Why, as a person growing up in Maine, did I not learn about Hannibal Hamlin in school?! He is so badass. Summary of his awesomeness:
"Born on August 27, 1809, in Paris Hill, Maine, Hannibal Hamlin went on to become a U.S. senator who maintained an anti-slavery platform. Switching over to the Republican Party, he was chosen to serve as vice president under Abraham Lincoln, and pushed for the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Hamlin later supported Radical Reconstruction and opposed Andrew Johnson’s policies."
Cool Stuff he did/reasons Lincoln was a dick
- was named after his uncle, who was named after Hannibal of Carthage
- 'hey maybe we shouldn't be drunk during senate meetings!'—> took measures to ban alcohol from congressional floor
- "He was among those who advised Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation to end southern slavery, though the president initially saw the move as being too potentially divisive among northerners. Lincoln issued the proclamation in 1862, once he understood its strategic usefulness."
- Lincoln ditched him as his running mate in his next re-election, choosing Andrew Johnson (a dickhead who was so racist and disgusting that other disgusting racists eventually impeached him from his presidency) instead. “Nonetheless, he helped with Lincoln’s campaign and briefly served as part of the Union’s armed forces.”
- “Following Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Andrew Johnson became president and appointed Hamlin to be collector for the port of Boston. The two had strong ideological differences, however. Hamlin favoring a Radical Reconstruction agenda in the South that guaranteed the rights of freed African Americans. In contrast, Johnson took a conciliatory approach with former members of the Confederacy, vetoing the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and opposing the 14th Amendment, which would institute black citizenship. Hamlin resigned from his Boston post in disagreement with Johnson’s policies, and was re-elected to the Senate in 1869, serving two terms.”
Today’s my birthday and I’ll be damned if I allow anybody today to call Lincoln a “dick” without getting called out for it. Hannibal Hamlin was originally chosen for the vice presidency because he provided regional balance and was a known opponent of slavery in contrast to Lincoln’s more moderate views. Four years later, the ticket that Lincoln was creating had different ideas in mind, namely reconstruction. Prowar southern Unionist Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was what allowed people to see what the president had in mind for the future. Now, I have promised no more text walls for at least three months – so I’ll stop here and suggest reading a history book for more details.
hey, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings on your birthday by calling out the flaws and racism of a man that has been turned into an historic idol for political decisions that swayed more from tactical decisions to prevent the complete dissolution of the Union than his own personal mores. By calling him a “dick”, I’m calling out his personal motivations for the decisions, and more importantly the delays of decisions, he made in his political career. I appreciate that the political climate he had to contend with was extremely volatile, attempting to meet the needs of two opposing regions of the States, no longer United, in order to preserve any semblance of peace. What bitterly irks me, however, is the credit he is falsely given for being the savior of the Southern black man (women don’t even come into the picture at this point), whereas in reality he was essentially led to pass the Emancipation Proclamation and the CIvil Rights Act because of pressure from other politicians, like Hamlin, who actually did have a strong personal opposition to slavery and believed in the rights of the the black man, and the extreme circumstances of his presidency.
Yes, I am aware that Lincoln dropped Hamlin because “the ticket that Lincoln was creating had different ideas in mind, namely reconstruction”. That is part of why I think he’s a dick. Lincoln’s decision behind choosing his vice president was a purely strategic move, not concerning the actual supposed beliefs behind his platform, rather aiming at pacifying the South. This decision later proved disastrous when Johnson assumed the presidency and his political agenda proved so horrible that he was impeached.
Also, thank you, I have read a history book, in fact I’ve read quite a few. That is how I know that Lincoln
a) Was not an abolitionist. Though he believed that slavery was morally wrong (just that men owning other men was wrong, not that blacks should actually be entitled to rights or were in any way equal to white men) he was not committed to the abolitionists’ belief that slavery should be immediately abolished because technically it was legal in the Constitution.
b) He suspended habeus corpus without bringing the decision to Congress. Now if he puts so much stock in the Constitution…
c) He did not believe in equality of the races. During a debate with Stephen Douglas on Sept. 18, 1858 he said, "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, [applause]—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. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied every thing. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife…I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.] I will add one further word, which is this: that I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made except in the State Legislature—not in the Congress of the United States—and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent it that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. [Uproarious laughter and applause.]”(x)
Yeah, what a great man, he deserves a cookie.
