You are on page 1of 53

Abraham Lincoln:

Friend or Foe
of Freedom?

Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Author
Lincoln Unmasked and The Real Lincoln

and

Joseph A. Morris
President
Lincoln Legal Foundation

Remarks delivered at

The Heartland Institute’s


23rd Anniversary Benefit Dinner
October 25, 2007
Chicago, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln:
Friend or Foe of Freedom?

Copyright ©2008 The Heartland Institute

Published by

The Heartland Institute


19 South LaSalle Street #903
Chicago, Illinois 60603
phone 312/377-4000
fax 312/377-5000
www.heartland.org

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce


this book or portions thereof in any form.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.


Nothing in this report should be construed as necessarily
reflecting the view of The Heartland Institute or
as an attempt to influence pending legislation.

Additional copies of this booklet


are available from The Heartland Institute
for the following prices:

1-10 copies $4.95 per copy


11-50 copies $3.95 per copy
51-100 copies $2.95 per copy
101 or more $1.95 per copy

Printed in the United States of America


ISBN-13 978-1-934791-05-9
ISBN-10 1-934791-05-9

Manufactured in the United States of America


Table of Contents

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page v
Joseph L. Bast, The Heartland Institute

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 1
Dan Miller, Chicago Sun-Times

Opening Statement
Lincoln: Foe of Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 5
Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Opening Statement
Lincoln: Friend of Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 13
Joseph A. Morris

Rebuttal: Thomas J. DiLorenzo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 21

Rebuttal: Joseph A. Morris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 25

Cross Examination
Audience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 29

Speaker Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 37

About the Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 39

Order Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 41

- iii -
Preface

Welcome to The Heartland Institute’s 23rd Anniversary benefit


dinner. We are absolutely delighted to have you here with us.
There are almost 600 people here tonight, which is outstanding.
Among those 600 people, there are approximately 70 elected
officials. These are the best, most interesting, smartest elected
officials of the 7,300 state elected officials in the United States. If
some of them are sitting at your table, by all means engage them in
conversation, congratulate them, and slip them some money
because they may need it for their next campaign.
There are also approximately 30 think-tank folks in the
audience tonight. Because there are so many, I won’t name them
all, but I would like to call attention to two very special guests in
the room with us tonight.

Thanks, Scott and Fred


When The Heartland Institute was started 23 years ago, I was the
first employee ... but it wasn’t my idea. Heartland was actually the
idea of a young guy named Scott Hodge. Scott proposed it to Dave
Padden, and Dave thought it was a good idea. Scott then followed
his girlfriend off to Minnesota and left the position open for me to
come in and take it and the rest, as they say, is history.
Scott went on to join The Heritage Foundation, where he did
tremendous work, and then from there to the Tax Foundation,
which he now serves as president. Thanks for everything, Scott!
Scott is doing a fantastic job at the Tax Foundation and if you are
not a member or supporter I would encourage you to become one.

-v-
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

The second really outstanding person in this room, among


many outstanding people I guess, is Fred Smith. Fred is president
of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which got started the very
same year Heartland got started, 1984. The Competitive Enterprise
Institute is in Washington, DC. It’s doing terrific work on a variety
of issues, but we are most attracted to and most admire is their
work on environmental issues and climate change, where they are
just second to none in the quality of research they are doing.
Fred, you’ve always been a mentor and a role model for me. I
really appreciate you being here tonight.

Rest in Peace
There are some people – friends of freedom, we call them – who
are not here tonight, who passed away since we last met here in
October 2007.
Most recently, John Berthoud, president of the National
Taxpayers Union, passed away on September 26. John was a
friend and an outstanding, hard-working guy. The National
Taxpayers Union is one of the most important organizations in the
country. John was only 45 years old, and he will be sorely missed.
Another man down is Tim Wheeler. As many of you know,
especially you libertarian activists, Tim was one of the original
writers for National Review. I got to know him over the years as a
freelance writer and ghostwriter for various prominent people. A
remarkable, tireless, and talented writer, and an absolutely
principled free-market advocate. He passed away on August 5.
Prof. Hans Sennholz passed away on June 23 at age of 85. He
was one of the founders of the modern libertarian movement, a
teacher of four generations of students at Grove City College, and
president of FEE, the Foundation for Economic Education, for five

- vi -
PREFACE

years.
Richard Rue passed away on May 16. Rick worked for the
Lincoln Legal Foundation and for The Heartland Institute in the
1990s, and then for the United Republican Fund and a number of
other groups. He passed away in California.
Nobel Laureate Dr. Milton Friedman passed away on
November 16, 2006. Dr. Friedman was, of course, the greatest
economist of the twentieth century, a brilliant libertarian thinker,
and in many ways and at many times a friend to me and of The
Heartland Institute. He may have been the shortest giant who ever
lived. God bless you, Milton, and bless Rose, too.
And finally, Lord Ralph Harris passed away on October 19,
2006. He was the first employee of the Institute for Economic
Affairs, the grand-daddy of libertarian think tanks, based in
London. He was an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
We honor the memory of these distinguished men, and we
rededicate ourselves to their cause of lifting the heavy hand of
tyranny from the backs of men and women, here and around the
world, who strive to be free.

