is euthanasia, medical marijuana, drinking age, or almost any other nationally unpopular thing a state wants to pass for its residents. These United States of America has become The United States of America. The emphasis used to be on the states, now it is on the America. Where once there were several independent states banned together for common defense, now is an empire.

Thank you Mr. Lincoln. Your intent was good, but the saying is "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." You were a lawyer and should have known about precedent.
In essence, you started a trend that has stuck to the Republican Party to this day: my way or war.

Bush does not need to read up on Lincoln's history to learn this lesson. He has mastered it. The only difference is that Lincoln's unconstitutional power grab was done for the best reasons, while Bush's has no reason to it at all.

Author's message: Anytime a person takes a stand against Lincoln's methods, they are usually labeled a racist. I am not racist in any fashion, nor do I support slavery. Slavery was ending and it did not require a war. If the South had left AFTER slavery was outlawed, Lincoln's method would have had merit. He did not try, much like Bush going to the U.N. for that second vote, and I fault him for that. Both wars are the fault of the sitting President at the time who chose to follow their opinions instead of the established law.

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About Brad Schader

  • knowlege

    I first would like to ask u two questions before I comment on your article: If u are racist, how do u think blacks have been treated since they have been in America? Should Black Americans be assisted in educational opportunities due to their centuries of oppression (slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, Black codes, etc.)? I see u cut off the following words to the letter written to Greeley that was the opposite of the final line u quoted. Lincoln was a statesmen that put his presidential duties over his true belief(hated slavery). U say u are not a racist, but u fail to account for the horrible institution of slavery (U should read the william lynch letter and other methods of slavery practice in the south). Black women were rapped so often they stopped fighting (Blacks were property in all forms so it was not rape). U saying the poor northerners were slaves just like blacks. this only tells me you are either a complete idiot or that u just have not allowed yourself to actually consider slavery as it was. U say that food and shelter propably cost as much as the wages payed to northerners just lets me know u are just talking out of your ass!! Slaves grew all the food and built all the living quarters (usually one room shacks housing entire families). An entire plantation was maintained by slaves from dawn to dusk and all benefits were never seen. Whites were pampered by slaves (cooking, cleaning, and all other manual labor). your comparisons are beyond weak and U fall to account for treatment of these blacks on a human level regardless of their EDUCATION LEVEL or other meritless points. the only state right the south wanted was to keep slavery!

  • In that littany of Lincoln’s outrages you overlooked two of my favorites – passing an income tax despite the Constitution specifically prohibiting it (until the 16th Amendment 50 years later), and having the army arrest the entire Maryland State Legislature so they couldn’t vote to secede and leave DC surrounded by rebel states.


  • I think its a lot easier for us to justify the civil war by saying it was fought for slavery as opposed to saying all these men died for monetary purposes (save the Union economically).

    The slave was the pawn much like WMDs were used as the pawn to get us riled up about fighting in Iraq.

    It seems to be quite popular for a U.S. President to tell the constituents something negative is going on (even if it is farcical) and getting them riled up enough to want to end whatever that “evil” is. It’s manipulation plain and simple and occurs over and over in this nation.

    I enjoyed your take. It was an excellent read and a new, fresh perspective on Lincoln for those of us who aren’t big fans of him either.

  • Fair enough. We agree to agree mostly, with minor points of separation =D

  • Clavos

    Call it hair splitting if you wish. I stand by my #8. All of it.

  • I think you are spliting hairs. I will repeat post 10:

    I would say wars fought over religion fall under “ideological propaganda”.

    That does not mean all religion is ideology, does it?

  • Clavos

    You’re expanding the definition beyond common usage, kanrei. The Bill of Rights is a collection of ideas, not facts, but I still wouldn’t call it a religion. Communism is based on ideas, so is democracy, socialism, etc. None are commonly called religion.

    A religion is a theology, not an ideology, except in certain specific instances when politics are mixed in with a religion–these days, one could say Islam has become an ideology.

    An example of ideological propaganda is proclaiming that the USA’s system of governing and laws is the best such system in the world.

  • First sentence of that definition shows religion to be ideology.

    “An ideology is an organized collection of ideas.”

    Since all religions are based on faith opposed to fact, they are ideas and not realities.

  • Clav,
    Anytime religion takes part in a war, they are falling under “ideological propaganda” because the basic tenant of most faiths is that vengence is G-d’s and that killing is a sin.

  • Clavos


    Sometimes. But ideology more commonly refers to politics and culture than religion. Some ideologies are based on religion (as in Christian Socialism or Zionism or Theocracy).

    See this Wikipedia definition.

  • Clavos,
    I would say wars fought over religion fall under “ideological propaganda”.

  • Hey Lady,
    Thank you for the support. This is a hard issue to discuss because it appears that I am defending something horrible. There was and still is a way to achieve Lincoln’s desired effect without war: the Amendment process. Had he tried and failed, then war may have been the only option. Lincoln picked it as his first.

  • Clavos

    Every single war in history has been fought over politics and supported by ideological propaganda.

    Not quite. Many have been fought for religious reasons (the Crusades), and many, if not most, are for territory (the Mexican-American War), while some have been for religion and territory(Spanish Conquista of the New World).

