Gut Rumbles
 

August 14, 2005

bearding the lion

I'm going to do something I've never seen done on a blog before. I'm going to Fisk the Gettysburg Address. It is taught in school as one of the greatest speeches ever made, but I call bullshit on that. If you put it into historical context, it was a razzle-dazzle political smoke-screen worthy of Bill Clinton, or someone even more craven than he is.

I am NOT a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln. I can understand a lot of what he did and why he did it, but that fact still doesn't make it right. Did he REALLY "preserve the Union," or did he demonstrate that the federal government was powerful enough to crush any opposition that dared to question its authority?

Think about it. Lincoln didn't "free the slaves." In fact, he was quite the racist if you read what he really thought about negroes. He wanted them all packed up and shipped back to Africa. He believed that they were a sub-human race, incapable of being civilized. His Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South only, which he had no authority to do but did anyway, hoping to stir up a slave rebellion as a weapon of war. The guy was a fucking politician.

I can understand why Lincoln opposed the South leaving the Union, although I believe that the states had the right of secession. The South formed a very loose "Confederacy" and they wouldn't have lasted long as a nation without England or France getting a foot in the door on this contenent. I know why Lincoln didn't want that to happen on his watch.

He saw bad things happening somewhere down the line.

He thought it was worth fighting a long and bloody war to stop it. But I think the man is deified today FAR beyond who he really was.

In MY humble opinion, Abe Lincoln was a master politician and a man who put his personal desires far above the US Constitution. He was President, and he didn't hesitate to preserve his power.

Just read this and think.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Yeah, except for slavery and treating wimmen as chattel. "Equal," my ass. And YOU showed that "liberty" was what the federal government said it was. More than 600,000 men died proving your point.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

YOU made sure we had no choice, Abe. I live in Georgia. People here still remember what Sherman did when his yankee ass came through. Did you enjoy receiving Savannah as a Christmas present?

We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

A lot of people died so that Old Abe could have his way. I agree that it was "fitting and proper" to honor the dead soldiers, but they wouldn't be dead in the first place if Abe Lincoln hadn't decided that preserving his precious Union was worth any cost in life and limb.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lying bastard. That last line SHOULD read: "This nation, without regard to what YOU think, will BECOME GOD, dictate every aspect of your life and even tell you how much water your toilet can flush, once we invent flush toilets. GOD--- excuse me... GOVERNMENT will tax everything you do, take your property if you don't pay and irritate the living shit out of you by being mostly incompentent in handling the "services" it is supposed to provide."

Honest Abe? My ass. He shit all over the Constitution. Although Andersonville gets all the bad press, he allowed Elmira to exist, and there was NO fucking excuse for that. Confederate soldiers in the field didn't live much better than prisoners at Andersonville.

But... at Elmira, the Union DELIBERATELY starved rebs in the middle of plenty. The guards were well-fed and fat, while the prisoners picked through horse shit, looking for corn.

In case you don't know already, I'm NOT a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. I believe that his assassination hurt the South, but we never would have had Reconstruction if Abe had been as "honest" as he claimed to be.

In MY humble opinion, he's the most over-rated President in history.

Comments

Oh, shit, dude! You better hunker down. Lots of folks are gonna be plenty pissed about this.

Posted by: PawPaw on August 14, 2005 03:45 PM

Dead on the mark.
Lincoln doesn't belong on the goddamn currency.

Posted by: Graumagus on August 14, 2005 03:58 PM

Some of what he did would be challenged today by the same peole who have inshrined him. He was a politician first and foremost, a better president then some, and no better than most. But, we Americans seem to venerate our assasinated presidents as heros,JFK for an example. And, I don't have the facts readily available but will try to find them, the Gettisburg address was actually cribbed from a few other famous speeches in history. Ole Abe was a politician but he wasn't all THAT honest.

Posted by: GUYK on August 14, 2005 04:09 PM

Geez Rob, don't you know everyone hates a sore loser?

You complain about "leftists" who want to refight the 2000 election and your going on about the Civil War. The irony (unintentional, I'm sure) around here is thick enough to cut with a knife -- on the one hand you babble about being patriotic and at the same time you complain about a President who went to extreme lengths to preserve a coalition of united states.

Posted by: Zappatista on August 14, 2005 04:29 PM

Zap-- if you don;t like what I write, simply go away. I'm not going to Abe Lincoln you and MAKE you read my blog.

Abe DID THAT to the South.

Posted by: Acidman on August 14, 2005 04:46 PM

Rob, I REALLY don't understand this dynamic you have going with some of your readers. How is it you are able to subtly compel people who hate your opinions to keep on reading them?

Protestations to the contrary, that's some powerful mojo you've got going.

