Why Abraham Lincoln Refused To Respect Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln as painted by George Peter Alexander Healy in 1887
Abraham Lincoln as painted by George Peter Alexander Healy in 1887 | Source

History records that Jefferson Davis was the first president of the Confederate States of America. But there was one man who never conceded to Davis the dignity of that title. That man was Abraham Lincoln. During the entire course of the Civil War, the words “President Davis” never once escaped the lips of the President of the United States; and that fact was a fundamental element of the strategy that insured there would never be a second president of the Confederacy.

Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis | Source
The Union Is Dissolved!
The Union Is Dissolved! | Source

Was the Confederacy a new nation?

By the time Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1861, the Confederate States of America already considered itself a going concern as a separate and independent nation. A provisional constitution was unanimously ratified on February 8, 1861, and on February 18, 1861 Jefferson Davis was sworn in as chief executive of the aspiring new nation. In his inaugural address, Davis spoke forcefully of “the separate existence and independence we have asserted.” He went on to say, “We have entered upon the career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued.” Davis maintained his inflexible view that the Confederate States constituted a new nation entirely separate from the United States until the day he died.

To Lincoln secession was a constitutional impossibility

But that view of the Confederacy as the legitimate national government over states that had seceded from the Union was one that Abraham Lincoln was equally inflexible in denying. In his own inaugural address, the new president, lawyer that he was, presented what amounted to a legal brief justifying his conviction that “the Union of these States is perpetual.” To his mind secession was inherently unconstitutional because, “It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination.” Lincoln made it clear that the Union would fight, if necessary, to maintain its own integrity, saying that it was “the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.”

Finally, as he closed his speech, the new President spoke directly to the people of the seceded Southern states. “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine,” he said, “is the momentous issue of civil war.”

That sentence epitomizes Abraham Lincoln’s entire approach to the issue of secession. He considered it a constitutional impossibility, and would never, by word, action, or implication, officially concede that it had been successfully accomplished. That’s why, when he directly addressed citizens of the states that three weeks before had installed Jefferson Davis as president of what they claimed to be a separate nation, Lincoln still spoke of them as “my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen.”

The Confederate States
The Confederate States | Source

For Lincoln the Confederacy was not a nation – except when it was

In theology, the concepts of orthodoxy and orthopraxy are closely related. Orthodoxy relates to correct belief, while orthopraxy has to do with correct action. Ideally, belief and action should be in perfect alignment. But, as many who attempt to put their faith into practice have experienced, it is sometimes difficult to ensure that your course of action always conforms to your sincerely held beliefs.

Very soon after the start of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln found himself caught between the constitutional orthodoxy that “the Union of these States is perpetual,” and the apparent inconsistencies required to practically apply that concept in the context of a fraternal conflict.

If, as Lincoln unwaveringly maintained, the people of the Southern states were still part of the Union, then any of them who took up arms against the US government were by definition guilty of treason. When such people were captured, whether on the battlefield or otherwise, they were legally liable to the penalty of death. But, precisely because he still considered them to be US citizens, it was impossible for Lincoln to treat the tens of thousands of Southerners who flocked to enlist in Confederate military service simply as traitors to be tried and executed.

In his proclamation asking the states to bring out 75,000 militiamen to put down the rebellion, Lincoln acknowledged that the Confederate armies constituted “combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings.” In other words, it was simply not practical to deal with all the individuals in arms for the Confederacy as mere criminals. Moreover, unlike even the largest of normal criminal conspiracies, the size of the Confederate forces gave them the power of effective retaliation for any penalties exacted upon their soldiers. When Lincoln considered treating the crews of rebel privateers that captured or destroyed Union merchant ships as pirates, subject under international law to be hung, Confederate threats to hang captured Union officers in retaliation caused him to drop the idea.

A similar paradox arose when Lincoln decided to institute a naval blockade of Southern ports to deny the South the ability to import arms and other products from Europe. According to international law, a blockade could only be employed between warring nations, and not by a single nation against its own people. But understanding that the blockade was a powerful and indeed necessary strategic weapon in winning the war, Lincoln unabashedly imposed it while still refusing absolutely to acknowledge the nationhood of the Confederacy.

Lincoln snubs Jefferson Davis again and again

In a number of ways Abraham Lincoln found it necessary, on a practical level, to deal with the Confederacy as though it was a separate nation. But one thing he never compromised was his insistence that no such government as the Confederate States of America existed.

That’s why when Jefferson Davis, prior to the onset of hostilities, sent a letter to President Lincoln asking him to receive envoys appointed by Davis “For the purpose of establishing friendly relations between the Confederate States and the United States,” Lincoln refused to receive the envoys or even to acknowledge the letter.

That was just the first of several snubs the US president delivered to the man whose pretensions as president of a sovereign Confederate nation he never accepted. By June of 1864 Davis was driven to complain in a letter to North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance:

We have made three distinct efforts to communicate with the authorities at Washington, and have been invariably unsuccessful… No answer has ever been received… a few months ago, a gentleman was sent whose position, character and reputation were such as to insure his reception, if the enemy were not determined to receive no proposals whatever from the (Confederate) Government…

The final sentence in this paragraph shows that Jefferson Davis fully understood the message Abraham Lincoln was sending him. Davis said,

To attempt again (in the face of these repeated rejections of all conference with us) to send commissioners or agents to propose peace, is to invite insult and contumely, and to subject ourselves to indignity without the slightest chance of being listened to.

That was it in a nutshell. As Davis realized, nothing he said to the United States government, or Abraham Lincoln, in his capacity as president of the Confederate States would have “the slightest chance of being listened to.”

Jefferson Davis's farewell Senate speech justifying secession

Davis tries to find ways to get Lincoln to acknowledge him

Davis apparently fully understood this reality almost from the beginning of the conflict. In July of 1863 he authorized Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens (the gentleman of position, character and reputation mentioned in the Vance letter) to attempt to go to Washington under a flag of truce to meet with President Lincoln. The purpose was to negotiate a more humane system for the treatment of prisoners of war.

Perfectly aware that Lincoln would take no notice of any communication from him in his role as Confederate president, Davis provided Stephens with two almost identical letters addressed to Lincoln. The first was signed by Davis “as Commander-in-Chief of the land and naval forces now waging war against the United States,” and was addressed to Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief of the US forces. Stephens was instructed that if Lincoln refused to receive that letter because it did not address him as President of the United States, Stephens was to give him the second letter, which differed from the first only in being signed by Davis as CSA president, and addressed to Lincoln as US president.

