[Marxism] Re: Lincoln as industrial capitalist

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sat May 28 21:04:20 MDT 2005

The Abraham Lincoln Papers are all online and posted at

A brief search will come up with many such quotations.

There's a similar quote from Lincoln's response to a delegation of
Cincinnati workingmen who met him here in February 1861, while he was
traveling to his inauguration.  They were headed by Fred Oberkline
(Oberklein), a local socialist émigré. 

Their statement was: "We, the German free workingmen of Cincinnati avail
ourselves of this opportunity to assure you, our chosen chief
magistrate, of our sincere and heartfelt regard. You earned our votes as
the Champion of free labor and free homesteads. Our vanquished opponents
have, in recent times, make frequent use of the terms, 'workingmen' and
'workingmen's meetings' in order to create an impression, as if the mass
of workingmen were in favor of Compromises between the interests of free
labor and slave labor, by which the victory just won would be turned
into a defeat. This is a despicable device of dishonest men. We spurn
such Compromises. We firmly adhere to the principles, which directed our
votes in your favor. We trust, that you, the self-reliant because self
made man, will uphold the Constitution and the laws against secret
treachery and avowed treason. If to this end you should be in need of
men, the German free working men, with others, will rise as one man at
your call, ready to risk their lives in the effort to maintain the
victory already won by freedom over Slavery."

...and they made good on this commitment several times over, notably in
raising much of what became the Ninth Ohio among the unions of the city.
Their adjutant was the editor of the _Republikaner_ and the convicted
Cologne Communist, August Willich.

Lincoln was asked about the New England shoe strike on March 5, 1860,
while visiting his son at college.  He declined to discuss its
particulars on the grounds that he knew nothing of the issues at stake.
He added: "I know one thing.  There is a strike! And I am glad to know
that there is a system of labor where the laborer can strike if he wants
to! I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world."
(_The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln_, ed., Roy P. Basler (9 vols.;
New Brunswick NJ ,Rutgers University Press 1953-55), IV, 7.

At some point, we'll just have to make the time to take on a lot of the
liberal (and basically reactionary) silliness about Lincoln....

Mark L.

More information about the Marxism mailing list