d) He thought that colonization was a better idea than integration. Rather than trying to combat the inherent racism of America, Lincoln thought it better for freed slaves if they were to emigrate back to Africa. Though some Afro-Americans were so desperate to escape the severe racism of America they supported this ‘solution’ many, like Frederick Douglas strongly opposed it: “No one has given rise to more oppression and persecution to the colored people of this country than that which makes Africa, not America, their home.” Lincoln’s support of colonization is just another indication of his naïve white attitude– it allowed him to think about ending slavery while avoiding actually addressing the issue of racism and equality. (source: The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner).
e) The Emmancipation Proclamation was a military policy which did not actually free all of the slaves. Lincoln saw emancipation more as a way to undermine the Confederacy than as a civil rights issue. The Proclamation said nothing about slavery in border states that were still loyal to the Union, such as Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. Lincoln also left out states that had only recently come under Union control in an attempt to gain their loyalty. This essentially left the Proclamation to apply only to the Southern states which were out of the Union’s control at the time, leaving no actual slaves freed.
So, in conclusion to this history rant, Lincoln was not the shining angel so many people praise him as. He was instead an extremely moderate politician, flip-flopping on issues like civil rights in order to pacify the opposing parties of the time. His own moral beliefs had highly racist bent. To argue that he was ‘a man of his time’ would be accurate, though it does not forgive the fact of his inherent racism, seeing as there were white politicians (such as Hamlin) who defied the racial stereotypes of the time. Lincoln put these politicians aside, however, rather than working with them.
so yeah, thanks, but just because i use words like “dick” doesn’t automatically mean i’m an ignorant and illiterate person who aimlessly maligns great american heroes.
Oh gosh, I fully realize I should not do this at 2am after a night of party – but here we go, at least, this way I’ll keep it short. Someone will be thankful for that ;-)
I’ll go through it step by step.
First – calling someone “a dick” is not “calling someone out”; it’s just calling names.
It doesn’t make you illiterate but a little ignorant, especially in the light of the a/b/c/d/e list just provided. That is not what comes from a history book but from a “Five reasons to be totally edgy and hate Lincoln”-list that, to me, is like a boring bingo-card.
“Lincoln’s decision behind choosing his vice president was a purely strategic move, not concerning the actual supposed beliefs behind his platform, rather aiming at pacifying the South.” – YES, this is textbook politics and usually what gets people elected.
But on to the list:
a) He was not abolitionist – that’s right and I do not know a single history book that would tell you so. In fact, if one does, I’d suggest to throw it out and maybe write an angry letter to the author.
b) This is where it starts to get boring – do you realize that suspending the writ of habeas corpus is actually the ONE thing fishy he did that IS backed up by the constitution (section 9, clause 2)? Congress later approved of the measure because congress wasn’t in session and could not safely be called into session when it was installed. Why always this example.
c) There, right there – that’s the bingo card. There are three quotes that, without exception, ALWAYS show up in posts like this. I know it is incredibly long – but read the whole debate, just for the fun of it. And I do not mean that in an angry way. Just understand the context in which this is said and it’ll make much more sense.
d) This actually goes for c and d – I find it quite harmful to judge a person through the privileged and educated eyes of a time a 150 years later. We tend to do that and hold them to today’s standards, in this case of racism and social equality. While it wasn’t just Lincoln’s idea of an easy solution to a complicated problem, I find it interesting to notice that even 150 down the road, the problems he pointed out concerning race relations, have not been solved. I’m not judging his opinion right or wrong but as it was often said about him, he knew the American people better than they knew themselves.
e) You are almost quoting the emancipation proclamation – where is the dispute? Lincoln himself IN THE TEXT called it a war measure and nothing else. Did I miss the line in which he stated, “I, by virtue of the power in me vested as Knight in Shining Armour, and as a heavenly gift do declare”??? If some history book – or, as I fear it might be the case, some not so great teacher – gave you that impression, please DO blame the book or the teacher, not Lincoln.
His personal feelings toward slavery where one thing – and he was quite able to distinct between these feelings and the powers that the presidency gave him. In fact, he himself, described it quite well in 1864:
““I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
I cannot remember when I did not so think, and feel.
And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. It was in the oath I took that I would, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I could not take the office without taking the oath.
Nor was it my view that I might take an oath to get power, and break the oath in using the power.
I understood, too, that in ordinary civil administration this oath even forbade me to practically indulge my primary abstract judgment on the moral question of slavery.”