Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and Saving the Union

MaryElizabethSings  on Jay Bookman’s blog, 4/25/16:  (Link: http://jaybookman.blog.myajc.com/2016/04/25/lets-give-a-new-meaning-to-confederate-memorial-day/

” . . .I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty (to save the Union first), and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, everywhere, could be free. Yours,

A. LINCOLN.”

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Lincoln’s statement, above, which you (fellow poster) posted in full,* is a prime example of a man of high intellect who could put seeming paradoxes, together, in his mind simultaneously.

I would further speculate that Lincoln, in his official duty, recognized that he must first save the Union, and he had faith that the slavery issue, of which he was opposed, would resolve itself in time in that Union, which he had saved.  Being however a pragmatic and visionary politician, he later realized that it was to be he who was to be the direct instrument of God’s will in doing away with slavery, altogether, in our Union, and he made sure that that happened with the signing of the Amendment to our Constitution which freed all of America’s slaves, 8 months after he had been assassinated.


*”WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 1862.   *

Hon. Horace Greeley:

DEAR SIR: I have just read yours of the 19th, addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here argue against them. If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing,” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save Slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or 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 this 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. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, everywhere, could be free. Yours,

A. LINCOLN.”

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