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Author Topic: Book Review: "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas DiLorenzo  (Read 3059 times)
DennisLeeWilson
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« on: 2008-November-19 09:05:26 PM »

Book Review: "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas DiLorenzo
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=14.msg52#msg52

   Sent: 3/10/2003 2:49 PM
Book review by Dennis Wilson


The Real Lincoln:

A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo


I had carried—for my entire life—the assumption that the original Jeffersonian vision of limited government somehow failed because it gradually eroded into what we have now. This book changed all that!

From the Foreword:

“Today’s federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. Thomas J. DiLorenzo gives an account of how this came about in The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. … The Real Lincoln contains irrefutable evidence that a more appropriate title for Abraham Lincoln is not the Great Emancipator, but the Great Centralizer.”

On page 261, Professor DiLorenzo names what is wrong with my assumption that our liberties eroded with time.

“Beginning in the 1820s the debate over [Alexander] Hamiltonianism versus Jeffersonianism manifested itself in the economic debate over [a highly centralized state versus a highly decentralized and limited government constrained by state sovereignty]. No one played a more outspoken role in the debate than Abraham Lincoln did for more than thirty years.

“The Hamiltonians, politically reincarnated as the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln, finally won this argument by force of arms during the War between the States. After decades of political failure, the Whig/Republican political coalition finally imposed its mercantilist … system on the country, literally at gunpoint.”  [Emphasis added]

The evidence for and some of the consequences of this armed destruction of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights are detailed in this book.

The evidence it contains invalidates and nullifies the legitimacy of our current government. Jefferson’s view of the role of government did not fail or erode away; it was overthrown and destroyed by force of arms! This was not a use of arms to replace a tyranny with a system of more freedom. In its stead, we have a government more tyrannical that what it replaced.

This book opened my mind to American history in the same manner that Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged opened my mind to the real world. It is the ONLY book by any author other than Ayn Rand, that has had such an impact on me.  I consider this book a MUST READ for anyone serious about Objectivism.

Dennis Wilson
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« Reply #1 on: 2008-November-19 09:21:17 PM »

   Sent: 3/10/2003 2:51 PM
There are many other article written by Professor DiLorenzo.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo-arch.html
 
Some quotes from the article "Libertarians and the Confederate Battle Flag":
 

In his book What They Fought For, 1861-1865, historian James McPherson reported on his reading of more than 25,000 letters and more than 100 diaries of soldiers who fought on both sides of the War for Southern Independence and concluded that Confederate soldiers (very few of whom owned slaves) "fought for liberty and independence from what they regarded as a tyrannical government."

The letters and diaries of many Confederate soldiers "bristled with the rhetoric of liberty and self government," writes McPherson, and spoke of a fear of being "subjugated" and "enslaved" by a tyrannical federal government. Sound familiar?

Many Confederate soldiers thought of the war as "the Second war for American Independence." A Texas cavalryman told his sister in a letter that just as earlier Americans had "rebelled against King George to establish Liberty and freedom in this western world . . . so we dissolved our alliance with this oppressive foe and are now enlisted in The Holy Cause of Liberty and Independence again."

An Alabama infantryman wrote his mother, "If the mere imposition of a tax [in 1776] could raise such tumult what should be the result of the terrible system of oppression instituted by the Yankees?"
Only a small band of Marxist historians claims that the war was caused by slavery alone. And [The Cato Institute’s executive vice president] David Boaz too, apparently
 
Boaz belittles the fact that tariffs and states’ rights were also motivations from the war, but the fact is, as soon as Lincoln took office the Republican Party, which virtually monopolized the federal government for the next seventy years, enacted tariff rates of nearly 50 percent, which remained at those levels for decades, and set in motion the great centralizing forces of federal power by adopting an internal revenue bureaucracy, central banking, corporate welfare, income and excise taxation, and the demolition of the system of decentralized government that was established by the founding fathers. Perhaps Boaz believes this was all just a coincidence.

By calling for the eradication of the Confederate battle flag from public places the Cato Institute, the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are saying that we should destroy the most enduring symbol of opposition to centralized governmental power and tyranny, a symbol that to this day is a part of secession movements around the world, from Quebec to Northern Italy. [emphasis added].