Posted by: Desert Cat on August 14, 2005 05:07 PM

Not sure I agree with the complete analysis but you do raise some interesting points.

I don't think Lincoln foresaw the effects of his actions 100-150 years hence, I think he was mostly motivated by preserving the Union (and thus his power) no matter the cost.

As far as Lincoln being the most overrated President, I have to respectfully disagree. That title is co-shared by FDR and JFK, IMHO. The connection is that Lincoln opened the door, FDR and JFK kicked it wide open, putting us directly on the path leading to the current state of the Republic.

Posted by: Grumpy Old Ham on August 14, 2005 05:20 PM

Thank you for being brave enough to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

The odious institution of Slavery has been used as a smoke screen for far too long.

The Civil war was fought over the concept of the Federal Government's power vs States Rights, plain and simple.

Posted by: delftsman3 on August 14, 2005 05:21 PM

So, Delftsman3, if the South had voluntarily given up it's prized "niggras", the Civil War would have still transpired?

Posted by: rightisright on August 14, 2005 05:27 PM

Rob, a pretty good interpretation as far as I can see; but as PawPaw said, get ready for the shit to fly!!

Posted by: Michele on August 14, 2005 05:32 PM

This is one of those complicated issues that seem to have no clear cut answer. You're right to claim that Lincoln wasn't a saint and that he's been made far grander then any man has a right to be. But history is written by the winners, and often what sells the best is preferred over accuracy, especially after such a bloody cost.

As for the war itself, I can see both sides, power politics vs. rights of succession. However, I'd still say that slavery was the issue of the day that tipped the pot over...I highly doubt there would have been a succession without it.

History has tended to forget the brutality of that time, and how close both sides came to being destroyed.

Posted by: Colin on August 14, 2005 05:58 PM

The Civil war was fought over the concept of the Federal Government's power vs States Rights, plain and simple.


+1

Posted by: heath on August 14, 2005 06:10 PM

Do you know what Abe Lincoln said when he woke up from a six day drunk? I freed who?

Posted by: catfish on August 14, 2005 06:12 PM

What's this? A little Kim du Twat wannbe? You're way too long one hillbilly polemtic and a bit short on historical honesty.

Did you do any reading or research before you pecked this out?

A bit---dishonorable if you ask me. A puerile rant is what it is.

I know because I majored in history--before I got my MASTERS DEGREE !!!!!!!

Read a book or two. Then come back to us.

Posted by: Beth on August 14, 2005 06:51 PM

Whoo boy. I dig you, man, but you need to back the fuck up on this. I know your pissed and all because of Sherman's march to the sea, but Confederacy fuckers fired on Fort Sumter first. And let's not forget Fredericsburg and Andersonville.

And Robert E. Lee resigned from his position as a West Point Officer to lead rebels because Viginia was his home state. UH, Rob, you're an American dedicated to the Consititution, not the Confederacy. He was, basically, a traitor.

Come on man.

Posted by: Greg on August 14, 2005 07:21 PM

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR are routinely ranked as the best of our presidents. By historians. It says more about historians than the presidents.

Washington is admired for creating and establishing the nation, Jefferson for inventing the federal system, Lincoln for preserving it, and FDR for defending the nation from tyranny.

At the core of these men's ranking is preservation of the nation. It supersedes all other considerations, although other considerations are worthy of admiration too.

In Lincoln's case, slavery was an incidental issue. Evil as it was, the Union could have continued—briefly—with slavery left in tact. Lincoln's overriding concern was to stand up to 'states rights' in order to preserve the sanctity of the nation state. Slavery only provided the moral edge to claim righteousness in prosecuting the war.

As to the conditions and destruction on both sides during the Civil War, it goes without saying war is hell. Was the North more evil than the South? I know of no evidence of that. Misery was found everywhere.

Lincoln is not personally responsible for the death in prison camps. Neither was Lee. It's war that's to blame. Ditto Sherman's march through Georgia. War is hell. The South could have capitulated earlier and avoided much of the destruction it suffered. They chose not to. My understanding is that Sherman was a bit of a loose canon. Lincoln did not order the burning of Savannah.

Posted by: Noby on August 14, 2005 07:32 PM

Beth--- I thought you were a psychologist. With a MASTER'S DEGREE. Now you're a historian, too? With ANOTHER MASTER'S DEGREE???

I am mightily impressed with your credentials.

Okay... use your vast bank of learning to correct me if I'm wrong. The reason the rebs fired on Fort Sumter was because Lincoln sent federal troops to occupy the place.

Lincoln suspended the right of habius corpus and jailed any journalist or anyone ELSE who opposed him.

He instituted the draft, then handled the draft riots in New York by having his troops murder hundreds of people.

Darlin' Beth... That's HISTORY. Why don't you try reading it sometime?

