Was Lincolns war for ending slavery or maintaining the Union

Was Lincolns war for ending slavery or maintaining the Union ?


  • Total voters
    47

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
I argue it was to maintain the Union and that he did disapprove of Slavery he had no intention of ending it where it already was. I'll add some quotes below that better explain my point.

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position
assigned to the white race.” (Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858)

“... my paramount object is in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery” (Lincoln).

"If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." (Lincoln).

"I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists, because the constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so." (Lincoln).

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so".(Lincoln)
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I argue it was to maintain the Union and that he did disapprove of Slavery he had no intention of ending it where it already was. I'll add some quotes below that better explain my point.

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position
assigned to the white race.” (Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858)

“... my paramount object is in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery” (Lincoln).

"If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." (Lincoln).

"I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists, because the constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so." (Lincoln).

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so".(Lincoln)
We have to keep in mind that Lincoln's politcal positions like many politicans changed over time. At first Lincoln wasn't going to ban slavery eventually he did via the 13th Amendment. At first Lincoln toyed with the idea of colonization of African Americans abroad but gave up on it. When the war first started Lincoln had the Union Army enforce the Fugitive Slave Act but then passed the Confiscation Acts together with the Emancipation Proclamation which effectively nullified the FSL.
Leftyhunter
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
A quick look through our many threads on this topic should answer your question.
Briefly, although slavery was undoubtedly the root cause for the slave states' attempt to break away from the United States, the response by the Lincoln Administration focused on preserving the Union.
 

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
A quick look through our many threads on this topic should answer your question.
Briefly, although slavery was undoubtedly the root cause for the slave states' attempt to break away from the United States, the response by the Lincoln Administration focused on preserving the Union.
So what about the tarriffs didn't the states that would buy or trade from England have to pay 80% or so of the tax revenue. Also I say not slavery again because one not all the states seceded at the same time the last 4 seeded as a result of the call for 75,000 volunteers to invade the south and two because 4 states Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware still had slaves and never seceded and Lincolns Emancipation didn't apply to them. What are your thoughts on that ?
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I argue it was to maintain the Union and that he did disapprove of Slavery he had no intention of ending it where it already was. I'll add some quotes below that better explain my point.

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position
assigned to the white race.” (Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858)

“... my paramount object is in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery” (Lincoln).

"If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." (Lincoln).

"I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists, because the constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so." (Lincoln).

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so".(Lincoln)
I don't know why people take everything said in public literally. Lincoln - at least as President - was cautiously steering things toward emancipation (including overtures behind the scenes to the Border States) but knew there were limits in his ability to act too quickly or too directly. You've quoted his August 1862 public response to Greeley's attack in his newspaper. Lincoln already had decided to issue the EP but couldn't yet announce it - so his public response to Greeley was "If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."
 

JD Mayo

Retired User
Joined
Jun 12, 2020
Location
Greensboro NC
Lincoln was a Tyrant thinking he could just take everything in his power including states out west like Kentucky and slaves. I wish slavery never came to the colonies, and in the states but then there would have been no civil war either if it didn't have happened.
 

jackt62

Captain
Member of the Month
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
First of all, why is this conflict being referred to as "Lincoln's War?" Never heard the American Revolution being described as "Washington's War," or WWII described as "Roosevelt's War" as if the respective leader was singlehandedly responsible for promoting and starting it.

Anyway, leaving that aside for the moment, the casus belli of the CW was the southern attempt to break up the Union, and Lincoln's obligation under the Constitution to preserve and maintain that Union. The issue of slavery did become a second Union war aim by 1863 with the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation but it was not the issue that the north went to war over.
 

jackt62

Captain
Member of the Month
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Lincoln was a Tyrant thinking he could just take everything in his power including states out west like Kentucky and slaves

Not sure what that means. Kentucky remained a loyal state with slavery intact. Lincoln did propose a compensated emancipation scheme to slaveowners of northern states in which slavery was legal. But that plan was rejected, and slavery would remain in force until the 13th Amendment was passed and ratified.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
So what about the tarriffs didn't the states that would buy or trade from England have to pay 80% or so of the tax revenue. Also I say not slavery again because one not all the states seceded at the same time the last 4 seeded as a result of the call for 75,000 volunteers to invade the south and two because 4 states Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware still had slaves and never seceded and Lincolns Emancipation didn't apply to them. What are your thoughts on that ?

