November 30, 2005

Ken Burns & Michael Moore Present: Fahrenheit 1861
— Ace

Lincoln misled us into war. That whole slavery deal? Turns out it was complete bullshit, based on "cherry-picked" intelligence and "twisted" reports.

Thanks to Irwin.

Posted by: Ace at 12:19 PM | Comments (40)
Post contains 41 words, total size 1 kb.

1 That's old news...

Posted by: Madfish Willie at November 30, 2005 12:42 PM (dcX0a)

2 That's pretty funny. Unfortunately, it also has a certain unintentional comedy aspect to it.

Lincoln didn't give a damn about ending slavery (and openly declared that he had only cared about "preserving the union", i.e., preventing secession, and would keep slavery permanently if that would accomplish it), opposed legal equality, promoted the Black Codes (such as vocally supporting laws preventing marriage of blacks and whites), favored banning blacks from emigrating to the state of Illinois, and favored the forcible deportation of slaves to Africa.

And he used the military to shut down newspapers that were critical of him.

And had critics deported.

And unconstitutionally suspended habeas corpus, and issued a warrant to have the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court arrested because he ruled as much (it was not executed).

Yeah, Lincoln was a peach.

Posted by: Phinn at November 30, 2005 12:54 PM (DiZv6)

3 I never saw Farenheit 911. Now I don't have to.

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2005 01:17 PM (zg9BE)

4 Granted my copy of the Constitution isn't the special "penumbra of emanation" edition and with it being a "living document" it might have grown since I received my copy. However, my copy says this about habeas corpus: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." States rebelling seems like just case addressed in the Constitution.

Posted by: Dale at November 30, 2005 01:24 PM (VE3QR)

5 Lincoln had faults and made mistakes like anyone else. He was great overall, though.

He did what he had to do to preserve the country. He was willing to cross lines others might not have been willing to, like suspending habeas corpus.

On the other hand, he was restrained on some issues where other men might have acted more brutally in response to the passions of the day. For example, there was an episode in which both sides were threatening to start executing prisoners because of some dispute involving conduct of occupied cities and populations. Lincoln swallowed his pride and did not carry out some threatened executions, and spared the lives of some prisoners. A lesser man might have not been able to restrain himself, but he realized that enough was enough and he would rather lose face than kill some guys to make a point. Besides, it would have spiralled out of control and both sides would have increased the practice of carrying out summary executions for all kinds of stuff. I can't remember the exact details of the dispute but I read about it years ago in Shelby Foote's big 3 volume history The Civil War.

From what I know of him, I believe he would genuinely liked to have liberated all the slaves sooner rather than later, but he was an uber-pragmatist and his primary goal was to preserve the United States using whatever methods he had to, regardless of the fate of the slaves. He had political realities to deal with that can be hard to relate to so long after the events of the time. I'm glad he did what he did and succeeded in winning that war, personally.

There's a fascinating parallel between Lincoln and G.W. Bush I've noticed: political cartoonists at the time of the 1860 election and afterwards [Democrats, amazingly enough] often portrayed Lincoln as less than human, usually as a monkey or ape. I guess some things never change!

Posted by: Mark_D at November 30, 2005 01:34 PM (BnZUW)

6 Didn't Lincoln marry two women named Mary and have two daughters named Sarah?

That's cool.

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2005 01:36 PM (zg9BE)

7 Bart,

He also married a dude named Todd. Therefore, we now have the Log Cabin Republicans. Either that or he loved to eat pancakes drenched in syrup, I can't remember. Somehow the Log Cabin Republicans are tied to Lincoln.

Posted by: Dale at November 30, 2005 01:54 PM (VE3QR)

8 Thank you, Dale. It is all coming back to me now. Abe, Mary, Mary, and Todd.

And all his kids were bisexuals, right?

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2005 01:58 PM (0V+P+)

9 That's awesome. I only wish the guy had some better voiceover talent to up the production values (although I liked "whoops, it's going too fast!")

Remember that great LOTR/F911 parody that came out right before the election? That was even better.

Posted by: See-Dubya at November 30, 2005 02:00 PM (k3uk6)

10 > I only wish the guy had some better voiceover talent to up the production values

Yeah, it would have been a much more solid parody if they'd found someone to imitate Michael Moore's stentorian tones.

Posted by: Guy T. at November 30, 2005 02:15 PM (e1Zez)

11 I could write a tubino-length post on Lincoln, but instead I'll point you to this biography of Lincoln by David Herbert Donald. He was the greatest president we've ever had; maybe the best president we ever will have.