   Sent: 3/10/2003 2:53 PM
 
In his article "Independence Day in Perspective", DiLorenzo reminds us of why we seceded from England. He also points out that:
 
"Thomas Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Garland Jefferson, also a Virginian and a Confederate , was killed in the Battle of New Market."
 
And DiLorenzo suggests (and I fully concur):

"So when you’re celebrating on the Fourth of July go ahead and fly the flag of the Thirteen Colonies, the First National Flag of the Confederacy, or the Confederate Battle Flag, for these are the appropriate flags for celebrating American independence from tyrannical government. The U.S. flag, on the other hand, stands for exactly the opposite.

That last article is available at:
The Banner of Federal Oppression
Thomas DiLorenzo puts Independence Day in perspective.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo6.html

   Sent: 4/16/2003 5:10 PM
As revenge for the death of the first president/tyrant of the United States of America and the man who first imposed an income tax on the free and sovereign individuals of those states, you are expected to voluntarily pay your income tax (tribute) on the anniversary of the day (April 15th) of Abraham Lincoln's death in 1865.
 
It is a fitting memorial.
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« Reply #2 on: 2008-November-19 09:29:25 PM »

Sent: 8/2/2004 1:12 PM
From Thomas J. DiLorenzo's Constititional Futility at ...: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo74.html
 
"The Quixote-like libertarian constitutionalists are wasting their time because they fail to acknowledge the essential truth about Abraham Lincoln’s war: It overthrew the Constitution of 1789 by destroying the system of dual sovereignty and, in so doing, ended any hope that the citizens would remain sovereign over their own government. Indeed, early twentieth century statists and imperialists like Woodrow Wilson celebrated this fact. As Wilson approvingly wrote in his book, Constitutional Government in the United States (Transactions Publishers Reprint, p. 178), "The War between the States established . . . this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers." Of course, Thomas Jefferson and other founders always understood that if the day were ever to come when the federal government would become the final judge of the limits of its own powers, then it would eventually decide that there were, in fact, no limits to its powers. That day has long since arrived."

Sent: 8/2/2004 1:40 PM
Additional quotes from DiLorenzo's Constitutional Futility:
 
"Until 1865, virtually every state of the union invoked the Jeffersonian states’ rights tradition in defense of liberty and against encroachments on liberty by the central government. The New England states "nullified" President James Madison’s trade embargo (1807); they also invoked Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolve in refusing to participate in the War of 1812; the New England Federalists plotted to secede for over a decade after Jefferson’s election to the presidency in 1800, culminating with the Hartford Secession Convention of 1814; Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Connecticut, South Carolina, New York and New Hampshire all invoked the Kentucky Resolve to oppose the existence of the Bank of the United States within their borders; some New England states nullified the Fugitive Slave Act by refusing to enforce it; and South Carolina famously nullified the infamous 1828 Tariff of Abominations. The rights of nullification and secession, which were accepted as inalienable rights of the citizens of all the states, ceased to exist after 1865."


Sent: 8/2/2004 1:49 PM

The great classical liberal historian of liberty, Lord Acton, was another important historical figure who was not duped by nationalist rhetoric. In a November 4, 1866 letter to General Robert E. Lee Lord Acton wrote that

    I saw in States’ rights the only availing check upon the absolution of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy . . . . Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo (J. Rufus Fears, Selected Writings of Lord Acton, vol. 1, Essays in the History of Liberty, p. 363).


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« Reply #3 on: 2008-November-19 09:38:51 PM »

Sent: 8/2/2004 3:05 PM
http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?control=996&id=71
Calhoun's Cause: Free Trade
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

[Posted July 15, 2002]



In The Essential Calhoun (TEC), editor Clyde Wilson commented that "it is curious how ignorant contemporary advocates of free markets are of tariff struggles in nineteenth-century America."

There is much truth in this statement, since most advocates of free markets seem to be more interested in pure economic theory than in history. Understanding the momentous political struggles over tariffs in 19th-century America can greatly improve our understanding of free trade in particular and of American economic history in general--especially the history of the War Between the States.

Any such endeavor must start with the free-trade writings of South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, who served as U.S. senator, secretary of war,  secretary of state, and vice president of the United States during a 40-year public career (1810-1850).