Growing Organization
The first time The Heartland Institute held an anniversary benefit
dinner, we had 18 people show up. Half of them were board
members, about a quarter or a third of them were the spouses of
board members, and there were two guys who were catching a
smoke outside the door that the hotel asked to come in because we
were paying for the meals anyway. It was a very small but
dedicated group.
Each year we get a little bit bigger. And although we haven’t
set a record this year — we had at least 600 people once before —

- vii -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

this is already an outstanding and really successful event ... and


you haven’t even heard from the speakers yet!
I would like to thank the people who reserved platinum tables
and gold tables, because it’s their contributions that make it
possible for us to offer free tickets to some of the high school and
college students who are joining us here tonight. I would like to
quickly name those platinum and gold table buyers. They are
Planned Realty Group, United Republican Fund, Michael Keiser
and Philip Friedmann, Herbert Walberg, Assurant Health, Dave
Padden, The New Coalition for Economic and Social Change,
Lincoln Legal Foundation, and Pfizer. Please give a round of
applause for our platinum and gold table sponsors.

A Mixed Year
Heartland has had a great year, and it has grown dramatically. The
number of donors is more than 2,000, up from 1,400 just a year
ago. The number of contacts with elected officials is increasing
dramatically. Our press coverage has never been as good as it’s
been recently. We’ve published twice as many books in the past 12
months as in the previous 12 months, and a whole lot more policy
studies and research and commentary pieces.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been such a good year for freedom –
and the ultimate objective for The Heartland Institute is, of course,
to advance freedom.
In many states we saw massive tax increases and tax increase
proposals. The federal government is still spending every year
hundreds of billions of dollars more than it brings in. We’ve seen
new proposals to socialize our health care system – an idea that
was bankrupt 20 years ago and 10 years ago. Why presidential
candidates are still talking about nationalizing our health care

- viii -
PREFACE

system is beyond me, but it’s an indication that our educational job
obviously is not finished. It’s incomplete.
And we can’t seem to move the ball down the field on school
choice. One of the most important things we can do to expand
freedom in America is to give parents the power to choose where
their kids go to school. But the teacher unions are powerful, and
they act as a buffer against any of our efforts to expand these
programs. There has been some progress, some very modest
programs, but again it’s a disappointment for people who are
advocates of freedom.
Likewise with tax and expenditure limitations. We’ve been
trying to get states to adopt constitutional amendments that would
limit their spending and their taxing ability. That effort ran into
some very fierce opposition last year, and we’re not making much
progress.
And finally, on the environment. Don’t get me started on the
environment! Former vice president Albert Gore gets the Noble
Peace Prize for producing a propaganda film that most scientists
will say exaggerates, lies, and distorts the actual science on climate
change. It’s a symbol of what’s wrong in America with public
policy today. We’re not making a lot of progress. If this is an issue
of concern to you, I hope you will talk to me or to Fred Smith,
because Fred’s shop is doing terrific work on this as well.

Heartland’s History
Let me conclude quickly by giving you a little nutshell description
of The Heartland Institute – since it is, after all, The Heartland
Institute that brings you here tonight and that your contributions
are supporting.
Heartland was started 23 years ago. I was a student at the

- ix -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

University of Chicago at the time. Dave Padden brought together a


group of 15 people to pledge $100 a month to fund this new
start-up think tank. The reason they gave only $100 a month – and
some of you have heard this before – is because they thought I
would blow $1,000 if they gave it to me all at one time. So they
figured, let’s make him come and ask for it month after month.
And I did that. It was also tremendous discipline to produce results
when your donors are expecting to get a progress report from you
every four weeks.
In the first year we had a budget of $24,000. This year, for the
first time, we’ve broken five million dollars in our budget. It is a
big accomplishment. A lot of people in this room are responsible
for it. You all are applauding now for the donors, and not for the
beneficiary of that kind of generosity.
We now have 32 full-time staff, which is an amazing thing for
us to have. We have 115 policy advisors, academics at major
universities and not-so-major universities all across the country. A
couple dozen of them are with us here tonight. We have 527
legislative advisors, elected officials who have voluntarily chosen
to join the advisory board to The Heartland Institute. And
Heartland takes some pretty hard, principled libertarian positions
on the issues of the day – so to have more than 500 elected
officials sign up to formally endorse our programs is a pretty big
deal.
We have 2,100 donors to our organization. And I will end on
maybe a slightly sour note, because it is often asked who funds
The Heartland Institute.
If you “Google” The Heartland Institute, the first result that
comes up is The Heartland Institute Web site. The second is
something called Source Watch, an organization that just attacks
conservative groups, and the third one is Exxon Secrets, which