The thing is, everybody has this image of him as a kindly, avuncular man. He was that, but he was also brilliant and he could play political hardball when he had to -- and good thing, because it was his iron will that won the Civil War for the North.

I'd heartily recommend the Donald book to anyone who is interested in Lincoln's life (and not just his tenure as President).

Posted by: Monty at November 30, 2005 02:27 PM (djE5R)

12 Monty, does that biography include the mention of his wife, Todd?

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2005 02:52 PM (KuvFu)

13 > He was the greatest president we've ever had; maybe the best president we ever will have.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll add it to my Christmas list. I've noticed over the years, and especially in the past few years (thanks to the Intarweb), that a number of fairly credible people are fervent admirers of Lincoln. I haven't read much in depth about him yet -- though I can at least say that my appreciation of the Gettysburg Address is now miles beyond what little I had in junior high.

If you ever have a chance to read "The Boomer Bible," there's a pretty memorable tribute to Lincoln in it (it's a conflation of Lincoln and Jesus, actually, which may sound appalling, but it ain't).

Posted by: Guy T. at November 30, 2005 03:19 PM (e1Zez)

14 Read that book, and it becomes clear that if Truman were still alive, he'd kick the modern Democratic party's collective ass.

Hell. If JFK were alive he'd kick their arses.

Posted by: rls at November 30, 2005 03:22 PM (Lh7Vt)

15 So, basically, I think we all agree. Phinn is nuts. Or drunk. Or both.

Posted by: BrewFan at November 30, 2005 04:27 PM (0AD+O)

16 qwertyuioplkjhgfdazxcvbnm

Posted by: uhh at November 30, 2005 05:58 PM (6krEN)

17 From President Bush's dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum:
In a small way, I can relate to the rail-splitter from out West because he had a way of speaking that was not always appreciated by the newspapers back East. (Laughter and applause.) A New York Times story on his first inaugural address reported that Mr. Lincoln was lucky "it was not the constitution of the English language and the laws of English grammar that he was called upon to support." (Laughter.) I think that fellow is still writing for the Times. (Laughter.)

Posted by: Dale at November 30, 2005 06:21 PM (VE3QR)

18 These guys are all about the Lincoln and the conservative political philosophy. Check 'em out.

Posted by: See-Dubya at November 30, 2005 07:58 PM (k3uk6)

19 Nah Brew, Phinn is just saying Lincoln was a tough son of a bitch when it came to preserving the Union. Lincoln did say it that way, if preserving slavery would preserve the Union, he'd keep slavery. If ending it saved the Union, he'd end it. His goal was to save the Union.

And he did employ some rough measures (he was up against some tough odds).

I say this as a son of Alabama. I have (had, they're mostly gone now) relatives who still referred to the Civil War as "The War of Northern Aggression"

Posted by: Dave in Texas at December 01, 2005 03:56 AM (pzen5)

20 Look at it this way, Dave: George III's goal was to save the union, too. Only, he lost.

Sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes whoever wins is the good guy by virtue of it.

Posted by: S. Weasel at December 01, 2005 04:06 AM (rasT+)

21 However, my copy says this about habeas corpus: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

Yes, Dale, that clause is found in Article I, Section 9. However, Article I is the one relating to the Congress. Article II relates to the President.

Here's what the Supreme Court had to say about it in Ex Party Merryman:

if the high power over the liberty of the citizen now claimed, was intended to be conferred on the president, it would undoubtedly be found in plain words in this [second] article; but there is not a word in it that can furnish the slightest ground to justify the exercise of the power.

Conservatives are supposed to be in favor of the original meaning of the Constitution, and profess to follow the text as it is actually written. It doesn't get any plainer than this.


He did what he had to do to preserve the country.

He invaded and conquered in order to prevent a peaceful (and more importantly legal) secession. It was not a "Civil War" at all. A civil war is involves two factions seeking to control of the power of the central state, like the English Civil War in the 17th century.

This was a war for independence. The Confederacy merely declared itself separate and did not have any desire or inclination to control the United States.

The USA used to be plural. They used to say "these United States," for the simple reason that the individual states, each sovereign and independent, voluntarily agreed to join together and delegate a portion of their powers to a central state. They called it dual sovereignty. As with any voluntary agreement to associate, it can be terminated at the discretion of either party. No one seriously thought otherwise until the late 1850s.

