Today in History:

Was Lincoln a Tyrant?

2 weeks 12 hours ago - 2 weeks 12 hours ago #185 by omejames
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3 months 1 day ago #122 by mark12345678910
Very well and thank you. Just to be clear i was not saying so much his personality was of a tyrant, more so just his actions at times seems to fit the bill.

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3 months 2 days ago #120 by kevin
You are correct. My response did not directly tie in logically to my statement, written in haste with distractions. I started to respond to some of the points about Lincoln in your op, but switched and did not list the points, specifically Lincoln as a rich railroad lobbyist as evidence of his tyrannical tendencies.

My point was simply there is a leap being made to tyranny being a central facet of the man's persona based on anecdotal evidence. I chose to write about Lincolns' persona rather than refute points. Your research is solid, but isn't necessarily the whole picture and in complete context. I appreciate your research and points, however, as it helps flesh out the history and full story.

It is true Lincoln was a very controversial President at the time and did not enjoy the popularity then he does today for reasons that have little to do with slavery.

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3 months 2 days ago #118 by mark12345678910
Thanks for the response sir. I would like to respond to a few things. It is certainty debated if he was a christian. But mu op argued that he was indeed a tyrant, your response was

he was not a Tyrant. There is plenty of documentation to refute the overall assessment, not the least of which is Lincoln was not wealthy, nor was he a lover of slavery

I am sorry but I dont understand how this has anything to do with if he was a tyrant while president and the most powerful man in the country. That was the argument of my op. You than said

It was a different time and difficult to judge the actions as a back seat driver from 150 years later. Lincoln's stated objective as President was to maintain the Union as his first priority and he took whatever steps he thought necessary to do so

It was a different time, Lincoln was a first in america for big government. he crated allot of firsts in america. In short he changed us from our union to an empire that we are today.

From Union to Empire- The Political Effects of the Civil war

I would argue in the above thread he did not aim to maintain the Constitution or the union, but create a new nation controlled by the federal government.

“[After the war] the old decentralized federal republic became a new national polity that taxed the people directly, created an internal revenue bureau to collect these taxes, expanded the jurisdiction of federal courts, established a national currency and a national banking structure. The United States went to war in 1861 to preserve the Union; it emerged from war in 1865 having created a nation. Before 1861 the two words "United States" were generally used as a plural noun: "The United States are a republic." After 1865 the United States became a singular noun. The loose union of states became a nation”
-James M. McPherson

[The civil war was] “The fiery crucible which the old nation was melted down, and out of which modern America was poured”
-Historian William Hess

“Overthrow the present form of Federal-republican government, and to establish a strong centralized government in its stead...national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous peculation . . . No more state lines, no more state governments, but a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism.” “instead of crushing out the rebellion,” the “effort has been to crush out the spirit of liberty” in the Northern states.
-Northern Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham D-Ohio spoke of the reason for Lincolns war 1863

I will save any comment on the reasons for the war [the north did not go to war to end slavery] for the threads i did on those subjects.

"Lincoln was a master politician, which means he was a consummate conniver, manipulator, and liar."
-Murray Rothbard

“Lincoln was Americas first modern politician”
-Al Benson Jr and Walter Kennedy Lincolns Marxists

Described as an expert politician able to condone and condemn at the same time. He would say yes, and no, and make listeners believe his intentions were good, a modern politician. His opponent in 1858 Stephen Douglass stated Lincoln “Can trim his principles any way in any section, so as to secure votes.” The Chicago daily democrat press said Lincoln “Provided a kind of loophole for escape if anything he said should not satisfy all kinds of views.”

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3 months 3 days ago #117 by kevin
Not going to spend much time rebutting these arguments, this is a good compilation of data from a variety of sources and much of it matches the Lincoln that was known up through about 1855. I disagree with the overall assessment of who Lincoln was as a man and his core values, however - he was not a Tyrant. There is plenty of documentation to refute the overall assessment, not the least of which is Lincoln was not wealthy, nor was he a lover of slavery - his family moved from Kentucky to Indiana partly because his mother and father found it disagreeable, but also because of his views on reconstruction.

