Civil War Ignorance – Northern Perspective

by Dahni

© Copyright 4/2/10

all rights reserved

HOW can WE the People regain control of OUR right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” WE have delved into what won’t work in order to find what will work.

The List (simplified)

8.   Establish a new service to restore OUR rights to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Today: Civil War Ignorance – Northern Perspective

Last time WE looked at ignorance and its part in shaping the corrupt, corrupting and corruptible “system” within and around OUR republic.  In the midst of so learned and freedom seeking society in the 1600’s and 1700’s in what is now the U.S.A., ignorance still prevailed in matters of slavery. Generation after generation passed this ignorance forward often without detection, but certainly without correction. Over time, this ignorance – justified and rationalized, became a ‘mindset.’ WE need to understand how this “mindset,” this ignorance; this corrupt, corrupting and corruptible “system” caused the Civil War. Today WE will look at the Northern Perspective. WE will look at 1 man – Abraham Lincoln, his first inaugural address and the U.S. Constitution for the justification or rationalization of this ignorance from the Northern Perspective.

Even before Lincoln was sworn in as president of the United States, several states had already seceded. After Lincoln’s first inaugural address, other states quickly followed. Representatives and Senators had already made their intentions known in Congress. Congress had already passed a motion to remove their names from the roll call, but not to expel them. Lincoln knew this.

In his first inaugural address, Lincoln begins with the issue of slavery.

4

“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
4th paragraphMarch 4, 1861

First of all, Lincoln in his opening remarks, made slavery an issue, because in his mind, the constitutions of the previously seceded states and those considering secession, already made slavery an issue. Remember the bold red and underlined words above, as WE will later see an apparent contradiction to each of them.

Lincoln’s address then proceeds to states rights.

5

“Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address, 5th paragraph
March 4, 1861

The words “domestic,” “perfection” and “lawless” are interesting. Domestic rights would by the omission here, exclude the state’s foreign rights to be exercised between other states, which would be foreign in the same sense that the state would have no rights to deal with a foreign country. The word “perfection” refers to OUR system of government and it would later in his address, imply that it is perfect. The word “lawless” would only mean that invasion by armed forces of any state or territory could only occur if there was such a law allowing it.

8

“There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 8

9

[“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”]

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 9

(Lincoln quoting from the U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, 3rd paragraph)

His answer or solution to resolving this issue is in:

10

“Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not with nearly equal unanimity frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 10

But then he argues that oaths should still be kept despite any difference of opinion as to how they should be kept.

11

“And should anyone in any case be content that his oath shall go unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 11

13

I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 13

Lincoln’s suggestion implies that those states which had seceded or that were considering secession were violating the law “to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.”

Lincoln continues and addresses the idea or concept of secession.

15

“I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 15

The words “I hold” are in direct contrast to the first three words of the Constitution which are, “WE the People.” Perpetuity though Lincoln believed it may be implied is not written in the Constitution to which his words “if not expressed” indicate his belief that perpetuity is implied. However, the absence of “perpetuity” in the Constitution relates to its jurisdiction (the creators not that which is created) which is, “WE the People.” The argument that no government including OURS has never provided a means for its own termination, may be true for other governments, but not OURS! OUR government may be changed by amendments by congress or the people and it may be terminated by the very source from which it began, by the same three first words of the Constitution, “WE the People.”

Lincoln continues to argue the perpetuity of OUR union.

16

“Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it-break it, so to speak-but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it? Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 16

This is the address of the president and Chief Executive. Lincoln was a lawyer and he here presents a legal argument as if addressing the court, the judges being the people. His arguments are interpretative of the law. This is the first indication that the executive branch of government would take control of both the Legislative and Judiciary branches of government, which Lincoln would later do.  Not only does the Constitution not mention contracts and associations, neither does it mention perpetuity which Lincoln in his address has already indicated it was not mentioned.  He mentions that contracts cannot be peaceably terminated, but there is no mention that they could not be forcibly terminated by one or all parties in concern. The Constitution was not ratified by all the states, at the same time, but by a majority of the states and at specific times. His premise that all states would be necessary to break a contract or comparing contracts to a “government proper,” is based on the premise that OUR union is perpetual. He then uses history to substantiate his premise in support of his conclusion.