In the end, Lincoln would accept neither version of the letter, nor Stephens himself. Never allowed to cross Union lines, all Stephens got for his efforts was a curt and barely polite note signed by Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, saying that “The customary agents and channels are adequate for all needful military communications and conferences between the United States and the insurgents.”

To Lincoln, Jefferson Davis was nothing more than a leader of insurgents

That word “insurgents” became Lincoln’s characteristic official term for all members of the Confederate military and government. That applied especially to Jefferson Davis.

For example, in his annual address to a joint session of Congress in December of 1864, President Lincoln made direct reference to Jefferson Davis for the first time in a speech. But, as in every other public statement he made during the war, Lincoln never mentioned Davis by name, and certainly not by his title as Confederate president. Wanting the nation to understand that there was no chance of productive peace negotiations with Davis, Lincoln told the Congress,

It seems to me that no attempt at negotiation with the insurgent leader could result in any good. He would accept nothing short of severance of the Union- precisely what we will not and cannot give. His declarations to this effect are explicit and oft- repeated. He does not attempt to deceive us. He affords us no excuse to deceive ourselves. He cannot voluntarily reaccept the Union; we cannot voluntarily yield it. Between him and us the issue is distinct, simple, and inflexible. It is an issue which can only be tried by war and decided by victory. If we yield, we are beaten; if the Southern people fail him, he is beaten.

“Insurgent leader.” That was the only title Abraham Lincoln would ever apply to Jefferson Davis.

Lincoln was willing to negotiate with Davis only as the rebel military leader

Lincoln freely acknowledged that Davis was the leader who controlled the Confederate armies. That was a matter of undeniable fact, and Lincoln had no problem addressing Davis on that basis. For example, in a famous July 1864 letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern,” Lincoln affirmed that:

Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government of the United States.

That “authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States” was, of course, Jefferson Davis.

Francis Preston Blair, Sr.
Francis Preston Blair, Sr. | Source

When Francis Preston Blair, Sr., patriarch of a prominent political family allied with Lincoln, initiated a self-appointed “shuttle diplomacy” mission between Richmond and Washington in an attempt to negotiate a termination of the war, Lincoln gave him a note to be shown to Davis setting forth the terms under which Lincoln was willing to open negotiations. But the note was addressed not directly to Davis, but to Blair, authorizing him to “say to him (Davis) that I have constantly been, am now, and shall continue, ready to receive any agent whom he, or any other influential person now resisting the national authority, may informally send to me, with the view of securing peace to the people of our one common country.”

There it was, again. Even when communicating semi-directly with the Confederate president, Lincoln was extremely careful to never communicate acceptance, even implicitly, of the legitimacy of Davis’s position. To Lincoln, Jefferson Davis was no president, but only an “influential person now resisting the national authority.”

Lincoln finally meets with a delegation sent by Davis

Blair’s initiative did not bring about peace. But it did lead to a meeting between Lincoln and representatives sent by Davis in an attempt to find some common ground for negotiation. Vice President Alexander Stephens led a team of three Confederate commissioners who met with Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Lincoln received them not as officials of the Confederate government, but as “influential persons” who represented another “influential person” back in Richmond, Jefferson Davis.

This “Hampton Roads Peace Conference,” held on February 3, 1865, bore no fruit. The insuperable obstacle was Jefferson Davis’s insistence that he would negotiate only “for the purpose of securing peace to the two countries,” while Lincoln was adamant that the basis of negotiation could only be “securing peace to the people of our one common country” (emphasis added).

Alexander Stephens
Alexander Stephens | Source

The meeting was a cordial one, even punctuated by a few laughs. Lincoln and Stephens had known one another before the war, and spoke as friends. But the president made very clear that he viewed the Confederates simply as Americans who had unlawfully taken up arms against their rightful government.

When he later reported on the conference to his Cabinet, President Lincoln quoted one of the Southern delegates as stating, “Well, according to your view of the case we are all guilty of treason, and liable to be hanged.”

After a brief pause, Mr. Lincoln replied, “Yes, that is so.”

“Well,” the Southerner continued, “we suppose that would necessarily be your view of our case, but we never had much fear of being hanged while you were President.”

Interior Secretary John Palmer Usher recalled that from the President’s manner as he recounted this episode, it was clear that Lincoln considered the Confederates’ confidence that he wouldn’t hang them a compliment.

One nation or two? An irreconcilable difference

In their report to Davis, subsequently published in both Southern and Northern newspapers, the Confederate commissioners said:

(T)he enemy refused to enter into negotiations with the Confederate States, or any one of them separately… We understood from him that no terms or proposals of any treaty or agreement, looking to an ultimate settlement, would be entertained or made by him with the authorities of the Confederate States, because that would be a recognition of their existence as a separate Power, which under no circumstances would be done.

Lincoln’s refusal to respect Jefferson Davis was a strategic necessity

Abraham Lincoln would never give to Jefferson Davis any respect or recognition as a true head of state, not because of any personal animosity or disdain, but because to do so would be to implicitly recognize the nationhood of the Confederacy. And to do that would be to concede the very issue on which the war was being fought.

Was Lincoln right in refusing to recognize Davis as president of the Confederate states?

  • Yes: Because the Confederacy was never a real nation
  • No: Because while it existed, the Confederacy was a separate nation
See results without voting

This, for Abraham Lincoln, was the ground on which he took his stand from the beginning to the end of the Civil War. He believed, and more importantly, was able to convince the American people to believe, that throughout four years of bloody conflict the rebellious Southerners remained “dissatisfied fellow-countrymen,” and not alien residents of a foreign country.

The power of Lincoln’s idea

It was that idea that drew Northern men in their hundreds of thousands to volunteer for military service, putting their lives on the line to preserve the Union.

It was because of that idea that Northerners, soldiers and civilians as well, gained strength to continue to support President Lincoln through all the devastating Union military setbacks that seemed to occur on a regular basis throughout much of the war. They saw themselves as patriotically fighting for the survival of the nation, North and South, rather than as invaders attempting to conquer another country.

And it was that idea that shaped Northerners’ attitude toward their former enemies when the fighting was over. After Robert E. Lee surrendered the most important Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, virtually ending the war, General Grant took steps to insure that his own army’s celebrations of victory did not unnecessarily humiliate the devastated Southern soldiers. “The war is over,” he said, “the rebels are again our countrymen.” (Of course, to Lincoln, they had never ceased being “our countrymen”).