Calhoun made dozens of speeches and wrote many letters on the issue of free trade, which he viewed as nothing less than the source of civilization itself. In a March 24, 1845, letter to Richard Cobden and William Bright of the Manchester, England, Anti-Corn League, he wrote: "I regard free trade, as involving considerations far higher, than mere commercial advantages, as great as they are. It is, in my opinion, emphatically the cause of civilization and peace" (TEC, p. 218).

Ludwig von Mises echoed this sentiment in Human Action (scholar’s edition, p. 827) when he wrote that

    "What distinguishes man from animals is the insight into the advantages that can be derived from cooperation under the division of labor. Man curbs his innate instinct of aggression in order to cooperate with other human beings. The more he wants to improve his material well being, the more he must expand the system of the division of labor."

And, of course, international trade is an indispensable means of doing so.

A contemporary of Calhoun's, French political economist Frederic Bastiat, stressed this same theme when he said that "if goods can’t cross borders armies will." Bastiat equated protectionism with legalized plunder, which in his eyes was the same as communism (see his essay "Protectionism and Communism" in Selected Essays on Political Economy).

It is important to understand that in 19th-century America, the tariff was the chief source of federal revenue; there were no income, social security, or capital gains taxes. Consequently, the great political struggle between the Jeffersonians and the Hamiltonians over the appropriate size and scope of the central government often centered on the issue of the tariff. To the advocates of centralized governmental power (the Federalists, then the Whigs, and later the Republican Party of Lincoln), the protectionist tariff was not only a means of protecting politically favored industries from competition; it was the potential economic lifeblood of big government.

Calhoun understood this better than anyone, and, since he considered himself to be a political heir of Jefferson's, he spent a quarter of a century in fierce opposition to protectionist tariffs. He knew that the power to tax could become the power to destroy and was in some ways the American Bastiat. (Interestingly, Bastiat's first American translator was a constituent of Calhoun's, Louisa S. McCord of Columbia, South Carolina.) Calhoun’s arguments in defense of free trade were economic, political, and constitutional.

Calhoun understood that while all consumers would be burdened by protectionist tariffs, the manufacturing North would enjoy a net benefit at the expense of the agricultural and export-dependent South, since protection enabled it to raise the prices of the goods it sold. In a September 1828 letter to Micah Sterling, he wrote that "Almost every man to the North, let his employment be what it may . . . hopes to receive more from the Tariff by the increased price of his labour, or his property than what he pays in duties, as a consumer" (TEC, p. 190).

He also recognized the fundamental economic fact that restricting imports with protectionism will eventually restrict a country’s exports as well by reducing the wealth of that country’s trading partners.  "During the eight years of high duties [1824-1832], the increase of our foreign commerce, and of our tonnage . . . was almost entirely arrested; and . . . the exports of domestic manufactures actually fell off" (TEC, p. 192). He thus considered protectionism to be a form of economic "warfare" against export-related industries, primarily lumber, fisheries, agriculture, and shipping.

Calhoun explained what contemporary economists refer to as the "optimal tariff," which is a variant of the Laffer Curve idea:

    "On all articles on which duties can be imposed, there is a point in the rate of duties which may be called the maximum point of revenue--that is, a point at which the greatest amount of revenue would be raised. If it be elevated above that, the importation of the article would fall off more rapidly than the duty would be raised; and, if depressed below it, the reverse effect would follow: that is, the duty would decrease more rapidly than the importation would increase. If the duty be raised above that point, it is manifest that all the intermediate space between the maximum point and that to which it may be raised, would be purely protective, and not for revenue." (TEC, p. 195)

Unlike many supply-side economists, however, Calhoun did not believe that maximizing government revenue was "optimal" or even desirable. It must first be proved that the expenditures to be financed with the higher tariff revenues are constitutional, he said. During the 1824-1832 high-tariff period, the federal budget surplus "led to the vast expansion of the currency . . . from which have succeeded so many disasters. It was that which wrecked the currency, overthrew the . . . entire machinery of commerce, precipitated hundreds of thousands from affluence to want, and which has done so much to taint private and public morals" (TEC, p. 193). Here, Calhoun was referring to the effects of the panic of 1837.

Calhoun echoed Bastiat’s "legal plunder" theme when, in an August 5, 1842, speech before the U.S. Senate regarding the proposed tariff bill, he asked: "Protection against what? Against violence, oppression, or fraud? If so, Government is bound to afford it. . . . It is the object for which Government is instituted."