17

“Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was “to form a more perfect Union.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 17

Although over a hundred years of associating with one another, confederating or constituting with one another, may seem like the union is perpetual, but this is not a logical argument, because the premise is wrong and therefore so likewise, is the conclusion. The only accurate reference in writing or in the above history to which Lincoln referred to in citing the word “perpetual,” was the Articles of Confederation. The literal title of this document is: The Articles of Confederation of the Union Perpetual. The word “perpetual” does not appear in the Constitution. In fact, the Constitution was a wholly new government which ended the previous one in replacing the Articles of Confederation. John Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson did not attend the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson referred to all those in attendance as “demigods.”

To be honest however, Jefferson later came to respect many of the changes made and the Constitution itself. But he and other founders of OUR republic wrote of the states rights to secede. Some states had even considered secession long before the birth of Lincoln. Newspapers all across the country in 1860 including New York wrote editorials in support of the states rights to secede. Of these historical facts, Lincoln does not mention in his first inaugural address when using history, endeavoring to argue that the union was perpetual.

Lincoln relates in his argument that the Union is perpetual with the words from the Constitution, “to form a more perfect Union.” WE need to understand these words and to be perfectly clear about them. They are not literal!!! They are a figure of speech. If they were literal, it would be completely illogical. If something is perfect, it cannot become more perfect or less perfect. As a figure of speech, the emphasis is on perfection as a goal to strive for. The Constitution was considered to be a better union than the previous Confederation. But the fact that Lincoln views these words in a more literal sense and to further make his argument on the perpetuity of the Union is seen, in his next paragraph of his first inaugural address.

18

“But if destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 18

Lincoln himself uses a figure of speech to further his argument with the words, “less perfect.” His reasoning that the Union would be “less perfect” if it lost the “element of perpetuity is illogical.” It is illogical because his premise is incorrect. Less perfect in the literal sense is illogical. The figure of speech here emphasizes “perfect” as a goal, but to the infallible human being, perfection is not possible, nor is to make something more perfect or less perfect.

Having stated his false premises, Lincoln then makes his conclusion, which would also, be false.

19

“It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 19

The words, “the authority of the United States,” clearly state Lincoln’s perspective and that of many of the north. This is indicative of the idea that the thing created (the Constitution) is superior to the creators, WE the People.

Lincoln according to his conclusion states that “acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.” According to the dictionary, an “insurrection” and a “revolution,” are defined as follows.

Insurrection: an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

Revolution: an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

Definitions based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

Lincoln further cements his conclusion with the following paragraph.

20

“I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 20

If the Union was “unbroken” according to Lincoln’s argument, there was no reason to state that “the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States,” unless the southern states by an “act of violence as either an insurrection or a revolution under the authority of the United States required it. This requirement would necessitate force, which contradicts what he already said and what WE have already read from the 5th paragraph of his first inaugural address. Here it is again:

5

“Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address, 5th paragraph
March 4, 1861

So this action would necessitate the South in essence, to fire first which would be responded to by the use of force. However, to execute the law in “all the States,” since the southern states were not abiding by this Union, either coercion or force would be necessary according to Lincoln’s argument. Coercion is defined as follows:

1. the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.

2. force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.

Definition based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010

Coercion could include other means, methods and manners to enforce the law besides force, whereas the word force is clear.

Coercion or force is implied by Lincoln in his next paragraph.

21

“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.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 21

How would it be possible to enforce the law in holding, occupying and possessing the property belong to Government unless by coercion or force if this property was questioned as to its ownership? How would it be possible to enforce the law in collecting duties and imposts unless by coercion or force if they were questioned as to its legitimacy? The southern states believed it was their property and as a foreign nation, they were not subject to the duties and imposts of the United States. Therefore, the only action the Union could take against the Confederacy would have to be by coercion or force, whether the South would invade or not.

Lincoln has gone further than as if to argue a case before a court. His conclusions and subsequent actions are indicative of judgment being made by a court. His interpretation of the Constitution is indicative of “legislating from the bench.” In his first inaugural address, Lincoln has become the Chief Executive, and has dominated both the Legislative and the Judiciary branches of the Government. This will be substantiated as WE continue here.

23

“That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events and are glad of any pretext to do it I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 23

If he neither affirms nor denies that there are those that “seek to destroy the Union,”

Why bring this up and why use the word “destroy.” Was there only two types of people at this time, those that “seek to destroy the Union,” and those “who really love the Union?”

