Abe Lincoln: Racist or Liberator?

Candidate Lincoln’s 1858 remarks on Race during a series of four (4) debate where Douglas accused him of being an Abolitionist, active miscegenation  … Versus President Lincoln’s lesson to the nation in his 1963 Inaugural  address in middle of civil war

In the fourth (4th) debate with (Judge) Stephen Douglas, Lincoln’s prepared remarks were to argue / defend against being sucked into a long running argument between  Douglass and another  jurist who said he could present evidence that Douglas had stricken a paragraph from a proposed Kansas State Constitution,  the effect of that omission, would  allow the state constitution to become law WITHOUT the vote of the people.

But because Douglas was also campaigning to make and enforces laws against inter-racial marriage, and had accused Lincoln of conversing and fraternizing with Negroes,
Lincoln, possibly with his famed wry humor, does make these popular racist statements FOLLOWED by (a) suggesting Douglas stay in state senate where such laws could be enacted and NOT in Federal office where they can not  be legislated (b) and because in his 50 years he has never owned a  slave nor a Negro wife, therefore sees NO reason for a new Law to be written to prevent either… (obliquely arguing against Douglas’ party’s repressive racism)

“…Mr. Lincoln simply contented himself at the outset by saying, that he was not in favor of social and political equality between the white man and the negro, and did not desire the law so changed as to make the latter voters or eligible to office. I am glad that I have at last succeeded in getting an answer out of him upon this question

of Negro citizenship and eligibility to office, for I have been trying to bring him to the point on it ever since this canvass commenced.

You see these people are “Black Republicans” or “Abolitionists” up north, while at Springfield today, they dare not call their Convention “Republican,” but are obliged to say “a Convention of all men opposed to the Democratic party,” ..

  • THEN AFTER Candidate Lincoln is elected, and AFTER 3 painful years of bloody internecine slaughter President Lincoln says:  2 

…These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. A

ll knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. …It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

What changed?  Did Candidate Lincoln change his view as President Lincoln?
If he did, is that a change of heart, even justice, that we can be proud of before Our Maker?
If not, who among US can defend our accusation before God against a fellow human ago  who 170 years ago, served wholeheartedly, who was killed by a southerner, denigrated as an Abolitionist both before he was President and by his assassin’s generation, ironically still disparaged in the 21st Century both by white southerners and the BLM organization??


  1. National Park Service ( Second Inaugural Address, 1862 )  (Lincoln-Douglas debate $4)
  2. Lincoln-Douglas Debate
  3. Appropro of popular post-bellum sentiment was the controversial inter-racial marriage of Frederick Douglass (no known relationship to Stephen Douglas) to blue-blood Abolitionist Helen Pitts in possibly the first inter-racial marriage of the intelligentsia, opposed by Blacks and Whites abolitionists.
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