Confederate Private Sam Watkins
Confederate Private Sam Watkins | Source

And finally, Abraham Lincoln’s unwavering commitment to the belief that all Americans, North and South, remained citizens of a single, united nation came to be shared even by former rebels. Sam Watkins was a soldier who served in Confederate armies from the beginning of the conflict in 1861 until the war ended in 1865. In his post-war memoir, Company Aytch, Watkins expresses Lincoln’s idea in his own way:

America has no north, no south, no east, no west. The sun rises over the hills and sets over the mountains, the compass just points up and down, and we can laugh now at the absurd notion of there being a north and a south. We are one and undivided.

In the end, it was not only Abraham Lincoln’s armies that prevailed, but his unwavering belief that the United States of America, North and South, was and would forever be, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

© 2013 Ronald E. Franklin

More by this Author


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

Certainly why Lincoln was one of our greatest leaders! While this may have sounded like a snub, it wasn't. Interesting discussion on a little known, but significant, historical fact. Voted up and interesting!

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, heidithorne. With Lincoln it was never personal (unlike Davis, who regularly referred to Lincoln publicly in the most derisive of terms). But as you say, Lincoln's attitude toward secession, exemplified in the way he dealt with Jefferson Davis, was an integral part of his outstanding leadership that, in my opinion, was the one of the most important factors in the outcome of the war.

Nick Burchett profile image

Nick Burchett 3 years ago from IL, MO & KS

Excellent hub. Greeat insight into Lincoln and the conundrum he found himself in. Sadly, the idea of the Confederates always havini been our fellow countrymen disappeared with the death of Lincoln. Had Lincoln lived I think we would have seen a much different (and I believe better) nation. I believe that civil rights would have taken place well before the 1960s and that Lincoln would have ensured that all the rebels were welcomed back into the Union.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Nick. I think you are right that Lincoln would have done a much better job than Andrew Johnson of walking the tightrope between reintegrating the seceded states into the Union while at the same time protecting the freedmen from those states' determination to enforce white supremacy in every way possible. To my mind, Lincoln displayed moral and practical wisdom beyond that of any other president.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Voted Up! I am totally unfamiliar with this political fight for and against the union. Thank you for this historical record. You tell the story very well.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks so much, MsDora. Part of Lincoln's greatness was his ability to sure-footedly navigate through complex and sometimes paradoxical political issues. I'm glad you liked the "story," because that's exactly what I think history should be - real stories about real people, and not just a dry recitation of facts. Thanks, again.

Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

By acknowledging the existence of a Confederate nation, Lincoln's military actions would have amounted to the illegal act of invading a sovereign nation. The Confederate States of America never existed except in the heads of its own supporters. England and France refused to acknowledge its existence, and especially toward the end of the war were also exceptionally cold to the rebel envoys.

Lincoln was a brilliant President, the right man for the times. He was solid, unwavering, and consistent in all of his actions. If not for Lincoln's firm resolution to fight the thing through to the end, I think we would have seen a Balkanization of America; in other words a conglomeration of small, petty nations without any real power or influence. Great hub!

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Mel. I think you are exactly right, both about Lincoln and about the result had the Confederacy won. To me it's clear that, the precedent having been set, a victorious CSA would quickly have fallen apart. Just think, for example, of Georgia with Gov. Joe Brown and Alexander Stephens literally hating everything the Richmond administration stood for.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Terrific hub. Your analysis was thorough and stepped the reader right through your points logically. So incredibly well written and thought out. Voted way up and sharing!

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks so much, FlourishAnyway. I really appreciate that.

conradofontanilla 3 years ago

I reviewed the Hub upon reading comments from FourishAnyway. I have an earlier comment.

In the preamble of the US constitution, the preamble being not part of the constitution, the Americans have the purpose of creating one nation. In the oath of any incoming US president, s/he swears to preserve the Union.

The constitution has provisions of how a state applies for membership in USA and provisions for how a state may withdraw from the Union. Not one of the South states went through the process of constitutional withdrawal from the Union. The US constitution does not have a provision for group withdrawal from the Union like the one done by the Confederacy. (This is not a legal argument but layman's discussion that is why we take the liberty of using terms such as South or North or Confederacy. However, we are aware that, like Lincoln, these terms are tantamount to a recognition of the belligerency of South.)

From his oath as president and from constitutional provisions, the South was illegal. He called it as " combination." If he used "insurgent" this term is different in legal implication from the term "belligerent."

Meeting with negotiators in behalf of Davis was tantamount to recognition of the South. That is why the meeting with Stephens, Stephens was not recognized as representing Davis. Blair, Sr. was not given any authority to speak for Lincoln. Lincoln gave his position to Blair as he would to any citizen of the Union.

The position of USA in foreign affairs was that there was only one country, USA, and no other country within it. That is why Lincoln through Sec. Seward warned that any country that recognized the South should be ready to go to war with USA.

If Lincoln gave any hint that could be argued as a recognition of the South he could be impeached because of breach of his oath and the constitutional provisions on withdrawal of a state from the Union.

Sec. Stanton of the War Department wanted to punish the South once it had been defeated. But Lincoln had chosen reconciliation and reconstruction because the South, to him, never ceased to be a part of USA. Emancipation of slaves is embodied in the 13th amendment of the USA constitution. That is Lincoln's another legacy. Otherwise, former slaves or rebels could be treated, at least in the constitution, as second class citizens. I have at least three Hubs on the American Civil War.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Conrado, for a very comprehensive comment.

Lady Summerset profile image

Lady Summerset 2 years ago from Willingboro, New Jersey

This was information that I was not aware of, missed it in History class I suppose. Thank you for such enlightening information.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Lady Summerset. I see you commented 8 weeks ago. Somehow I missed it at the time, but I very much appreciate it.

Larry Wall 15 months ago

I am going to have to disagree with you. The confederacy was a large and organized rebellious group. We have had many small rebellious groups in this country that have attempted to operate in their own manner without regard to the laws of the United States and have been stopped. There is a provision for how a state can become part of the union. There was no statutory or case law that would allow one or more states to depart. Furthermore, the land where some of the confederate states were located was purchased by the United States, case in point the Louisiana Purchase and my home state of Louisiana. The Louisiana purchase resulted from Jefferson wanting to have a port to the Gulf and wanted to buy a small portion of land. Napoleon wanted sell the entire area that had been claimed by the Explorer LaSalle years earlier. Thus the state of Louisiana was acquired by the U.S., as was Arkansas (another confederate state) and therefore could not legally leave the Union. Had they been allowed to leave, mineral rights in the Gulf of Mexico, which is the second largest source of income in the country, after the personal Income tax, would had been off limits to the U.S. The consequences would had been staggering.