There is another side to Lincoln that certainly played a role in his actions and decision making. Lincoln would take afternoon walks during the war, privately, and was known to visit the wounded in the hospitals in Washington, spending time with the soldiers and praying for them. From personal accounts I have read his walks were not much publicized and he tried to do it without fanfare or publicity. There was a turning point in his life about 3-5 years before he was elected to his first term as President which is borne out in his position on issues and his writings which indicate he had moved to a position of belief in God. The death of his son in 1862 clearly had an impact on his view of the spiritual nature of mankind and mans relationship with God. Lincoln was not considered a religious man, rarely attending church services, and has been much criticized then as now as not having believed that Jesus Christ is God. His wife, on the other hand, was a devout Presbyterian, regularly attending worship. In the mid 1850's, however, in Lincoln's writings, outward actions and demeanor there is a profound shift in the man. Close friends have described without reservation that during the war Lincoln as much as professed belief that Jesus Christ is God and had died as a sacrifice for sinners. Sometime in the 1850s Lincoln began carrying with him a copy of the New Testament in his jacket pocket. On his walks he would reportedly sit and read it. His writings began reflecting more and more not only the language of the bible, but the message and his private actions likewise. Lincoln did state that he was opposed to organized religion, but a close study of the man indicates he found something in the life and actions of Christ that was worth emulating and he strove to do so.

There is also a fair amount of information in the official record about some of the actions Lincoln took as Commander In Chief that literally stomped on the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Some of these actions were undertaken by his cabinet and not directed by Lincoln, but not overturned by him either. It was a different time and difficult to judge the actions as a back seat driver from 150 years later. Lincoln's stated objective as President was to maintain the Union as his first priority and he took whatever steps he thought necessary to do so. The objective of the Confederate States was to exercise their rights as sovereign states as they saw it under the Constitution. Something to understand was at that time in history, the vast majority of Americans believed in God, and most of those felt strongly that the nation had been ordained by God, that to divide it was basically sacrilege. I believe Lincoln fell into this category. Likewise, many in the South viewed the teachings of groups backing Lincoln as anti-Christian (see Henry Ward Beecher) and therefore the Lord was on their side.

Among the reasons for the war was, without doubt, slavery and its abolition, and most of the seceding states' politicians backed secession in part over that issue and with an understanding the individual State had the right to determine the course of action on the issue. Therefore secession was more about who had the right to decide what to do about slavery and when to do it, with a fair amount of politics, power, and control of resources thrown in. It is important to realize there was a vast wealth of untapped natural resources up for grabs and whoever controlled those resources would be powerful and wealthy. This had a profound impact on the war and it influenced both sides.

Lincoln, in my opinion, strove to maintain the Union with a view it was the right thing to do. His actions were not those of a Tyrant, therefore, but rather more those of a man with a conviction. It is difficult to argue he was a Tyrant when his guidance and actions on reconstruction are considered as a part of the equation.

"...I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side." - Abraham Lincoln

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3 months 3 days ago #111 by mark12345678910
Lincoln the Tyrant

“Dictatorship played a decisive role in the north's successful effort to maintain the union by force of arms... one man was the government of the united states...Lincoln was a great dictator... this great constitutional dictator was self appointed”
-Historian Clinton Rossiter, Constitutional Dictatorship

President Lincoln did not lead the country from within the confines of presidential power within the constitution. Lincoln disregarded the constitution and ruled America rather than led America. Lincoln did not really have a presidency, he violated separation of powers and made himself a dictator. He is called by various historians “an uncompromising dictator." “a dictator from the standpoint of American Constitutional law and practice” others referring to his presidency as the “Lincoln dictatorship” others to his administration as a “Temporary dictatorship” James Ford Rhodes a defender of Lincoln called him a dictator. A song titled “Abe the dictator” was used by northern democrats during the 1864 election.


Maryland was under complete military control. Lincoln would not allow Maryland to even discuss the question of succession. Lincoln suspended writ of Hadus Corpus arresting and imprisoned without due process legislators, mayors, newspaper editors, citizens and publishers to prevent a vote on succession in Maryland. Even the grandson of Francis Scott Key [Star spangled Banner author] was thrown into prison at Fort McHenry. When this was declared unconstitutional [only congress can suspend writ of Hadus corpus] by Chief Justice Taney, Lincoln issued an arrest warrant for Taney and Lincoln ignored the ruling. General Banks was sent to search house by house for pro peace or succession legislators. General Butler said he would bombard Annapolis if they met to discuss succession. They used color coded ballots so pro peace votes in Maryland could be spotted and arrested. He shut down and imprison newspaper editors and newspapers in the state.

