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Subject: Rethinkin Abe Lincoln : A discussion on the worst president in our history. rss

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jeremy cobert
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On the eve of the the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and before Obama makes the customary speech that all presidents do from Gettysburg, I thought we could take time and talk about some of the negatives that they don't teach you in high school.

Now most people learn that he was a gentle warrior poet who "held the union together" or that he fought a war to "free the slaves". While that is a feel good tale that the victors of that war often told , let's look at some the moves Lincoln made that your average dictator would cringe at doing.


I will try to post my reason individually, other wise the topic will become a cluster of unreadable attacks (insert joke here) and as always, lets keep it classy !

1. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus without the consent of Congress as was required by the Constitution.

A move that would be unthinkable today. Bush used it for the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for "unlawful enemy combatants" but Lincoln used it to lock up American Citizen.

If GWB is slammed for this, then we also need to hold Lincoln in the same if not worse regard.
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R. Frazier
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Do you really think "an average dictator" would cringe at temporarily suspending the writ of Habeus Corpus in a moment of national crisis?

Which dictator are you thinking of specifically?
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M C
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Yeah, and during WWII we imprisoned all American citizen's of Japanese dissent living on the west coast of the United States in internment camps. Strangely, we didn't do the same thing with German or Italian Americans on the east coast.

This country has a history of doing things during war that would not be legal in hindsight or outside the crisis.

Suspending habeas during a civil war is not shocking to me, nor do I believe it would make a dictator cringe in the slightest.

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CHAPEL
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Being on the wrong side of the law, but on the right side of history gives him a pass.

I mean, come on, if the U.S. lost the Revolutionary war, the authors of the Declaration of Independence today would have been branded enemy insurgents and you would be having tea in about 10 minutes.
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Ken
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jeremycobert wrote:
1. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus without the consent of Congress as was required by the Constitution.


Please point to the specific article of the Constitution that vests this power solely in the Congress. Further, please point to any decisions by a court regarding the use of such power that would be precedent supporting such limitation. Finally, please cite another period in history where an internal rebellion occurred making the use of such a power a legitimate exercise of authority by any branch of government.

Lincoln lost the federal court case regarding this, rescinded the order in 1862, and even received Congressional authorization to Issue it again in 1863. This was an extraordinary period in US history and what you are citing is a highly controversial decision that constitutional scholars continue to debate today. The Supreme Court didn't actually rule on this case until four years after the war ended (Lincoln would have lost) and the federal courts took literally no further action on the matter after the initial case (Merryman, if I recall correctly).

Quote:
Bush used it for the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for "unlawful enemy combatants" but Lincoln used it to lock up American Citizen.


No, that wasn't the argument used by the Bush administration at all.

Is this Lincoln's best and brightest? No. Did he abuse said power to, for example, jail political opponents? Not unless their opposition included actively interfering with the conduct of the war. Was this a settled matter in terms of US law at the time? No. Is it settled now as a result of Lincoln's actions? Yes.

It's a black mark, but there's a lot on Lincoln's record that does more than offset it.
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Junior McSpiffy
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utoption2 wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Being on the wrong side of the law, but on the right side of history gives him a pass.

I mean, come on, if the U.S. lost the Revolutionary war, the authors of the Declaration of Independence today would have been branded enemy insurgents and you would be having tea in about 10 minutes.


Yes, Chapel, I have to agree with you. Evidently to Jeremy, though, freeing the slaves and keeping the Union together were of no consequence. Not surprising really.


It's the TP way... to define everything in the narrowest band to the exclusion of common sense.
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jeremy cobert
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utoption2 wrote:
freeing the slaves and keeping the Union together were of no consequence. Not surprising really.


Stay classy , remember ?

How were the slaves in Europe freed , were there a lot of European civil wars ?

Why did Lincoln say he would keep slavery to preserve the union in the Lincoln Douglas debates if he was truly a man worried about freeing the slaves ?
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Ken
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utoption2 wrote:
Yes, Chapel, I have to agree with you. Evidently to Jeremy, though, freeing the slaves and keeping the Union together were of no consequence. Not surprising really.


Just wait. At some point, his hit parade will very likely include "the southern states had the right and power to secede" and that Lincoln's use of force to retain them was an illegal act of war against a sovereign nation. Which is nonsense on about a dozen levels, but why not make that argument?
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Ken
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jeremycobert wrote:
Why did Lincoln say he would keep slavery to preserve the union in the Lincoln Douglas debates if he was truly a man worried about freeing the slaves ?