@Dixie Boy ,

You did very well with your first post, but don't ruin it with this oft-used, bogus 80% tariff excuse. There was no such thing and please research and find out, it was the slave-holding South that pushed for the tariff method of financing the federal government.

ALL of the Southern slaveholding states had one thing in common and that needs to be admitted in full. Even the so-called Upper South slave states.

They seceded over the election of a Republican President because they ALL felt the institution of slavery would not be safe under Lincoln.

PERIOD.

As for the Emancipation Proclamation not applying to those slave states that had not seceded, haven't you read any of the actions of Lincoln to have those states abolish slavery on their own? Have you seen the research and articles that show how many thousands of slaves were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation the day it was implemented? And did not the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, pushed through by Lincoln, have the effect of abolishing slavery everywhere?

What are my thoughts on that?

I thank God for Abraham Lincoln, the Union, and the men who defended her who had the good sense to see the Confederacy tossed upon the ash heap of history, where it belonged.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Oh, I think Lincoln definitely did want to end slavery, and, even more relevant, he was the leader of a political party that was an anti-slavery party.

Lincoln was also a master of lawyer's art of making misleading statements. For example, he said he wouldn't interfere with slavery in the states where it existed, but what he didn't say was that he and the rest of Republican Party was dedicated to abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia and in any/all of the territories. The Party was also dedicated to eliminating slavery over time, either through gradual emancipation, or other Constitutional means. He also maintained to the end the best resolution to the problem of slavery was for former slaves to leave the USA and settle down somewhere else.
 

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
First of all, why is this conflict being referred to as "Lincoln's War?" Never heard the American Revolution being described as "Washington's War," or WWII described as "Roosevelt's War" as if the respective leader was singlehandedly responsible for promoting and starting it.

Anyway, leaving that aside for the moment, the casus belli of the CW was the southern attempt to break up the Union, and Lincoln's obligation under the Constitution to preserve and maintain that Union. The issue of slavery did become a second Union war aim by 1863 with the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation but it was not the issue that the north went to war over.
Well this is a Lincoln Forum, if I said the war then it wouldn't be valid. Also the constitution was framed and made by our very own founding fathers who lead the effort to become independent. The Confederacy fought for its own independent nation so I don't see how Lincoln would feel obligated by the Constitution to forcefully keep the states in line and under the Union when the same folks who made that constitution fought and governed the people under an American nation to become separate.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
I argue it was to maintain the Union and that he did disapprove of Slavery he had no intention of ending it where it already was.

I don't think there is much disagreement to be had with that statement.

1. Southerners in 1860 felt any president who wasn't openly pro-slavery was intolerable. They rejected Stephen Douglas for daring to suggest a state could chose to prohibit slavery. The Republican policy to limit slavery was seen by Southerners as equivalent to abolition. They felt they had to secede in response to Lincoln's election to protect their rights (to own slaves) and their way of life (socially and economically dependent on slavery).

2. Lincoln felt morally and legally obligated to preserve the Union. Especially after a US military was bombarded into surrender by the secessionists. Unilateral secession, regardless of reason, was an existential threat to the Union. Bombarding Fort Sumter was a clear act of war.

3. Four states that had decided Lincoln's election was tolerable, at least for the time being, felt Lincoln's willingness to use military force against the secessionists was intolerable.

If you look at slave population of the Deep South, Upper South, and Border States (who did not secede) you will notice a trend. The first two states to secede were the only two with more blacks than whites.

4. Lincoln was anti-slavery, but believed himself legally restrained. He explored a variety of methods to achieve emanicaption within his legal limits, making use of opportunities provided by the war.

