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JSWeathers's avatar

Was Abraham Lincoln really a friend of the African American?

Asked by JSWeathers (16 points ) July 29th, 2009

Did Abraham Lincoln really have the interests and good will of African Americans at heart? If he did, they why did the Emancipation Proclamation only free slaves in the south, while slaves in the north were not freed until the end of the war?

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17 Answers

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I think it’s been exaggerated over time, as all stories of nationalism for every country are.
Could it simply have been the ends justifying the means situation? Would Honest Abe have freed the slaves if the civil war happened 10 years later, after he was out of office?
Outside him mentioning something in his personal notes it seems like this is a question without a true answer.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I do, though, always find it humorous that a country that always boasted about all men being equal, is usually on the back end of the time line when it comes to granting rights to it’s minorities.

Ivan's avatar

“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

- Abraham Lincoln, 1858

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

well that pretty much sums it up.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Do you think it’s possible that that statement was not said in earnest? That he only said it to save face with his supporters who were racist and/or pro-slavery?

Ivan's avatar

@peyton_farquhar

Very likely, but there is no evidence to suggest that Lincoln ever sought racial equality. He wished to limit the expansion of slavery (and eventually, to abolish it), but he never thought of African Americans as equals.

FrogOnFire's avatar

Yeah..good ‘ol abe got nomiated for the Republican ticket for his MODERATE position on abolition. They didn’t want a huge antislavery activist running on the ticket b/c he would be even more distanced from some of the voters.

Zendo's avatar

Lincoln and the civil war did not so much free the slaves in the South as open the door to a new form of economic slavery as the Industrial Revolution needed cheap labor fast. This new slavery cares not what color skin a slave has, and is still in operation today.

filmfann's avatar

@JSWeathers welcome to fluther. Lurve.

JSWeathers's avatar

get real @Zendo . your so-called ‘new form of economic slavery’ has no similarities to chattel slavery at all.

JSWeathers's avatar

thanks @Ivan for the quote!

Zendo's avatar

@JSWeathers Why should there be similarities, dude?

bea2345's avatar

Lincoln had very little concern for the black population, but, like a statesman, he saw the deluge coming, if not in his time, but in his descendants’. He knew that the Republic was in danger of fragmenting. Freeing the slaves deprived the South of a large and docile work force.

JSWeathers's avatar

@Zendo There aren’t. You drew the connection. What we have today is definitely not in any way a form of slavery. If you don’t like where you work, quit. No one is forcing you to stay there, and no one forced you to start the job in the first place.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, but he was also a product of his time.

filmfann's avatar

He was also trying to calm fears that he was an Abolutionist.
It should be noted that he once said “If I could free all the slaves and preserve the Union I would do that. If I could free none of the slaves and preserve the Union I would do that. If I could free some slaves and leave others in place and save the Union, I would do that also.”
Like all great presidents, Lincoln learned and grew in office.

Ron_C's avatar

Lincoln didn’t care much about slavery, what he cared about was creating a strong federal government. He thought that if he emancipated the slaves, they’re revolt and slay their masters. He obviously didn’t understand what happens, mentally, to a person born and raised in slavery. When the South was conquered, the north pretty much ignored black people until they started taking their jobs. Pretty much what is happening with illegal immigrants today.

I never though Lincoln was much of a hero. He created a strong Federal government, if he hadn’t, we would have been much like Canada. Slavery would inevitably been abolished, we would have never entered the Spanish American war, WW1 and without a strong American support, Europe wouldn’t have demanded reparations from Germany. Without reparations, Hitler would have never risen to power and many other evil things wouldn’t have happened in the world. I suspect that the world would have been a much more peaceful place had Lincoln never existed.

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