Monday, July 21, 2008

Abraham Lincoln is kind of racist

There's a recurring theme in Lincoln's speeches and debates (at least through 1858) - we shouldn't hav more slave states, slavery sucks, but *gasp* black people can't possibly be his equal! They should just be emancipated and then, oh, geez, shipped back to Africa? Maybe?

Now, I was under no illusion that he was a great crusader for minority rights. I know he was in it purely for the Union. But I would never have guessed that he'd make that distinction so baldly, terribly clear:

"I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which is my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I...am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position."

"But Judge Douglas is especially horrified at the thought of the mixing blood by the white and black races: agreed for once--a thousand times agreed. There are white men enough to marry all the white women, and black men enough to marry all the black women; and so let them be married."

And if his letters to Mary Todd are any sort of indication, I don't think he dug the ladies too much, either.

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