The Southern states had the perfect right to secede. Even New York, Rhode Island and Virginia, at the time they joined the Union, specfically stated in their ratifying acts that they reserved the right to secede (even though that reservation was superfluous).


He was the greatest president we've ever had; maybe the best president we ever will have ... it was his iron will that won the Civil War for the North.

He was the worst president we've ever had, and he destroyed the principle of federalism on which the country was founded. The fact that the federal government has grown in power at the expense of the states ever since seems to worry conservatives today, although this handwringing is really about 150 years too late.

The states had the power of the ultimate veto over federal usurpation of power -- secession, or more specifically the threat of secession. Lincoln destroyed that principle, and answered the question of the relationship between the feds and the states by invading.

(BTW "he" won the war with a successful naval blockade. The land war was a stalemate. The choking off of foreign trade to the South led to a rapid economic decline and thus surrender.)


Phinn is nuts. Or drunk. Or both.

Lovely. Please refute any fact I have mentioned. Sorry to mention facts that intrude on your safe little world, or disrupting the regular diet of bullshit you seem eager to swallow.


George III's goal was to save the union, too. Only, he lost.

This is exactly right. The so-called Civil War was a war for Southern Independence. Just like the Revolutionary War.

And, just as with England in the 18th century, the primary motivation on the part of the Union was to prevent secession in order to preserve the economic benefits that the seceding territory provided. In the case of the US, it was in the form of federal import taxes, which the federal government raised with the Morrill Tariff. The South had already been paying almost 80% of the federal revenue, and Lincoln raised the tax rate from 19% to 48%.

There is a reason that the war started at Ft. Sumpter. It was a federal tariff-collection station.

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 05:29 AM (DiZv6)

22 Weasel,

As they say, the winners get to write the history books.

Err.. that is until the losers attempt to re-write it.

Posted by: burnitup at December 01, 2005 05:31 AM (IA1FL)

23 I like these two statements by Phinn

He invaded and conquered in order to prevent a peaceful (and more importantly legal) secession.

and

There is a reason that the war started at Ft. Sumpter. It was a federal tariff-collection station.

Don't seem to correspond.

Posted by: polynikes at December 01, 2005 06:39 AM (m2CN7)

24 Don't seem to correspond.

It's really very simple, polynikes: Ft. Sumter is in South Carolina.

If the Southern states had the right to secede (which they did), they had the right to control the military installations in their territory.

The US refused to leave, since they erroneously refused to recognize the legitimacy of the secession. That made them trespassers.

Secession was absolutely legal. By maintaining a military presence inside the territory of a foreign state, and refusing to leave when ordered to do so by the lawful government of that territory, the US was the aggressor.

Imagine that you admitted someone into your house, then later withdrew your permission to allow him to be there, but he refused to leave. Asserting your property rights is peaceful. His refusing to leave is not.

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 06:52 AM (DiZv6)

25 Stop digging when you are in a hole. You stated the war started at Ft Sumpter because it was a tariff collection station. Now you say that it was because the Federal government would not voluntarily give up a Federal military installation.

Posted by: polynikes at December 01, 2005 07:14 AM (m2CN7)

26 What part don't you understand? The "Ft." stands for "Fort." It was a US military installation, armed with canons, etc.

It was also used to collect import taxes for the federal government, since it sat (sits) at the port. You can see the ships going in and out. That's how they would know to levy the tax. We don't collect import taxes using military bases anymore, but they did then. Jesus, how dense can you be?

In the 1860 election, the US elected a president who pledged to increase the very tax (which at that time was the primary source of the federal gov't's revenue, i.e., before the income tax), which they collected at places like Ft. Sumter.

Lincoln was a staunch proponent of protectionism, and the main implement of this kind of protectionism (going back centuries) was a high tariff on imported goods. This is all taken from his own words.

The South paid most of the revenue derived from that tax, because the South was more dependent on imports (it was more agrarian than the industrialized North). The Morrill Tariff tripled that already disproportionately-burdonsome tax, and was enacted by Congress just before Lincoln's inauguration, and he ended up signing it.

The South saw that it was not getting any benefit from belonging to the club any more and wanted to pick up and leave, forming its own federal government.

The Northern states refused to allow them to withdraw, even though the states were independent and sovereign, and had voluntarily joined the union in the first place. Southern secession was perfectly legal, even more clearly so than the colonies' withdrawal from English rule four score and seven years earlier.