5. Union soldiers seeing slaves and slavery in person for the first time usually tilted anti-slavery.

6. Anti-slavery doesn't mean pro-equality.
 

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
I don't know why people take everything said in public literally. Lincoln - at least as President - was cautiously steering things toward emancipation (including overtures behind the scenes to the Border States) but knew there were limits in his ability to act too quickly or too directly. You've quoted his August 1862 public response to Greeley's attack in his newspaper. Lincoln already had decided to issue the EP but couldn't yet announce it - so his public response to Greeley was "If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."
May I remind you that he said this "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."(Lincoln)

So he says all this and yet this shoudnt be taken literally ?
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
May I remind you that he said this "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."(Lincoln)

So he says all this and yet this shoudnt be taken literally ?
Let's try it this way. You quoted his August 1862 statement published to Greeley for the proposition of taking him at his word. He drafted the EP at least a month before that, met with his Cabinet about it, and then held off announcing it until - as Seward advised - he could follow it with a victory. If you think that he cooked it up between late August and September 22 you need to do more reading.
 

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
Oh, I think Lincoln definitely did want to end slavery, and, even more relevant, he was the leader of a political party that was an anti-slavery party.

Lincoln was also a master of lawyer's art of making misleading statements. For example, he said he wouldn't interfere with slavery in the states where it existed, but what he didn't say was that he and the rest of Republican Party was dedicated to abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia and in any/all of the territories. The Party was also dedicated to eliminating slavery over time, either through gradual emancipation, or other Constitutional means. He also maintained to the end the best resolution to the problem of slavery was for former slaves to leave the USA and settle down somewhere else.
So if thats true and he did want to end slavery lawfully and with the constitution and do it gradually then why would he propose in 1861 the Corwin amendment:
The Corwin Amendment read as follows:No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
 

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
I don't think there is much disagreement to be had with that statement.

1. Southerners in 1860 felt any president who wasn't openly pro-slavery was intolerable. They rejected Stephen Douglas for daring to suggest a state could chose to prohibit slavery. The Republican policy to limit slavery was seen by Southerners as equivalent to abolition. They felt they had to secede in response to Lincoln's election to protect their rights (to own slaves) and their way of life (socially and economically dependent on slavery).

2. Lincoln felt morally and legally obligated to preserve the Union. Especially after a US military was bombarded into surrender by the secessionists. Unilateral secession, regardless of reason, was an existential threat to the Union. Bombarding Fort Sumter was a clear act of war.

3. Four states that had decided Lincoln's election was tolerable, at least for the time being, felt Lincoln's willingness to use military force against the secessionists was intolerable.

If you look at slave population of the Deep South, Upper South, and Border States (who did not secede) you will notice a trend. The first two states to secede were the only two with more blacks than whites.

4. Lincoln was anti-slavery, but believed himself legally restrained. He explored a variety of methods to achieve emanicaption within his legal limits, making use of opportunities provided by the war.

5. Union soldiers seeing slaves and slavery in person for the first time usually tilted anti-slavery.

6. Anti-slavery doesn't mean pro-equality.
Anti-slavery doesn't mean pro-equality, your right but Iv'e been showing the other guys the Corwin amendment, Lincolns proposed amendment:
The Corwin Amendment read as follows:

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
What do you make of this ?
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
So what about the tarriffs didn't the states that would buy or trade from England have to pay 80% or so of the tax revenue. Also I say not slavery again because one not all the states seceded at the same time the last 4 seeded as a result of the call for 75,000 volunteers to invade the south and two because 4 states Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware still had slaves and never seceded and Lincolns Emancipation didn't apply to them. What are your thoughts on that ?
How Is it possible for the smaller and overall poorer Southern white demographic to purchase far more imported goods then the larger white Northern demographic group?
Leftyhunter
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
So if thats true and he did want to end slavery lawfully and with the constitution and do it gradually then why would he propose in 1861 the Corwin amendment:
The Corwin Amendment read as follows:No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

First, Lincoln did not propose the amendment, Corwin did.

Second, the Corwin amendment is totally consistent with the idea that each of the states would abolish slavery within their own borders, as had been done in many Northern states. It was a cherished goal of some Republicans that once slavery had been contained by the federal government, then the individual Southern states would eventually see the logic of abolition and abolish on their own account.
 
Top