How many Americans are aware that Abraham Lincoln was well known for telling dirty stories, engaged in antics (like playing with his feet) when he did not want to answer questions, and was flippant when his attention was called to Union soldiers’ graves?
That he kept his son safely at Harvard during the war? (Robert E. Lee’s son was kidnapped from home while severely wounded and brutally imprisoned away from his dying wife and children.)
That Lincoln was a wealthy corporate lawyer with the biggest mansion in Springfield and a private railroad car placed at his disposal by capitalists?
That while very clever and articulate, his knowledge of American and world history, the origins of the Constitution and of the Founding Fathers, of foreign languages, economics, science, and most other subjects was nearly non-existent. His legal success was based on clever manipulation of juries. His political success was based on (mostly clandestine) tactics, Biblical sounding rhetoric, capitalist support, and prolific promises of government jobs and contracts.
That he was the least known, the least distinguished, and the least popular man who was ever elected President before or since.
Karl Marx enthusiastically supported Lincoln because—?
Hitler admired Lincoln because—?
Before he was president Lincoln made one practical proposal for the end of slavery. He outlined a program of gradual emancipation by which slavery would have ended in New Jersey in 1914.
Those who knew Lincoln most closely and for the longest period of time were agreed that he had two predominant character traits: ambition and secretiveness. Almost all first-hand immediate impressions of Lincoln, including those of most people on his side, reveal not a wise, deep, warm, sorrowful man, but a practiced dissimulator with a remote amoral core. His behaviour fits the pattern described as “passive-aggressive.” He also exhibited traits of “crackpot realism.” A crackpot realist is a cynic who believes that everybody he deals with is acting in bad faith. By being aware of this, he thinks that he can outsmart and manipulate others.
How many people know that Lincoln struck many of those he encountered as actually physically grotesque—arms and legs too long and a deformed face? He did not resemble Henry Fonda in the least, or even Raymond Massey.
Who was the only American President who complained publicly about “the troublesome presence of free negroes”?
How many people know that Lincoln approved a proposed Thirteenth Amendment which would have guaranteed non-interference with slavery in the South, as long as no black people could be brought to unsettled territories which Northern capitalists were eager to exploit—and those capitalists could continue their tariff “protection”?
A large amount of Lincoln’s papers were destroyed by his son. Why? Wouldn’t you think every scrap of paper associated with such a revered figure would be saved?
The French have looked again at their history and have lowered their once high opinion of Robespierre and their other brutal revolutionaries. The Russians have done the same with Lenin. When will Americans experience the humbling and healing process of grasping the truth about Lincoln’s brutal war of conquest against free Americans? A people who are in such denial are in moral peril. And a people whose most revered symbol is a corporate lawyer and scheming politician in an armchair are little to be admired.