A Summary of: Lincoln Unmasked. What you are not supposed to know about Dishonest Abe
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Compiled and Edited by
Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume
Lincoln imprisoned tens of thousands of Northern political dissenters, including newspaper editors and owners, without due process. After the war the Supreme Court ruled that these actions were illegal. But, in recent days, Lincoln cultists have invoked Lincoln’s imprisoning of political opponents as a part of their case for intimidating opponents of the war in Iraq. In 2005 and 2006, the “conservative” Heritage Foundation’s townhall.com published a number of articles that called for sedition trials of citizens who openly opposed the war in Iraq. To make their case, they invoked the Lincoln precedent of imprisoning opponents of his war.
“Exhibit A” of the Lincoln cultists’ case for imprisoning congressional war opponents is Ohio congressman Clement L. Vallandigham. Vallandigham was appalled and outraged at Lincoln’s illegal suspension of habeas corpus and his mass arrest of political opponents. The congressman’s alleged “act of treason” was a speech he made condemning Lincoln’s “persistent infractions of the Constitution.”
Vallandigham said that the Lincoln usurpations were all done, not to “save the union” but to advance the cause of “national banks… and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous peculation… and strong government… no more State lines… and a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism.”
The Lincoln administration charged that these speeches discouraged Ohio boys from joining the military and worse, they encouraged desertion and were therefore treasonous.
Lincoln made a big deal out of handing Vallandigham over to the Confederates who wanted nothing to do with a congressman who favored uniting the North and South. So, Vallandigham lived in exile in Canada for the rest of the war.
The propaganda arm of Lincoln’s Republican Party (known as the “Union League”) was busy spreading incendiary, hateful, and false propaganda about administration opponents. Historian Frank Klement (who spent his career researching “Copperheads,” the defamatory name that Lincoln gave to his Northern political opponents) documented a number of falsehoods that were spread about Vallandigham to “justify” his deportation—Union League forged letters and other documents as well as bizarre lies spread about the man.
Interestingly, the primary source for a 2003 Insight article (that was a clear attempt to intimidate congressional war opponents) was the 1863 publication, “The Truth from an Honest Man: The Letter of the President” which was published and distributed by the Union League. It would seem that, whenever anyone wants to defend the worst kinds of civil liberties abuses, they typically cite Lincoln’s precedents as “proof” that the abuses are legitimate and moral.
In the same way, Michelle Malkin defended Roosevelt’s imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II in her book Defense of Internment. Actually, the book is a defense of suspending habeas corpus in the name of waging “the war on terror.” In a recent interview about the book Malkin stated, “Lincoln suspended habeas corpus which enabled him to detain thousands of rebels and subversives without access to judges.” Of course, the implication is that it is okay to do it again today.
Also, another falsehood is that the Northern citizens who were imprisoned were “rebels and subversives.” The truth is that anyone who opposed the administration was threatened including elected officials, newspaper editors, and ordinary citizens. Lincoln himself argued that anyone who remained silent and did not publicly support his administration should be subject to imprisonment. In other words, anyone who did not publicly support his ideas was a traitor. Nothing could be any more tyrannical than punishing silence as a crime.
Pro-administration newspaper editors were recruited as a spy network. Whenever a newspaper editor wanted to cause trouble, the network would “suggest him as a candidate for Fort Lafayette,” the government’s gulag for political prisoners in New York harbor.
Whenever congressmen request information about constituents who were suspected of being imprisoned, Lincoln would simply say that it was against the “public interest” to supply such information.
Lincoln intimidated the Supreme Court by ignoring its rulings concerning his placing federal judges under house arrest, illegally suspending habeas corpus, and even issuing an arrest warrant for the chief justice. It wasn’t until after the war that the Court regained the courage to state the obvious—that “it is precisely in times of national emergencies, such as a war, that civil liberties must be defended and protected. If not, then government will be given an incentive to constantly create crises, or perceptions of crises, as a means of grabbing more and more power.”
The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.
You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty and The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic.