Revisionist History of Lincoln Erases Truth: He Destroyed the Union, Created ‘Big Government

What if everything you were ever taught about the Gettysburg Address was misguided and misinterpreted? Or that Abraham Lincoln was a man of God– that Providence chose him?

Was Lincoln’s ascendance inevitable, and in the historical sense, was it impossible for him to be wrong?

Revisionist history about Lincoln is growing very quickly. Thomas DiLorenzo is only one author who refuses to parrot the party line. According to DiLorenzo (see Lincoln Unmasked and The Real Lincoln) the Lincoln cult, as he puts it, arose in the fifties and sixties of the last century, after plenty of critical history had been written about Lincoln, even by northerners, all the way from the end of the Civil War through the thirties and forties.

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The mission of the cult was to reconcile the average American to the moral necessity of Lincoln’s radical, instantaneous overthrow of the constitution and its federalism.

As a result, it was necessary for his Gettysburg Address to “consecrate” his horrifying war.

Few understand Mr. Lincoln’s true nature and his effects.

First, his long-time law partner, William Herndon, believed that Lincoln lived as an atheist and died, at best, as a deist. Second, the war couldn’t have been about abolishing slavery. Many countries ended slavery peacefully with compensated emancipation. And third, because of revisionist history few Americans realize that the union of states died in 1861.

How could a man of Christian faith force a morally superficial union on any number of states and justify 1.2 million casualties that only resulted in a new, tyrannical central government. If ending slavery was Lincoln’s earlier and primary goal, as a result of a distinctively Christian conversion, then he might have searched for a non-violent strategy which so many other nations found in the nineteenth century.

Unfortunately, the whole idea that President Lincoln behaved in a morally profound fashion is absurd. The abolition of slavery did not require a war. It just required a changing economy and abolitionists who were actually focused on the freedom of the slaves and not the punishment of the slaveholders.  This is not to deny that slaveholders may have deserved punishment.  It is to invoke the moral sensibility of Christianity which relies on God, not man, for vengeance.  William Douglas found out just how parasitic abolitionists could be on slaves for their own self-righteous fame and satisfaction.

What is less ambiguous than any evidence of Lincoln’s Christian conversion, is the evidence that he was a white supremacist and a big government visionary, ambitious for the “American Plan” devised by Henry Clay. He was not a great liberator in either a theoretical or practical sense. Even Lincoln cult historians agree that Lincoln did not start prosecuting the Civil War to free any slaves, and that the Emancipation Proclamation freed only the slaves still under the control of the confederate government – a smart war tactic.

General Grant, in an open letter, declared that if the war was about freeing slaves he would start fighting for the South.

But that purely political position eventually became a political problem. How could the “preservation” of the union be a commensurate moral justification for killing 600,000 men and wounding another 600,000? At the end of the war, the moral justification for the accumulated sea of blood and Sherman’s path of destruction, had to be something more important than union. Too much tyranny (in the North as well as the South), terrorism, and slaughter had occurred.  Ending slavery was a convenient, seemingly commensurate excuse for a war which had become shockingly uncivilized to northerners as well as southerners.

In order to make this look like an act of wisdom, Lincoln had to have a “makeover.” This simply required deemphasizing some otherwise indisputable facts: Lincoln was a white supremacist who tore up the Constitution. He could not bear the South’s disinterest in living under him or submitting to the northern business interests whom he served. Above all else he could not bear the northern copperheads who could see right through him. And so he created the first gulag in western political history in which to hide northerners who dared to question him publicly. It is utterly strange that although this would be denounced as unquestionably evil by most liberals today, it is completely overlooked in the father of the modern American imperial state.

One of the more interesting philosophical questions raised by the revisionists is: How could there be an involuntary union?  How could any union be preserved by total war and terror?  The fact that the southern states were invaded makes the union morally meaningless, as are the revisions of the state constitutions of the confederate states (prohibiting secession) made at the point of a gun.

The confederate states were not restored to the union. They were addressed as a conquered and occupied foreign country. As a result, the Constitution was out of force ever since the northern invasion of the southern states.

The American union of states died in 1861.  Constructed on its grave is a modern, centralized, tyrannical nation state.  This was a complete transformation of the United States within a radical, revolutionary, and violent time frame.  The United States lasted from 1789 to 1861. 

It was all over that quickly, not because of slavery, but because Alexander Hamilton and his heirs, including Lincoln, were traditional European statists.  This is part of the historical explanation as to why Americans should stop worshipping America.

To be sure, many confederates and confederate states believed that slavery was the foundation of the southern economy and therefore was, itself, worth fighting for.  But this simply raised the question which became the true proximate cause of the Civil War since, as everyone admits, it was not initially prosecuted for the purpose of ending slavery.

Did the states have the right to secede or not?  If Lincoln had answered “yes” the war never would have been fought. So clearly this question and not the question “Should the slaves be freed?” was the direct cause of the war. 

But Lincoln answered “no” to this question of states’ rights on the basis of a theory he inherited from the most explicit despot among the founders – Alexander Hamilton.  Lincoln argued that the states were the creation of the federal government, rather than vice versa.  This is pure historical and metaphysical nonsense, reminding us that Lincoln was, after all, a lawyer, who could turn the real facts into sausage with the best of them.

The statists, the Republicans, the Democrats, the leftist big government ideologues, cannot stop the emerging, populist, reassessment of Lincoln– who did not so much free the slaves as simply force upon everyone the Big Government Plantation with total war and terror. 

If Lincoln had not been martyred he probably would not have been mythologized, or at least it would have been much more difficult. Make no mistake about it – the mythologizing of Lincoln as a liberator instead of the white supremacist and tyrant he was is central to liberal indoctrination in the government schools.  If the South had freed the slaves right at the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln would have prosecuted the war anyway.

Without the South, he could not pay for the federal government, and he admitted as much. 

If this were taught, liberal historians never would have been able to turn him into a hero. The tyrant has been transformed into a hero not because of his verifiable virtue, but because of The South’s vice — which he was completely prepared to overlook.

The union was not preserved by Abraham Lincoln. He destroyed it. 

Rather, a whole new, all-powerful central government was created by force to lord it over one state – an indivisible nation to which the government’s students would now pledge explicit allegiance and in which regional and state interests would be considered totally secondary, or even insignificant, forever after.

Ironically, unless the states – all or most of the states — rise again, the union is forever lost.  It cannot be restored by Republicans and conservatives. They are too politically correct.  They do not have the guts to stand up to the myth makers.


Tom Dahlberg

Tom Dahlberg is a graduate of Wheaton College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He went on to the Johns Hopkins graduate school of philosophy to study the philosophy of science. He taught philosophy briefly and then earned his Masters of Business Administration from St. Thomas University. He authored The Problem with Wheaton: A Postmodern Analysis of the Christian Academy’s Failure to Challenge the Culture, and co-authored Neopopulism as Counterculture, and The Rebirth Constitution.

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