Monday, December 24, 2007

Ron Paul's Bizarre Opinion On Lincoln And Civil War


Presidential candidate and Republican Congressman Ron Paul appeared on yesterday's "Meet The Press" for an interview held by Tim Russert. Congressman Paul has been running a somewhat dark horse campaign for president, but has recently been the recipient of millions of dollars from Internet contributions from his fans. Paul is running on "freedom," and back-to-basics tenets which appeal to some among the populace.

However, Congressman Paul uttered some shocking, if not downright bizarre, comments yesterday during his interview. He claimed that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had everything to do with government taking over property rights and nothing to do with race relations. He claimed that Ronald Reagan was a "failure" because he didn't bring down the federal government to "constitutional levels," whatever that means.

Even more surprising and dismaying to me is Congressman Paul's complete lack of understanding about Abraham Lincoln and the reasons for the Civil War. Paul stated in the interview "Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war…. [President Abraham Lincoln] did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic," Paul said. "Every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach."

Let's dissect this. Paul claims that Lincoln started the Civil War. In a matter of weeks after Lincoln was elected president, southern states began seceding from the Union. In his first inaugural address, Lincoln told the south that in their hands, not his, lay the "momentous decision of Civil War." The South responded by attacking federal government property, culminating with the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Dr. Paul either buys into neo-Confederate beliefs about the war or shows a complete lack of knowledge about it.

Additionally, anyone with even a basic knowledge of Lincoln and the Civil War understands that Lincoln's goal was to preserve the Union, not to end slavery, at least in the beginning of the war. Lincoln himself stated that if he could preserve the union by freeing all the slaves he would do so. Or if he could leave slavery intact and preserve the union, he would do that as well. And if he could save the union by freeing some slaves while leaving others alone, he would do that.

Paul also apparently buys into the commonly misheld belief that all the U.S. government had to do at the time was to buy all the slaves held in the south and that would've solved the problem. Again, he doesn't comprehend the issue. First of all, the southern states were such fervent believers in "states' rights" that they wanted NO interference from the federal government of any kind with their "peculiar institution." The southern states wanted the right to maintain, and even expand, slavery wherever they wished. Secondly, slavery was a critical part of the southern economy, which was after all mostly agricultural. Plantation owners and smaller-scale farmers strongly believed they could not afford to pay free labor for their operations.

Abraham Lincoln did not start the Civil War. Buying slaves and then freeing them wasn't possible in the charged political atmosphere of the times.

Congressman Paul displays a shocking lack of knowledge about the history of his own country and espouses extreme and inaccurate views about other events in our history as well. It's disturbing to me that such a candidate would be considered for the highest office in our land.

Paul isn't the only current candidate for president to either compare himself to Lincoln or be compared to Lincoln by others. Here's my post about Obama and here is one on Giuliani.

17 comments:

KineticReaction said...

If you don't know what bringing a government down to "constitutional levels" means, you are ignorant about the Constitution and need to study up.

The federal government does not have Constitutional authority to fund health care or create a department of education. These are all state functions.

The purpose of the Constitution was to bind the States into a tight union that guarantees all citizens their liberty, freedom of movement throughout the states, and mutual protection from threats emanating from outside the union, while leaving domestic policy for each individual state to figure out on its own.

Geoff Elliott said...

Then by all means be sure to refuse your social security when you retire, because the Federal Government has no business providing retirement support to we the people. That's nowhere in the Constitution either.

With such a poor sense of his country's history, Paul has no business being put in charge. He either has a warped sense of history or he has a warped sense of government. In either case, he would be bad for the country.

JaffaCakes said...

Well said, my child. I too have corrected Mr. Paul's misconceptions of a very necessary and momentous war of liberation by the Great Emancipator. May its wisdom enrich your own.

Sarah said...

It really bothers me that someone, especially a presidential candidate, can be so ignorant when it comes to the history of our country and the Constitution.

WeThePeople said...

I have to say, Dr. Paul's message has been appealing to me in light of our country's current situation both at home and abroad. But I am currently a history major in college, and to hear such an ignorant and blatant disreguard of our nation's history (especially such a large and important chapter as the Civil War)is quite frightening to hear coming from a presidential candidate who just broke the all-time fundraising record for one day. I also heard his negative remarks about the Civil Rights Act, stating that it didn't really have a positive impact on race relations in the country.

Unfortunately, having looked further into this man's fundamentals, I cannot say I am surprised. After all, this rather idiotic statement comes from the same man who voted against giving Rosa Parks a congressional medal because "it used tax-payer dollars"

OdensRavens said...

