Lincoln and Race

Modern detractors of Lincoln often attempt to depict him as a racist.  This of course is certainly at odds with the view of Lincoln’s detractors during his life on the question of race, who usually attacked him as a promoter of negro equality.  This was the tactic used by Stephen A. Douglas during the 1858 Senate campaign.  Douglas constantly played the race card, realizing that most Illinois voters, all white of course, were repulsed at the idea of racial equality between whites and blacks.  While remaining staunch in his opposition to slavery, Lincoln did make defensive statements that have served as ammunition for those today who accuse him of racism.  This is probably the strongest quote in the arsenal of the critics:

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.” (more…)

Published in: on February 13, 2023 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lincoln and Race  
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