Hence it was not a "Civil War" at all, but rather the War for Southern Independence. It was absolutely not a war to end slavery, but rather a war to ensure the unimpeded collection of federal taxes. Again, this is what the Northern leaders themselves said at the time.

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 08:01 AM (DiZv6)

27 Phinn makes one of the best cases for the Southern point of view that I've ever read. There is no contradiction between his explanation of why the war started at a particular place, and his characterization of the legality of the South's actions that resulted in the war starting at that place. But I part company with the implicit assertion that if the North fought to retain customs and taxes, the South seceded in order to resist those taxes. The South anticipated that if slavery were denied in the newly forming Western states, eventually there would be such an anti-slavery majority in the federal government that slavery in the South would be outlawed by the federal government. Secession was to avoid the expected future federal outlawing of slavery in the South. Now, at that time, 1860, there may well have been no preponderant motivation in the North to fight a war to end slavery; and perhaps the North's motivation was to preserve taxes, or other economic power. But that does not mean that the South's motivation in seceding and fighting was to keep the taxes for itself.

Posted by: sissoed at December 01, 2005 08:37 AM (n8Lik)

28 Puhleeze. It was all about religion. Everyone knows that every single war fought since the beginning of history was caused by religion. Economic and political power? Yeah, right. NOBODY cares about those things, only hateful ignorant unenlightened backward religion.

Do I need an end tag here for sarcasm?

Posted by: Sue Dohnim at December 01, 2005 08:55 AM (rE+jU)

29 Phinns contradiction is that he stated Lincoln invaded but then stated basically the South attacked Fort Sumpter because the Feds would not leave. It can't be both. Either they were repelling an invasion or they launched a preemptive strike.
We know it was a preemptive strike but Phinn likes to use not so accurate rhetoric:

He invaded and conquered in order to prevent a peaceful (and more importantly legal) secession.

Posted by: polynikes at December 01, 2005 09:21 AM (m2CN7)

30 polynikes, you are either being obtuse or you're an idiot.

Lincoln "invaded," in a certain sense, by keeping troops at Ft. Sumter. That was an act of aggression, since that was no longer US federal land, and they refused to leave on demand from the owner, which was South Carolina.

Lincoln invaded again in a more literal, aggressive sense by sending 30,000 troops into Virginia in July of 1861, thus starting the Battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the war.

Identifying the aggressor comes down to whether secession was legitimate. It was. The South sought independence, not conquest of any territory of any state that did not voluntarily join the Confederacy. The North, in contrast, denied that secession was valid, and therefore argued that federal troops were simply moving into US territory.

Robert E. Lee resigned his US commission specifically because of the plan to march federal troops against his home state of Virginia. He was right.

Because the secession was legitimate, both the retention of troops in Southern territory and the subsequent march of trrops into Virginia were acts of aggression.

I realize you may disagree. You are free to choose to be ignorant and wrong. But the issue of whether the secession was legitimate and legal is really open and shut. It was, without question. Even the latter-day apologists have had to concede as much, ignore the issue, and invent an elaborate mythology of Lincoln (and slavery as the motivation) to justify an obviously illegal war.

The 600,000 dead would be bad enough, were it not for the fact that this president's acts laid the foundation for the absurd, unconstitutional growth of the power of the federal government, the effects of which we can all see today. Lincoln's war put an end to the free market (which he despised) and an end to the principles of consensual government he pretended to support.

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 09:53 AM (DiZv6)

31 Lincoln "invaded," in a certain sense, by keeping troops at Ft. Sumter.

Oh, in a certain sense. Now I see.

Posted by: at December 01, 2005 10:24 AM (m2CN7)

32 My use of the term "invaded" in the sentence you quoted was facetious, you dolt.

I'll break it down for you. Compare this situation to the analogy I made a while ago. You invite someone into your house. You later decide to expel him. You tell him to leave. He understands your request, but refuses to go. So, you toss him out on his ear, causing no harm (no one was killed in the re-taking of Ft. Sumter). He then returns a few days later with a battering ram, knocks down your door and holds you hostage. Then he claims you were the aggressor for throwing him out in the first place.

The real invasion I have been talking about all along, before your inane and pointless diversion into the particulars of Ft. Sumter) was the invasion of Virginia, starting with the Battle of Bull Run. That and the general stated policy of the US government to compel the southern states to submit to federal rule by force of arms.