Wow...Ron Paul needs to take some history courses.

Anonymous said...

I am no fan of any government, leastwise the Washington D.C.terrorist regime. Yet, I am serious about the possibility that Ron Paul can actually bring about some positive changes to our socialist/communistic crew of sycophants in positions of responsibility.

I don't believe that Dr. Paul, in his comments, got to the part of the imprisonment of newspaper editors, senators, all people disagreeing with his Northern attack on the Southern States.

Do remember, history buffs, that Lincoln was a corporate lawyer for many years and if memory serves me he even worked on the part of a slave owner trying to regain a slave that had escaped to Illinois - in the Supreme Court. Lincoln was part of the crew that was agreeable to deporting the slaves back to Africa - except a great number were free businessmen in the north.

The so called civil war was not started for freeing the slaves. In the beginning it was about the southern states being free of duties that kept them from developing an industrial base - slave states of the northern industrialists. The practice of allowing the wealthy to "buy" out of serving in the invasion of the Southern states for $300 led to phenomenal riots and many deaths in the north. Then Lincoln and his buddies had to find another issue to mobilize the slav..err people of the North - Slavery, that would do it.

To make sure he had Missouri in the North he guaranteed them that they could keep their slaves! Lincoln was, unfortunately, a rubbish president and no hero.

Ron Paul is more ethical in his background and attitude than Lincoln ever proved to be.

DangerMouse said...

Anonymous,

What can I say. Your ignorance is monumental.

Read Lincoln's Cooper Union speech. It sets completed explains his attitude toward slavery. He felt the federal government had no right to interfere with it where it existed when the constitution was adopted. But he believed that the federal government had the right, and the moral obligation, to keep it out of the territories.

The struggle over the extension of slavery into the territories (e.g. the Kansas-Nebraska Act) was the proximate cause of the Civil War. Apologists for the Confederate traitors have argued otherwise - but their arguments have always been transparent BS.

Ron Paul is an effing nutcase.

Tranquil Thunder said...

A brief answer to many of the issues raised here...

While it is true that the Federal Government has no business providing retirement support, they also had no business taking my money to fund it. When they return that to me, I'll gladly refuse my social security.

The "necessary and momentous war of liberation" was started over the issue of states rights. Slavery became the cause later. In the end, states rights were tremendously diminished, leading eventually to the huge federal government we have today.

Ron Paul is anything but ignorant when it comes to the history of our country and the Constitution. He seems to be the only one in congress that has bothered to read it.

It is true that Ron Paul voted against giving Rosa Parks a congressional medal because "it used tax-payer dollars." He votes against taxpayer financing of just about everything because it's unconstitutional. You should relate the rest of the story: Ron Paul stated that the medal for Rosa Parks is a worthy cause and suggested each congressman pony up $100 of his own money to fund it--and he wanted to be the first contributor.

"Ron Paul is more ethical in his background and attitude than Lincoln ever proved to be." Well said.

Anonymous said...

While slavery was intertwined in the reasons for the "Civil War," it was not about "freeing the slaves" as is naively taught in school.
The North was industrializing and the population (esp. in the Midwest states like Ohio and Indiana) was growing rapidly and, consequently, their power (and the power of a strong federal gvmt.) which they supported was increasingly.
The North used the power of the federal gvmt. to impose tariffs. Because the Southern economy was agrarian and relied more on trade, over 80% of the taxes came from the less populous South for the federal gvmt.
As much as Lincoln was known for being anti-slavery, he was also known for being pro-tariff. These tariffs were helpful to the large northern industries, which bankrolled the Republican party that kept them in place.
In short, the South was culturally, economically distinct from the North and gained nothing from being part of the Union. The North had everything to gain by maintaining the Union.
The position of states' rights was clearly the understanding of the majority of the Founding Fathers. In fact, the colonies of Virginia and New York only adopted the constitution with the explicit guarantee that they could seceed if they later changed their minds.
The Supreme Court cleared Jefferson Davis of all charges of treason after the war because there was nothing in the Consitution from preventing a state from opting out.
Ron Paul represents nothing more than a modern-day resurrection of the Jeffersonian, pro-states rights--which is also the constitutional--position. The fact that so few seem to understand this shows how the mythology of "Lincoln freeing the slaves and saving the Union" has become history.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Robert E Lee freed his slaves before the Civil War.
Fact: Ulysses S. Grant had slaves at the conclusion of the war.
Fact: The Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in the North or the border states (Missouri, Kentucky, etc.). It only freed them in the seceeding states, which the North did not control at the time.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_4_55/ai_59110854

Anonymous said...

