Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln is highly regarded, among ComputerDeprogrammers, for A> SharpenTheSaw, and B> the greatness of his oratory, not least his brevity after some very long speeches by lesser mortals at the key civil war battlefield of Gettysburg. There's got to be a lesson for some of us on Wiki there I'm sure.

This and his eventual stand against slavery makes him a heroic figure not just in America but in other parts of the world, including Britain. Britain had finally banned the slave trade a few decades before, after a lifelong campaign by the evangelical Christian William Wilberforce. Many had prospered in these parts from this appalling traffic in human misery, which first introduced black slaves to North America and the Carribean. We and most other European countries really have no stones to throw at others.

I've always thought the following quote from Lincoln is particularly cool and it also perhaps provides some balance to the story I try to tell briefly in UnitedStatesOfAmerica:

I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and by men who are equally certain that they represent the divine will. I am sure that either one or the other is mistaken in the belief, and perhaps in some respects, both.

I hope it will not be irreverent of me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me.

That too I believe could be taken on board with profit by anyone on Wiki. Note that Lincoln's conditional in the last sentence allows it to apply equally logically to an atheist or agnostic as a believer. You can tell the guy was a politician.

-- RichardDrake


A most useful bit of advice he leaves us: SharpenTheSaw
Many blame Lincoln for the subjection of state's rights to federal powers, which usually causes controversy with those who claim the civil war was only about slavery.

Well, it wasn't only about slavery - but it was the right to own slaves that was one of the main themes of the argument that resulted in the secession of southern states. So it's an equally dubious claim that it wasn't about slavery either, even in origin. The aim may not have been abolition, but it was, at least in part, about slavery. Abe's quote about freeing all the slaves or none of them applies here.

The argument about the subjection of state's rights precede AbrahamLincoln's election as president by many years, so it's a bit odd to blame him for that, too

True, but Lincoln was the president that went past arguing and actually subjugated the state's rights.

[Which is much more to the heart of the issue of the Civil War than was slavery.]

I'm gonna go on a limb here and say slavery was the straw that broke the camel's back, but the real issue was federal versus state's rights

<This is getting more and more OffTopic - and US-specific - but 99% of arguments regarding StatesRights? are red herrings. Most advocates of "states rights" are only such when their particular state disagrees with the federal government on the question at hand. Where the feds agree with them; most politicians are more than happy to have the federal government impose a solution on the whole country.>

<Now, in 1860 the "states rights" issue may have been a stronger cause. However, the issue of slavery, if anything, was the tree that broke the camel's back, not the straw.>

It's only off-topic if politics are off-topic here(which is still debated/HolyWar), and of course it's US-specific (what U.S. president isn't?) However states rights are becoming a much bigger issue nowadays (AmericanCulturalAssumption), especially with things like (gay/multiple) marriages, internet commerce, the neoconservatives, and the ten commandments monument. As such, states rights are highly relevant, especially to things like intellectual property rights and whether developers can be fired for certain reasons. It's disingenuous to imply those advocating states rights are "ok with forcing other states to comply" - many U.S. citizens advocate smaller federal government across the board, not just for the particular state. Of course that is a CitizenAssumption?, as politicians do not live in the same world as those who frequent this wiki.

As for whether it was really a tree or straw, we'll never know. TheVictorWritesHistory? after all.

<Which is why I said "most". Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are consistently in favor of states' rights; the Democrats tend to come out in favor more often these days due to who is in charge. When Clinton was president, it was the Republicans screaming about "states rights".>

<Minor parties, like the Libertarians, are more consistent in calling for the federal government to be shrunk and weakened. However, most voters are neither hard-core federalists nor hard-core states-rightists.>

True. People in power tend to abuse it, people who get abused plead for more power. . . Now where in history have I seen that pattern before?


[[DeleteWhenCooked is it just my imagination, or is the excessive astroturfing on WardsWiki these days - including attempts to delete this page - mainly centered on political & slave-relations pages? Folks, internet advocacy is the opposite of grassroots, which is where legitimacy lies. --PhlIp]]

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