The opposite of this would be if you do not love the union then therefore you seek to destroy it. The words used here are inflammatory.

24

“Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 24

Lincoln suggests here that perhaps there is no real reason for their secession and the possibility of greater consequences in leaving the Union. Is this statement to discredit the South and a veiled threat? This is the second use of the root word or “destroy.” He also suggests that perhaps there exists no “real” reason for the South to secede and the consequences would be greater in so doing than for having left it for no reason.

25

All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right plainly written in the Constitution has been denied? I think not. Happily, the human mind is so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might in a moral point of view justify revolution; certainly would if such right were a vital one.”

What is a vital right as opposed to a non-vital right? It is obvious that the south was not content to remain in the Union. If his argument is correct that there is no Constitutional reason for the South to secede, it must rest with slavery on the part of the South, according to Lincoln’s viewpoint.

25

“But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution that controversies never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate nor any document of reasonable length, contain express provisions for all possible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. May Congress prohibit slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpts from paragraph 25

This obviously shows that the Constitution is not perfect, was never intended to be perfect and the Union of the states are not nor ever were considered to be either perfect or perpetual. Again, Lincoln argues that no Constitutional right has been violated and so therefore the only disagreement between the Union and the Confederacy would be slavery? This is spelled out plainly in the next paragraph.

26

From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government must cease.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 26

Now his argument centers on two choices, to “acquiesce” or not and the latter would cause the government to cease. If neither the majority nor the minority are willing to cooperate, then another choice would be to separate? And if separate, government could still continue for both.

26

“There is no other alternative, for continuing the Government is acquiescence on one side or the other. If a minority in such case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will divide and ruin them, for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. For instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy a year or two hence arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 26

The words “the Government” relates to the 19th paragraph of this address with the words, “the authority of the United States.” Again the thing created appears to be greater than those that created it (WE the People), it is perpetual and only all the states could disband it.

27

Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new union as to produce harmony only and prevent renewed secession?”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 27

28

“Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 28

First of all, what is the definition of “anarchy” and what was its origin?

Anarchy – a state of society without government or law.

Origin:
1530–40; (< MF anarchie or ML anarchia) < Gk, anarchía lawlessness, lit., lack of a leader, equiv. to ánarch(os) leaderless (an- an-1 +arch(ós) leader + -os adj. suffix) + -ia -y3

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

From where does Lincoln derive his interpretation that secession is anarchy? What would the Revolutionary War have been, anarchy? And just because changes to the Constitution are made from popular opinion or sentiment, does this mean any have lost their unalienable rights or opposing those changes would be considered anarchists flying to anarchy or despotism? According to Lincoln’s viewpoint and those of the North that agreed with him, it would be anarchy or despotism. But what then was the Revolutionary War? What then are unalienable rights?

According to Lincoln, it is only the Constitution which is, “the only true sovereign of a free people.” The Constitution is a created thing, created of, for and by the people, and it is OUR unalienable rights which are the true sovereignty of a free people! And what are the sovereign nations of the Native American Indians and in many respects, the nature of exemptions of the Amish people?

Lincoln states that, “Unanimity is impossible.” Was not the Declaration of Independence a unanimous decision? Was not the Articles of Confederation of the Union Perpetual, a unanimous decision? Do not all members “All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution,” (from Lincoln’s 10th paragraph) and is this not unanimous? Seventy two years later in 1933 and even though only ¾ of the states were required to amend the constitution (36 of 48 states at the time), 39 states ratified the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. This included all the former Confederate States except for Florida. However nine additional states including Florida subsequently ratified this amendment.  Since Hawaii and Alaska were not then states in 1933, 48 states were unanimous in ratifying this amendment. Total agreement or unanimity may not always be probable or possible, but it is not impossible!

29

“I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the Government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 29

The words in bold red italics are the true purpose of secession, that the people are the rulers (creators) and not the government (the created thing).

30

One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, can not be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one section, while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpts from paragraph 30

Again, slavery is made an issue here and that according to Lincoln, “the only substantial dispute.” In as he has thus argued, the Union is perfect, to withdraw from it would make it “less perfect,” and “the only substantial dispute,” (slavery) “can not be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before.”

31

“Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Paragraph 31

Why would is not be possible to physically separate? Why would it not be possible to build a wall of separation between the North and the South, impractical, but why not possible? China built a wall thousands of years ago. Kingdoms built walls for protection to keep enemies out. The analogy of a divorced couple is inappropriate. It is possible to divorce and due to custody and other issues, the former husband and wife could remain in the same location and even the same house with or without ever speaking to each other. So the states could do the same thing.

