The Political Game

“He [Lincoln] wrote to a friend: “I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down…but I bite my lips and keep quiet.””

“Two months later in Charleston, southern Illinois, Lincoln told his audience:  I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races (applause); that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people…” 

Political or economical there was a reason for President Lincoln to keep his mouth open or shut in front of the nation of the United States.  Howard Zinn has a strong opinion in his depictions of history. He stresses the hardships the slaves had not only in the South but in the North as well. “The northern elite wanted economic expansion-free land, free labor, a free market, a high protective tariff for manufacturers…The slaves interest opposed all that.” The North was not right out racist in any form, they just had no interest in bettering the lives of the southern slaves. Their only interest was to improve their economic returns. These strong economic views did not have slaves freed.

After Lincoln was inaugurated as President the South threatened to secede. His first speech was directed toward the south stating: “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.” Lincoln was put into a position fighting over the southern states making him play both sides of the coin. If Lincoln truly believed in the abolishment of slavery he would have put his foot down even in front of the South.  Zinn stresses that President Lincoln should not be seen as a hero, one who got rid of slavery but perhaps one who led the stoppage with the Emancipation Proclamation.