Eric Foner Sets Us Straight on Lincoln and Slavery


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Feb 20, 2005
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Union Blue,

I could not agree more concerning Lincoln and his ability to adapt throughout the war. As much as I have pointed out alternatives at the onset of the war, I have always contended, at the end if the war he was the bridge for reunification between the Union and the secessionist states of the attempted Confederacy. Few leaders at that time had the ability and the power for forgiveness. The bridge was largely destroyed after that fatal bullet.

Lost Cause,

We are in complete agreement with your above post.



1st Lieutenant
Prior to his Presidency, he believed that the black race was inferior to the white race, and although they deserved the right to be free, he felt they should be second-class citizens, much as women at the time were second-class citizens. His thinking on that evolved during his Presidency, however, as he became acquainted with people like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, and as he witnessed the valor and heroism of black Union troops, to the point that he believed it proper to give full citizenship to at least some blacks.
I think there was even more to it than that, but I can't quite put my finger on it, much less put it into words. His thinking evolved, all right, but not just because of who he met. Not do discount people like Douglass, but I think the trauma of the war forced everyone -- especially a profound person like Lincoln -- to go deep down inside themselves... and when Lincoln did that, given his Gandhi-like devotion to truth, and given his reverence for the Declaration of Independence, he was bound to discover in his own core the truth that all men really are created equal.
Aug 25, 2013
Hannover, Germany
There were definitely communities of blacks living in Canada, some of whom returned to America after the war.

If you think about it, colonization at the time, sending American blacks to Africa in particular, made about as much sense as suggesting that I should be shipped "back" to Scotland or Germany because I have ancestors who came from there in the 1860s. Some slaves were descended from ancestors who hadn't been near Africa since the 1600s!
Although this argument is widely used now by people from the former Soviet Union states who want to immigrate to my homecountry. Some great-great-grandfather came from Germany, so they think they have the right to come "home". Which is granted to them. It's all a matter of perspective.