Congressman Lincoln votes against the Mexican War

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#1
As congressman, did Lincoln state his reasons for voting against this war? I'm asking because I want to know if at that time he was perceptive enough to understood that going to war would likely produce troublesome national consequences.

Norm
 

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#3
Lincoln considered it a ploy to spread slavery into the west.

/library.brown.edu/create/modernlatinamerica/chapters/chapter-14-the-united-states-and-latin-america/primary-documents-w-accompanying-discussion-questions/abraham-lincoln-on-the-mexican-american-war-1846-48/
This speech is 20 minutes of my life I will never get back. It does not present, "a ploy to spread slavery."

President James Polk was a Democrat. Lincoln's speech (a meandering exercise in Hot Air) is a partisan attack, nothing more.

"As I have before said, he knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man."

Personal attack is not the stuff of statesmanship, sorry.
 

matthew mckeon

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#4
Many Whigs opposed the Mexican War, which was a pretty obvious war of conquest that would benefit slavery. I believe J.Q. Adams, who also opposed it, actually died on the floor of the House during a debate about the war.
 
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#5
As congressman, did Lincoln state his reasons for voting against this war? I'm asking because I want to know if at that time he was perceptive enough to understood that going to war would likely produce troublesome national consequences.

Norm
Read the speech posted at #2. If you can figure out what Lincoln was saying, more power to you.

The probable truth is that he was following party orders as a freshman congressman and didn't understand what the heck he was talking about (again, read the speech).
 
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#6
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#7
Nothing in that speech about slavery nor any other prediction of consequences. Unless he wrote extant letters about the war and its implications at that time, I suppose we will never know.
Sounds like you read the same speech I did. There's really no 'there there' and I'm sorry I can't give you back the 20 minutes of your life you spent reading it.
 

Bruce Vail

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#8
Read the speech posted at #2. If you can figure out what Lincoln was saying, more power to you.

The probable truth is that he was following party orders as a freshman congressman and didn't understand what the heck he was talking about (again, read the speech).
A lot of anti-slavery Whigs were opposed to the war precisely because they objected to the pro-slavery implications of the whole enterprise. What makes you think Lincoln was any different?
 
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#9
A lot of anti-slavery Whigs were opposed to the war precisely because they objected to the pro-slavery implications of the whole enterprise. What makes you think Lincoln was any different?
I suspect a lot of the Whigs were opposed to the War because they were opposed to President James Polk and for no other reason.

I read the speech, linked at post #2 of this thread and found Abraham Lincoln made noise with his mouth, but didn't actually say anything.

He made no allusion to slavery or its expansion, he simply mumbled on the floor of the House of Representatives about why the Mexican War was misguided (again, offering no reason, other than Polk is Wrong).

I'm glad I didn't have to sit through his speech.
 

jackt62

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#10
Not only Lincoln. Regarding the Mexican War, Grant wrote in his memoirs, "I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day, regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation."
 

Bruce Vail

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#11
I suspect a lot of the Whigs were opposed to the War because they were opposed to President James Polk and for no other reason.

I read the speech, linked at post #2 of this thread and found Abraham Lincoln made noise with his mouth, but didn't actually say anything.

He made no allusion to slavery or its expansion, he simply mumbled on the floor of the House of Representatives about why the Mexican War was misguided (again, offering no reason, other than Polk is Wrong).

I'm glad I didn't have to sit through his speech.
I certainly won't contest your analysis of the speech, but I just finished reading Eric Foner's book on the Republican Party of the 1850s and its pretty clear that there were a significant number of anti-slavery Whigs who joined the the Republican Party because they thought it was the best path to abolition.

William Seward would have been the primary example. As you know, he was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination in 1860 but was denied the nomination specifically because he was an abolitionist -- many of the party leaders had concluded that the defeat of abolitionist Fremont in 1856 meant that no outright abolitionist could be elected at that time.

This is sort of a roundabout way of saying that Lincoln attempted to hide the strength of his anti-slavery feelings in his early career. That's why I suspect that anti-slavery was the true reason he opposed the Mexican War.
 