Posted by: Acidman on August 14, 2005 07:39 PM

Overrated- yes, but if the results were good (most powerful country in world... civil liberties all round...), would you not rather have your history full of heroes than... politicians?

Your arguments are valid, but no president could come out unscathed from this set of standards, and most would do much worst than Lincoln. If our business is no business of the governments, what were we doing curtailing communism the last 50 years? or in Europe before that? or in Iraq today?

Sure, he didn't think much of women, who did at the time? alright, he thought illy of blacks, but he did still end up freeing them, and yes, he thought perserving the union, his union, my union, your union, worth any cost and I atleast still think that.

He was also too smart to emancipate all slaves, instead only freeing them where they were in abundance, to preserve the loyalty of the border states. And he saw the weakness and vulnerability to imperialism that constantly seceding states would bring about. I want a president who puts common-sense before idealism.

And yes, I don't have to read your blog, neither do you have to read my comment. I like your viewpoint & ability to call bull, but this is just a sore rant.

Posted by: William on August 14, 2005 07:59 PM

Hmm... Never looked at The Gettysburg Address in that light. As a proud Negro (I love the term), Abe Lincoln freeing the slaves was DRILLED INTO MY HEAD so much that I became mentally ill. But your right on point, it was about the South not the slaves. And I'm glad that it was. A funny lookin' white guy like Abe Lincoln caring about me and mine that much disturbs me. ;-)

Posted by: T-Steel on August 14, 2005 08:07 PM

How can you see the virtue of this war in Iraq but no virtue in Lincoln's decisions at a time when our country was nearly torn apart? This baffles me.

And if Abe Lincoln borrowed from other writers, (I've never heard this before), at least he picked some great ones. And the Gettysburg address is so concise and yet on point. I've read some of his poetry and other stuff and I admire his ability to make a vivid statement with a minimum of words. A true word artist, IMHO.

Geez, Rob. Now why don't you tell us what an ignorant slut Mother Teresa was while you're at it.

Posted by: Suz on August 14, 2005 08:31 PM

I disagree with your analysis Rob, but as has been said, I'll fight to the death to defend your right to analyze.
But I'm a stoopid Yankee.
Hehe.

Posted by: Horrabin on August 14, 2005 08:34 PM

I like William's comment. Good thinking, dude. Even if you DON'T agree with me.

Posted by: Acidman on August 14, 2005 08:45 PM

We should be pissed at the Dutchmen that brough the slaves here in the first place. If we had chased them off, there would not have been a civil war. The negros would have been frolicking happily in their jungle instead of picking cotton,. We wouldn't need nearly so many prisons. There would be more opportunities for under priveledged wthite boys in the NBA. Detroit would be a nice place to live There wouldn't be a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or rap music. Niccole Brown would not have been decapitated by O.J. Crime would be down 90% Of course all the black people living here now would be so much happier and better off if they had been born n Africa. Their family lives would be so much better since half of their men would no longer be in the white mans prison. They could be supporting their children like responsible citizens of Africa do instead of being forced to take the white mans welfare. I understand a hill of termites makes a delicious and nutricious meal. Their "self-esteem" would be elevated by catching those termites all by themselves. The proof is all there. Just look at the African countries that have switched from white rule over to black rule. We should be proud of our role in that. The whites hat setteled South Africa did so about the same time our ancestors settled here. If only they had followed our example on how we treated Indians, maybe they would still have a country. ]]

If the American Blacks had been born Africans instead they could have turned Africa into the envy of the whole world if only they could have been left alone, I'm sure about that . Just look at the wonderful things they've done in Zimbabwe (formerly the paradise known as Rhodesia) and marvel at the magic they are doing in South Africa !!!!! I guess the only downside would be that we wouldn't have any black people now, that would be a real shame. My guess is we would survive.. Just imagine what this country would be like without a signifigant population of blacks? Now there's a frighening hought ! I blame the Dutch

Posted by: Robert on August 14, 2005 09:03 PM

Robert, don't you have a cross to go burn or something?

The negros would have been frolicking happily in their jungle instead of picking cotton.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

You know, I was all set to launch some stupid ass rant but I don't have the energy. You just make me sad. Sad for your children, sad for your neighbors and sad for anyone who has to interact with you on any level -- but most of all, I'm sad for you. Go get some help before your hatred consumes you any further and you wind up with even less humanity than you have now.

Posted by: Zappatista on August 14, 2005 09:28 PM

"To Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Mass.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjuntant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grieft of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your berevement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrefice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sencerely and respectfully
A. Lincoln"

The guy had a way with words, regardless of what else we think of him.

I've got this letter book marked in case i ever get into a discussion about "Reparations".
Say, dude, does the Bixby family still owe MORE?

