Day 5 Of White History Month: Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States (1861 - 1865), and is well known as the “Great Emancipator” and is held by many to be one of the best presidents of all time.
While Lincoln is held to be a “moral visionary”, this was simply not true. Lincoln’s defenders state that he was still better than his contemporaries, but this too is untrue. As mentioned on Day 1 of White History Month, Lincoln had contemporaries such as John Brown who far exceeded him in moral worth.
Abraham Lincoln was as much a white supremacist as the average white man in the 19th century. None of his actions had a visionary moral basis, nor was he guided by a desire for social equality. His views were used by Southern congressmen in the 1960s to rail against the civil rights movement, and are even used today in white supremacist literature.
Abraham Lincoln was not in favor of racial equality and believed that Black people were inferior to white people. He was a fan of minstrel shows that popularized harmful, insidious anti-Black stereotypes that held that Black people were inferior.
Although he is nicknamed the Great Emancipator, he was in support of a globalized system of slavery. Lincoln was in support of the Corwin Amendment - which was passed by the 36th Congress - that would have made slavery a permanent institution of the United States. He wanted to ship Black Americans to Africa when they were freed, and alternatively supported segregation as a solution to the “Negro problem”. In his time as president, he also ordered the largest mass hanging in US history of Dakota Indians in 1862.
Abraham Lincoln was just as much a white supremacist as his contemporaries, and although he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he was no anti-racist nor an abolitionist hero.