-x-
PREFACE

identifies all of the groups that ever got any money from
ExxonMobil Corporation. The Heartland Institute appears on each
of those Web sites.
We’re accused of being a front for big corporations, in
particular Exxon. It’s not the case.
No corporation gives more than 5 percent of The Heartland
Institute’s annual budget. This year, all the energy companies
combined are going to give less than 5 percent of our total annual
budget. If funding influences our opinions, then when 95 percent
of our income is coming from energy consumers and not energy
producers you would think we’d have a pretty strong anti-oil
company bias, but in fact we don’t.
The truth is we have a program and people absolutely
committed to principles and the ideas of free enterprise. Our
donors support us because they agree with those ideas, not because
they want to change our message.
So that’s what The Heartland Institute is, and that’s why you
are here tonight helping us raise money to keep this fantastic
program going and expanding all the time. I am deeply grateful to
every one of you who bought a ticket or table tonight ... and I hope
you have a real good time.

Joseph Bast
President, The Heartland Institute
October 25, 2007

- xi -
Introduction
By Dan Miller1

Good evening, I’m Dan Miller. I’m business editor of the Chicago
Sun-Times and have been a member of and donor to The Heartland
Institute for a couple decades. I am honored and delighted that Joe
Bast tapped me to moderate this debate. It’s great to be with
friends and old faces.
And speaking of old faces ...
I’m sure Fred Smith doesn’t remember anything about meeting
me when I was chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission,
but I want you all to know that Fred is in the cross-hairs of a smear
campaign that hits not only the Competitive Enterprise Institute –
and we’ve been privileged at the Chicago Sun-Times to publish
several articles by CEI people – but also The Heartland Institute,
Cato, and so many others.
The effort now on the part of the left is to demonize all of the
people who favor limited government, individual liberty, and
personal responsibility. It’s a very, very serious effort to
undermine everything that people in this room have worked for.
Fred is especially in the cross-hairs, and Joe is just a micro- inch
away from the cross-hairs. It’s something that you’ve got to be
aware of. They’re after us – they’re after us big-time.

1
Dan Miller is business editor of the Chicago Sun-Times.

-1-
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Remember, being paranoid is not irrational if they’re really


after you ... and they’re really after us.

Lincoln’s Legacy
Like many of you, I presume, I grew up and grew older regarding
Abraham Lincoln as one of our greatest presidents. He preserved
the Union against the rebels, he freed the slaves, he urged
reconciliation during Reconstruction, he was humble and a leader
of enormous charisma, and persistent.
It was only in recent years, however, that I realized others have
challenged those assumptions. Yes, he preserved the Union – but
where in the Constitution does it prohibit states from seceding?
And by what legal right did Lincoln prosecute the Civil War or, as
one of our debaters tonight calls it, “the war between the states,”
or, when he gets really personal, “Lincoln’s war”?
Yes, the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, but only
the slaves in the secessionist South, where the proclamation had
absolutely no force of law. Where the proclamation could have had
some force of law, in the border states that didn’t secede, such as
Maryland and Kentucky and Pennsylvania, it specifically
permitted slavery to continue.
Humble? Yes, yes, Lincoln in his speeches and his personal
life dramatized an innate humility. But politically, when he won
the presidential nomination in 1860 here in Chicago, he had
demonstrated the political savvy and cruelty that exploited the
moment of the instance that he was nominated.
My point is this: Reasonable people – and you wouldn’t be a
Heartland person if you were anything but reasonable – can
discuss and disagree about Lincoln and his legacy. But we don’t
have to be disagreeable. We all share a common respect for

-2-
INTRODUCTION

individual liberty, small government, the rule of law, and firm


property rights.
Tonight we’ll hear from two articulate and informed scholars
about whether and how those values played out in the life of
Abraham Lincoln.

Tonight’s Debate
Here’s how the debate works. One debater, Tom DiLorenzo, will
begin with a 10-minute presentation on the subject at one podium.
The second debater, Joe Morris, will have an equal amount of time
at the other podium. My job is not to interfere with the free flow of
ideas.
While the debate is going on, please write any questions you
may have for either or both of the debaters on the cards available
from Heartland staffers in the room. After the presentations I’ll
select some questions from the cards. Around 8:40 p.m. I’ll signal
the last question.

-3-
Opening Statement

Lincoln: Foe of Freedom


By Thomas J. DiLorenzo2

I couldn’t resist Joe Bast’s invitation to come to Chicago and


persuade 600 people from Illinois that Abe Lincoln was a tyrant
and an enemy of freedom. I thought that was going to be a real
challenge! So I’ll get right to it.