You all need a history course if you believe the war was over slavery.

Shawn said...

I didn't graduate from high school and until recently knew very little about politics. I can still be considered quite ignorant in this arena. (Maybe even "child-like".) Two months ago a friend sent me a link to a movie called "Zeitgeist" which lead me to a Google search to learn more about the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul's name popped up everywhere I looked. Then I found out he was running for president. My Google searches then lead me to this page. I've never heard a politician say anything that caught my attention in my life. I've never even registered to vote.

I understand exactly why Ron Paul voted against giving Rosa Parks a medal and I understand his views on Lincoln. I also believe that these two people were two of the most courageous people who ever walked.

There are growing masses just like me jumping on the band-wagon. And we know he won't be our next president.

Ryanaldo said...

It is certain that the North fought for the tentative end of slavery. No matter how many shades of rhetoric Lincoln had to use to convince people to support this, that was his ultimate goal. Pro-confederate revisionists may nitpick aspects of Lincoln's campaign, but it was without a doubt Lincolns ultimate goal to end slavery.

The South fought to extend slavery indefinitely. The south wasn't fighting for freedom, whether at a constitutional level or a state level. Political correctness is the process of being less than honest to avoid hurting peoples feelings. most people would feel like jerks if they fought to preserve slavery and then lost.

The north may have been more industrial, but it was also more agricultural. There were plenty of farms throughout the North and west: they ran just fine without slavery. and Europe bought more northern wheat and corn than it bought southern cotton and tobacco. The Confederate South represented the worst of Feudal Europe---serfdom and slavery.

Toby said...

Anonymous,

the canard about Ulyssess Grant and slavery has been refuted so many times that you really should know better. See Brooks Simpson's recent biography.

Grant did come into possession of a slave through his wife in the 1850s. He freed the man without delay, even though he could have sold him for cash that he badly needed. Grant yields nothing to Lee when it comes to slavery.

IMR2D2 said...

Re the original article:

"Paul claims that Lincoln started the Civil War. In a matter of weeks after Lincoln was elected president, southern states began seceding from the Union. In his first inaugural address, Lincoln told the south that in their hands, not his, lay the "momentous decision of Civil War." The South responded by attacking federal government property, culminating with the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Dr. Paul either buys into neo-Confederate beliefs about the war or shows a complete lack of knowledge about it."

Or maybe YOU do, since every state was sovereign under the Constitution-- NOT subordinate. Lincoln fabricated his own version of history which went against everything the Founders and international treaty expressly stated, twisting every word they said-- while selectively cherry-picking only those words he COULD twist.

Let me be clear: the states did NOT form a single sovereign nation-- they were EACH sovereign nations unto themselves. And so they COULD secede from the United States, just like England can secede from the United Nations.

You've simply been brainwashed by the programming instilled by Lincoln's empire, taking oaths of alleigance TO it from back while you were stil believing in Stanta Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

Well guess what: NONE of them are real.

IMR2D2 said...

P.S. Lincoln didn't just threaten the South with "invasion" and "bloodshed" in order to "collect taxes;" his words; he made good on these threats in April, ordering war-ships into South Carolina territory which were turned back at several points, and which blockaded Charleston Harbor. It was only at this point that the South captured Fort Sumter in order to help hostile trespassers to leave their country, who refused to do so on their own.
So there you have it: Lincoln declared and threatened war on a sovereign nation, and they exercised their right and duty to defend that sovereignty against a marauding invader.
If you're old enough to remember recent history, you'll recall that Saddam Hussein made the same claims as Lincoln over Kuwait when he likewise invaded and conquered that nation; fortunately, people had matured enough not to buy it, despite the two situations being fundamentally identical.

By your logic, however, there ARE no conquests of sovereign nations; only "civil wars." When Saddam Hussein conquered Kuwait, that was a "civil war." When Hitler conquered Poland, that was a "civil war." And when Lenin conqured the Baltics, that was a "civil war."

Here's a EVERY conquering invader, claims that his victim-nation belongs to his own empire by right.

But no, you say: "everyone KNOWS" that Lincoln was right!
Why, because you were NURSED on that claim? Wake up, grow up, and WISE up-- history is written by the victors, and taught to the babies before they can talk.

I doubt you've done much research into the original intentions and meanings of the Foudners and their documents, as well as the People of each state.
So do your homework, or else you'll repeat history... regardless of what grade you get in it.

 
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