Lincoln's 2nd Inauguration Speech: The Civil War was the “Lord’s judgement” for slavery

peteanddelmar

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 29, 2014
Location
Missouri
No, but that county's history could be seen as an example of God smiting those that rebelled?

I'm just saying that slavery existed there a long time. Then ruthless dictators. Then murderous government and overriding prevalence of voudun(voodoo)
And something is very, very, wrong and depressing and can be felt like a heavy garment when living there.

I can't express myself fully on this forum, but Haiti is a place of Death. It's people are overwhelmed with despair, dread and hopelessness. I don't know if God is smiting them but Haiti has a atmosphere of Doom.

Everywhere is homage payed to Death. Little homemade idols and icons and symbols are literally everywhere you look.

Their babies die. I went to help build a children's hospital, for one little corner.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
I'm just saying that slavery existed there a long time. Then ruthless dictators. Then murderous government and overriding prevalence of voudun(voodoo)
And something is very, very, wrong and depressing and can be felt like a heavy garment when living there.

I can't express myself fully on this forum, but Haiti is a place of Death. It's people are overwhelmed with despair, dread and hopelessness. I don't know if God is smiting them but Haiti has a atmosphere of Doom.

Everywhere is homage payed to Death. Little homemade idols and icons and symbols are literally everywhere you look.

Their babies die. I went to help build a children's hospital, for one little corner.

I can't express myself fully on this forum either, that's why many of my posts seem to be fragmented. I don't seriously believe that God is smiting them though. My opinions are generally too controversial for this forum but I will say that throwing money at the problem doesn't fix it.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
The Emancipation Proclamation by itself didn't do enough, as I'm sure you know, since it didn't free slaves in Union-controlled territory.


Lincoln had already warned border state leaders, that without their accepting some form of emancipation, acceptable to themselves, emancipation would occur in any event. Through the natural friction of the war itself, if nothing else.
One of the big friction points against slavery was Lincoln himself.
 

DRW

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
New York
I was interested to read about the 1866 poem "The Land We Love" by Southern poet Fanny Downing which, according to Walter Piston, was "fantastically popular" throughout the South for the rest of the 19th century. It first appreared in July 1866 in DH Hill's "The Land We Love" magazine (and was dedicated to DH Hill)>
The first two stanzas:

"Man did not conquer her, but God
For some wise purpose of his own
Withdrew his arm; she, left alone,
Sank down resistless 'neath his rod

God chastens most who he loves best,
And scourges whom he will receive.
The land we love may cease to grieve,
And on his gracious promise rest!"

Hmm.... kind of familiar language and themes? God does work in inscurtable ways!
Here's the full thing: https://books.google.com/books?id=A...the land we love may cease to grieve"&f=false
 

Old_Glory

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 26, 2010
Location
NC
If the War was God's retribution for a sin, why didn't God bring an even worse retribution to the other countries in the western hemisphere where more than 90% of the African slaves were brought?

The war wasn't even about slavery, it was about political power of which slavery was a subset. But why say that when saying slavery gets Lincoln and the Republicans far more brownie points and little blame.

God let the people choose, just like he dd with Israel and Saul. Radicalism ruled the day, it's what they wanted. The larger, wealthier, group of people won. It isn't rocket science.

If it were judgement from God, I think Massachusetts would have gone up in flames right along side Georgia and the Deep South.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
What a hard speech this is. The end of the cruel war is in sight, and Lincoln foregoes reciting the victories, and tells his own people, to their faces, that the scourge of war is terrible, but it is also justice. And not justice only for the south, but for the entire country. He seems almost cynical with both sides praying to the same God and reading the same Bible, but the language becomes deeper, more tragic, "the almighty has his own purposes" and "the war came."
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
I can't express myself fully on this forum either, that's why many of my posts seem to be fragmented. I don't seriously believe that God is smiting them though. My opinions are generally too controversial for this forum but I will say that throwing money at the problem doesn't fix it.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

@dvrmte, you are focusing a lot on what Lincoln said. Of course, Lincoln's comments are very controversial, I call them extraordinary. But my own point in highlighting this is not to agree or disagree with Lincoln's comments, but to make note of them, and ask, what was the the context in which they were made, and how do we/how should we remember them?