Corwin Amendment
One of the first things Abraham Lincoln did after he was elected
and before he was inaugurated was to instruct William Seward
[U.S. Senator from New York] to get a constitutional amendment
through the Senate that would forbid the federal government from
ever interfering with slavery in the South. And Seward did. It was
called the Corwin Amendment, named after [Ohio Republican
Congressman] Thomas Corwin.
Lincoln also instructed Seward to get a federal law passed that
would nullify the personal liberty laws that existed in some of the

2
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Ph.D. is the author of Lincoln Unmasked and The
Real Lincoln, among other books, and an American economics professor
at Loyola College in Maryland.

-5-
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

New England states. Under these laws, the New England states
refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.
And so Lincoln did everything he could to get a constitutional
amendment passed that would have forbidden the government
from ever interfering with slavery. That amendment was passed by
the House and the Senate and several states. In Lincoln’s first
inaugural address he supported it explicitly.

Hampton Roads
Four years later, in February 1865, there was a peace conference
between Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederate
government, and his entourage, and Lincoln and Seward and a few
others. They met at Hampton Roads, Virginia. They talked about
ending the war, of course.
Lincoln and Seward told them the Emancipation Proclamation
was a war measure – and, therefore, when the war was over it
would no longer be in effect in any way. They also told them the
Thirteenth Amendment, which was making its way through
Congress at the time, to abolish slavery, could easily be defeated if
the South would just rejoin the Union. There were 36 states at the
time, and Seward instructed Stephens they needed only 10 states to
defeat the Thirteenth Amendment.
This dispels one of the bigger myths about Lincoln, who
people say didn’t do anything about slavery at the beginning of his
administration because he didn’t have any political clout to do it.
In fact, Lincoln maintained the same position for the last four years
of his life, and that position was: “We won’t touch Southern
slavery, I’m only interested in opposing the extension of slavery
into the territories. Stay in the Union and you can keep your
slaves.”

-6-
DILORENZO: FOE

Destroying the Union


In terms of saving the Union, I contend Lincoln actually destroyed
the Union. The Union was a voluntary Union. The states ratified
the Constitution – they were sovereign, that’s why they had to
ratify the Constitution. But the Union was no longer voluntary
after 1865.
The parallel I think of is a woman who leaves her husband
because he’s been abusing her. He drags her back into the home,
chains her to the bedpost, and threatens to shoot her if she leaves
again. The union has been preserved! They’re back together again!
To me, that is the sense in which the Union was preserved, at the
cost of 620,000 lives.
For several generations, historians have referred to the
“Lincoln dictatorship.” One example is the historian Clinton
Rossiter, who was editor of The Federalist Papers in the 1950s
and 1960s; he was a Cornell University history professor. He said
this: “Dictatorship played a decisive role in his successful effort to
maintain a union by force of arms. Lincoln’s amazing disregard for
the Constitution was considered by nobody as legal.”
It doesn’t sound like Lincoln was a friend of freedom if you
look at statements like this by distinguished scholars.

Lincoln the Dictator


Now why did people like Rossiter say things like that? I have here
a short list of some of the things Lincoln did to deserve that
reputation. (A student who likes my books attended a talk I gave at
Washington University; he made up a t-shirt that said, “Dictator
To-Do List.”)
1. The illegal suspension of the writ of habeous corpus on his
own. The Constitution allows for the suspension of the writ, but

-7-
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

only by Congress. After he suspended the writ, Lincoln appointed


William Seward to be in charge of a sort-of KGB-style secret
police that rounded up anywhere between 15,000 and 30,000
Northern civilians for merely opposing the Lincoln administration.
These were not spies or traitors – they were people like George
Brown, the mayor of Baltimore; Congressman Henry May of
Baltimore; and 20 members of the Maryland state legislature. Of
course, the Constitution requires the federal government to provide
for a republican form of government in the states, and so arresting
those state and local elected officials was a direct denial of that
aspect of the Constitution.
There were Northern gulags like Fort Lafayette in New York
Harbor. It was said that the only place there was genuine free
speech in the North during the war was in these prisons, because
once you’re imprisoned for free speech, what have you got to lose?
If you want to read about this I would recommend a book by
James Randall, Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln. Randall
taught at the University of Illinois for many years; James
McPherson calls him the preeminent Lincoln scholar of the last
generation. All these facts I’m rattling off here are in this book,
among other places.
2. He shut down more than 300 opposition newspapers. In
some instances, the editors and owners were thrown into prison,
and in some instances there were mobs of sort-of Republican Party
activists who literally destroyed the printing presses of the
opposition press. They didn’t destroy every last opposition press,
but they sent a pretty strong message.
3. He started a war without congressional approval.
4. He confiscated firearms in the border states. In fact, the
whole invasion of the South was a violation of the Second
Amendment. As James Madison said, the purpose of the Second

