On November 6th, 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th President of The United States. Shortly following the election, South Carolina seceded from the union of the states on December 20th, 1860. This action brought into question as to whether the existing forts in South Carolina would be state or Federal property. As a precaution, Major Robert Anderson of the union army abandoned Ft Moultrie on the shores of Charleston and took up a defense of Ft Sumter.
The Union attempted to resupply Ft Sumter on January 9th, 1861 with the ship Star of the West but was fired upon by the cadets at The Citadel and returned unsuccessfully. This prompted Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas to secede within the following three weeks and the Confederate States of America was formed.
South Carolina repeatedly called for Ft Sumter to be evacuated and Jefferson Davis sent delegates to Washington to offer to pay for the Federal property on southern lands, pay for the Southern part of the national debt, and negotiate a peaceful end. President Lincoln would not accept this as he was determined to not recognize secession as legal or that the Confederate States of America was a legitimate government. Throughout the war, he viewed them as rebellious insurgents but never as a foreign country. Lincoln claimed that there was no right to secession even though the U.S. was founded on a secessionist document known as the Declaration of Independence. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson authored resolutions for Kentucky and Virginia in 1798 that clearly support the founding philosophy of state’s sovereignty over the federal government.
Lincoln himself stated on January 12, 1848, while criticizing President Polk over the way he was orchestrating the Mexican War, “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”
Lincoln knew that he could not gain the Northern American public’s support for a war with the South if the north appeared as the aggressor. On March 4th, 1861 President Lincoln delivered his inauguration speech and claimed that the North would not invade the South without provocation. “In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion — no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality, shall be so great and so universal, as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object.”
Lincoln needed that provocation to come from the South at all costs so that the Confederacy would be blamed for a war. The false flag of Ft. Sumter was set in motion.
On April 4th Lincoln ordered a re-supply expedition led by Gustavus V Fox to be sent to Ft Sumter. Then Lincoln notified Governor Pickens “…to expect an attempt will be made to supply Fort-Sumpter [sic] with provisions only; and that, if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in men, arms, or amunition, will be made, without further notice, or in case of an attack upon the Fort.”
Governor Pickens and General Beauregard made repeated demands to Major Anderson to surrender and abandon the fort before the resupply arrived which he continued to refuse. The final demand came on April 11th to which Anderson replied he would leave the fort by noon on April 15th unless he received other orders from Lincoln or was resupplied. General Beauregard felt this response to be too conditional and unacceptable. They gave the fort a one hour notice and then began shelling with the opening shots of the civil war.
Lincoln wrote this letter two weeks later:
To Gustavus V. Fox
Capt. G. V. Fox Washington, D. C.
My dear Sir May 1, 1861
I sincerely regret that the failure of the late attempt to provision Fort-Sumpter, should be the source of any annoyance to you. The practicability of your plan was not, in fact, brought to a test. By reason of a gale, well known in advance to be possible, and not improbable, the tugs, an essential part of the plan, never reached the ground; while, by an accident, for which you were in no wise responsible, and possibly I, to some extent was, you were deprived of a war vessel with her men, which you deemed of great importance to the enterprize.
I most cheerfully and truly declare that the failure of the undertaking has not lowered you a particle, while the qualities you developed in the effort, have greatly heightened you, in my estimation.
For a daring and dangerous enterprize, of a similar character, you would, to-day, be the man, of all my acquaintances, whom I would select.
You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort-Sumpter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result. Very truly your friend A. LINCOLN
This letter shows intent to draw the South into the war and appear to have the moral high ground with the Northern Americans who were at the time opposed to the idea of war with the South. The plan worked well and the North was outraged by the bombardment of Ft Sumter. A long bloody civil war followed.
A few Northern newspapers noted the deception. The Buffalo Daily Courier wrote on April 16th, 1861 that “The affair at Fort Sumter …has been planned as a means by which the war feeling at the North should be intensified.”
The Jersey City American Standard said “ …this unarmed vessel is a mere decoy to draw the first fire from the people of the South, which act by the pre-determination of the government is to be the pretext for letting loose the horrors of war.” (Both quotes from “The Real Lincoln” by Thomas DiLorenzo)
Another big misconception is that Lincoln freed the slaves and made slavery illegal. The Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the areas that were in “rebellion” as a military move and the 13th Amendment made slavery legal for the Federal Government if a crime is committed. Lincoln made several racist quotes throughout his life maintaining that whites were superior to blacks and he was also in favor of exporting the freed slaves to anywhere but America.
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
The author in no way is condoning slavery or its institution on any level, it’s just important to get the factual perspective of history correct so we don’t repeat the same mistakes or think that subverting the Constitution is justified.
Lincoln is beloved by many in the world to this day. His presidency is another great example of history being written by the winners.
From “The Real Lincoln” by Thomas Dilorenzo: “Even though the large majority of Americans, North and South, believed in a right of secession as of 1861, upon taking office Lincoln implemented a series of unconstitutional acts, including launching an invasion of the South without consulting Congress, as required by law; declaring martial law; blockading the Southern ports; suspending the writ of habeas corpus for the duration of his administration; imprisoning without trial thousands of Northern citizens; arresting and imprisoning newspaper publishers who were critical of him; censoring all telegraph communication; nationalizing the railroads; creating several new states without the consent of the citizens of those states; ordering Federal troops to interfere with elections in the North by intimidating Democratic voters; deporting a member of Congress, Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, for criticizing the administration’s income tax proposal at a Democratic Party rally; confiscating private property; confiscating firearms in violation of the Second Amendment; and effectively gutting the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution, among other things.”
After the war broke out Lincoln called a special session in Congress to explain his actions including suspending habeas corpus. When he wrote this speech in reference to habeas corpus he wrote that “more rogues than honest men practically more of the guilty than the innocent, find shelter under it” For the final speech, he revised it to “some single law, made in such extreme tenderness of the citizens liberty, that practically, it relieves more of the guilty, than the innocent, should, to a very limited extent, be violated?” Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney wrote an opinion that Lincoln didn’t have the authority to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln then signed a warrant for his arrest.
Lincoln also illegally instituted the first income tax to fund the war. It was later repealed as it was and still is unconstitutional to collect income tax from individuals. Lincoln was the first to use the draft which caused a bloody riot in New York in 1863. The draft is something we have all been led to believe is a patriotic servitude to the State when it stands in complete contradiction to one of our very grievances against King George in the Declaration of Independence:
“He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.”
The very idea that the government owns your body and can use you like property should be repugnant to every American and dwells in hypocritical disgrace to the very cause against slavery which the North so fervently stood by.