But Calhoun saw through the protectionist charade. "No; it [the protectionist tariff bill] is against neither violence, oppression, nor fraud. . . . Against what, then, is protection asked? It is against low prices" (TEC, p. 196).

He also understood what today is considered to be a basic principle of public-choice economics: that politicians will never give tax dollars to special-interest groups out in the open where the public can see it if they can disguise the looting of the taxpayers instead. The proponents of tariff protection would never advocate having the government write checks to manufacturing interests. "No; that would be rather too open, oppressive, and indefensible." Instead, they disguise the special-interest subsidy as "protection," which is nothing but "tribute, levy, exaction, monopoly, plunder . . ." (TEC, p. 197).

Calhoun also described how artificially propping up prices in politically favored industries with protective tariffs would cause a misallocation of capital that would be harmful to the entire economy.

    "(I)ncreased demand and prices consequent on the exclusion of the article from abroad, would tempt numerous adventurers to rush into the business, often without experience or capital; and the increased production, in consequence, thrown into the market, would greatly accelerate the period of renewed distress . . . and demand for additional protection." (TEC, p. 202)

He believed the same effect would be caused by an excessive "expansion of the currency," which sounds a lot like an early version of the Austrian business cycle theory.

The senator from South Carolina expressed a version of Mises's "middle-of-the-road-policies-lead-to-socialism" thesis: "Every protective tariff that Congress has ever laid, has disappointed the hopes of its advocates; and has been followed, at short intervals, by a demand for higher duties" (TEC, p. 202).

Calhoun is considered to have been perhaps the last of the founding fathers in terms of his philosophical outlook (Joe Sobran has persuasively argued that Lincoln, on the other hand, probably never even read The Federalist Papers). Applying Madison's theme from Federalist #10, where he warns of the political destructiveness of the "violence of faction," Calhoun posed the rhetorical question: "Can anything be imagined more destructive of patriotism, and more productive of faction, selfishness, and violence, or more hostile to all economy and accountability in the administration of the fiscal department of Government" than protectionist tariffs?  (TEC, p. 212).

Protectionist tariffs would not only benefit politically favored industries. Another major constituency, then as now, is "that active, vigilant, and well-trained corps, which lives on Government, or expects to live on it; which prospers most when the revenue is the greatest, the treasury the fullest, and the expenditures the most profuse" and which will faithfully support "whatever system shall extract most from the pockets of the rest of the community, to be emptied into theirs" (TEC, p. 212). During the first 60 years of the 19th century, that "system" was the tariff.

He even championed unilateral free trade. "If other countries injured us by burdensome exactions, it was not reason why we should do harm to ourselves" (Jan. 27, 1841, speech). American ingenuity and entrepreneurship, not protectionism, were the source of the nation’s wealth, he said in response to Henry Clay’s mercantilist superstitions.

What, then, is to be done?  How is the nation to prosper economically?  "I answer," said Calhoun in his 1842 Senate speech, "by the reverse means proposed in order to command the home market -- low, instead of high duties; and a sound currency." More specifically:  free trade; low duties; no debt; separation from banks; economy [in government]; retrenchment [of government expenditure]; and strict adherence to the constitutions" (TEC, p. 213).

Calhoun’s free-trade views were popular throughout the South, and persisted after his death in 1850--so much so that on December 10, 1860, the Republican Party newspaper, the Daily Chicago Times, warned:  "Let the South adopt the free-trade system and the North’s commerce must be reduced to less than half what it now is" (because of the much higher tariff rate there). The new Confederate Constitution outlawed protectionist tariffs altogether.

On April 2, 1861, another Republican Party newspaper, the Newark Daily Advertiser, warned ominously that Southerners had apparently "taken to their bosoms the liberal and popular doctrine of free trade" and that they "might be willing to go . . . toward free trade with the European powers" which "must operate to the serious disadvantage of the North" as "commerce will be largely diverted to the Southern cities."

"We apprehend," the New Jersey Republicans wrote, that "the chief instigator of the present troubles -- South Carolina--have all along for years been preparing the way for the adoption of free trade." This, they insisted, must be avoided at all cost by "the closing of the [Southern] ports" by military force, if necessary.

