Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sic Semper Tyrannis

On this day 150 years ago Abe Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. If you were asked to pick the single most impactful event in American history, you could do a lot worse. As a Southerner I think this was the most tragic outcome imaginable to the most tragic period in American history. Lincoln's death gave free reign and moral justification to Southern "reconstruction" (i.e. retribution). Booth, the drunkard and fool, ensured the South would pay a heavy price for decades to come.

Did Lincoln deserve to die? Was he a tyrant? I can't say what he did or didn't deserve, but I can say if I could jump in the "wayback" machine I'd do EVERYTHING possible to stop Booth and his cohorts. But it can't be denied the man was indeed tyrannical. He threw half of the elected officials in Maryland in prison with no due process at all. He closed down newspapers, arrested editors (even "deporting" an Ohio publisher to the South). He issued an arrest warrant for the Chief Justice Roger Taney (author of the Dred Scott opinion), had federal troops intimidate poll workers (sound familiar), "suspended" Habeas Corpus, shut down courts and locked up every duly elected official in the city of Baltimore and took the town over with the military. He, if not ordered at least tolerated the rape, murder and pillage of defenseless civilians on the order of ISIS in Iraq today. He was, in my opinion a fundamentally evil man. So again, did he deserve to die? Probably, I guess. Would I have wished him dead? HELL NO!

Regardless what is is. History is like politics, perception and lies outweigh the truth as often as not. Lincoln preserved the Union even though it was clearly understood by ALL the States BEFORE the Constitution was ratified that they entered voluntarily and could leave voluntarily. Lincoln freed the slaves, although he could give a damn about slavery and was a unreconstructed racist (had to use that word). His claims of defending liberty and the Constitution all the while subverting both ring hollow even 150 years later. Once again, did he deserve to die? You can answer that yourself. Considering slavery was a dying institution, and considering slavery had been abolished in Britain and South America peacefully without firing a shot, my question would be did the 720,000 people who died as a result of Lincoln's megalomania deserve THEIR fate?  

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