This is in reference to a letter to the editor (“A reading of history suggests Lincoln espoused racist ideologies,” Tom Rapp, The Readers Speak) stating Lincoln was a racist. While this person seems to know history, there are a few facts that need additional clarification. The Democratic Party did not create racism when the settlers arrived, but it was started when the plantations were formed and slaves arrived in the states.

In reference to the Civil War, the plantation owners were against the Union because of their slaves, but the average citizen didn’t own slaves and was fighting because Union troops were on his land. What would you do if someone imposed his will on you? I believe you would fight for your rights.

As for slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation primarily freed the slaves in the South. Slavery was one of the reasons the North went to war with the South. I don’t know the amount of slavery in the North.

In reference to Lincoln, there is a new book out by James Oakes, “The Crooked Path to Abolition.” This will clarify a lot of points about Lincoln. In Oakes’ view, Lincoln was always antislavery and justifies his position by viewing the U.S. Constitution as an antislavery document. Oakes offers his “remarkable” 1857 speech on the Dred Scott decision as proof. Lincoln bemoaned the condition of the slaves, but assailed the Supreme Court’s majority view that the Constitution was pro-slavery in intent. His interpretation seemed threatening enough to slaveholders that when he was elected president, seven Southern states seceded, and as for Lincoln’s infamous 1858 debate at Charleston, Illinois, where he declared Blacks should not vote or serve on juries, Oakes reminds us this was “merely running for cover, trying to avoid the political fallout.”

When we are discussing slavery, I believe the African tribes sold the slaves to the traders. So my question, why aren’t the descendants of those tribes living in the states responsible for the actions of their ancestors? After all, they were selling their brothers and sisters to enrich their pockets.

In Lincoln’s time, the country was totally different than today and can’t be judged using our current environment.

Robert Morgan

Daniels

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