by Al Benson Jr.
Those who have done research on Abraham Lincoln and his socialist proclivities realize he has been embraced by socialists, communists, and other left-wing types. This is common knowledge among many people. What is not always common knowledge, though, is that Lincoln, with all his socialist connections, is somehow still an icon of the right. That fact displays the large probability that those on the right have been taught bad history and had their historical understanding tampered with, which weakens their position.
Lincoln’s love affair with the left has been noted in an article on 2/20/23 on http://www.jacobin.com which notes that Abraham Lincoln is a hero of the left. The article states: “From Karl Marx to Eugene Debs to 1930s American Communists, leftists have regarded Lincoln as a pro-labor hero who played a crucial role in vanquishing chattel slavery. We should celebrate him today as part of the great radical democratic tradition.” If what this writer says is true, then Lincoln would have loved China Joe Biden and what he is doing to the country now.
The writer does not claim Lincoln was a socialist, but nonetheless, he grasped the “general concept” of socialism: the primacy of labor over capital and of liberty over property. The article continued: “Proclaiming ‘communism is 20th century Americanism’ leaders increasingly paired Lincoln with black abolitionists including Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, and Sojurner Truth…” If only those people had been aware of Lincoln’s racist turn of mind they might have taken a different tack. Their “hero” would probably have balked at being placed in the company of black abolitionists.
In actuality, Abraham Lincoln never freed a single slave. His “Emancipation Proclamation only applied to slaves in the Confederate States and it left slaves in slave states still in the Union in bondage. There were five slave states in the Union, including West Virginia, that the proclamation did not apply to. The slaves in those states were technically not freed until the passage of the 13th Amendment, which came months after Lincoln departed this mortal coil. So Lincoln was not really opposed to slavery–unless it was Confederate slavery. He was okay with Union slavery. All the hype about him being the “Great Emancipator” is something we could label as “specious humbug.”
Most on the left, and many on the right, don’t like to hear the truth about Lincoln. In an article on http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org for 3/14/22 Dr. Boyd Cathey observed: “Since then (1981) criticism of Lincoln is not acceptable, not tolerated by mainstream conservatives. Instead the conservative establishment now heralds such neo-Reconstructionist historians as Allen Guelzo or even Marxist Eric Foner (a favorite of Karl Rove). Any dissent from the virtual cannonization of Lincoln with contemporary American society comes from mostly Southern traditionalists and their allies…”
Dr. Cathey is right. When I wrote for the old National Educator newspaper back in the 1980s and 90s I did a series of articles on Lincoln and his socialist connections. The people that complained the loudest were patriotic conservatives who were ticked off at my telling the truth about their patron political saint. They didn’t want to be exposed to the blemishes of their “conservative” hero! They refused to be confronted with the facts! Many staunch conservatives today still think today he actually freed the slaves!
In an article by Claude S. Fischer on 4/5/2011 on http://www.madeinamericathebook.wordpress.com it was noted that “During just one term (plus 45 days) Lincoln managed to do the following, ‘socialist-communist acts: taxed the wealth creators…exploded deficit spending…led a federal takeover of currency and banks…forced people to work for the federal government…indulged in government giveaways to special interests…expropriated private property for redistribution…”
Joe Biden would have loved him except for his party label. But, you have to remember that in the mid 1800s the Republicans were socialists and the Democrats were conservatives. Today, both parties are socialist–Council on Foreign Relations socialists!