Posted by: Jim Long on August 14, 2005 10:00 PM

Quite a bit of historical "diversity" (code for horsepuckey) in the comments. Most "what if" discussions I've heard based on the actual history of the negotiations suggest that if the South had abandoned or modified slavery to suit the North, the war would still have been fought, just a bit later, when military technology would have resulted in EVEN MORE casualties.

Rob is right. The history is there to read, but analyses of it are just opinion. The facts (battles, negotiations, etc) are history, but the interpretation of them is not always the truth.

Actions still speak louder than words.

Posted by: Rivrdog on August 14, 2005 10:39 PM

Rob, you have Balls of Steel to approach this subject the way you did, many folk would read the first couple of lines and having been so well trained by popular culture, would have turned away in disgust. Almost blasphemy to some folk what you’re saying. We've killed more people fighting each other then in all of the other wars combined. An entire generation of American boys killed off. Right now we’re close to the 2000 mark in Iraq, which is rather bad (specially since I go there on a regular basis) but bad compared to what? Not modern warfare. Our nation would be a different place if there was a peaceful solution to the Cival War, I think we could have got a better deal for getting rid of slavery then the one we paid in blood, maybe you riled a few feathers but hey, isn’t that your job?

Posted by: Sean on August 14, 2005 10:42 PM

Go get some help before your hatred consumes you any further and you wind up with even less humanity than you have now.

Zapp-hole should prescibe to his own advice.

A few threads back he made light of attacks on our Troops flying over Iraq. He hates our troops and finds their predicament humorous.

What's that you had to say about glass houses, Zapphole?

Posted by: gordon the magnificent on August 14, 2005 11:47 PM

Slavery was the can that the country kicked down the road for "four score and" some such years. The framers of the Constitution couldn't find a way to handle it to everyone's satisfaction so they left it alone. They had bigger fish to fry in establishing the country.

Funny thing about the Constitution, the slave holding states managed to get 3/5 of their chattel counted as part of the population when it came to Congressional apportionment.

There was a balance for many years in the Congress between slave and free states and the issue went nowhere. This balance was threatened by our westward expansion. The slave states wanted the new territories to be slave holding areas and the free states wanted them free. The can got kicked down the road a little longer through the Missouri Compromise. Then came "bloody Kansas"? The two ideas were then engaged in actual physical battle.

Lincoln did what he did to preserve the union. That was his priority. Indeed, it was his duty as President. The slave holders, finding themselves more and more in the minority, were losing the argument and rather than bow to the inevitable and live by the rules they played a large part in writing, wanted to take the ball and go home.

Lincoln made them stay.

That's the way this immigrant remembers American history.

Rob,

Sending Federal troops and supplies to a Federal fort is hardly a provocative move.
(There goes my bumper sticker, I suppose)

Robert,

Perhaps you should have used the irony/sarcasm tag. Zappawhatever doesn't do irony well.

Oh, and I blame the fucking Vikings. They brought the first slaves to North America, they were Scots captured on their raids.

Posted by: StinKerr on August 15, 2005 05:04 AM

Zapatista, Fuch you. I'm a strong believer that slavery was hands down the worst thing that ever happened to this country. We are still paying for that.. Everytime a white person does something to someone black it's a hate crime. 2 black males robbed the 22 year old white girl at the circle K down he street from me, tied her up with a phone cord while they raped her. over a period of 3 jours when they were done they put a bullet in her head and ran off with $40 Somehow that isn't a hate crime. I don't have to burn a coss or join the klan to see that shit like that is happening everywhere. Why are so many black men in prison? Not a real question Zapastia I got a pretty good udea what someone like you would say about that. The amswer is simple, because they are criminals and belong there. Half the population eiher in prison or just got out, but of course most are innocent victims of whities evil. Anywhere in this country that see 2 or more black males together,after dark chances are high somehing bad is about to happen. I don't hate black people, I definatly fear them. That makes me evil and assholes like Zapisa feel sorry for me and my children.

Posted by: Robert on August 15, 2005 06:33 AM

As a fellow Georgian with many ancestors who did not own slaves but fought for the Confederacy, I sure wish you would leave Old Abe alone. This nation is much better off united instead of split in two. If the Confederacy had won the Russians would still be in Alaska. If we were divided the European powers could have picked us off. Please lets not fight the civil war again in here!

Posted by: JPC on August 15, 2005 11:12 AM

in my opinion lincoln did what he set out to do i,m british and even i know about him, i would not say he was thee greatest president but he sure was ONE of the best, just remember what he went through in his own personal life most of us could not take what he went through feel free to disagree it is just my, my familys and my teachers opinion.

Posted by: jacqueline on January 23, 2006 06:03 AM
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