While I am admittedly a little late to the party when it comes to commenting on Lincoln, I just wanted to take a little time to point out a brief passage from his first inaugural address. This was his first opportunity to address the nation as President, and what was, in his mind, the most important thing to convey to the public?
|“Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
| Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:
Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”
The only thing to precede these remarks in his address was a brief introduction. The very first thing he said as President was that he did not have the desire, or the constitutional authority to interfere against southern slavery, and that he absolutely would not use military action to quash their sovereignty. Just a thought, for those on the left who are currently comparing Obama to Lincoln (as a compliment) and for those on the right who are saying the two aren’t anything alike (as an insult).
I should note that I became aware of this gem because I am currently enrolled in a course at Mises Academy taught by Tom DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln. This class has taught me quite a bit, and I highly recommend the Mises Academy to anyone who is interested in learning more about economics, american history, or political philosophy from a libertarian perspective.