  • Definitely. Plus, it’s a lot easier to rally public support for a war when you convince them that their country is fighting for the freedom and the betterment of others. Please. Every single war in history has been fought over politics and supported by ideological propaganda. No solider is going to risk his life for his country strictly over politics, and the average citizen won’t support such a war. Human beings need to believe they’re fighting and dying for a noble cause. For our leaders, the cause is only just and noble if it’s also politically advantageous.

    The Civil War had NO positive outcome whatsoever.

    I’m NO supporter of slavery, but I can’t fathom why Lincoln emancipated them with no apparent plan in place. All of a sudden, we had millions of people trying to function in free society with no education, poor language skills and socialization. Being enslaved all their lives, they were completely unable to handle the world on their own, and they had nowhere to turn.

    For centuries, our country (especially the South) equated blacks with children. They needed to be kept from straying, and they needed to be taken care of because they couldn’t take care of themselves. In modern times, we know the slaves’ personal growth was severely stunted because of their environment, but back then, the believed the traits were biological. Now, all of a sudden, the folks they regarded as children with strong adult bodies were completely free to do as they pleased–well, theoretically. We turned their world upside down. Some people feared for their lives, others were so bitter and angry they lashed out at blacks. The attitude toward blacks shifted from innocent, loyal simpletons to amoral, mindless, and often violent, animals. This was the rallying cry of the newly-formed KKK. Freedom? hardly.

    I’m no expert on 19th century politics, but I’m sure there had to have been a less invasive way to emancipate the slaves. Both sides were given the shaft.

  • Think about these words as well:
    I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored

    The shortest way is always war. He desired war. Why? Restore a national autority that never existed before him.

  • “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it”

    Letter from Lincoln to Horace Greeley 8/22/1862

  • Nancy

    Hmmm…I thought I was the only one who wasn’t a fan of Lincoln’s, altho for different reasons. I do agree with your assessment that the real raison d’etre behind the civil war was NOT eradication of slavery (that made a nice, pious excuse that was adapted a little ways into the exercise). The abolitionists were a very tiny minority of very noisy and generally depised New England radicals who repeatedly got run out of various meetings held in various parts of Union territory (i.e. northern states) by the general public, who couldn’t stand them, as much for their cantings as their general bad manners & in-your-face obnoxiousness. Outstanding members of this political elite included such luminaries as Horace Greely, Rev. Lyman Beecher & his various groupies (mostly female), most of the Emerson crowd, Harriet Stowe, and the Grimke sisters. Other than these, most northerners seem, by the newspaper accounts of the day, to have been largely indifferent to slavery; after all, an awful lot of them lived under a form of it themselves, especially recent immigrants from Ireland. Technically they were ‘free’, but that only meant no one had a responsibility to feed & house them, they had to do it on their own.

    Lincoln himself came right out & said on at least one occasion that if he had his druthers, he’d just round up all the blacks & ship them back to Africa where they belonged. His original plan, reportedly, was to pay Southern slaveholders so much per slave, and do exactly that. It got shot down by a couple of his cabinet members as too expensive – probably a judgement they lived to regret once the bills for the civil war started rolling in, both in cash & blood.

    The actual nugget of the war was states’ rights (especially the right to secede from the union), which in turn was based on which new territories coming into the union as states would be free, and which would be slave. Again, while slavery seems to have been the lynchpin cause, it was largely a cover for deeper, bigger underlying political fights by various economic factions, which got hijacked by the abolitionists when John Brown inserted himself into it, egged on by the ab group back in Boston (& secretly bankrolled by them). And just for interest, the nascient Mormons – always a popular sect back then – were involved as well, mostly by accident, being in the wrong place at the wrong time in their search for someplace to be shed of the US government.

    In short, slavery was an excuse, but it wasn’t the cause, and Kanrei is right: Lincoln was no abolitionist, nor were any of his cabinet, nor were most of the northern congress at that time. Lincoln did use the slavery issue as a weapon to hold over slaveholding states’ heads. Note that the original emancipation proclamation didn’t free any slaves EXCEPT those in states that would be most annoyed by this move. It didn’t free anybody in Maryland or DC – mainly because the local slaveholders were (mostly) influential in politics & able to collar/corner Lincoln personally to bend his ear about such behavior. He couldn’t afford to alienate those right on his doorstep, so he left their slaves alone.

    Some great liberator, indeed.

    He only later extended emancipation – again, using it as a weapon against the southern states – in order (he hoped) to divide & conquer by pitting the slaves & black free population against southern white, and it pretty much worked. But again, it was a weapon, a matter of expedience, not a matter of conscience. As far as slavery & blacks themselves were concerned, he couldn’t have cared less, and he made that clear in several private comments & statements that are on record to various individuals.

    Maybe that’s what Dubya is reading up on: the Master’s techniques for dividing & conquering?

  • Clavos


    A very interesting article. I’m especially intrigued by your analysis of Lincoln’s presidency, as you present some new (to me, at least) viewpoints.

    As a believer in the principle of self-government for the individual states (I hesitate to use the phrase ‘stae’s rights’, because of the negative associations in recent years), I found much to agree with in your article, and much food for thought as well.

    I do think that the reputations of the South and North as slavers and emancipators respectively is more the result of historical analysis and pop culture, especially in the twentieth century, than Lincoln’s intent. Those characterizations were the prevailing (and only) viewpoint taught when I was in school.

    Good article.

  • How about addressing actual issues instead of flaming? If I am full of it, then please point out exactly where. This is opinion.

  • As a fellow proud southerner (North Carolinian), I humbly submit that you are full of shit.