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#12
This is sort of a roundabout way of saying that Lincoln attempted to hide the strength of his anti-slavery feelings in his early career. That's why I suspect that anti-slavery was the true reason he opposed the Mexican War.
Alright, except he left us no reason to believe this in his floor speech. It was Mumbo-Jumbo.

If anti-slavery was his motivation, why didn't he just say so?
 

Bruce Vail

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#13
Alright, except he left us no reason to believe this in his floor speech. It was Mumbo-Jumbo.

If anti-slavery was his motivation, why didn't he just say so?
He didn't say so because being identified as an abolitionist would have harmed his political career at that time. I am suggesting - horror of horrors! -- that Lincoln dissembled for sake of advancing his own career.
 
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#14
He didn't say so because being identified as an abolitionist would have harmed his political career at that time. I am suggesting - horror of horrors! -- that Lincoln dissembled for sake of advancing his own career.
Uh, oh. Are you suggesting an early 19th century Northern politician's career could be damaged by association with abolitionism? How could that be? :giggle:
 

Northern Light

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#15
This speech is 20 minutes of my life I will never get back. It does not present, "a ploy to spread slavery."

President James Polk was a Democrat. Lincoln's speech (a meandering exercise in Hot Air) is a partisan attack, nothing more.

"As I have before said, he knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man."

Personal attack is not the stuff of statesmanship, sorry.
I disagree with you about this being "a meandering exercise in Hot Air" It is rather a cogent response to Polk's given reasons for the start and continuation of the war. He provides a comprehensive legal critique of what Polk has said and why he disagrees. If you look beyond the speech to the reasons that Polk wanted this war then it is obvious that Lincoln is seeing this war as a ploy to extend slavery, although he does not say that specifically.

I am sorry that you felt it a waste of you time. I could give you other readings, but I don't want to waste any more of your time than I have already.
 
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#16
I disagree with you about this being "a meandering exercise in Hot Air" It is rather a cogent response to Polk's given reasons for the start and continuation of the war. He provides a comprehensive legal critique of what Polk has said and why he disagrees. If you look beyond the speech to the reasons that Polk wanted this war then it is obvious that Lincoln is seeing this war as a ploy to extend slavery, although he does not say that specifically.

I am sorry that you felt it a waste of you time. I could give you other readings, but I don't want to waste any more of your time than I have already.
There's nothing "cogent" about the speech you posted. Again, Lincoln didn't say anything. If you think he did, post that portion of the speech you think is meaningful or convincing?

Asking us to, "look beyond the speech" is a different matter and puts us in "wishing territory." "Wishing" Lincoln was a futuristic do-gooder is folly, in my opinion.

And your posts are never a waste of anyone's time, Northern Light. It's always fun to chew the fat.
 
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#17
As congressman, did Lincoln state his reasons for voting against this war? I'm asking because I want to know if at that time he was perceptive enough to understood that going to war would likely produce troublesome national consequences.

Norm
He didn't say so because being identified as an abolitionist would have harmed his political career at that time. I am suggesting - horror of horrors! -- that Lincoln dissembled for sake of advancing his own career.
Yes, Lincoln probably was anti-slavery, and maybe he had to be discreet about admitting it. But I wanted to hear even more from him: To argue that a won war would extent slavery and result in a national crisis over it.
 

WJC

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#18
I disagree with those who say this speech is unfathomable, that Lincoln "made noise with his mouth, but didn't actually say anything" and that it is "a meandering exercise in Hot Air".
I agree it may seem all of those things if one is unaware of the context. The Mexican War, though popular among southern expansionists was not universally popular. Many Americans felt it was an aggressive conflict fought without good reason. Lincoln was one of them. In the speech, he clearly points out the stark contrast between the pretext of the war and reality and criticizes Polk for continuing to bend the facts to fit his narrative.
It is a key part of any discussion of the merits and execution of the Mexican War.
 



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