Although I wrote in one of my posts that historians felt Abraham Lincoln was rather indifferent towards slavery, I have since had the pleasure to buy volume 1 and volume 11 of Abraham Lincoln done by Tarbell in 1895, that clearly shows, in my estimation, that Abraham Lincoln did find slavery an insult on humanity. Along with other research done by me I feel that Lincoln was deeply moved against slavery, so I am correcting my earlier post, here, in an effort to keep my blog honest and to reverse the original one that I wrote.
Abraham Lincoln went against the Whig Party, which was his Party of choice, and was the only one to refuse to sign a resolution proffered in the tenth Illinois Assembly, by the Whig Party in 1834, (later Republican Party)to ban all abolitionlists and their right to gather in the New United States of America. When the Southern States were screaming that the Northern Yankees(Liberals) were trying to deny them their Divine right according to the Constitution to own slaves. He felt the anti-slavery people had a right to free speech and said as much, at that time, without saying that slavery was wrong.
Abraham Lincoln’s parents Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln were married by a Baptist minister who was one of the beginning promoters in the 1820′s to move towards doing away with slavery. He was a very formidable abolitionist and part of the movement in the beginning, establishing the abolitionists’ movement. As a result Thomas and Nancy Hanks were also very strong in their belief that slavery was wrong.
Some historians claim that the Thomas Lincolns left Kentucky because Kentucky was a slave state, where as, Indiana had banned slavery. More than likely though, they left because the Kentucky ground was nothing much more than hard-scrabble and they moved to an area where they could raise a better crop and prevent the starvation they were enduring. Although Indiana had banned slavery, slaves were still owned in the area that they moved to. The law was not strictly upheld at the time. It would not be until Abe Lincoln would move to Illinois,near Springfield, that the beliefs against slavery became very loud and clear and was upheld. The Baptist Church would be the only religion of its day to see slavery as evil
No doubt the confusion as to how strong Abraham Lincoln’s belief was against slavery came in as a result of a letter he wrote to the Drury brothers who were strong abolitionists and part of the under ground railroad to protect fleeing slaves. People would feel that this letter held the impression that Lincoln felt slavery could not long last nor could slavery be allowed to spread into the new annexation of Texas following the war with Mexico to annex Texas to the United States.
He seem to think at that time that nothing could be done to remove established States, their slaves, but with time it would all peter out, anyway. Although Abraham was quite the oracle and would take out time to speak to groups that gathered and could even take on his own Party when he thought they were wrong, Lincoln was forever the the peace maker and in doing so was loath to take on what were controversial subjects of the day. He had a great wit and honesty and would just as soon calm a crowd over upsetting it.
The Southern States held that slavery was a Divine Institution as did many of the Religions of the day and for government to deny them of their slaves was to break the Constitution in regard to interference into a man’s right to worship, by the Northern States. Lincoln would eventually take a stand while a Congressman from Illinois, before the war, to abolish slavery in Washington D.C. as he felt that “We the People” instead of Free Soilers or the individual land owners were the owner of the Capital and as such he could ban slavery there. Lincoln did make the move to pass the abolishing of slaves in Washington,D.C. and was seconded by an old friend of his but failed pitifully when it came to getting his Party to pass the same. It was after talking to Sumner who was very much an abolitionist, that Abraham came to the conclusion that something did need to be done about slavery.
The Civil war did not begin over slavery but instead over the Southern States efforts to secede from, or to leave the United States of America, and become the Free Southern States, after they felt the Industrial North was charging them too high of a tariff to ship their cotton to Britain. They felt since they had both the ports and could maintain their own ships that they could ship their own cotton directly to Britain and save themselves the expense of the tariff. The Civil War actually began when the South blew up it’s own port to annouce it’s secession from the Union. It was when the Republicans feared that Abraham Lincoln would not be re-elected to the second term, since people were becoming tired of the war,and the voice of the abolitionlists of the North was growing louder, that Abraham Lincoln told the Southern States to rejoin the Union or lose their slaves.
There are a number of things, attributed to Lincoln from a friend of his that some historians take as fact. One was that Lincoln was deadly against slavery after seeing them sold in New Orleans. That would later prove to be untrue since that particular trip showed that Lincoln had to get off in St, Lewis and had never made it to New Orleans when his friend said he was there. This same friend would claim later that Lincoln was totally loony toons and left Mary Todd standing at the altar Jan. 1, 1841, to only be proven false,later. Although Lincoln probably did suffer from a breakdown following the death of another woman he was planning on marrying by the name of Ann Rutledge,and it does appear that Lincoln did break off the engagement to ,Mary Todd, for awhile, he never did leave her standing at the altar.
They would be married in the home of her guardians by a Presbytarian minister, and that would spring a great deal of controversy,as well. Mary Todd was highly educated, which was unusual for women of the day, as well as very political. She came from wealth where as Lincoln was still very poor and still depending on his surveyor job. Her friends and family did not approve of Lincoln because he had less than 6 months of formal education and was almost totally self taught. He would pass the law exam, under his own tuteledge, where as Mary Todd was taught by some of the best tutors and schools of the land. Although they liked him and would not prevent the marriage,that probably had as much to do with the break-up as anything. Lincoln was always considered both a moral as well as an honest man, and even his opposition could never say a word against his honesty.
Just, as today, rumors ran rapid then, and it is my general belief, after further research, that Lincoln had very political ambitions that began when he was a child. He would not have taken a strong stand either way on such a controversial subject of the time,because if asked directly of what his views were, on the subject of slavery, I feel he was honest enough to say so, but wise enough to know it could be the end of his career in politics. It has been said,”He had a habit of changing the subject when it was brought up and instead asking,”Who do you think has it worse, the Indians or the slaves?”
At one point, according to historians, Lincoln did ride a boat with slaves, who were moving to Indiana and was amazed in the strength of their ability towards tolerance, as they were leaving scattered families and all chained together, and were playing a guitar,laughing and singing and having a good time. At that point, it has been told, Lincoln made the comment along the line as to,”How true it is that those who are given so little can tolerate so much, while those who are given so much, can tolerate so little.” In my opinion,some of the above points, are what have led some historians to believe he was indifferent to slavery, when in truth he felt it an abomination.