by Al Benson Jr.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination for president, with lots of help from Horace Greeley, and also lots of help from socialist Carl Schurz, who worked at rallying the German-American Forty-eighters and ordinary German voters as well. Your ordinary German voter had no idea what was being pulled on him via Schurz and the rest of the Forty-eighter immigrants in this country. They were all being recruited to combat the “slaveholding capitalists” in the South while ignoring Northern railroad and banking capitalists. As I stated earlier, it was really the Southern capitalists they were after. The Northern variety got an automatic pass–and most folks never noticed, just like they’ve been conditioned via the media today to not notice the almost total lack of any substantive information about the individual sitting in the White (Red) House.
In the very early days of the Republican Party a man most folks have probably never heard of surfaced. This was Alvin Earl Bovay. He had lived in New York State and become a lawyer there in 1846. He was really into both the Abolitionist and Free Soil Movements. He became secretary of something called the National Reform Association. This group was mainly concerned with people concentrating too much wealth. According to http://www.abovetopsecret.com “They felt there should not be a right to the unlimited accumulation of wealth in this country. The association soon turned toward what is described as ‘a spectrum (of) the most revolutionary anarchist and socialist currents in American life.’ This hostility toward concentrated wealth made them hostile to the South especially seeing as how it was governed largely by wealthy gentry using slavery in replace of paid labor,…Some historians have charged the NRA’s most important members to being under the influence of Socialism, Trade Unionism, and of course Abolitionism.”
By the late 1840s Bovay had moved his family from New York out to the new town of Ripon, Wisconsin. Prior to the forming of the town, the area had been used by a utopian socialist commune, which still seemed to have quite a bit of influence in the area. Bovay was instrumental in the formation of the new Republican Party, having been in contact with Horace Greeley who was, after all, a utopian socialist. Bovay had suggested that the name of the new party be the “Republican Party.” Greeley liked that name, as he had also thought of it himself.
Another biggy on the agendas of both the NRA and the new Republican Party was the Homestead Act, which allowed all adult citizens to claim 160 acres of land then in the public domain. Greeley felt it was one of “the most vital reforms ever attempted” and thought it would bring in a new era of prosperity. Even though they agreed on the idea of homesteading, Greeley and Lincoln differed over the timing of it. At this time, Greeley and Frederick Douglas joined forces in demanding of Lincoln that he make the War of Northern Aggression not only a crusade of “preserve the Union” but also an “Abolition war.” Lincoln wasn’t quite ready to do this, being as he had a lot of slaveholding voters in four states that had remained in the Union thorough one way or another.
By this time, Charles Dana was no longer working for Horace Greeley, but was working instead for Lincoln. He was officially assigned to the War Department, which organization he would eventually serve as assistant secretary of. So already in the 1860s you had an admitted socialist and confidant of Karl Marx serving as Assistant Secretary of War in the United States. That fact is hardly a reassuring one. But it points to the fact that socialism and communism were alive and well in this country much earlier than we have been told about. That just may be why they omit it from our history books. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along!
Part of Dana’s assignment was to be an advisor and an aide to Lincoln pertaining to what has been described as “judicious, humane, and wise uses of executive authority.” So we have a socialist advising Lincoln on the “humane” use of executive authority. Wonder is such advice had anything to do with why so many Northern folks who disagreed with Lincoln on so many issues wound up in prison with no trials, no lawyers, often their own families not even knowing where they were. I guess some might consider this “judicious” use of executive authority. At least Lincoln didn’t have them executed! But, then, there were so many of them that such might have proved a tad embarrassing.
Appearing on http://historyengine.richmond.edu was an article entitled The People’s Lincoln. It stated: “In Lincoln’s time, public opinion vigilantly labeled a danger posed by their anti-Constitution imperialist. Lincoln was widely hated, caricatured, and actively opposed. His concern for the government outweighed his concern for the people, their freedom and prosperity. The Lincoln depicted with loyal troops and grateful slaves is far from the man exposed in John A. Marshall’s series from 1869 American Bastille: A History of the Illegal Arrests and Imprisonment of American Citizens in the Northern and Border States on Account of Their Political Opinions During the Late Civil War. This was eventually published in 1883 as a book, American Bastille.” I recall seeing a copy of this once at a Civil War book sale. It wasn’t in very good shape and I didn’t have the money to buy it–but I thought about it. The History Engine article observed: “Once an arrest was made, not only was the right to a trial denied, but also seeking council was itself considered active rebellion.” It sounds so much like something a socialist would have come up with. The article noted one man who was arrested and, as of 1883, he had yet to be informed why. He had been released long before that, but with never any information as to why he was picked up in the first place. Welcome to the American Gulag–19th century style!
Lincoln spent a good part of his presidency reading dispatches from and seeking the counsel of the man who hired Karl Marx to write for Greeley’s newspaper. John Nichols, who was mentioned earlier, noted in his article that he (Lincoln) “…awarded military commissions to the numerous comrades of the author of The Communist Manifesto who had come to the United States as political refugees following the failed European revolutions of 1848–is a shard of history rarely seen in the hagiographic accounts that produced a sanitized version of the sixteenth president’s story.”
The Communists, themselves, tell us some interesting things if we can discern between the truth and the propaganda. An article on http://www.worker-communist.org informs us that the communists were active in the abolitionist movement. No surprise there if you’ve read anything about the abolitionists. Several years ago the chief theoritician for the Communist Party, Herbert Aptheker, wrote a book called Aboltionism–a Revolutionary Movement. Aptheker had glowing praise for the Abolitionist Movement, which shows that their agenda and that of the Communists coincided. William Lloyd Garrison, one of the leaders among the most radical of the abolitionists once said the same thing. He made a statement that, after the slavery issue had been resolved, the abolitionists would set their sights on “world peace” and the “women’s rights movement”–both of which are on the Marxist agenda. The article also mentions that communists “were active in the left wing of the Republican Party.” Remember, folks, this was in the late 1850s-1860s. Who, in your “history” books, ever read about the “left wing” of the Republican Party in the 1860s, or even today? But they also tell us that the left wing of the GOP was in favor of a “centralized democratic republic.” That would have coincided with Lincoln’s version of what he wanted for a government.
Some of you may have heard of the International Working Men’s Association. This was the organization that officially sent the letter that Karl Marx wrote to Lincoln congratulating him on his re-election to a second term. This organization had some very interesting people that ended up as members. This was a group founded in 1864, which sought to unite a plethora of left-wing, socialist, communist and anarchist groups and trade unions that were based on the working class and class struggle. This is what Wikipedia said about them, and this time they were pretty much on target. More about them in the next installment.
To be continued.