-8-
DILORENZO: FOE

Amendment was to deter a federal army from ever invading a


sovereign state.
5. Lincoln micro-managed the waging of war on civilians for
four long years. I make this case in my book, and I can make it if
we have questions later. James McPherson estimated that about
50,000 Southern civilians were killed by the Union army one way
or another during the war.
One anecdote that I’ll offer: On one day, more than 4,000
artillery shells exploded in the city of Charleston, South Carolina –
at a time when there was no Confederate Army there. It was
civilians and maybe some wounded soldiers, and that was it. It was
not a a battle – it was just the bombing of a city. And this went on
throughout the South.
6. All telegraph communication was censored.
7. He confiscated private property. Two confiscation acts
allowed the U.S. government to take the private property of people
who were criticizing the Lincoln administration.
8. He arrested his detractors. The most outspoken Democrat in
Congress at the time was Clement Vallandigham from Dayton,
Ohio. He made very stirring Jeffersonian-sounding speeches
criticizing the suspension of habeus corpus and other things. After
he was gerrymandered out of Congress by the Republican Party, he
went back home to Ohio to run for governor.
Sixty-seven armed federal soldiers broke into Vallandigham’s
home in the middle of the night. He was arrested and thrown in
prison. He ended up being deported and spent the rest of the war in
Canada. It would be as though President Bush had Hillary Clinton
deported to Iran.
Roger Taney, the chief justice, issued an opinion that the
suspension of habeus corpus by the presidnet alone is
unconstitutional. Lincoln responded by issuing an arrest warrant

-9-
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

for Taney. He gave it to his friend and employee at the time, Ward
Lamon. There are several very good sources on this, like Ward
Lamon’s book, which is in the archives of the Huntington Library,
and the biography of Benjamin Robbins Curtis, who was a
supreme court justice who authored the opposing opinion in the
Dred Scott case and defended Andrew Johnson in his
impeachment.
9. He rigged Northern elections. West Virginia was allowed to
secede, illegally, from the rest of Virginia. The Constitution
requires Congress and the state legislature to agree on partitioning
a state and creating a new state. That didn’t happen. Northern
elections were rigged with the help of federal soldiers.
These are among the reasons why generations of historians
have referred to Lincoln as a dictator.

Jefferson on Secession
So what did Thomas Jefferson think about secession? He said if
the western part of the country ever seceded from the east, “[t]hose
of the Western confederacy will be as much our children and
descendants as those of the Eastern.” That was in 1804, many,
many years after the Declaration of Secession – which was the
Declaration of Independence.
Contrast that with Lincoln. In his first inaugural address, when
discussing the possibility that states might secede, he used the
words “invasion” and “bloodshed.” He was the anti-Jefferson as
far as I’m concerned.
In terms of economics, Lincoln was a mercantilist, so he was
against economic freedom. He was a protectionist, a champion of
corporate welfare, and a champion of inflationary finance through
central banking. He admitted that he spent his entire career as a

- 10 -
DILORENZO: FOE

Whig politician advocating those things.


That was essentially the political agenda of Alexander
Hamilton. I consider Lincoln to be the political son of Alexander
Hamilton. He opposed equality under the law. Despite a few
fanciful statements he made about equality, he said this to Stephen
Douglas in 1858, “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.”

All Created Equal?


Lincoln was a member of the Illinois Colonization Society, which
wanted to use state funds to deport the small number of free blacks
that were in the state out of the state. To some extent, they did that.
He also said in another debate with Douglas, “The African (he
always referred to black people as “the Africans,” as though they
were from another planet) upon his own soil has all the natural
rights that that instrument [the Declaration of Independence]
vouchsafes to all mankind.”
Lincoln said such things many times, that was his position.
Yes, blacks and whites can be equal, but not if blacks are here in
America. If they’re on their own soil, that’s where they can be
equal.
I think you have to understand that to understand what Lincoln
means when he quotes the Declaration of Independence. He voted
against black suffrage in Illinois, he opposed allowing blacks to
testify in court in Illinois, he voted against abolishing the slave
trade in Washington, DC while he was in Congress, he was a
strong supporter of the Fugitive Slave Act.
One of the reasons Lincoln gave for opposing the extension of
slavery into the territories was that he wanted to save the territories