Thus since at least part of the land involved in the Confederacy had been acquired through purchase from the French government, it would be impossible for that state to legally separate itself from the Union, without at least making just compensation to the landowner, the U.S. Government, for the cost of the land, cost for improvements to the property and reimbursements for services that had been rendered.

I am not a lawyer, so a good attorney may blow a hole in my case, but I have three times in my newspaper career won arguments with district attorneys over actions they wanted to take regarding mineral rights and related matters.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 15 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Larry, I'm not sure where the disagreement is. Lincoln insisted, and I agree, that secession was legally impossible, and that's why the CSA did not exist as a separate nation. If I'm reading you right, you seem to be giving additional reasons why secession was not valid. In any case, thanks for reading and commenting.

Larry Wall 15 months ago

I apparently read to fast. I apologize for missing some key words--the evil of skimming.

Thank you,


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 14 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Ron, you're on a roll with these HOTDs! Another interesting and fascinating historical hub from you! Voted up!

Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa 14 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

I love it when such an insightful, educational, well-written hub like this one makes hub of the day!

Congratulations on the well-deserved honor.

Charito1962 profile image

Charito1962 14 months ago from Manila, Philippines

I don't know much about American history, but you sure enlightened me with this article, sir Ron.

Come to think of it, conflict among politicians is nothing new. It happens in all nations, and I don't think there's such a thing as a "perfect government".

But honestly, I've always admired Lincoln for his famous Emancipation Proclamation. At least, he was one American president who would not stand for racial discrimination and inequality. That, for me, qualifies as good leadership.

This hub truly deserves HOTD. Congratulations!

Duane Townsend profile image

Duane Townsend 14 months ago from Detroit

This is a beautifully presented Hub that clarifies history.

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

Well, you seem to be getting all sorts of accolades for the hub, and I don't mean to create a controversy.


Lincoln was actually one of the worst presidents we ever had.

He did nothing to negotiate with the south to resolve the issues that the Confederacy had raised.

In fact in 10 of the southern states, Lincoln wasn't even on the ballot.

Thus the Confederate states felt they had no representation in D.C.

Lincoln ignored the writ of habeas corpus - which allowed him to arrest anyone that opposed his tactics during the civil war.

To give you an idea of the ramifications of this, Roosevelt used this to intern the Japanese during WWII.

It is also the guiding light for today, where an American - if accused of terrorism - can be held without due process.

During the Civil War, captured soldiers were allowed to freeze to death because they did not have proper protection from the weather.

When Sherman destroyed everything in his path to Savannah, it destroyed the food supplies. Thus, not only did union soldiers die of starvation at the confederate prisons, so did the confederate soldiers that were guarding them.

After the war, the warden of the prison in Alabama was executed for the way he handled the prisoners - though it was Sherman that destroyed the food supplies that would have allowed the soldiers to survive.

Jefferson was never prosecuted. The reason for this was the Government knew that he still had a large following in the north and the trial would have continued the split of people who liked the government of Lincoln, and those who opposed it.

The concept of "secession" was a topic that was debated quite extensively at the time. Large groups on both sides.

Lincoln, in the beginning was saying the "Civil War" was to keep the Union intact.

Then, after the speech at Gettysburg, when he announced freedom for the slaves in the Confederacy (Not in the Northern states where slavery was allowed), the war became an issue about slaves.

Confedeerates wanted to exchange prisoners - Lincoln would not do it.

The Confederates wanted to negotiate a peace - Lincoln would not do that.

Lincoln rounded up his opponents and tossed them in jail, and even the Supreme Court could not muster the courage to stop the unjust arrests. (They were arrested, but never brought to trial)

Lincoln maneuvered, politically, and centralized the power of the country to D.C. - which was never the intention of the founders of the country.

The idea of a citizen militia, the right to bear arms, was written into the Bill of Rights, for the reason of protecting the citizens from a fascist and centralized government.

Lincoln wanted that , the Confederates thought that states rights trumped Federal rules.

I'll get static for this comment, but Lincoln's actions were the precedent for the centralized, fascist government that we have in the U.S. right now.

In my opinion, we would have been much better off if the Confederate States had won.

(And no, I'm not saying this because I think slavery is good. I'm saying this because the states were supposed to have freedom from a fascist government like we have today)

Even after the Gettysburg address, slavery was still allowed in some of the Union states.

Grant had slaves, Lincoln's wife's family had slaves - throughout the Civil War.

When I read things like this, I always think, "The side that wins the war, writes the history".

What is so easily accepted by most, is not always the truth.

Good hub, but I think not fully representative of the terror Lincoln caused during his time in office.


Larry Wall 14 months ago


We apparently read different history books. Lincoln faced an issue, the division of the union, that no other prior president had faced and as a result of he outcome, no future president will face. Had the union separated, the United States would not be viewed as the most powerful nation on earth. Lincoln made mistakes. Wars never have any winners. There may be a winner, but the price is always high.

PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 14 months ago from Florida


I enjoy reading anything about Abe Lincoln. He has always been my favorite of all presidents. I had ancestors on both sides of the North and South, so I know the history of pain for both.

No one should a slave, not then and not now. How horrible for the ones who lived through the times back then.

Thanks for writing this hub so I had the pleasure of reading this today.

Bobbi Purvis

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

"We apparently read different history books"

Google what I mention in my comment to see if I'm right or not. Simple to verifier or nullify.

To honor a guy who slaughtered, raped and pillaged the south when he had other choices. Well, you can honor him if you'd like.

Myself, I look at the fascist control in D.C. and wonder, "If only......."

Always remember that Lincoln only freed the slaves in the Confederate States and allowed slavery to continue in the Northern states.

The article is along the lines of the propaganda that's been dispensed for decades.

It's well written and you've linked to good info.

The winner always writes the most positive spin on events after the war is over.

Best of luck.


Jeb Bensing profile image

Jeb Bensing 14 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Nice! Very well written.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks so much, Kristen. For me it is indeed a fascinating story.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thank you, Kylyssa. I appreciate that!

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Charito1962. I think you are right about Lincoln. In my book he is the greatest presidential leader this nation has yet produced.

Larry Wall 14 months ago


Information from Google can be filtered by the way you ask the question Just for the record, I live in the deep south, Louisiana, so I have heard about the Civil War all my life.

Lincoln did accept the theory that once a state became part of the union, it could not leave. Imagine where we would be if the south had left the union. The oil drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico would belong to the south.

Furthermore, remember that the United States paid for the land known as the Louisiana Purchase, when Thomas Jefferson was president. Thus those states were, in fact, property of the Union, as was the outlet of the Mississippi River into the Gulf. Go a step further and assume that the Confederacy won. The Oklahoma territory and the West Coast might have become independent nations. We would probably resemble the middle east and need passports to go from Louisiana to New York.

