Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Lincoln Really Thought About Slavery

Today's event at the Lincoln memorial is more than a little ironic, in light of the following quote, which I wish was more well-known than it is:

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, "Letter to Horace Greeley" (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

I lifted the quote from here:

Lincoln could have cared less about freeing slaves. The War Between the States was about States' Rights versus Centralism, not slavery.


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