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23 Nov

I had always believed that Lincoln’s assassination hurt the South in that it had removed a man who intended as easy a transition for the Southern States back into the Union as possible. Remember, “…with malice towards none, with charity for all…” However, I should have known better! I should have remembered that what Lincoln SAID and what Lincoln DID were always two different things.

In a critique of Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” (the book used by Steven Spielberg for his film, “Lincoln”) DiLorenzo revealed the real essence of Lincoln’s post-war intentions. In the book, Goodwin claimed that Lincoln’s overriding motivation was his deep and abiding love for “democracy.” But in that case, according to DiLorenzo, Lincoln had a very odd idea of democracy. His “plan” for “reconstructing” the south, for example, involved denying the right of any man to vote who had been in the Confederate army, served the Confederate government or who had materially aided the cause in any way. That would have eliminated virtually the entire male population of the South aged 16 to 50! The plan was based upon the concept that if ten percent of the adult male population could be found (it never was) able to take a loyalty oath denouncing the Confederacy and claiming active opposition to that government all along, that “population” would then constitute the electoral “majority” available to run all state and local governments in the Section. This was Lincoln’s “ten percent plan,” which, of course, makes a mockery of the idea of “democracy” much less the concept of a republic!

This plan of Lincoln’s, DiLorenzo noted was nothing more (or less) than a plan for a perpetual puppet government in the South run by the Republican Party; that is, by Lincoln. In the book, Goodwin made no comment about the absurdity of that plan with respect to Lincoln’s supposed love of “democracy,” but praised the idea lavishly because, once again according to Godwin, “Lincoln had succeeded . . . in uniting the Republican Party.” And why not? Obviously, that Party would have enthusiastically endorsed the idea of running all southern state and local governments thus eliminating at least for a few generations any possibility of Democratic Party opposition—or any other opposition—arising in the region.

It would seem that the belief often put forth that Lincoln, had he survived, would have prevented “reconstruction” is proven wrong on its face. Indeed, the short time during which the Southern States returned to the Union as full states between the end of the war and the imposition of reconstruction by the radical Republicans would not have happened at all! Certainly, this also puts an end to the claim that Lincoln was despised by the radicals for his conciliatory policies towards the South! He intended from the beginning to disfranchise Southern whites and create the very carpetbagger-scalawag-freedman “governments” in the Southern States that eventually came to pass.

So much for John Wilkes Booth being responsible for reconstruction!

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