Jump to content

Menu

Can we discuss these questions about the Lincoln addresses?


Recommended Posts

Before I start, some ground rules: this is not the chat board. Please, if you want to discuss modern implications, take it as a spin off there or to the politics board.  I want to keep this conversation about these questions and the historical context. Keep in mind politics is not allowed on the public side of the WTM boards. That is not my goal here.  Thank you in advance.

Here are some questions that I would like to discuss. These are taken directly from a study guide by Angelicum Academy.  They are NOT my words. Please, if you disagree with the question, just state so. I do not hold these questions to be perfect. Just tell us why you disagree with it, and try to reform the question as best you can to help discussion continue. Let's try to keep our discussion reasoned, lively and edifying! 

These questions followed the reading of the first and second inaugural address, Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg address (this isn't all the questions from the guide, by the way).

ETA: I just looked a bit further and I think I need some more speeches to read to fill the gaps in Lincoln's position on slavery, which is not really flushed out well from just these four sources.  As a poster notes, there a is a particular POV represented by these questions, one that I am not very familiar with. 

3. Lincoln says that "no state upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union." The Declaration of Independence asserts that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the people. If this is true how is it that Lincoln claims that the Union's legitimacy does not require that consent?

8. In his Gettysburg address, Lincoln says, " . . . that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Since Lincoln expressly said that the war was not fought to free slaves, what is the freedom he refers to? Did the Union fight for the cause of freedom?

9. Did the Union fight to preserve the right to self-governance or did they fight to deny that right?  If they fought to preserve it, it would seem that the people of the seceding States had lost the right of self-governance. Did they? Explain. 

 

I have another question I can add but can we start with these?  Thanks Hive. Looking forward to a good discussion.

Edited by cintinative
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bias alert- I think those questions are loaded and seem to be from a states' rights not slavery perspective of the cause of the war which I feel is a sham. 

My stock answers:

3- The consent of the governed Lincoln referred to was the United States and not the states. Once the states came together as one country, they couldn't divide without the consent of the entire governed. In other words, removing one part of the body hurts the whole and a part can't withdraw without the body's consent. (answer taken from my summary of the civics course we did last year). Also, many people within the seceding states did not wish to leave the union- it was not unanimous. Actually in the Constitution, it is "We the people" not "We the states." Some argue that was because they knew state legislatures wouldn't sign on. So since the people- the unified people of all states- joined the union and not the states, then the state legislatures of individual states could not supersede that. 

8-My opinion is that the question lacks greater context. Although my memory may be missing something I feel Lincoln's point was that the war did not begin as one to fight for freedom of slaves but now it had changed and to the original purpose of holding the union together, a new purpose of bringing freedom to all had been added. 

9- The union did not fight for or against self governance. They fought to preserve the union and the union's interests. They fought for the rights of the nonseceding citizens in all states. (BTW- the Confederate States, for all their talk of states' rights, were really not interested in letting their own separate states self govern either!)

Edited by Paige
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Paige said:

Bias alert- I think those questions are loaded and seem to be from a states' rights not slavery perspective of the cause of the war which I feel is a sham.

The guide does seem to take the position that the war was not fought for slavery on the basis of several things including this, from Lincoln's first inaugural address "I have purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe that I have no lawful rights to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."  They seem to take the position that it was more of concern of loss of property as indicated in this quote from the same address "The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts."  The second inaugural has this: "These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war.  To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it." 

Quite honestly, this is the first time I have seen the impetus for the war presented this way.

ETA: I just looked a bit further and I think I need some more speeches to read to fill the gaps in Lincoln's position on slavery, which is not really flushed out well from just these four sources.

 

Edited by cintinative
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I meant the bias was mine towards the questions and my answers may reflect my own bias against the guide. 

I was taught that slavery was a minor, not primary, cause of the War of Northern Aggression (lol- being a little sarcastic). I don’t think it’s a historically uncommon perspective for textbooks used in some states to take. 

I’m surprised its still as overt as those questions seem to be to me. I may be misjudging it on such a small sample because of my own bias against that perspective. Do you mind telling me the location and copyright date of the guide? Just curious. I’ve never heard of the guide before. 

It’s true that Lincoln did not begin the war because he wanted to free the slaves, but IMO, it’s also true that the states seceded because they wanted to preserve the institution of slavery. 

I’d think the text would focus a little more on what the southern politicians stated as their reasons for secession rather than on what Lincoln said. He’s not the one trying to secede. 
 

I feel Lincoln was very conflicted on the issue, however, so it’s not surprising if you hear conflicting messages from his speeches- especially pre or early war. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Paige said:

 

I’m surprised its still as overt as those questions seem to be to me. I may be misjudging it on such a small sample because of my own bias against that perspective. Do you mind telling me the location and copyright date of the guide? Just curious. I’ve never heard of the guide before. 

Yes, it's pretty obscure. I wanted something to help us along with the primary sources and guide discussion. Anyway, it was published in 2010, Angelicum Academy, Manitou Springs, CO.   (ETA: This is from the Moderns, Semester 2 study guide. It's part of a four year great books study).  I think I might be one of two people on this forum that has ever used these.  LOL.  There are no answers. Sometimes, with questions like this, I really crave a good discussion, because as you have noted, there is a specific POV presented, and I want to wrestle with it a bit before coming to my own conclusions.  😃

Edited by cintinative
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, Paige said:

 

I’d think the text would focus a little more on what the southern politicians stated as their reasons for secession rather than on what Lincoln said. He’s not the one trying to secede. 

Could you suggest some speeches we could read?  I have already added a few more Lincoln speeches to round that out more. I agree with you that we could use the perspective of the south. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, cintinative said:

Could you suggest some speeches we could read?  I have already added a few more Lincoln speeches to round that out more. I agree with you that we could use the perspective of the south. 

ETA:  So far I have printed: 

Alexander H. Stephens Cornerstone Speech

Jefferson Davis--On Retiring from the Senate 1/21/1861

Jefferson Davis--Message to the Congress of the Confederate States (upon Ratification of the Constitution) 4/29/1861

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not continue to use a program that makes these erroneous historical assertions. It would go in the trash at my house.

This is not some revelation of a new historical take - this is what history books in the South taught for generations. I got this perspective growing up. If you do a deep dive, I'd suggest - yes, read the primary sources - but also get some good context and read a good scholarship biography of Lincoln. If you gather your primary sources from people who are determine to pick and choose bits that make it look like slavery was not the primary cause of the war, then obviously you can easily do that and there are thousands of Civil War historians devoted to that exact cause. Yes, Lincoln was no saint on race. And yes, he spent a lot of time trying to downplay slavery and abolition to avoid war. But those were efforts to try and plaster over the issue. It'd be like if you were trying to try a history of today with the thesis that everyone was very bipartisan. There would be a lot of politicians to quote that would make it sound like they really believed in working together.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I would not continue to use a program that makes these erroneous historical assertions. It would go in the trash at my house.

I understand. Really we are using it in an ancillary way. We use a different text as our history spine, but I felt I needed something to help guide our discussion of some of the great books. (I also looked at Omnibus and it was worse).  I pick and choose questions and even the text in the study guide. I can depart from it for these documents and do our own thing--I have not noticed this type of overt position with other things, and we aren't covering much after this time period this year. I think it is useful to have my son see that there is this alternate point of view on it so we can talk about it.   I don't recall ever learning this viewpoint, so it's very interesting to me that you did growing up in the south.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...