I think you're confusing the debates with his letter to Horace Greely.
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Shannon Kane
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People were threatening mass destruction and rioting in the streets, and Congress was out of session.

What would you have done instead that would have been such a better choice?
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This reminds me of the Mother Teresa stuff a while back. I don't care for this new trend of seeing historical figures as either all good, or all bad.
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jonnylawless wrote:
This reminds me of the Mother Teresa stuff a while back. I don't care for this new trend of seeing historical figures as either all good, or all bad.


But, but, but! But it's so much better for painting historical figures in a particular light to support your present-day partisan belief system!
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I can imagine someone arguing, with a straight face, that it is unfortunate Lincoln was not a good enough statesman to find a way to keep the Union together without a civil war, and that as a result of this failing he eventually had to make some very difficult choices that were, nevertheless, on him (so to speak).

But knowing what I do of history and of the culture in the South at that time, I am not sure that anyone then living was in a position to handle the crisis better than Lincoln did, while rather a lot of his contemporaries would almost certainly have handled it worse. The fact that he was assassinated when he was certainly sealed his legacy--he went out on a high note, which naturally colors how he has been perceived since. But while some people seem to think that the real or perceived failings of our country's greatest heroes somehow makes them not heroes at all, I am disinclined to take that approach.
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jeremy cobert
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Koldfoot wrote:
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.Nothing about congress.


I think you are referring to the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act 1863 ?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_Corpus_Suspension_Act_18...

however...
Quote:

Federal judge Roger Taney, the chief justice of the Supreme Court (and also the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision), issued a ruling that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln didn't respond, appeal, or order the release of Merryman. But during a July 4 speech, Lincoln was defiant, insisting that he needed to suspend the rules in order to put down the rebellion in the South.

Five years later, a new Supreme Court essentially backed Justice Taney's ruling: In an unrelated case, the court held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus and that civilians were not subject to military courts, even in times of war.


http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/president-lincoln...

I know that I am the dummiest dumb dumb head to ever post in RSP, but please try to stick to the topic at hand and dont fall for the strawmen being thrown up.

 
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William Boykin
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What Ken said.

Darilian
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jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.Nothing about congress.


I think you are referring to the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act 1863 ?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_Corpus_Suspension_Act_18...

however...
Quote:

Federal judge Roger Taney, the chief justice of the Supreme Court (and also the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision), issued a ruling that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln didn't respond, appeal, or order the release of Merryman. But during a July 4 speech, Lincoln was defiant, insisting that he needed to suspend the rules in order to put down the rebellion in the South.

Five years later, a new Supreme Court essentially backed Justice Taney's ruling: In an unrelated case, the court held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus and that civilians were not subject to military courts, even in times of war.


http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/president-lincoln...

I know that I am the dummiest dumb dumb head to ever post in RSP, but please try to stick to the topic at hand and dont fall for the strawmen being thrown up.



If Lincoln was such a 'dictator', then why did he allow elections in 1864? Elections that he and his party were terrified of losing? Elections where Lincoln and his conduct of the war- including the question of his expansive use of Habeas Corpus was the issue of the campaign?

And yet, this 'dictator' won that election, without fraud, without using the power of the Presidency to force state delegates to vote for him- as honest and clean an election as any in America in the 19th Century.

Things looked dark for the Union cause in the summer of 1864- if Lincoln was the terrible dictator that Southern and Copperhead rhetoric tried to make him out to be, why then did he allow those elections to occur?

The answer is simple- Lincoln realized that what he had done to defend the Constitution was contrary to the letter of that same document. Thus, he felt that it was necessary for him to stand for re-election. Did the People of the United States feel that his actions were warranted?

Ultimately, with the victories at Vicksburg and Atlanta, the American people gave their consent not only to the continuation of the war, but also to Lincoln's actions. What makes Lincoln 'great' was that he was willing to throw everything onto the court that mattered- the Court of the People. No dictator was Lincoln, except in the minds of those traitors who had seceded in order to continue the immoral practice of slavery for economic gain.

Darilian
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jeremy cobert
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perfalbion wrote:
Just wait. At some point, his hit parade will very likely include "the southern states had the right and power to secede" and that Lincoln's use of force to retain them was an illegal act of war against a sovereign nation. Which is nonsense on about a dozen levels, but why not make that argument?


Are you now arguing with yourself ? Making points for someone and then arguing against them, that's the first time I have ever seen that.



perfalbion wrote:
I think you're confusing the debates with his letter to Horace Greely.


Yes I was, thanks for assisting me. It was very classy of you.
 