Contrast that with the policy of the CSA to merely separate itself and terminate its voluntary membership in the Union and conquer no one.

Care to address any of these larger issues, or does your general ignorance prevent you from making any substantive comments?

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 10:39 AM (DiZv6)

33 My inane and pointless diversion into the particulars of Ft. Sumter?

There is a reason that the war started at Ft. Sumpter. It was a federal tariff-collection station.

By the way, it will help me to imagine that you would be able to back up your name calling in person and to think of what a fantastic knock down fight we would have with beers on the winner.


Posted by: ploynikes at December 01, 2005 11:12 AM (m2CN7)

34 Knowing a reptile like MICHEAL MOORE he will make ROBERT E. LEE look like a radical and he will make ARAHAM LINCLON look like a exremist just typical of the hollywood left dirty reptiles

Posted by: spurwing plover at December 01, 2005 11:49 AM (b1Fi6)

35 Round 5, and yet no substantive comment from polynikes, only peanut-gallery sniping and an inability to read.

I'll sum it up, yet again. In April 1861, the US was properly evicted from Ft. Sumter. This was the start of the war, as guns were fired, but was not a major battle as no one died. The South forcibly evicted the trespassing Union troops, who as of the moment of secession (Dec. 20, 1860) were in South Carolina territory, not the United States. As I said, it is no accident that this occured at this particular spot, since the war was fought over the power of the US government to collect increasing import taxes, and the related issue of the ability of states to secede from the Union when they thought those taxes and/or federal power were becoming excessive, inasmuch as Ft. Sumter, in addition to being a military garrison, was a federal collection station for those very taxes.

Then, three months later in July 1861, Lincoln invaded the South, starting with the marching of 30,000 troops into Virginia (which seceded April 17, 1860), thus sparking the Battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the War for Southern Independence.

Does that clear it up any? We can only hope.

In any event, my 16 years as a jujutsu instructor and tactical consultant to a major city's police and sheriff training academy tells me a "fight," however enjoyable, wouldn't be so "fantastic" after all. It would be closer to Hobbes's immortal phrase, "nasty, brutish and short."

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 11:59 AM (DiZv6)

36 Correction: Virginia seceded April 17, 1861.

Polynikes is still a loser.

Posted by: Phinn at December 01, 2005 12:04 PM (DiZv6)

37 phinn,

This thread is pretty much dead and you've pretty much made an ass of yourself already but this is rich:

Please refute any fact I have mentioned. Sorry to mention facts that intrude on your safe little world, or disrupting the regular diet of bullshit you seem eager to swallow

You come in here and post moonbat-length screeds that attempt to rewrite history through faulty interpretation of historical events and then you want me to refute your 'facts'? I haven't seen this technique used here since Cedarford was banned. The only thing missing in your 'analysis' of the causes of the Civil War is that the Joooos started it.

Posted by: BrewFan at December 03, 2005 03:42 AM (0AD+O)

38 You come in here and ...

I will come and go where and when I wish.

The facts about Lincoln I was referring to (which I know you will be unable to refute) include the following:

- stated that he had only cared about "preserving the union", i.e., preventing secession, and would keep slavery permanently if that would accomplish it
- opposed legal racial equality
- supported laws prohibiting marriage of blacks and whites
- supported laws prohibiting blacks from holding elected office or serving on juries
- favored banning blacks from emigrating to the state of Illinois as a matter of its state constitution
- favored the forcible deportation of former slaves to Africa.
- ordered the military to shut down newspapers that were critical of him
- had at least one critic deported
- unilaterally suspended habeas corpus, the right to trial
- the Supreme Court ruled that this was unconstitutional, inasmuch as only Congress could do such a thing
- issued a warrant to have the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court arrested for this ruling

Please, let's hear your version, such as it is.

Posted by: Phinn at December 05, 2005 07:01 AM (DiZv6)

39 Mr. Linclon was the worst president I never had. My state succeeded from the union before he was sworn in and didn't re-enter until after his death. To me he was the leader of an invading army that burned their way through our homeland. Since the premise of the war, from the northern prospective, was the southern states didn't have the right to succeed, why did they have to petition to re-enter? I still think the north sucks. Can we leave now?

Posted by: Dave at February 11, 2006 04:15 PM (y6n8O)

40 You can't be 11341 serious?!?

Posted by: Mary Box at June 15, 2006 11:20 AM (ciJBe)

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