It is telling that a little over a year earlier, in 1859, Abraham Lincoln, a one-term congressman from Illinois, was pandering to the heavily protectionist Pennsylvania delegation to the 1860 Republican national convention (the state with the second highest number of electoral votes) by stating in an October 11, 1859, letter that he was "an old Henry Clay-Tariff Whig" and that "I made more speeches on that subject [in favor of high protective tariffs] than any other. I have not since changed my views" (see Reinhard Luthin, "Abraham Lincoln and the Tariff," American Historical Review, July 1944). It was his reputation as perhaps the most ardent protectionist in the Republican Party that won Lincoln the 1860 nomination and, of course, the presidency. Throughout his career, Lincoln had adopted many of the protectionist shibboleths of Henry C. Carey, a publicist for the Pennsylvania steel industry.

As soon as the new Republican Party gained power, the average tariff rate was quickly raised from a nominal 15 percent to 47 percent and higher, and remained at such levels for decades after the war.  Calhoun's free-trade arguments, as eloquent and advanced as they were, were no match for the federal military arsenal.

Thomas DiLorenzo is a professor of economics in the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola College in Baltimore, and is senior fellow of the Mises Institute. Dr. DiLorenzo is the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (Forum/Random House, 2002). See his Mises.org Articles Archive, and send him MAIL. Also, listen to Dr. DiLorenzo's recent book discussion on The Real Lincoln (in MP3 format).

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« Reply #4 on: 2008-November-19 09:44:57 PM »

   Sent: 2/16/2007 3:14 PM
Lincoln qualifies for the title of dictator & tyrant!
 
A Lincoln myth was that he "saved the Constitution." But this claim is an outrage considering that Lincoln acted like a dictator for the duration of his administration and showed nothing but bitter contempt for the Constitution. Even Lincoln’s idolaters, like historian Clinton Rossiter, author of the book, Constitutional Dictatorship, referred to him as a "great dictator" who had an "amazing disregard for the Constitution . . . that was considered by nobody as legal."
 
The Dictator Lincoln invaded the South without the consent of Congress, as called for in the Constitution; declared martial law; blockaded Southern ports without a declaration of war, as required by the Constitution; illegally suspended the writ of habeas corpus; imprisoned without trial thousands of Northern anti-war protesters, including hundreds of newspaper editors and owners; censored all newspaper and telegraph communication; nationalized the railroads; created three new states without the consent of the citizens of those states in order to artificially inflate the Republican Party’s electoral vote; ordered Federal troops to interfere with Northern elections to assure Republican Party victories; deported Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham for opposing his domestic policies (especially protectionist tariffs and income taxation) on the floor of the House of Representatives; confiscated private property, including firearms, in violation of the Second Amendment; and effectively gutted the Tenth and Ninth Amendments as well.
 
He also issued an arrest warrant for 80 year old Supreme Court Justice Taney and had Federal troops fresh from Gettysburg fire upon (and kill) citizens of New York City (after completion of Naval bombardment of same) who rioted opposing the unconstitutional military draft.

 
As Dean Sprague correctly pointed out in Freedom Under Lincoln, all of these dictatorial acts were bad enough, but their real, long-term effect was to "lay the groundwork" for such unprecedented acts of coercion as military conscription and income taxation.

Hundreds of books have been written about Lincoln the humanitarian, a soft and gentle man. But from the very beginning of his administration he intentionally waged a cruel and unbelievably bloody war on civilians as well as soldiers. As early as 1861, Federal soldiers looted, pillaged, raped and plundered their way through Virginia and other Southern states, completely burning to the ground the towns of Jackson and Meridian, Mississippi, Randolph, Tennessee, and others. Historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel estimates that some 50,000 Southern civilians were killed during the war, and this number, even if it is exaggerated by a multiple of two, most likely includes thousands of slaves. In his March to the Sea, General William Tecumseh Sherman boasted of having destroyed $100 million in private property and that his "soldiers" carried home another $20 million worth.
 
In his memoirs Sherman wrote that when he met with Lincoln after his March to the Sea was completed, Lincoln was eager to hear the stories of how thousands of Southern civilians, mostly women, children, and old men, were plundered, sometimes murdered, and rendered homeless. Lincoln, according to Sherman, laughed almost uncontrollably at the stories. Even Sherman biographer Lee Kennett, who writes very favorably of the general, concluded that had the Confederates won the war, they would have been "justified in stringing up President Lincoln and the entire Union high command for violation of the laws of war, specifically for waging war against noncombatants."

***************************
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