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jeremy cobert
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Darilian wrote:
If Lincoln was such a 'dictator', then why did he allow elections in 1864?


Don't get ahead of yourself , nobody called Lincoln a dictator...

Please adjust your meds before jumping the gun.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
I mean, come on, if the U.S. lost the Revolutionary war, the authors of the Declaration of Independence today would have been branded enemy insurgents

I'd love to see a whole thread on this one. Fascinating question that gets to the heart of what America is about, I think.
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perfalbion wrote:
utoption2 wrote:
Yes, Chapel, I have to agree with you. Evidently to Jeremy, though, freeing the slaves and keeping the Union together were of no consequence. Not surprising really.


Just wait. At some point, his hit parade will very likely include "the southern states had the right and power to secede" and that Lincoln's use of force to retain them was an illegal act of war against a sovereign nation. Which is nonsense on about a dozen levels, but why not make that argument?

More please. Why shouldn't Lincoln have just let the South go? (I'm asking for the sake of argument...)
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jeremycobert wrote:
Darilian wrote:
If Lincoln was such a 'dictator', then why did he allow elections in 1864?


Don't get ahead of yourself , nobody called Lincoln a dictator...

Please adjust your meds before jumping the gun.


If you're going to be a Copperhead apologist, you better brush up on their rhetoric. After all, it was Clement Vallandigham, the first and most onery of the Copperheads, who
Quote:
...(f)ollowing the issuance by General Ambrose E. Burnside of General Order Number 38.... Vallandigham denounced the "wicked and cruel" war by which "King Lincoln" was "crushing out liberty and erecting a despotism."


p. 23, Vallandigham, Clement Laird, The Trial Hon. Clement L. Vallandigham, by a Military Commission: and the Proceedings Under His Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Ohio, Rickey and Carroll: Cincinnati, 1863.

http://www.nps.gov/resources/person.htm?id=111

As I said, if you're going to be a Copperhead, at least be aware of their rhetoric.

Darilian
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Ken
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jeremycobert wrote:
I think you are referring to the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act 1863 ?


No, he was quoting the text of the Constitution. The act you're referring to came after the decision you cite.

Quote:
I know that I am the dummiest dumb dumb head to ever post in RSP, but please try to stick to the topic at hand and dont fall for the strawmen being thrown up.


Umm, what? What straw man are you referring to?
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Ken
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tesuji wrote:
More please. Why shouldn't Lincoln have just let the South go? (I'm asking for the sake of argument...)


The adoption of the Constitution was a transition of national sovereignty from the various states to the nation that it formed. This was a huge sticking point for some (Patrick Henry argued against the Constitution on these grounds, James Madison stated that it was necessary for the compact to be binding). By forming a new nation, the states committed themselves to a political contract that was binding and lasting. Dissolving such a contract cannot be done without the agreement of all parties to the contract. The South needed more than just saying "we're done."

I believe that there was a legal means for the states to secede, but it required Acts of Congress to do so, just as admission of new states does. It is even arguable that this would not require Presidential approval (admitting states does not).

There are Supreme Court cases that actually touch on secession and find that the lack of language to secede does not mean it is a power that devolves to the state, as well.
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Ken
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jeremycobert wrote:
Are you now arguing with yourself ?


You've never encountered someone who could retain both sides of an argument and even argue from either side if they wanted to? That's just a crying shame.

I'd wager that I could make your case more effectively than you with more accurate and properly sequenced citations (the Greely letter was written during the Civil War itself).
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Quote:
The only reference to the writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution is contained in Article I, Section 9, Clause 2. This clause provides, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ in 1861, when he authorized his Civil War generals to arrest anyone they thought to be dangerous. In addition, Congress suspended it in 1863 to allow the Union army to hold accused persons temporarily until trial in the civilian courts. The Union army reportedly ignored the statute suspending the writ and conducted trials under Martial Law.

In 1789, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, § 14, 1 Stat. 73 [codified in title 28 of the U.S.C.A.]), which granted to federal courts the power to hear the habeas corpus petitions of federal prisoners. In 1867, Congress passed the Habeas Corpus Act of February 5 (ch. 28, 14 Stat. 385 [28 U.S.C.A. §§ 2241 et seq.]). This statute gave federal courts the power to issue habeas corpus writs for "any person … restrained in violation of the Constitution, or of any treaty or law of the United States." The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted it to mean that federal courts may hear the habeas corpus petitions of state prisoners as well as federal prisoners.



http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/writ+of+habeas...
 
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