The south did seek to leave the nation. The answer was no. There was nothing to debate.

The following came from Google:

"The Civil War officially began with the Battle of Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter was a Union fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. After the U.S. Army troops inside the fort refused to vacate it, Confederate forces opened fire on the fort with cannons. It was surrendered without casualty (except for two US soldiers killed when their cannon exploded while firing a final salute to the flag) but led to the bloodiest war in the nation’s history."

You stated, "Always remember that Lincoln only freed the slaves in the Confederate States and allowed slavery to continue in the Northern states."

Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation identified the rebellious states. Slavery in other states had already ended Granted blacks were probably treated like slaves by many and became indentured servants because they could buy on credit from company stores, but never made enough to repay the bill. That is another long story.

The major difference between the North and the South -- and the catalyst responsible for the Civil War -- was the institution of slavery. In the North, slavery was almost universally prohibited by the 1800s, while the institution was a cornerstone of Southern society. In the North, many blacks were free, and in states such as Massachusetts, New York and Ohio, 100 percent of the black population was free. In the states of the Confederacy, by contrast, few blacks were free. Virginia had the highest ratio of free blacks to slaves, but even there only 9 percent of the state's black population was free. The Emancipation Proclamation would eliminate slavery, but for the first half of the century, the issue divided the South and North.

This shows that long before Lincoln became President, the black population in the north was virtually free. I am not saying that they had full civil rights, but they were free in theory and this was before Lincoln became President. Many White people did not accept the idea of a free Black person.

Thus the Emancipation Proclamation was directed at the southern states. It states in part, "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."

Since the northern states were not in rebellion against the union, and slavery had been abolished or never allowed, there was no need for Lincoln to cover the issue.

I will agree with you completely on the issue of writ of habeas corpus.

However, some of your charges were not things Lincoln could do. The Civil War ended April 9, 1865. Lincoln was assassinated April 14, 1865 or five days after the war ended. He had very little time to have any part in the reconstruction era.

You make other references, such as Lincoln's family had slaves throughout the Civil War. The President has always had servants, often black, but free and paid a wage (whether it was a fair wage or not, I do not know.)

I am not going to try to address all your points. Some had to deal with logistics, and transportation was not as easy back then as it is today.

My real point is that you can find anything on Google to support your position. There are articles saying man did not walk on the moon, that Elvis is still alive and that God does not exist. I would disagree with all those points.

There are no nice wars, the Civil War was probably the most horrific war a nation ever fought. Slavery was an issue. South Carolina succeeded from the Union before any official talks could begin. However, there was an anti-slavery movement starting years before the war. Lincoln was not going to agree to succession. Before his election as President, when he was involved in debates with Stephen Douglas for a seat in Congress, (Lincoln was defeated), he stated, "A house divided against itself cannot stand I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided."

Lincoln opposed slavery, and he wanted to keep the United States united. Slavery had been abolished in the north, but continued to grow in the south. South Carolina succeeded from the union and launched the first attack.

Lincoln preserved the union but was killed before he could lead the efforts for reconstruction.

My information, came from numerous sources through Google. I just knew what to look for and refined my search to match what I learned in my college history classes, more than 40 years ago.

I also lived through the start of the Civil Rights era which is still continuing in some areas. I remember "separate but equal," the former Gov. of Alabama, standing in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent Black students from registering. I remember with Black people were called other names.

For the record, I was a newspaper reporter for 14 years, and later worked for an Oil and Gas trade association. My research skills were utilized in both jobs. I am not an expert. I just know how to sort "junk history" from real history when doing Google searches.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Duane. I'm glad the hub put what happened between Lincoln and Davis in perspective.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, claptona, for sharing your thoughts about Lincoln. I must say, however, that I agree with almost nothing you say. I won't try to reply to everything, but I think your first point typifies what seems to me to be a pretty glaring misreading of the historical record. You say Lincoln failed to negotiate with the Confederacy. Remember that seven states seceded before Lincoln was even inaugurated (that is, before he had power to negotiate anything) and proclaimed the CSA irreversibly a separate nation. But if you read Lincoln's first inaugural address, it's clear his only non-negotiables were that the Union must and would be preserved, and that slavery would not be extended into the territories. He was willing to talk about everything else. As I say, each of the other points you make seem to me to result from a deeply flawed reading of history.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Bobbi, many thanks for reading and for sharing your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Jeb Bensing, many thanks!

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth


4 states in the North had slavery - Proclamation applied only to slaves in Confederate-held lands; it did not apply to those in the four slave states that were not in rebellion (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri, which were unnamed). The proclamation only applied to the 10 Confederate states. (Wikipedia)

Her (Mary lincoln) anti-slavery views grew to match those of her father who supported the KY Colonization Society in its efforts to send the freed slave to Liberia. He (Mary Lincoln's father) freely discussed his dislike of slave-selling and opposed efforts to open KY slave markets to out-of-state imports. He believed slavery prevented Lexington from growing commercially. Regardless, his lifestyle contradicted his beliefs: he was a slaveholder in an antislavery family in a slave state. (OSU. EDU department of history)

Snopes: FACT: Many Northern civilians owned slaves. Prior to, during and even after the War of Northern Aggression.

Surprisingly, to many history impaired individuals, most Union Generals and staff had slaves to serve them! William T. Sherman had many slaves that served him until well after the war was over and did not free them until late in 1865.

The case went to the Supreme Court, but it was never tried. For fear that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of the defense and make the US government look incompetent, President Johnson issued a pardon on Christmas Day, 1868 to all persons who participated in the “rebellion.” Jefferson Davis was no longer a wanted man. (Problems with proving seceding from the Union as illegal)

Again, I'm not approving of slavery.

I'm pointing out some of the things that Lincoln did that were unconstitutional.

You can give the reasons as a rationale to save the Union, but it doesn't mean that the acts were legal.

Similar to the american government today spying on all citizens, which is an invasion of privacy, which is unconstitutional.

There are always pros and cons of a persons actions.

I'm pointing out the cons, that Lincoln was a fascist leader who would not tolerate an opposing view of what he was trying to do.

He arrested people for thinking that states DID have the right to secede from the Union.

He arrested people for trying to communicate with Confederate leaders to bring an end to the war.

What I gather when I read about Lincoln, is he was honest.

Guess what - if you break the law, you're a criminal.

And Lincoln took many criminal actions during his tenure as president during the Civil War.

These are facts - whether you choose to believe them or not.

