What if you were told that the revered leader Abraham Lincoln was actually a political tyrant who stifled his opponents by suppressing their civil rights? What if you learned that the man so affectionately referred to as the "Great Emancipator" supported white supremacy and pledged not to interfere with slavery in the South? Would you suddenly start to question everything you thought you knew about Lincoln and his presidency?
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, who ignited a fierce debate about Lincoln's legacy with his book The Real Lincoln, now presents a litany of stunning new revelations that explode the most enduring (and pernicious) myths about our sixteenth president. Marshaling an astonishing amount of new evidence, Lincoln Unmasked offers an alarming portrait of a political manipulator and opportunist who bears little resemblance to the heroic, stoic, and principled figure of mainstream history.
Did you know that Lincoln . . .
* did NOT save the union? In fact, Lincoln did more than any other individual to destroy the voluntary union the Founding Fathers recognized.
* did NOT want to free the slaves? Lincoln, who did not believe in equality of the races, wanted the Constitution to make slavery "irrevocable."
* was NOT a champion of the Constitution? Contrary to his high-minded rhetoric, Lincoln repeatedly trampled on the Constitution--and even issued an arrest warrant for the chief justice of the United States!
* was NOT a great statesman? Lincoln was actually a warmonger who manipulated his own people into a civil war.
* did NOT utter many of his most admired quotations? DiLorenzo exposes a legion of statements that have been falsely attributed to Lincoln for generations--usually to enhance his image.
In addition to detailing Lincoln's offenses against the principles of freedom, equality, and states' rights, Lincoln Unmasked exposes the vast network of academics, historians, politicians, and other "gatekeepers" who have sanitized his true beliefs and willfully distorted his legacy. DiLorenzo reveals how the deification of Lincoln reflects a not-so-hidden agenda to expand the size and scope of the American state far beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned--an expansion that Lincoln himself began.
The hagiographers have shaped Lincoln's image to the point that it has become more fiction than fact. With Lincoln Unmasked, DiLorenzo shows us an Abraham Lincoln without the rhetoric, lies, and political bias that have clouded a disastrous president's enduring damage to the nation.
In this laughable screed, a senior fellow at the libertarian/free market Ludwig von Mises Institute charges that most scholars of the Civil War are part of a "Lincoln cult" and determined to fool the American public into thinking that our 16th president was a hero. At the root of the author's loathing of Lincoln is an ideological commitment to states' sovereignty, a doctrine largely undone by the Civil War. DiLorenzo believes that the centralized nation-state that emerged after the war is incompatible with true democracy. His supposed revelations--that Northerners owned slaves into the 19th century; that Lincoln advocated the relocation of black Americans to Liberia; that Lincoln did not, at the outset of the war, aim to end slavery--are well known to anyone who has read one of the many recent books on Lincoln. But Lincoln is not DiLorenzo's real target; he saves his most vitriolic bombast for the scholars who dominate American universities (most notably Eric Foner) and who, he charges, are "cover-up artists" and "propagandists." DiLorenzo accuses them of using their Lincoln mythology to advocate big government and other "imperialistic" and "totalitarian" policies. DiLorenzo accuses the "cultists" of having a political agenda. He may well be hoisted by his own petard. (Oct.)
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November 26, 2007
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Excerpt from Lincoln Unmasked by Thomas DiLorenzo
1 Challenging the Gatekeepers When President Reagan nominated Professor Mel Bradford of the University of Dallas to head the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1981, a group of intellectuals with influence in the administration waged a fierce campaign against the nomination. Their chief complaint was: “He’s anti-Lincoln!” Professor Bradford, an expert in the use of rhetoric, had dared to criticize some of Lincoln’s deceptive political language in peer-reviewed academic journal articles.1 Professor Bradford’s opponents apparently considered this blasphemous and conducted a vicious political campaign against him. They stooped so low as to spread false rumors that he was a Hitler admirer.2 Professor Bradford (who passed away in 1993) eventually withdrew his name in disgust. His opponents prevailed; there would be no challenge to the popular view of Abraham Lincoln. Things have not changed much in the academic world since the Bradford affair. I have been subjected to similar calumny and name-calling, as has anyone else who attempts to deviate from the Official Truth. Lincoln has been portrayed as a saint, and his defenders are so sanctimonious that they consider themselves to be self-appointed Gatekeepers of the Truth. They do whatever is necessary to keep unflattering information about Lincoln from the public. If they do dare to mention such facts, they spin their statements to mislead, misinform, and confuse the reader. One has to wonder: What purpose does all this deception and misinformation serve? If Lincoln was such a saint, why can’t his record speak for itself? The gatekeepers constitute what I call the Lincoln cult. It is mostly composed of academics who have spent their careers carrying on the deification of Abraham Lincoln that began with the New England clergy (and the Republican Party) of the late nineteenth century. As a rule, they ignore unpleasant facts about Lincoln, such as his suspension of habeas corpus, his imprisonment of tens of thousands of Northern political opponents during the War between the States, his shutting down of hundreds of opposition newspapers, his micromanagement of the bombing of Southern cities and the waging of war on civilians, his pledge to support a constitutional amendment prohibiting the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery, and his lifelong white supremacist views. If they do mention such things at all, it is only to make voluminous excuses for them or to denounce others who address them in their writing.3 According to Webster’s College Dictionary, a cult is “a group that devotes itself to or venerates a person, ideal, fad, etc.” or “a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist.” The Lincoln cult is interested not so much in research and education about Lincoln and the war—about discovering historical truth—but in maintaining a largely false image of the man whom they call “Father Abraham” and compare to Jesus and Moses. The rest of the academic world engages in vigorous debate and discussion of myriad issues every day; that’s what academic freedom is supposed to be all about. But when it comes to the subject of Lincoln, no such debate is permitted by the gatekeepers. There have been heated debates over the legacies of all other presidents, be it Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Reagan, or Clinton, but no such debate is acceptable regarding Lincoln. One has to wonder: What are the gatekeepers afraid of? The so-called Lincoln scholars’ decidedly nonscholarly behavior is motivated primarily by academic self-interest. The academic gatekeepers are paid very well in their academic jobs, and through government and foundation grants as well. Th