As noted in the link in the OP,

Interestingly, Lincoln’s view of the war as God’s judgement for the sins of slavery is not well known by most people outside of the academy. Or so it appears to me. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and it’s talk of a “new birth of freedom,” has achieved a kind of iconic status. (In the past, some schools required students to memorize the Gettysburg Address.) Many people are aware of the second Inauguration Address’s call for “malice toward none” as the Union procured its victory over the Confederate enemy. But Lincoln’s somber reflection of slavery as sin, and war and its attendant suffering as God’s righteous judgement for that sin, has not achieved the same status or attention. This, despite the fact that our country has a strong Judeo-Christian tradition, in which Lincoln’s discussion of the role of God in man’s affairs should resonate (as opposed to how they might not resonate with someone with a totally secular view of the world).

I do not have enough information or data to speculate about why this is so. But it does seem to me that many Americans are much more comfortable with delving into the glory and heroics and strategies of war, and celebrating the end of bondage, than they are with engaging in a somber reflection of human failing, commemorating these sins of the past, and (for believers) pondering the role of God in the events that befall man.
Beyond that, there is a context to Lincoln's comments. From what I understand, people back then more frequently viewed the day's events as the work of providence than we of today. Lincoln gives us an example of how this played out. It would be interesting to do further research into the religious prism through which people back then viewed the day's events. I am aware that many northerners and southerners believed that god was on their side. As Lincoln said in reference to such talk,

Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.​


- Alan
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
The war wasn't even about slavery, it was about political power of which slavery was a subset. But why say that when saying slavery gets Lincoln and the Republicans far more brownie points and little blame.

Benjamin Morgan Palmer was no Republican, and he disagreed with you. He was, per wiki, "an orator and Presbyterian theologian, was the first moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. As pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, his Thanksgiving sermon in 1860 had a great influence in leading Louisiana to join the Confederate States of America. After 1865 he was minister in the Presbyterian Church in the United States."

In his "Thanksgiving Sermon" on November 29, 1860, shortly after Lincoln won the White House, he said that the South, to protect its identity and independence, must conserve and perpetuate slavery, which he says is the region's "providential trust." Palmer literally states that slavery is a "trust from God" and that protecting slavery puts southerners on the highest moral ground. The full text is here, this is an interesting excerpt.

In determining our duty in this emergency it is necessary that we should first ascertain the nature of the trust providentially committed to us. A nation often has a character as well defined and intense as that of an individual. This depends, of course upon a variety of causes operating through a long period of time. It is due largely to the original traits which distinguish the stock from which it springs, and to the providential training which has formed its education. But, however derived, this individuality of character alone makes any people truly historic, competent to work out its specific mission, and to become a factor in the world's progress. The particular trust assigned to such a people becomes the pledge of the divine protection; and their fidelity to it determines the fate by which it is finally overtaken. What that trust is must be ascertained from the necessities of their position, the institutions which are the outgrowth of their principles and the conflicts through which they preserve their identity and independence.

If then the South is such a people, what, at this juncture, is their providential trust? I answer, that it is to conserve and to perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery as now existing. It is not necessary here to inquire whether this is precisely the best relation in which the hewer of wood and drawer of water can stand to his employer; although this proposition may perhaps be successfully sustained by those who choose to defend it. Still less are we required, dogmatically, to affirm that it will subsist through all time. Baffled as our wisdom may now be in finding a solution of this intricate social problem, it would nevertheless be the height of arrogance to pronounce what changes may or may not occur in the distant future. In the grand march of events Providence may work out a solution undiscoverable by us. What modifications of soil and climate may hereafter be produced, what consequent changes in the products on which we depend, what political revolutions may occur among the races which are now enacting the great drama of history: all such inquiries are totally irrelevant because no prophetic vision can pierce the darkness of that future. If this question should ever arise, the generation to whom it is remitted will doubtless have the wisdom to meet it, and Providence will furnish the lights in which it is to be resolved. All that we claim for them, for ourselves, is liberty to work out this problem, guided by nature and God, without obtrusive interference from abroad.

These great questions of Providence and history must have free scope for their solution; and the race whose fortunes are distinctly implicated in the same is alone authorized, as it is alone competent, to determine them. It is just this impertinence of human legislation, setting bounds to what God alone can regulate, that the South is called this day to resent and resist.