The North, Home of the Free and Brave?

“This amazing disregard for the...constitution was considered by no one legal”
-Historian Clinton Rossiter

Throughout the north Lincoln imprisoned 13,000 political enemies, intimidated anyone who spoke out against Lincolns policies and did a great harm to freedom of speech. He Jailed anyone suspected of confederate loyalty with no trial. The jails were used to

“Establish the fact that the federal government was the greatest power in the nation”
-Dean Sprague Freedom Under Lincoln

Lincoln confiscated private property and firearms from civilians in border states violating the second amendment, deported Ohio congressmen Clement L. Vallandigham for speaking out against him.

Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime to damage morale should be arrested, exiled, or hanged”
-Abraham Lincoln

He introduced the first military draft. Ministers were arrested for not saying a prayer for the president in church service as required by the Lincoln administration. He invaded southern states without congress consent, and blockaded ports without declaring war. In 1863 the Lincoln administration passed the “Idenmity act” this put Lincoln, his cabinet, and the military above the law. It never got enough votes to pass so it was simply declared law.

Free Elections and Freedom of the press?

Lincoln participated in rigging northern elections, not just in Maryland. In the 1864 elections New York used colored ballets [red and blue] so federal soldiers could harass and prevent democratic voters in the state “Under the protection of Federal bayonets, New York went Republican by seven thousand votes.” He also unconstitutionally Created west Virginia for the 64 election. Lincoln censored the telegraphs, shut down hundreds of newspapers and imprisoned editors who were critical of his policies or the war to control how people viewed the war and his policies.

Lincolns Enemies the South and the Native Americans

“Lincoln was an even worse tyrant than George the third was”
-Thomas Dilorenzo The Real Lincoln

It was Lincolns opinion that the south had no legal right to succeed and he refused to recognize the south as a separate country, therefore they were still citizens of the united states. The north fought a war that would not allow the south to leave, yet denied them voting rights and representation after the war, breaking the union, the very thing they said they wished to save. Lincoln also gutted the 9/10 amendments.

During the war in the south Lincoln violated the Geneva conventions rules for war. Had entire towns destroyed, civilians murdered, animals killed, food taken, houses Burt down, waged war against non combatants civilians, confiscated private property, had hundreds of priests and minsters imprisoned for not saying prayers for Abraham Lincoln in occupied southern territory, hundreds of churches were burned. He denied occupied south the right to vote “government by the people” and medicines were withheld by union blockade. He Forced out southern newspapers and implemented northern newspapers to control free speech.

Lincoln viewed native Americans as savages and put General John Pope in charge of a war with native Americans who said “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux... they are to be treated as maniacs or wild beats, and by no means as people with whom treaties or contracts can be made.” Dec 26 1862 Lincoln ordered the largest mass exsectuion in American history 39 native Americans.

The Great Centralizer

“Lincoln...undermined the constitutional safeguards of freedom as he opened the way to centralized government with all its political evils”
-Edmund Wilson

“A great centralizing force has been set in motion”
-Leonard Curry

Some especially today, will view the following as “good” and a reason to love Lincoln, others such as myself strongly disagree. Lincoln is known by various historians as the “Great Centralizer” and Others call him the founding father of big government. Some see Lincoln along with Lenin as joining the impulse to centralize government in the mid 1800's. Lincoln was of the the Clay American System consisted of mercantilism, protectionism, the centralization of governmental power, and inflationism. His opponent Stephen Douglas said of Lincolns political goals as wanting to impose “On the nation a uniformity of local laws and institutions and a moral homogeneity dictated by a central government.” That election was said by historians to be a contest between “One consolidated empire and “confederacy of sovereign and equal states of Jefferson and Jackson”, “Lincoln goes for consolidation and uniformity in our government,” Douglas charged, “while I go for maintaining the confederation of the sovereign states.” Lincoln sought to consolidate power in the central federal government.

My politics are short and sweet...I am in favor of a national favor of the internal improvements system and a high protective tariff”
-Abraham Lincoln 1832

From Union to Empire

The strongest impact of Lincoln on American centralization was his transformation of America from a union and collection of states to a modern nation.