- 11 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

for “free white people.” It wasn’t a moral reason, it was just


politics. The people in the territories wanted them to be all-white,
and so as a politician he thought there was a lot of votes there
among the Free Soil Party, so that’s what he did.
Lincoln met with a group of free black men in the White House
in 1862, and he urged them to lead by example and go to Liberia.
Those men wisely said “no thank you,” because, as they explained
to him, some thousands of blacks had already gone to Liberia, but
most of them had perished. Lincoln told them their descendants
would ultimately outnumber them, if they were to go to Liberia
and procreate once they got there. It didn’t seem like a good deal
to those men at the time, and they wisely rejected his advice.
Yes, Lincoln did quote the “all men are created equal” portion
of the Declaration of Independence in the Gettysburg Address.
But, as the great H.L. Mencken said, the Gettysburg Address was
“poetry, not fact.”
Mencken pointed out that it was the Confederates who were
fighting for government by consent: They no longer consented to
being ruled by Washington, DC. It was the Northern army that was
fighting against government by consent.
So those are some of the reasons I think Lincoln does not
deserve the reputation as a man of freedom.
And by the way, all the other countries and regions and states
that ended slavery in the nineteenth century did so peacefully.
Britain, Spain, the Dutch, the French, the Danes, the New
Englanders, even New Yorkers. They all found a way to end
slavery peacefully.

- 12 -
Opening Statement

Lincoln: Friend of Freedom


By Joseph A. Morris3

Ladies and gentlemen, Abe Lincoln was not perfect. Abe Lincoln
was a clever, calculating pol. Abe Lincoln was from Illinois ...
What’s news?
I think it is a healthy thing that the world recognize that no
politician is perfect, because it is a mistake, it is dangerous to
liberties, to translate political leadership into sainthood. It is a
mistake to think that political leaders are the source of salvation on
this Earth.
But once we recognize that, I think it’s important that we face
the facts and understand what principled and constructive and
accomplished political leadership is, and what it can do. It’s only
fair to recognize what Abraham Lincoln achieved for the people of
the United States, which in my view was to make real the promise
of the Declaration of Independence.

3
Joseph A. Morris, J.D., is president of the Lincoln Legal Foundation and
a partner in the law firm of Morris & DeLaRosa, with offices in Chicago
and London.

- 13 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Holding Lincoln to a Standard


Tom DiLorenzo, I think, has performed a real service by doing
something that other scholars who have been critical of Lincoln in
the past have not done. Other critics of Lincoln have complained
that he dithered over slavery, that he was too patient with his
generals, that he was either too much the politician or not enough,
that he was too lax with the South or not strict enough with the
South in the contemplation of Reconstruction.
What Tom DiLorenzo has done is something that, frankly, I
think is unmatched in history since Lincoln had a critic by the
name of Douglas, who was a senator from Illinois, with whom he
debated in 1858 and whom he challenged for the presidency when
Douglas was the national candidate of the Democrats in 1860. Tom
DiLorenzo has tried to hold Lincoln to the standards of a lover of
liberty.
The challenge that DiLorenzo puts to President Lincoln is,
“Well, where were you on this notion of equality that you think is
so important in the Declaration of Independence, that is the
centerpiece theme of your argument at Gettysburg? Where were
you on the question of the respect for civil liberties, which
presumably is the warp and woof of our constitutional system?
And where were you on the fundamental question of what is the
United States of America, and what is the nature of this federation
of states, and what does it mean to have a constitution in a context
of an experiment by human beings to govern themselves?”
Those are the right questions to ask, and those are the right
standards to which to hold Abraham Lincoln. Obviously, we’re
advocates of different points of view on the answers to those
questions, and you are the jury of history on the question of where
we come down on Abraham Lincoln against the DiLorenzo
yardstick.

- 14 -
MORRIS: FRIEND

I am here to argue facts for Abraham Lincoln, and let’s begin with
some fundamentals.

Dedicated to a Proposition
Lincoln is perhaps best-known for those words he uttered at
Gettysburg. The opening lines that Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg are
ones we all remember ... and little understand. And I respectfully
submit that in those words with which Lincoln opened the address
at Gettysburg, you will see the essential kernel of Lincoln’s
understanding of what the American federation and nation is, and
why it ought to matter to those of us who are lovers of liberty.
Remember those words:

Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth


on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now, I think we all have some grasp of the proposition “all men
are created equal.” Let there be no doubt about it, Lincoln was an
opponent of slavery. He made it very clear throughout his career in
Illinois as a political man that he did not think it was right to live
off the sweat of the brow of another. He told us over and over
again, as he would not be a slave, he would not be a master. We
understand that Lincoln was an advocate of the notion that all men
are created equal, even if that means that in a particular situation at
a particular time, they find themselves in a political society that
holds only imperfectly to that standard.
And I think we understand even the higher calling of his
argument, that this was a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated
to a proposition – unlike the Danes and the Britons and the Irish

- 15 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

and the French, and people all around the world, whose nationhood
was a fact of nature, it was an accident of history, it was a
condition they found upon them when they emerged into the
sunlight of civilization.
The American nation was something that was created as a
series of conscious acts, coming out of a revolutionary past, with
ideas in mind. What other nation can say as its birthright that it’s
dedicated to a proposition, rather than merely occupying a piece of
land or speaking a particular language or embracing a particular
culture?
Lincoln told us that this was a nation dedicated to a
proposition, and by opening our eyes to that fact, if nothing else,
Lincoln deserves the undying gratitude of people who love liberty
the world over.