The country is convulsed simply because "the throne of iniquity frameth mischief by a law." Without, therefore, determining the question of duty for future generations, I simply say, that for us, as now situated, the duty is plain of conserving and transmitting the system of slavery, with the freest scope for its natural development and extension. Let us, my brethren, look our duty in the face. With this institution assigned to our keeping, what reply shall we make to those who say that its days are numbered? My own conviction is, that we should at once lift ourselves, intelligently, to the highest moral ground and proclaim to all the world that we hold this trust from God, and in its occupancy we are prepared to stand or fall as God may appoint. If the critical moment has arrived at which the great issue is joined, let us say that, in the sight of all perils, we will stand by our trust; and God be with the right!
Of course, Palmer was one guy with one opinion. Just like Lincoln.

- Alan
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Lincoln said it himself, the whole country would have to atone for the sin of slavery, if one wanted to ascribe a religious context to the whole war and its cause and, in this case, I believe Lincoln was, but, perhaps, not so direct as some might believe. He chose the context, IMO, in order to highlight, his belief, that the future should be the goa of winning the warl and that slavery should have no part in it.
At the beginning of the War, both sides claimed they were fighting to restore what they perceived as a storied past. But Lincoln soon realized A Future without slavery was preferable to the Past with it.
Davis and Lee may have led their people into a storybook past of myths and legends, but, Lincoln led the people of the Union into the 20th Century and the limelight of History.
 

Georgia Sixth

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Location
Texas
If the War was God's retribution for a sin, why didn't God bring an even worse retribution to the other countries in the western hemisphere where more than 90% of the African slaves were brought?

And where the death rates for enslaved people was truly gruesome.

At least, we can be grateful the institution is gone now....except for those nut jobs in ISIS.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
@dvrmte, you are focusing a lot on what Lincoln said. Of course, Lincoln's comments are very controversial, I call them extraordinary. But my own point in highlighting this is not to agree or disagree with Lincoln's comments, but to make note of them, and ask, what was the the context in which they were made, and how do we/how should we remember them?

As noted in the link in the OP,

Interestingly, Lincoln’s view of the war as God’s judgement for the sins of slavery is not well known by most people outside of the academy. Or so it appears to me. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and it’s talk of a “new birth of freedom,” has achieved a kind of iconic status. (In the past, some schools required students to memorize the Gettysburg Address.) Many people are aware of the second Inauguration Address’s call for “malice toward none” as the Union procured its victory over the Confederate enemy. But Lincoln’s somber reflection of slavery as sin, and war and its attendant suffering as God’s righteous judgement for that sin, has not achieved the same status or attention. This, despite the fact that our country has a strong Judeo-Christian tradition, in which Lincoln’s discussion of the role of God in man’s affairs should resonate (as opposed to how they might not resonate with someone with a totally secular view of the world).

I do not have enough information or data to speculate about why this is so. But it does seem to me that many Americans are much more comfortable with delving into the glory and heroics and strategies of war, and celebrating the end of bondage, than they are with engaging in a somber reflection of human failing, commemorating these sins of the past, and (for believers) pondering the role of God in the events that befall man.
Beyond that, there is a context to Lincoln's comments. From what I understand, people back then more frequently viewed the day's events as the work of providence than we of today. Lincoln gives us an example of how this played out. It would be interesting to do further research into the religious prism through which people back then viewed the day's events. I am aware that many northerners and southerners believed that god was on their side. As Lincoln said in reference to such talk,

Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.​


- Alan

I see the Address as a typical American jeremiad, a rhetorical device serving to call a 'chosen people' back to the path of righteousness. The American jeremiad has been used by American leaders from John Winthrop and Increase Mather, extending all the way to Glen Beck. :D What makes it uniquely American is its connection to a larger, sacred story intimately tied to the nation's origin and development. So the American jeremiad appeals to both the secular and the sacred, because it is composed of both.