“Furry of new laws, regulations, and bureaucracies created by president Lincoln and the republican party”
-Thomas J Dilorenzo

Before Lincoln was elected the average citizen only had contact with the federal government for mail. But after Lincoln “every citizen now had direct contact with, and felt the direct influence of, the federal government. A great centralizing force had been set into motion. . . . The needs of the government had resulted in a drastic redrawing of the federal tax base.” He created an early version of the IRS with 7,000 federal employees, ran up 2.5 billion in debt, instituted the first income tax, imposed “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco “Taxes on everything imaginable” From perfume, playing cards to bowling to going to the theater. Taxes were so high that “Never again would it be contracted to its prewar scope.” And with Lincoln “Taxation on a scale never before seen in the US was imposed on the population.” laid massive rail, founded the transcontinental railroad, gave 58 million acres to rail companies. created the department of agricultural Lincoln sighed into law 10 tariff raising bills and introduced massive corporate-welfare schemes.

National Banking

“To nationalize as much as possible, even currency, so as to make men love country first before their states, all private interest, local interests, all banking interests, the interests of individuals everything should be subordinate now to the interests of the government”
-Senator John Sherman of Ohio [ This a change in philosophy from founders that government serves the people ]

The government went deep into debt because of the war and this allowed Lincoln to add his wanted central banking, the motive that got him involved in politics in the first place. He instituted national banks with the ability to print greenbacks not backed by gold or silver. Of course not everyone in the north wanted this as congressmen Powell stated

It utterly to destroy all the rights of the states. It is asserting a power which if carried out to its logical result would enable the national congress to destroy every institution of the states and cause all power to be consolidated and concentrated here” [D.C ]
-Kentucky democrat Lazarous Powell

To help conform the public to go along with national banking Lincoln added a 10% tax to state banks to help impose a national bank monopoly [The power to tax is the power to destroy] and hired Jay Cooke to use newspapers ads to attack state chartered banks, so national bank would dominate. Those who supported national banking such as Senator John Sherman of Ohio [Brother of General Sherman] said “the permanently increased government power embodied in the bill,” would foster “a sentiment of nationality.” This “A nationalized money supply helped transform America from a constitutional republic to an empire”

“The American public was also relentlessly propagandized by the government and its private sector accomplices, such as Jay Cooke, into believing that it could now look to the federal government for solutions to its problems. This made it easier for future generations of politicians to convince the American public to acquiesce in further expansions of government and further restrictions on personal liberty that would have caused the founding fathers to reach for their swords”
-Thomas Dilorenzo The Real Lincoln

Honest Abe? Lincoln the Master Politician

"Lincoln was a master politician, which means he was a consummate conniver, manipulator, and liar."
-Murray Rothbard

“Those that new Lincoln best, never called him honest Abe”
-Richard Smith Presidential Historian George Mason University

Part of what is believed about the Lincoln myth is Abraham Lincoln was an honest, good person. The Lincoln myth in some ways started with Lincolns public image. The historical Lincoln was a master politician who used people for his own power and agenda. He was a political opportunist who drifted with the tide “a quest for office” He would lie and mislead people to convince them to support him.

“Lincoln was Americas first modern politician”
-Al Benson Jr and Walter Kennedy Lincolns Marxists

Described as an expert politician able to condone and condemn at the same time. He would say yes, and no, and make listeners believe his intentions were good, a modern politician. His opponent in 1858 Stephen Douglass stated Lincoln “Can trim his principles any way in any section, so as to secure votes.” The Chicago daily democrat press said Lincoln “Provided a kind of loophole for escape if anything he said should not satisfy all kinds of views.”

“There is a grand canyon between what Lincoln said and what he did...He ignored the Constitution when he wanted to and hide behind it when he wanted to.”
-Lerone Bennett Forced into Glory Abraham Lincolns White dream

Abolitionist who sought to bring Lincoln to their side well knew Lincoln was a politician as Wendall Phillips stated “Lincoln is a Pawn on the political chessboard. With fair effort, we may soon change him for a knight, bishop or queen, and sweep the board.” At the age of 45 Lincoln first spoke out against the extension of slavery out west. He “Rode to glory on the public waves” as the north turned against the Kansas/Nebraska act. Lincoln “reinvented himself” and for the first time he spoke against slavery. Had public opinion never turned against slavery, its likely the master politician never would have. Even his own cabinet did not think him a great president.