Brought Forth a Nation


But he also said they brought forth a nation. They brought forth “a
nation.” He didn’t say they brought forth “a contract.” He didn’t
say they brought forth “a deal” or “a confederation.” He said they
brought forth a nation.
And that is what the arithmetic compels you to conclude,
because if you recall that he spoke at Gettysburg in 1863, and you
know from the Elizabethan English of the King James Bible what
fourscore and seven years means, you know that the calculation
from 1863 of fourscore and seven years takes us back not to the
constitutional ratification of 1789 or the constitutional convention
of 1787, but to the year of the declaration of American
independence, to the revolutionary year of 1776.
Why does it matter, in the mind of Lincoln or the minds of us
today, that there was a 13-year gap between the creation of a

- 16 -
MORRIS: FRIEND

nation and the creation of its government? It matters because – and


here is an important issue on which Tom DiLorenzo and I disagree
– it matters because the point is that a nation and its government
are not the same thing.
The nation precedes the government. The government is the
creature and the servant and the subordinate of the nation. The
nation, the people of a nation, can bring a government into being
and they can change it ... and they did.
If you love liberty, the single most important gift to the human
spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s imagination was to nail down the
distinction between a people and its peoplehood and its
nationhood, on the one hand, and its political units and its
governmental distribution of powers, on the other.
That’s what Lincoln meant when he insisted that “the Union” –
the nation, the American nation – should be preserved.
Was Lincoln a willy-nilly Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an
advocate of a centralized national government with Hillary Clinton
as its philosopher queen ... as Tom DiLorenzo suggests in his
book, Lincoln Unmasked, where he elevates Hillary Clinton – I’m
not making this up – to the apotheosis of a Yankee? What you
meant Tom, was the apotheosis of a Yankee fan.
In fact, as president of the United States, Lincoln was an
extraordinarily circumspect chief executive who looked to the
Congress, to the Senate and the House, to take the lead on most
making of public policy. He saw his responsibility in a domestic
context as taking care that the laws be carefully executed.

Author of the Civil War?


Now let’s turn to the central indictment Tom delivers against Mr.
Lincoln: that Mr. Lincoln was the author of the Civil War.

- 17 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Tom DiLorenzo told you about a lot of dancing and prancing


and political gimmickry on the part of Mr. Lincoln, both before
and after he became president and even as late as the Hampton
Roads conference. It’s true. But the aims of Lincoln’s amazing
political maneuvering were never in doubt and they never varied:
To preserve the Union and end slavery.
With all due respect to Tom’s narrative, Mr. Lincoln did not in
fact urge the South to stay in the Union in exchange for forgoing
prohibitions on slavery. On the contrary, Mr. Lincoln disclosed, to
the shock of Alexander Stephens, that the Thirteenth Amendment
had been passed out of Congress and was on its way to ratification
by the states. The Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery
everywhere in the United States; it prohibits involuntary servitude
everywhere and forever.
Stephens was shocked by that, and that was the effect Lincoln
intended, because what Lincoln wanted to do was end the war and
stop the bloodshed. And he essentially said to Stephens at the
Hampton Roads conference, “If I were you, Mr. Vice President of
the whatever-you-are, the rebellion, I would go back and tell your
brethren: Rejoin the Union. Drop your arms. I will not negotiate
with you as long as you are under arms. Rejoin the Union, send
your delegates back to Washington. I will embrace the states once
again in their rightful places in the American federation. Send your
votes back – you’re not going to stop the ratification of the
Thirteenth Amendment, but I bet you can ensure that it is phased in
with all deliberate speed.”
What was Lincoln attempting to do? He was attempting to stop
bloodshed. He knew that the train, which he helped leave the
station – to end slavery – was never coming back. Slavery was the
issue of the war.
And what about the start of that war? Facts that Tom

- 18 -
MORRIS: FRIEND

DiLorenzo has a hard time answering are very simple. Mr. Lincoln
became president of the United States on the fourth day of March
in 1861. Prior to the end of February 1861, seven southern states
had already purported to secede. In early February 1861, the
Confederate so-called Congress had already convened in
Richmond. By the 18th and 19th of February 1861, Jefferson Davis
was already the president of the so-called Confederacy. Jeff Davis
was the rebel president before Abe Lincoln ever arrived in
Washington and took his oath of office as president of the United
States.
If you want to know who started the Civil War, look south and
look to people who had one and only one issue – maybe Tom and I
will get a chance to debate this. One and only one issue was the
real precipitant of that war, and it was the cause of slavery.

