To the Editor:
Writer Ryan Madden [“Kneeling during the National Anthem,” Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, Oct. 19] is proud of our country’s past, present and future. I’m happy for him. I’ll admit that I’m a bit more concerned than he is, but that’s not why I write.
Mr. Madden’s brief reference to the war between the Union and the Confederate states from 1861 to 1865 is that it was fought over slavery and that the argument for states’ rights is revisionist. I could list a dozen or more factual, historical and documented reasons, some from President Abraham Lincoln himself, why that’s probably not true. I’d welcome the opportunity to show my list should anyone ask, but now I’ll simply honor Mr. Madden’s brevity by saying that slavery ended as one of the several outfall results of the war, but the war certainly was not fought over it.
There’s an obvious contradiction between those who worship Lincoln and deplore racism at the same time. If you decry racism, as Mr. Madden and most of us do, you cannot like Lincoln. Lincoln, by today’s standards, would be considered a white supremacist of the most vile type. He termed whites superior in all respects, said that the two races could never live together as equals in the same society and favored deporting all freedmen when slavery should end. He went on to say that one race must be superior to the other and that he favored the white race to be the superior one. [Lincoln-Douglas debates].
Further, Lincoln not only vowed to keep hands off slavery, he supported and may have even composed, a proposed constitutional amendment [Corwin amendment] making slavery perpetual. Educated blacks know that Lincoln was not their friend.
It was only Lincoln’s assassination that halted mass deportation of all freedmen and allowed his surviving radical cabinet to instead end slavery seven months after the war’s end by constitutional amendment and grant franchised citizenship to all freedmen to keep themselves in office. [“forty acres and a mule”].
In other words, slavery really ended in this country not for humane reasons, but instead for political reasons only. Are we proud of that?
Slaves “stolen” from Africa? The proper use of the term “stolen” would apply only to the fact that they were captured during tribal warfare, blacks vs. blacks, then sold to the black slave traders for sale to the outside world. From our standpoint, they were “purchased”, not stolen. And they would have sold us all we’d take. Africa, perhaps the richest continent on the face of the earth in terms of mineral wealth, has sadly instead used its human population as its primary export since before the days of the Egyptian empire. I believe that we could find a more appropriate term to use than “stolen.”