Just like the guy who stood up in obama's state of the union, and stated obama was lying about obama care. It was the truth that it was all a lie.

Unfortunately, the truth is not always believed by most. He was condemned, and obama got away with his lies to get the bill passed.

Don't be afraid to change your mind, investigate information that may be contradictory to your point of view.

It's called "learning"

Best of luck,


claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

"Kate, The Journal of a Confederate Nurse" A book.

"We begged time and again for an exchange, but none was granted. We starved their prisoners! But who laid waste to our corn and wheat fields? And did not we all starve? Have the southern men who were in northern prisons have no tales to tell---of being frozen in their beds, and seeing their comrades freeze to death for want of proper clothing? Is there no Wirz for us to bring to trial?......People of the north, the southerners have their faults. Cruelty is not one of them. If your prisoners suffered, it was from force of circumstances, and not with design."

Heidi Vincent profile image

Heidi Vincent 14 months ago from GRENADA

Congratulations on winning Hub of the Day, RonElFran!

Larry Wall 14 months ago

I never said there was no cruelty in the war. Prisoner exchanges were not common. It was not common in our time. Ask Sen. John McCain, captured and held by the North Vietnam forces. No word of his condition or if he was alive. He spent five years in that prison camp. When he got out, he found out his wife had already had him declared legally dead and remarried. I do not fault her. She was getting on with her life with the best information she had. Every war has its own level of atrocities. We just sometimes over look them. We have prisoners at GITMO on the Cuba island. Their treatment is not ideal. No one should expect that the Civil War or any war is a "Gentleman's War." There is no such thing.

savvydating profile image

savvydating 14 months ago

Everyone has already said everything there is to say. I'm just here to admire your writing and research, and to wish (sigh) that our current leaders had the backbone that Lincoln did. Thank you for an insightful piece about this most important aspect of American history!

Voting up, of course.

junko profile image

junko 14 months ago

I believe that that those who had become very wealthy because of King Cotton and Caribbean Sugar didn't want to pay Federal Taxes. Free slave labor to produce cotton and sugar made a few southern land and slave owners more powerful they thought, then the Nations's Government. Capitalist never like paying taxes and could always get the great unwashed to throw a tea party or civil war to stop the Government from taxing the rich, not the poor.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Heidi, thank you much!

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, savvydating. IMO Lincoln, though certainly not perfect, was a unique combination of wisdom and courage, the right man at the right time for the nation.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 14 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks for your comment, junko. As Confederate president Jefferson Davis said, the South's slaves represented $3 billion in wealth to the planter class. It was fear of losing that wealth (as well as racial ascendancy over the black population) that propelled them toward secession and war.

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

For those thinking that the Civil War was all about all about slavery, you might want to read this.

Assuming that you really want a discussion of the evils of Lincoln.

The Corwin Amendment would have made slavery permanently legal in America, if the South would not leave the Union. The following is the text of that amendment: “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the 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.”

In his inaugural address, Lincoln stated: "I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. Holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable."

However, the Southern States declined to be “Tax Slaves” and treated as an Agricultural Colony of the Industrial North. The South was paying 75-85% of the cost of operating the Federal government via the tariff. Eighty to ninety percent of this tax money was being kept and spent in the North. Lincoln had promised the New England Industrialists that he would raise the tariff higher if elected and he did.


Larry Wall 14 months ago

Only two states approved this amendment. It would face other legal issues. States that had succeeded from the Union would not legally be allowed to vote on the amendment, thus they would have to give up the desire for sovereignty. By the time the amendment was sent to the states, Lincoln was already in office. He might have accepted it, but I doubt it. His main concern was preserving the union. The Emancipation Proclamation came much later. I cannot understand why anyone would question Lincoln on the issue of preserving the union or even consider that slavery was an acceptable practice. Lincoln pushed the limit on some things, but he was correct in handling this issue.

junko 14 months ago

claptona, I for one don't think the civil war was all about freeing the slaves. I think, unlike the the industrial capitalist of the north the south had only human bondage to capitalize on and as you commented didn't want to be taxed on that blood money. The south fought to pay no taxes and no wages to build a capitalist economy in the south. Industry defeated Slavery in the war of the capitalist. Capitalism in the south was born out of Slavery.

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth


Don't think I said slavery was acceptable, in fact, I think I made a point of saying that slavery is not right.

My point is, Lincoln is remembered as the "emancipator" which was not true.

His Getttysburg address only freed slave in the Confederate States. While 4 or 5 northern states continued to have slaver.

Lincoln commandeered rights away from states and basically centralized the government, which is one of the reasons the Confederate States seceded.

Have a good one.


Larry Wall 14 months ago

What would any president today or in the future if New York or California decided to succeed? I did not say you supported slavery. I used the term "why anybody would want" and that is for each individual to decide his or her position.

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

Larry, your words not mine.

"even consider that slavery was an acceptable".

What would a president do if a state tried to secede?

Don't know, but with the corruption we have in D.C., I think it would be great to start seeing states stand up to the federal hypocrisy that we have in the U.S.

This concept that we have "freedom" in the u.s. with the NSA, Homeland Security, the IRS and a gazillion other agencies telling us how to live is a fantasy like Santa Clause.

You might want to look at the word freedom to understand where I'm coming from.

Lincoln was the precursor to the fascism that we have in the u.s. right now.

I know it's contrary to the propaganda you've been fed, but a sovereign man sees the difference between freedom and fascism.


Larry Wall 14 months ago


I was a newspaper reporter for 16 yeas after earning my journalism degrees and minors in history and government. I am not an expert, but I am not an alarmist. Lincoln was not the precursor to the fascism movementwe have in the U.S. today which is pathetic group in that they have no purpose, support or any strength. Lincoln probably had the most difficult presidency of any president. He was trying and succeeded in preserving the union. Assumed that he had failed. The confederacy would have become a nation of slaves. The comment that he only free the southern slaves is meaningless. Because a northern state did not have a law prohibiting slavery does not mean they supported it. The absence of a law does not guarantee or prevent any action. Lincoln's freeing of the salves through the Emancipation Proclamation, was meaningless until the Union won the war. It took generations for Black Americans to achieve that freedom. Brown vs. Board of education gave us separate but equal for education, and bigotry still continued on buses, at lunch counters, separate restrooms for white and black, cities prohibiting black persons form using public swimming pools or even using the local library. It took the Civil Rights movement and the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and more than I can mention here to make those changes. Hubs seem to go in cycles. Your comment is not the first to take away from Lincoln. Yes, he took wartime efforts and suspended some laws. He kept the union together. Had he failed the South would have been a separate country. We do not know if the boarder states, Oklahoma territories, Texas or the West cost would have joined the north or south or formed their own countries. If we were not united, traveling cross country would be harder. Some of those nations could have turned into dictatorships. In my state, Huey "Kingfish" Long had ambitions to be the dictator of the U.S.

You stated, "His Getttysburg address only freed slaves in the Confederate States. While 4 or 5 northern states continued to have slavery."

You did not do your homework. The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves.

The Gettysburg Address, probably the shortest and most meaning political speech ever given did not mention slavery.

His last paragraph sums up the situation. He stated, "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. "

Here is a link to the entire speech, I recommend you read it.

As far as freeing the salves in the south and not the north, do a little more research. Lincoln said in the Emanicipation Proclamation, "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thence forward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."

Lincoln was giving a warning to the south. Slavery was going to end. Politically, he did not address the border states that had slaves or had joined the union. However, the proclamation explained whas was going to happen with a northern or United States victory in the Civil War.

Had Lincoln not been assassinated only days after the Civil War ended, the reconstruction process would have probably been less violent and would had accomplished more in a shorter period of time. That statement is my opinion.

I think you got your documents confused, which many people who have not read them in full many times, might not understand.

Was Lincoln perfect? Absolutely not. Has any President been perfect? Absolutely not. Does Lincoln deserve a place of honor and respect in our History? He most certainly does.

junko profile image

junko 14 months ago

claptona, A very great part of State's Rights propaganda is the Federal Government's interference in a states right to be wrong. Southern states like Louisiana who's Governor's refused Obamacare are excepting billions of Federal dollars to provide healthcare for the poor to use at the State's discretion. In Louisiana the Governor closed mental health hospitals. The State was able to receive billions in Federal funds for the care of the mentally ill and poor citizens of the state from the Feds. The health funds were for discretionary spending, (State's Rights). State Rights are financially supported by the the Federal Government but states also want self determination and no control from their Benefactors. If the Federal Government is the enemy of the people as conservatives say, why do they want and need federal funding and the poor and underclass people who needs jobs don't or shouldn't need Federal help. Corruption is not only on the Federal level but state and local levels also, capitalism breeds corruption, selfishness and greed if its out of control. Mandatory minimum sentences for white collar crimes would slow corruption and lower that National debt. Do you know where I am coming from claptona? Slavery.

Larry Wall 14 months ago


Just to set the record straight as to what happened in Louisiana. Louisiana did not establish a market exchange for the ACA. It refused to accept expanded Medicaid supplements. A few out-dated mental hospitals closed and one charity hospital closed. The state developed an agreement with the LSU medical School and the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center to maintain mental health clinics throughout the state. Our governor is running for President. He is not going to win. His polling numbers are at the bottom. He is a very intelligent person, but he lost sight of his goals.

Corruption exists at all levels of government. If you put it on a percentage basis, there is probably more corruption at the local level than the state or federal--not more dollars, just a higher percentage.

Finally. I do not understand your final sentence. Are you recommending that white collar criminals be treated as slaves? If you do we have different attitudes--vastly different.

junko profile image

junko 14 months ago

No Larry my final sentence didn't suggest white collar criminal be treated as slaves. It was made to let claptona know I was coming from the point of view of a descendant of slaves. My point was, if non-violent drugs users are sentence to mandatory minimum for breaking laws design to protect them from harming themselves and others White collar crimes should be treated the same as black or blue collar crimes for the harm caused to we the people by the thief of billions from the millions they suppose to serve. I live in New Orleans the mentally ill are living in residential group homes all across the city. The future Governor will embrace ACA it was refused to spite the President by being in total disagreement with any and all he stood for good or bad. I know the record of Louisiana and got it straight. I was born and raised in Louisiana. You are barking up the wrong tree Larry, I have no bone to pick with you and you have none to pick with me, we are in the same place but different views.

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth


"Are you recommending that white collar criminals be treated as slaves?"

No idea what you're talking about.

These states still had laws on the books that allowed slavery during the civil war - IN THE NORHT - PART OF THE UNION.

Who knows what would have happened if the states had succeeded in holding on to the rights - I know it wouldn't be the fascists that we ahed in D.C. right now.

If you're happy with the corruption, knock yourself out.

I'm not happy that my congress and president are bought off and paid for by the powers that be. And it needs to change.

And until it does, whether you like it or not, the u.s. is a fascist country.

Lincoln was the main force behind the consolidation of power in D.C.

No president up to his time had ever declared marshall law, trashed the constitution, used foreign soldiers to fight against fellow Americans.

You want to hold Lincoln as a hero, again, knock yourself out.

Lincoln was loved by the Marxists and Socialists for a reason - he corrupted the U.S.


Larry Wall 14 months ago

Well, you did not identify the states that had was on the books that allowed slavery during the civil war. Maybe they did. I am sure they did. It is also possible there were other laws repealing those laws. It does happen.

I agree there should be a limit on contributions to candidates. I wrote a hub about that a long time ago, I guessed you missed it. One interesting I found was that the NRA does not donate a lot of money to Congressional candidates, because Congress can make no laws infringing on the right to bear arms." The NRA gives a ton of money to state legislators, because while the states cannot outlaw guns, they can set some restrictions.

As far as Lincoln trashing the constitution, the framers of that document did not envision a civil war. Thus sometimes in war or other emergencies, such as Hurricanes hitting the Gulf cost you have to improvise. By the way, Jefferson did not have the authority who allowed his delegates to negotiate the Louisiana purchase or "all lands drained by the Mississippi River."

Lyndon Johnson was the first president to sign Civil Rights legislation. That went against the 3/5ths compromise in the Constitution. Does that make him a traitor?

I could find no record of foreigners fighting against the Union in the Civil War. France and England attempted to fight for the south, but was thwarted by the efforts of Sen William Seward, who held many political posts during his life.

Considering the communications system of the Civil War period, I don't think the Marxists, and Socialist played a big part. However, those factions, as long as they did not advocate the forcible overthrow of the U.S. government were free to voice their views and opinions. That is what the Revolutionary War was about. We really did not win that war. England just decided it was too much trouble to continue the fight.


claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

Actually, I was wrong. volunteers from Canada and Britain fought in the Union.

If you don't think the founders felt that there would never be an insurrection, why do you think the had the "right to bear arms" in the bill of rights?

The founders knew that the inclination of government is to be all powerful. It's up to the citizenry to make sure that the federal government did not become centralized, that the states maintained a goodly amount of say in how the federal government operated.

Lincoln trashed the constitution - there's no doubt about that. You think it was justified, I do not.

