Joseph E. Fallon’s thesis (“Lincoln and the Death of the Old Republic,” Vital Signs, August) that the Lincoln administration destroyed the Old Republic of the Founding Fathers and replaced it with the ideological foundations of today’s welfare state is unassailable.  Indeed, this result is celebrated by such left-wing legal scholars as George P. Fletcher, author of Our Secret Constitution: How Lincoln Remade America.  Fletcher believes that the goals of “egalitarianism” reflect what he calls a “higher law” than the Constitution itself.  “Lincoln’s casual attitude toward formal constitutional institutions such as the writ of habeas corpus” is to be applauded, says Fletcher, for it paved the way for the effective overthrow of the constitutional limitations on governmental power that once existed.

Of course, Lincoln had more than a “casual attitude” toward the Constitution; his actions prove that he had absolute contempt for it, as Fallon demonstrates.

If the “official history” of Abraham Lincoln is a lie, as Fallon says, then who are the official liars?  It is the Lincoln cult, the industry of court historians who have, for more than a century, deceived the American public about the real Lincoln.  The Lincoln cult spans the ideological spectrum from Marxist historian Eric Foner to such big-government “conservatives” as Harry Jaffa.  These polemicists provide the ideological “cover” for the highly centralized Leviathan state that we all suffer under today.

Jaffa and his many acolytes have spent decades performing intellectual somersaults to create a fantasy image of Abraham Lincoln.  The Declaration of Independence was a declaration of secession from the British Empire, but Jaffa insists that the document supports Lincoln’s crushing of the Southern secessionists.  As Fallon notes in his article, Lincoln eviscerated constitutional liberty, yet Jaffa insists that “Lincoln never did anything that was unconstitutional.”  Lincoln micromanaged a brutal war against civilians as well as combatants, yet he is universally described as an “humanitarian.”  Tens of thousands of Southern civilians perished during the war, and hundreds of millions of dollars in private property were carried off by plundering federal soldiers.  Yet Lincoln is described as a champion of reconciliation.

Lincoln declared that “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races.”  “On at least fourteen occasions between 1854 and 1860,” writes Ebony magazine editor Lerone Bennett, Jr., in his book Forced into Glory, “Lincoln said unambiguously that he believed the Negro was inferior to the White race.”  Until the day he died, Lincoln advocated the “peaceful deportation” of all black people in America to Africa, Haiti, or Central America.  Yet the court historians have portrayed him as a racial saint.

The list of official lies about Lincoln would fill a very large shelf.  The exposure of these lies and of the role they have played in destroying the constitutional republic of the Founding Fathers is a project worthy of Chronicles’ attention.

        —Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Clarksville, MD

On Public-School Naysayers

Mary Berry Smith joins the growing chorus of pundits and others who are concerned about the nation’s “failing public-school system” (“Educating for Jeopardy,” Correspondence, July).  The education bureaucrats, however, are not concerned.  In 1993, the Department of Education published the results of the National Adult Literacy Survey, the first study ever done in this country that provides detailed and accurate information on the literacy skills of the adult population as a whole.  The following is from the Executive Summary to the report, page xviii: “Perhaps the most salient finding of this survey is that such large percentages of adults performed in the lowest levels of prose, document, and quantitative literacy.  In and of itself, this may not indicate a serious problem.  After all, the majority of adults who demonstrated limited skills described themselves as reading or writing English well.”

So, Mrs. Smith, relax; there’s nothing to worry about.  Besides, why would the central government want a citizenry that could read, write, and reason?  Wouldn’t that just create all sorts of problems?

        —J. Michael Brown
Tulsa, OK