December 30, 2012

PUBLIC FORUM: Civil War wasn’t over just economics

— Mr. Julian (letter, Dec. 16), I would suggest you re-read my Public Forum letter of Dec. 9. There you will find that I did, indeed, explain the erroneous nature of the “facts” you set forth. I also did not accuse you of “making them up.” What I did say was, “I’m not sure what history sources he used…but it is inaccurate.” I then spent a considerable amount of words explaining that the Civil War was not caused by economic issues alone, but by a combination of issues, including slavery. Mr. Julian, this has nothing to do with “my views.” We are not discussing opinions, but with the accuracy of historical facts.

In regard to Lincoln and slavery, you said, “the slavery question was not even seriously considered by Lincoln until 1862.” It is well-documented that he had considered the slavery issue for years, well before he was President. In 1837, Lincoln took a very public stand against slavery when he served in the Illinois state legislature. In a resolution presented by Lincoln and Dan Stone, a fellow member of the legislature, it stated, “…the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy….” This can be documented by looking it up the Illinois House Journal. Lincoln said, in his 1854 speech at Peoria, Ill., “What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle — the sheet anchor of American republicanism.” In a July 10, 1858, speech in Chicago, Lincoln said, “I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist.”    As far as dealing with the slavery issue as President, Mr. Lincoln knew he could not emancipate the slaves in the South or try to get a Constitutional amendment banning slavery right out of the gate. That would, most likely, have caused the border states to secede and he knew that would be a disaster for the Union. Lincoln knew he had to tread lightly in regard to this.  

As for the panel Mr. Julian suggested, I think we would be hard-pressed to find satisfactory judges in this area with the depth of knowledge needed for such an endeavor. If you do, let me know.

Bobbi S. Fisher