“Suppose you go to war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.” Who is the word “you” repeatedly used here referring to? Is it not the Confederate States? And are WE not in essence face to face with Canada and yet separate nations, but for the most part WE each maintain an amicable relationship? The words here are accusatory – you go to war, you can’t fight forever, you cease fighting and then, “the same old identical questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.”

32

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 32

These two sentences are accurate, but WE have already seen from Lincoln’s address that “the people” refer to all the people of the United States. His argument is that the Union is perpetual, the Constitution was written as “a more perfect union,” and to disband it would make it “less perfect.” Along with perpetuity and perfection he equates the “revolutionary right” in overthrowing the government can only be done by all the people of all the states since all got into the Union when OUR country first began. This would therefore be a unanimous decision and Lincoln has already stated that “unanimity is not possible.” This all appears to be contradictory. He finishes out this paragraph in basically referring to Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution about amendments.

32

“I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution — which amendment, however, I have not seen — has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 32

The amendment referred to here was called The Corwin Amendment and was passed by Congress on March 2, 1861 and just two days before his inaugural address. The proposed amendment would have forbidden attempts to subsequently amend the Constitution to empower the Congress to “abolish or interfere” with the “domestic institutions” of the states, including “persons held to labor or service” (a reference to slavery). The Corwin Amendment was intended to prohibit the Congress from banning slavery in those states whose laws permitted it. This amendment has never been ratified by the states, although it was submitted to the states without any time restraints. Adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, ended any realistic chance of it ever being adopted. It reads as follows:

“No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”

Non-ratified Corwin Amendment

Why did Lincoln bring up this amendment other than to strengthen his point that it was only slavery which was the sole point of division between the North and the South? See paragraph 30 previously and note the words:

“One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 30

33

The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have referred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves can do this if also they choose, but the Executive as such has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address,
Excerpt from paragraph 33

Magistrate – mag·is·trate    (māj’ĭ-strāt’, -strĭt)  noun

a. A civil officer with power to administer and enforce law, as:

b. A local member of the judiciary having limited jurisdiction, especially in criminal cases.

[Middle English magistrat, from Old French, from Latin magistrātus, from magister, magistr-, master; see meg- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

It is interesting that Lincoln chose the word “magistrate” here, having its root in the word “master.” As president of the United States he was the Chief Executive and he states that authority “comes from the people.” He also stated that there was no authority to “fix the terms for the separation of the states,” and the duty is to administer the government as received and pass it on to the next executive, “unimpaired.”  Then why has he presented in his first inaugural address arguments as if before a court? Why has he interpreted the Constitution? In so doing, he is as if legislating from the bench and by his conclusions, he makes rulings as if a judge. In essence, which will become clear in a future presentation here – ‘Divide and Conquer,’ Lincoln would later dominate both the Legislative and Judiciary branches of government in prosecution of the American Civil War, or technically, the suppression of a rebellion.

35

“By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.”

Paragraph 35

Even though the Constitution with its set of checks and balances had endured to this point, if it were perfect and all the people were content, then secession would never have been considered throughout the history of the United States nor first attempted by the Confederate States of America. Lincoln stated that no administration “by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.”

For now, this is where we will leave off.  But WE will look at the consequences of those four years another time under the title of: ‘The Basis and Consequences of Ignorance.’

37

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.”

Paragraph 37

Although the Confederacy technically fired fist on Fort Sumter, which officially started the Civil War, there is more than sufficient evidence to support that Lincoln manipulated the response in favor of Union justification to put down a rebellion.

38

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Paragraph 38

Perhaps, there are no equal words to compare with these? Where is a clearer example as to heartfelt and sincere desire for peace among the states and to avert war? If a man is to be believed to say what he means and to mean what he says, perhaps there is no greater proof of the intentions and the innermost being of President Abraham Lincoln, than this last paragraph of his inaugural address. But sadly, these words of a man and for those which agreed with him were from decisions based on ignorance. False premises lead to false conclusions. These conclusions led to consequences so great, they are still felt by every person within United States of America and maybe even the entire world today!

Next Time: Civil War Ignorance  – Southern Perspective

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Dahni
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