by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
Anyone thinking what passes for the “news” media doesn’t flat out lie and try to deceive the public has not been living in the real world. Just look at what the media has done since President Trump got into office. They have bent over backwards trying to make him look bad, often times with contradictory lies about him both on the same page.
That being the case, it should surprise no one at all that, as much bad as they say about Donald Trump, they say that much good about Abraham Lincoln. Just about every year, usually at the start of the year, a “news” paper somewhere, usually part of the establishment press, carries some sort of survey asking people to name their favorite American president and asks the public that responds to explain, in a few words, why he is their favorite.
Not surprisingly, the president that usually garners most of the votes in this little propaganda ploy is Abraham Lincoln–and the reason given is that he “freed the slaves.” It seems that this type of old wives tale is what passes for history in most government school history classes around the country. Even the high school and college students mostly don’t know the truth, and they are not to be blamed. It’s not your fault you are dumb if you have never been taught. Many of their history teachers may not even be to blame, but the authors of those “history” texts they learned their history from are most certainly culpable.
The history texts rave about the Emancipation Proclamation as though it were the ultimate freedom document, at least on a par with the Magna Carta. If you want to discover what the Emancipation Proclamation was really all about, just read it in its entirety. When Lincoln issued the Proclamation it was nothing more than a war measure. It freed not a single slave in any territory controlled by the glorious Union. And there were lots of slaves in territory controlled by the Union–around 400,000 of them! Their bondage was totally unaffected by the Emancipation Proclamation. Most people, when they read it, don’t seem to grasp that. Years ago I wrote a little booklet called Emancipation as Propaganda. It was part of a series of booklets I wrote and self-published for home school students that had to do with the War of Northern Aggression and related history. In the booklet I noted all the areas in the Union that the Proclamation did not apply to. I got a letter from someone up in New England who had gotten one of the booklets and he proceeded to try to take me to the literary woodshed because he felt the Proclamation did, indeed, free all slaves everywhere and he felt I should not have doubted that. Rather than argue with him, which would have been an exercise in futility, I told him to go back one more time and read the whole thing carefully and then write back and tell me what it said. He must have done that because I never heard from him again.
For those who may have read corrupted or shortened versions of the Proclamation, the kind often used in public school workbooks, you need to realize that the Proclamation only “freed” those slaves in Confederate territory while freeing none in Union-held territory. It didn’t even free the slaves in those parts of the Confederate States that had been captured back by the Union. Slaves in Union territory were not technically “freed” until the second 13th Amendment, which was not ratified until December, 1865, several months after Lincoln had passed on to his eternal reward–done in by the hand of a man who may have had indirect ties to some in Lincoln’s cabinet!
However, the media continues to propagate, even today, the total myth that the North only fought the “Civil War” to free the slaves. No other reasons, at least not the really important ones, need be listed, just ignore all those and concentrate on the slavery issue. This myth is a most convenient peg for establishment “historians” to hang their radical hats on and it provides many of them with a good living via books and speeches and whatever else they can make money with while bemusing the public with their fables. The fact that the South could have kept whatever slaves she had simply by remaining in the Union is never mentioned. After all, why bring up the truth when you have an agenda to promote. If truth doesn’t agree with the agenda, then it just gets in the way–so why confuse people with the facts?
Some of you may remember this. Back in the Fall of 1990 public television started showing Ken Burns’ “Civil War” series. It was a five part series and you had to watch all of it to get the “whole picture” so to speak. So that I could comment on it, I sat through all five miserable episodes. Had they ceased at that point it would have been bad enough, but it seemed like in the next two or three years they showed it so many times I was afraid they’d wear the film out! It seemed like this abomination was on at least three times a year for about the next six years! Ken Burns is a modern New Hampshire abolitionist who 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 breakthrough–the War was fought over slavery!!! What a surprise! Guess I was just too jaded to be properly impressed. With all the establishment cash spent on this project to beguile the public would Burns dared to have come up with any other conclusion? Had he really presented some independent research instead of the propaganda he dished up it is doubtful if he vaunted series would ever have seen the light of day. It would probably have disappeared on the cutting room floor.
After the series was aired it was widely criticized, and justifiably so. It wasn’t complete truth or history. In fact it may have indirectly helped to contribute to the rise of the Southern Heritage Movement, which was surely not its intent.
However, the establishment “historians” keep right on trying. They persist in pouring out reams of literary fertilizer and labeling it all as history. In recent years, however, they have been getting a little pushback. In 1993 the Kennedy Brothers came out with their book The South Was Right. Later they did Was Jefferson Davis Right? Since then they have done many more, their latest being Yankee Empire. And a few years ago Donnie Kennedy and I did Lincoln’s Marxists.
Other authors have given us much accurate information for those who are willing to read and learn. Thomas DiLorenzo gave us The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked. Gene Kizer Jr. has written Slavery Was Not The Cause Of The War Between The States and Dr. Boyd Cathey has just recently had published The Land We Love–The South and Its Heritage. There are many others, so many I can’t begin to list them all and they all deal with the real truth about the War, the reasons for it and many of the personalities involved and suffice it to say, their accounts differ significantly from the duplicitous narratives we still continue to see pushed as part of the continuous establishment and media deceit. For those who want the truth there is now a large body of literature out there you can go to in order to get it.