by Al Benson Jr.
Just about every year some “newspaper” somewhere, at some point, carries a survey asking people to name their favorite American president and to explain in a few words, why he is their favorite.
Not surprisingly, the president that usually pulls in the most votes in these little propaganda ploys is Abraham Lincoln. And the reason–because he “freed the slaves.” It has been increasingly apparent in recent years that this fable is what passes for “history” in most public school classrooms around the country, with a few exceptions here in the South. Even most high school kids don’t know the truth, and they are not necessarily to be blamed. Most of their history teachers may not even be to blame, but those that wrote the textbooks they learned their history from are most certainly culpable.
Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” when issued, was simply a war measure. It did not free any slaves in any territory controlled by the Union, but only those slaves in Confederate territory where the Union had no legitimate authority. All the slaves, even those in states that remained in the Union during the War, were not technically “freed” until the 13th Amendment, which was not ratified until December, 1865, several months after Mr. Lincoln had gone on to his eternal reward–done in by the hand of a man that may well have had indirect ties to some in Lincoln’s own cabinet.
Be all this as it may, it doesn’t make the history books and the myth of Lincoln freeing the slaves continues to be propagated today, passed off as “history” as well as the myth that the North fought the War only to free the slaves while the racist South fought only to keep the slaves. This myth is a most convenient peg for contemporary “historians” to hang their radical hats on as they continue to propagate it–and there’s lots of revenue to be accrued writing books that peddle this flawed story. Even some of the national parks having to do with the War now peddle the line that it was all about slavery. No true reasons need apply! The fact that the South could have kept whatever slaves she had if the Southern states had remained in the Union is an issue seldom raised. After all, why deal with the truth when you have an agenda to promote? If the truth doesn’t agree with the leftist agenda it just gets in the way–and why confuse people with the facts?
It is a fact that the winners in any war get to write the history of that war and the reasons for it. Years ago historian James F. Rhodes stated: “Of the American Civil War it may safely be asserted that there was a single cause, slavery.” Other historians such as J. G. Randall, gave a more realistic assessment of the War’s causes, but Rhodes’ simplistic theories are the ones that are so often parroted today by those who fervently hope and pray that we never look further than the slavery issue.
Starting in the Fall of 1990, public television, at least in the area of Northern Illinois we were in at the time, started showing Ken Burns’ “Civil War” series. They seemed to show it so many times in the next several years that I was surprised they didn’t wear the film out. It seemed like this abomination was on at least twice a year for the next six years. Burns, a modern New Hampshire abolitionist, spent five years and untold thousands of dollars in foundation money “exhaustively” researching (so we were told) the period of the War and the reasons for it. And, after all that time and foundation money, Burns came up with a major media breakthrough–the war was fought over slavery! Wow! What a revelation! Somehow I was unimpressed. With all the establishment cash spent on this project, would Mr. Burns have dared come up with any other reasons or causes? Had he really presented some independent research instead of the propaganda he dished up it is doubtful whether his vaunted series would ever have seen the light of day. It probably would have disappeared on the cutting room floor.
Even after his program was aired it was widely criticized–and justifiably so–it wasn’t complete truth or history. In fact, inadvertently, it may have helped to contribute to the rise of the Southern Heritage Movement. However the establishment historians keep right on trying. They persist, it seems, in pouring out reams of literary fertilizer and calling it history–and they will persist–because they have an agenda that will not be denied. Therefore it must be opposed. Radical leftist agendas never quite go away. They may retreat in the face of opposition but they, like bad pennies, always return. Case in point–the global warming hoax of a couple years ago. After email had surfaced that exposed it as a fraud its proponents remained quiet for several months. Now, if you follow the news, they are seeking to make a comeback. They hope people have forgotten.
Way back in 1991 I came across a book called Lee Considered–General Robert E. Lee and Civil War History written by Alan T. Nolan and published by the University of North Carolina Press. I’d heard about this book from friends in both North and South, and none of what I heard was good. Having procured the book, I began to read. In my opinion, not only did the book impugn Robert E. Lee, a devout Christian gentleman and soldier, but it was little more than a printed rerun of Ken Burns’ television docudrama passed off as “history.”
Lest anyone think Mr. Nolan was attempting objectivity in his work on General Lee, it turned out that, according to the Indiana Historical Society News for September/October, 1993, Mr. Nolan was a member of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP–hardly glowing qualifications for an objective book on Lee. Mr. Nolan is certainly free to join such leftist organizations if he wishes, but his membership in them, with their leftist political slant, certainly begs the question of his historical “neutrality” or “objectivity.”
Such offerings, along with the bleatings of establishment historian James McPherson, are mostly what the American public has had to contend with for decades. Thankfully, in the last few years, books such as the Kennedy Brothers’ The South Was Right and Was Jefferson Davis Right? have begun to make some dent in the establishment hogwash we have all been fed. Just last year Lincoln’s Marxists (Pelican Publishing) came out, further denting the propaganda armor of the “great emancipator.” All of these, including Thomas DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked just may be part of the reason there has recently been such a fevered push to again try to re-convince a gullible public that the real cause of the War was only slavery. It seems the establishment is beginning to see ominous signs that not everyone is buying their line anymore so they must continually try to inundate us with new material, new books, and television plots to keep the slavery issue myth alive. You have to realize that Cultural Reconstruction is still alive and well in our day. The solution–Ephesians 5:11-13. Do the homework and expose them.