Lincoln shows no anguish over his own responsibility for the conflict so it could also be seen as means of shifting any blame from his shoulders onto those of a higher power. Or it could be seen as a means of shifting all of the burden of blame, North and South, to those of a higher power as a first step towards reconciliation.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
I see the Address as a typical American jeremiad, a rhetorical device serving to call a 'chosen people' back to the path of righteousness. The American jeremiad has been used by American leaders from John Winthrop and Increase Mather, extending all the way to Glen Beck. :D What makes it uniquely American is its connection to a larger, sacred story intimately tied to the nation's origin and development. So the American jeremiad appeals to both the secular and the sacred, because it is composed of both.

Lincoln shows no anguish over his own responsibility for the conflict so it could also be seen as means of shifting any blame from his shoulders onto those of a higher power. Or it could be seen as a means of shifting all of the burden of blame, North and South, to those of a higher power as a first step towards reconciliation.

(Sigh.)

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
I see the Address as a typical American jeremiad, a rhetorical device serving to call a 'chosen people' back to the path of righteousness. The American jeremiad has been used by American leaders from John Winthrop and Increase Mather, extending all the way to Glen Beck. :D What makes it uniquely American is its connection to a larger, sacred story intimately tied to the nation's origin and development. So the American jeremiad appeals to both the secular and the sacred, because it is composed of both.

Lincoln shows no anguish over his own responsibility for the conflict so it could also be seen as means of shifting any blame from his shoulders onto those of a higher power. Or it could be seen as a means of shifting all of the burden of blame, North and South, to those of a higher power as a first step towards reconciliation.


The essential point about Jeremiah, was that he was an ordinary man called by God, to warn his people away from their inquities and be the people they were meant to be. Jeremiah was greatly anquished over the iniquities of his people and how far they had fallen from the original purpose of their existence as a people.
It was not the responsibility of Lincoln, as with Jeremiah, to try to shift the responsibility his people's sins from the shoulders of those upon which it already justly rested.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
The essential point about Jeremiah, was that he was an ordinary man called by God, to warn his people away from their inquities and be the people they were meant to be. Jeremiah was greatly anquished over the iniquities of his people and how far they had fallen from the original purpose of their existence as a people.
It was not the responsibility of Lincoln, as with Jeremiah, to try to shift the responsibility his people's sins from the shoulders of those upon which it already justly rested.

What do you make of the following quote of Lincoln, were these some of "the shoulders of those upon which it already justly rested."

Gentlemen, after Boston, Chicago has been the chief instrument in bringing war on this country. The Northwest has opposed the South as New England has opposed the South. It is you who are largely responsible for making blood flow as it has.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Joined
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Benjamin Morgan Palmer was no Republican, and he disagreed with you. He was, per wiki, "an orator and Presbyterian theologian, was the first moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. As pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, his Thanksgiving sermon in 1860 had a great influence in leading Louisiana to join the Confederate States of America. After 1865 he was minister in the Presbyterian Church in the United States."

- Alan

I searched out this sermon delivered on the eve of secession and found it to be an imposing and expansive oration. (When folks went to church with Rev Palmer they stayed for awhile.) In order to better understand his argument I list the following "bullet" quotes which he expounded on in great detail...

At that time he saw the south's duty was " to conserve and perpetuate the institution of slavery"

They were bound to this duty by " ...the principle of self preservation." His view was that slavery was beneficial to the material well being of both master and slave. Abolition would leave both worse off.

He states that slave owners were "...bound... as the constituted guardians of the slaves themselves." His justification was that black people were inferior and benefited from this relationship.

He thought that in the south "...we defend the cause of God and religion" He said abolitionist were atheist who sought to upset God's social order and inspire violence and rebellion.

So the south had four cardinal duties " to ourselves, to our slaves, to the world, and to Almighty God"

Much of the address was overtly political and discussed the election, secession, Lincoln, and prospects for compromise and peace.

But he also said that there was no reason to think slavery would subsist through all time and that Providence might work out a solution undiscoverable to themselves. In his second inaugural, Lincoln said that's what had happened.
 
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OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
What do you make of the following quote of Lincoln, were these some of "the shoulders of those upon which it already justly rested."

Gentlemen, after Boston, Chicago has been the chief instrument in bringing war on this country. The Northwest has opposed the South as New England has opposed the South. It is you who are largely responsible for making blood flow as it has.



Ref. for the quote?(first I have to know whether the quote is accurate or even actual)
 
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