You might also think that NSA spying on all citizens to "maintain freedom" is also a good idea, I do not. It's an infringement on our rights, just as Lincoln's trashing of the writ of habeas corpus.

We can disagree, that's fine.

The Marxists and socialists did not fight in the Civil War, but the concepts that Lincoln had, centralizing government, was right up their alley, thus they loved the guy.

It all depends on your view of freedom, I suppose.

No matter the case, a freeman does not rely on government to determine how he or she is going to live.

Babies, the sick and the uneducated need a nanny type government to make sure they survive.

Most of us who make up the citizenry of the U.S. are none of the above and should not need a nanny state to take care of us.

This inane concept that government knows best, has been proven wrong throughout the history of mankind.

Why people continue to think government is "good" when the founders themselves warned of the destructive powers of a centralized government is beyond my comprehension.

A sovereign man is free to do as he pleases, without the help of government. This is what the U.S. Constitution and the bill of Rights was designed for.

It was not designed for a pathetic group of citizens that rely on government to tell them how to behave and live.

Larry Wall 14 months ago

Prior to the constitution, we had the Articles of Confederation, which let each state set its own rules or laws. Commerce among the states was in shambles. Enforcing uniform laws is different than telling each individual how to live.

I never said our system of government was perfect. No institution created by man is perfect. The NSA issue is a perplexing one, and I am not in total disagreement with you. As a nation, we once thought we were free from attacks by foreign powers. Today, we know that is not true. It was tragically proved to us with the 9-11 attack. Thus the NSA may be needed. Congress needs to quit bickering over minor issues. The representatives and senators need to set party loyalty and the overwhelming desire for re-election and concentrate on business.

Our nation has undergone a lot of change. The Civil War was a major turning point. It preserved the union, eventually eliminated slavery and set the stage for legislation that would take 100 years to enact, recognizing that all people, not just white people, had the unalienable rights to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I do not agree with your opinion about Lincoln. Had it not been for his action and unwavering desire to preserve the union, I think we would be a bunch of segmented regions with no central government.

We take a lot of things that the federal government for granted. It was federal troops, i.e. military that fought WWI and WWII. They also fought in Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Israel and many other places. Perhaps being the global police force was not the intent of the founding fathers. However, I feel relatively safe that we will not be invaded, and all of us put in prison camps. We are not free from attack--9-11 proved that. However, as a nation we are the strongest nation on earth. Some countries may have a better health system, but if invaded, they will look to us. We have lived peacefully with Canada. The border between the U.S. and Canada is the longest uncontested border in the world. That says something good. Building a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out of the country reminds me of the "show me your papers" in all the post-war movies about Europe. President Lincoln was not perfect. Just ask yourself what you would have done in his place. How would you preserve the union, his number on priority, free the slaves and do so in a manner that would not enrage the border states where there was slavery, but not to the extent of the deep South?

The federal government is massive. However, it does things like keep television channels from hijacking the frequency used by other stations. It provides a strong military, despite its flaws FEMA is an aid in most disasters. We have a common currency. Interstate commerce is protected and the amendment that gives you and I the right to pursue this conversation, the First Amendment, is a result of the authority granted to the federal government. We tried a weak central government with the Articles of Confederation. It did not work. That is why we have a Constitution that has served us well and can be changed if needed. It is not easy, and that was intentional. We have a court of last resort, the Supreme Court, where decisions have been made that gradually extended all rights to all Americans, including women and Black Americans.

You stated, "A sovereign man is free to do as he pleases, without the help of government. This is what the U.S. Constitution, and the bill of Rights were designed for." Your right to travel from state to state, the development of health and safety standards in the workplace, the right to disagree with your government and to voice your opinions, your right to bear arms, to be certain that troops will never be quartered in your home and knowing someone is watching the rivers and global weather patterns, so we can be aware of approaching floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters are protected.

You may have your opinion about President Lincoln. I have my views about Herbert Hoover, Andrew Jackson and others. Fortunately we live in a country where those rights are protected. I liked it better when Hub Pages did not put our pictures next to the comments. Then you were just talking to a fellow American, in most cases, but you did not know my color, my gender and no idea about my age, except what I might reveal to you.

I wrote a Hub the other day where I stated I was leaving Hub pages for a number of reasons. I will finish the debates that were in progress and answer questions directed to me, but I have written about 150 hubs. A few are not featured by my choice--out dated. I am 64, with some health issues, a loving wife, a son, who has more health problems than most people, (almost blind, suffered a brain injury in car accident and his birth mother (he is adopted) did all the wrong things early in her pregancy, and he is paying the price. However, with all of that and my own battles, such as being visually impaired (I can drive) and having a speech impediment, I can still voice my views. If I had been a German when Hitler was in power, I would have probably been killed for being inferior.

I am glad to be an American, and I know that if we veer off track, we will come back to our roots.

Have a good day.

claptona profile image

claptona 14 months ago from Earth

You do the same, Larry.

Larry Wall 14 months ago

Thank you.

Hxprof 7 months ago from Clearwater, Florida

Great article Ronald. I wanted to vote in the poll but couldn't, because the answer I'd have given is different from either option. I believe that Lincoln was right in not referring to Davis as President Davis, but I believe also that the south was a separate nation - it had its own elected government, laws, military and of course, a culture drastically different from that of the north; most southerners considered the Confederacy to be a separate nation. Because Lincoln never gave up on the idea that the south was a part of the Union, the south could never achieve leverage in diplomacy as an entity - it gave the Union a sort of high ground.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 7 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, Hxprof. I think the Confederacy had the potential to become a nation, but that prize had to be won on the battlefield, not just asserted by politicians. Was the US really a nation when it proclaimed independence on July 4, 1776, or did it become a nation in 1783 when the war for independence was won? I think the latter. Same with the Confederacy. As Lincoln said, Confederate nationhood was an issue that could only be "tried by war and decided by victory." The Confederacy claimed to be a separate nation, but failed to back up that claim in the only way that matters, by victory on the battlefield.

hubber8893 profile image

hubber8893 6 months ago

A strong nation like US could only be built as a result of strong actions and prudent thought, which the President Abraham Lincoln imparted it in the beginning of its journey. Great info Ronelfran

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 6 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA Author

Thanks, hubber8893. I think you're right that Abraham Lincoln imparted a lot of strength to the nation in its most severe time of trial. He was the difference maker.

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    RonElFran profile image

    Ronald E. Franklin (RonElFran)503 Followers
    84 Articles

    Ron is a student of the American Civil War and writes about it frequently. His focus is not so much on the battles as on the people.

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