“In every single stand he took, which superficially might appear to be an original attitude, either substantial or major groups had passed that point before him, and it was only the support that they had gathered and their potential strength that enticed Lincoln to the position”
-Thaddeus Stevens Fredrick Douglass 1934

Lincolns Public Image

“Shrewd manufacturer of his public image”
-Richard Smith presidential historian George mason University

Lincoln was able to Cunningly shape his own public image. He new how to sell himself, he would create a dishonest image of himself to sell to the public. For more see National geographic Top Secrets about Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln Rail Splitter or Rich Railroad Lobbyist

“Lincoln was what today would be called a “lobbyist” for the railroad industry”
-Thomas J Dilorenzo Lincoln Unmasked

While running for president Lincoln sold himself as a poor country rail splitter. In reality Lincoln was a rich powerful rail lobbyist and lawyer. He was a corporate trial lawyer, his clients were from every major railroad cooperation in the west. He subsidized $12 million tax in Illinois to rail corporations that ended in a big failure. But helped him politically become known as a railroad lobbyist. He was a cooperate insider and traveled with his own private rail car with a free pass, around the Midwest.

Lincolns powerful industrial interests were always present at political councils. 1862 Lincoln used a bill for the Union Pacific Railroad Tax payer subsidized to pay off northern business for their support of him and the republican party[Republican party still today allied with major industry]. He used government subsidized railroad that involving ethnic cleansing and removal of the great plains Indians from their land to make way for the rail road.

Lincolns personality

“Lincoln was not a social man, loved no man much, was more or less selfish”
-William Herdon

“No strong emotional feelings for any person mankind or thing”
-Judge Davis Eighth Judicial Circuit

Lincoln was described as selfish, manipulative, cold and said to use men like tools. Elizabeth Edwards Lincolns sister in law said Lincoln was “a cold man” with “no heart.” Law partner John Stuart said “there was no part of his nature which drew him to do acts of gratitude to his friends.” Lincoln suffered with depression and took medicine for it. He was quick tempered, prone to ramblings and outburst of anger.

“Lincoln was the most-hated president of all time during his own lifetime...The fact that he is now the most revered of all American presidents is a result of the work of generations of court historians and statist apologists who have literally rewritten American history in the same manner that the Soviets rewrote Russian history to consolidate their political power”.
-Lincoln The Great Centralizer Thomas J Dilorenzo

Main References

- Lincoln Unmasked what your not suppose to know about Dishonest Abe Thomas J Dilorenzo Three rivers Press Crown Forum 2006
-Lincolns Marxists Al Benson Jr and Walter Kennedy Pelican Press 2011
-33 questions about American history you're not suppose to ask Thomas Woods Crown forum NY 2007
The Great Civil War Debate hosted by american vision c-span Peter Marshall Jr. vs Steve Wilkin s
The politically incorrect guide to the south Clint Johnson 2007 Regnery publications inc
The states rights tradition nobody knows Thomas Woods
Thomas Jefferson and the principles of 98 Thomas Woods
The fourteenth amendment -Thomas woods
- The Real Lincoln Thomas J Dilorenzo Three Rivers press NY NY 2002
Harry V. Jaffa and Thomas J. DiLorenzo | The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate politically incorrect guide to the civil war H.W Crocker third 2008 Regnery publications inc
The politically incorrect guide to American history Thomas e woods 2004 Regnery publications inc
The south was Right James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy Pelican 2014 reprint
Jefferson Davis The rise and fall of the confederate government
The Civil war PBS series by Ken Burns
The American heritage series By Historian David Barton at
Building on the American heritage series by David Barton 2011
Americas godly heritage by David Barton 1992
Foundations of freedom by David Barton 2015
The Constitution Of The Confederate States Of America Explained A Clause By Clause Study Of The Souths Magna Carta Lochlainn Seabrook Sea Raven Press 2012
-Raphael Semmes, Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States Baltimore, MD. Kelly Piet & Co. 1868
Major General John B. Gordon Causes of the Civil War. 1903
A Constitutional view of the late war between the states: its causes By Alexander Hamilton Stephens 1870
The Confederate States of America, 1861--1865: A History of the South Lousianna state university press by E.Merton Coulter 1950
A Defense Of Virginia And The South R.L Dabney 1867 Sprinkle publications
Myths and Realities of American Slavery John C Perry Burd Street Press 2002
Redeeming American Democracy Lessons from the confederate constitution Marshall L. Derosa Pelican press 2007
The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry Into American Constitutionalism By Marshall L. DeRosa University of Missouri Press

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Major Battles of the Civil War