[Marxism] Eric Foner letter on Lincoln

DCQ davecq at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 3 10:10:41 MST 2012

Are we really basing entire political judgments on single quotes? Ugh, fine I'll play.

Lou's Lincoln quote is from 1858. Here's him addressing freed slaves in Virginia 1865 immediately after the end of the war:

"In reference to you, colored people, let me say God has made you free. Although you have been deprived of your God-given rights by your so-called masters, you are now as free as I am, and if those that claim to be your superiors do not know that you are free, take the sword and bayonet and teach them that you are."

Of course, reality is more complex than either single quote, but if we're going to call ourselves historical materialists, then we should at least try to understand/explain the process of how he goes from one to the other.

Frankly, the idea that Lincoln was just another white supremacist president in the long line of them is just as stupid as the idea that he was an angel in an equally long line of same. Neither understands history. And further, the "just another racist" theory is politically demotivating, chalking up all change to nefarious people in control behind the scenes manipulating the ignorant masses for their own ends, denigrating any "impure" political change--let alone a world historic revolution--as essentially meaningless.


On Dec 1, 2012, at 5:03 PM, Louis Proyect wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
> On 12/1/12 4:55 PM, Jon Flanders wrote:
>> At any rate, both acknowledge Lincoln's contribution, no support in
>> either for the bout of Lincoln bashing that Spielberg's film seems to
>> have generated in some quarters of the left.
> Look, these are Lincoln's words--posted as a comment on my blog:
> “I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races–that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
> Hoisted on his own petard. Ironically, Lincoln got his way in the end. The slaves were freed but then turned into a kind of new slave through debt peonage, prison labor, etc. Now that I am retired, I have time to read a shitload of books I bought over the years. This one is high on my list:
> http://www.slaverybyanothername.com/ 
>> With co-workers saying that the film made them want to know more about
>> US history, I'm happy, whatever the Hollywood liberalism inevitable in
>> it.
> Refer them to Oliver Stone's series.
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