By Al Benson Jr.
As I sat eating supper on New Years eve I could hear the sound of fireworks going off across the street from where we live. Some folks in the South set off fireworks to celebrate the advent of the new year. When we lived in West Virginia several years ago they used to go out at midnight and shoot their guns into the air.
But, as I listened to the fireworks going off tonight the thought crossed my mind that here was a lot of noise, a little flash when the firecrackers exploded—and then nothing.
It just so happened that while eating supper I was reading a day-old copy of the area Fish Wrapper (I never buy it new if I can get yesterday’s copy for nothing as it’s not worth the price they ask for it). There was an article in it about the Emancipation Proclamation which the sainted Abraham Lincoln made much ado about 150 years ago this New Year’s day. Reading about the Proclamation while hearing the nearby fireworks gave me cause to reflect on how like the fireworks, the Proclamation was a big “flash in the pan” that really did nothing—certainly not what its adherents today claim it did.
Many who have been told about the Proclamation have been misinformed that with it “Lincoln freed the slaves.” This is the sort of historical legerdemain that has been passed along to us and our children through what passes for history books in public schools. The Proclamation actually freed no one.
What the Proclamation claimed to do was to free all the slaves in parts of the Confederate States of America that had not been captured by the forces of the Union. That was something Lincoln had no authority to do, the Confederate States at that time being a separate country. Interestingly enough those slave states that, by hook or by crook, had to remain in the Union—Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri—had no slaves freed in them. Neither did any of the parts of the Confederate States that had been captured by Union forces. So what it all amounted to is that Lincoln freed slaves in states he had no authority to free them in and left them in bondage in states where he did have some authority. But then this was typical of Lincoln as it is with just about all of today’s socialist politicians. Propaganda and publicity is the name of the game—a big flash and then—nothing. Lincoln never freed a slave anywhere at anytime and had he been able to do so he probably would have been figuring some angle to have him shipped to Africa or the West Indies or someplace—anyplace outside of the United States.
At any rate the article I read over supper was written by a Brett Zongker for the Associated Press. In part it stated: “Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, after the Battle of Antietam, announcing that if rebel states did not cease fighting and rejoin the Union by January 1, 1863, all slaves in rebellious states or parts of states would be declared free from that date forward.” That’s an interesting statement. From his wording I would guess that, for example, had the state of Tennessee stopped fighting and rejoined the Union by January 1, 1863 then she would have gotten to keep her slaves intact and they would not have been free anymore than were the slaves in the Union state of Kentucky free. You have to ask yourself what kind of “emancipation” is that? Is that kind of “emancipation proclamation” worth all the fuss they have made of it over the years? I realize that, at this point, some will argue with me and say that Lincoln had to make a start somewhere so this is what he did. Well, if he wanted to make a start somewhere then why not free the slaves in Maryland, which was in the Union, albeit somewhat reluctantly, as Lincoln had ordered most of her state legislators jailed so they could not vote for Maryland to secede.
The truth is that Lincoln had no interest in emancipating slaves but he did have a major interest in promoting propaganda that would keep either Great Britain or France from giving aid to the Confederate States and a piece of prime propaganda material like this proclamation might just do the trick. I don’t know about France, but lots of folks in Great Britain caught on to what this was all about and some of their comments were interesting. Lincoln didn’t fool the British the way he seems to have fooled some of our modern historians who wax eloquent about an emancipation proclamation that really emancipated no one.
I expect in the coming days we will be treated to all manner of pro-Lincoln propaganda about how he, as the “great emancipator” freed the slaves, saved the Union (which he actually destroyed) and infused the entire world with “peace and light.” The fact that his administration and the early Republican Partly actually paved the way for socialists and communists to really gain a foothold in this country (read Lincoln’s Marxists, Pelican Publishing Co.) will never be touched upon. All you will ever hear about are his great efforts at emancipation for the slaves which, were, in the end all blow and no show.