- 19 -
Rebuttal

Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Well, I’m sure Joe is not calling Lincoln a liar when he says
slavery was the only cause. Lincoln himself always said the
extension of slavery was what he was strenuously opposed to. He
explicitly said, at his first inaugural for example, that he had no
intent to disturb Southern slavery.
On the Gettysburg Address, fourscore and seven years ago, of
course that’s not when the country was founded – it was with the
Constitution. And yes, Lincoln said “a nation was founded,” but
the founders did not create a nation. They created a confederacy, a
union of states, but it wasn’t a nation and there wasn’t a national
government.

Do We Have a Nation?
Lincoln wanted it to be a national government. Alexander
Hamilton’s agenda at the Constitutional Convention was to get a
permanent president who would appoint all the governors and have
veto power over all state legislation – essentially a king. That’s
why Jefferson himself hated Alexander Hamilton. I’ve just written
a book on this, called Hamilton’s Curse, which is coming out next
year.

- 21 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

But Hamiltonians never succeeded. They invented the myth


about 20 years later that America was created by “the whole
nation,” that “the whole people” created the Constitution, when in
reality, of course, it was the citizens of each individual state. And
when the King of England signed a peace treaty with the American
revolutionaries, he signed it with each individual state, named by
name. He didn’t sign it with something called “the United States
nation.” That just didn’t exist.
And so what Lincoln is doing in the Gettysburg Address, when
he talks about “a new nation,” is putting in his own words this
myth that the country was created by the whole people and not by
political conventions of the citizens of the sovereign states. In fact,
the thinking of the Jeffersonians was that, if this constitution is
ever to be enforced, then the people themselves organized in
political communities at the state level is how it is to be enforced.
And if the day ever comes that the federal government becomes
the sole arbiter of the limits of its own powers, it will inevitably
decide that there are no limits to its own powers ... and that’s what
we got after 1865, when through the federal judiciary, the federal
government has been since then the sole decision maker about the
limits of its own powers.

Jeffersonian Mantle
In What Lincoln Believed, Michael Lind makes the case that the
main reason Lincoln brought the “all men are created equal”
language into the Gettysburg Address is that he wanted to win
votes from the Jeffersonians in the North – he wanted to wrap
himself in the Jeffersonian mantle.
If you read the whole Declaration of Independence, it is a
declaration of secession from the British Empire. Lincoln totally

- 22 -
DILORENZO: REBUTTAL

perverted the Declaration of Independence, in my view, by turning


it from a secessionist document, a Jeffersonian document, to a
document that was anti-secessionist. He was a clever lawyer, as we
all know, a clever semanticist, and that’s what he did.
But if you read the last couple of paragraphs of the Declaration
of Independence, you’ll be reminded that the individual states
declared themselves as essentially individual countries with the
power to raise taxes and to wage war. They didn’t create a nation.
Lincoln said they did, but that was simply wrong.

Who Started the War


As for who started the war: Lincoln started the war. Nobody was
hurt, let alone killed, at Fort Sumter.
The South Carolinians didn’t want a foreign fort in what they
considered to be their territory, any more than George Washington
would have wanted a British fort in New York Harbor. Lincoln
responded to the shelling of this fort – which harmed nobody –
with a full-scale invasion of all the southern states that ended up
killing one out of four men of military age in the southern states
and in addition 50,000 civilians, according to James McPherson,
and the bombing of cities, the total destruction of farms,
countryside, and so forth. President James Buchanan didn’t think
he had the authority to wage war on the states that had seceded, but
Lincoln did.
Those are my points of disagreement for now.

- 23 -
Rebuttal

Joseph A. Morris

This debate over the question of when America began is not mere
metaphysics. It really matters. I think it matters for the reasons that
I’ve described, and I just urge you all: Go yourselves to the texts. I
carry around in my pocket my Cato Institute copy of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It’s there every
day, and I make my living with it.
The Declaration of Independence opens with the immortal
words, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary
for one people to dissolve the political bands which have
connected them with another” – one people.
Already in 1776, the Congress assembled at Philadelphia was
exercising power – by itself, without sending messengers back to
the 13 colonies to canvass the views of the leadership in the 13
colonies as to what this new “emerging American nation” –
so-called by Benjamin Franklin – was going to do. They identified
themselves as one people, a people – not a government, but a
people.
And then they proceeded to spend the next 13 years
experimenting with the kind of governmental institutions that they
thought would be most conducive to their happiness and to their
liberty.

- 25 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Madison on Secession
Now, Mr. Jefferson was blessed, as some great men are, by having
a great man at his right arm. And that great man was James
Madison – who, probably more than anyone else, was responsible
for the form and text of the document that we revere as the
Constitution, as the fundamental law of our political regime, of our
government. And when, as Tom correctly told you, in the 1800s
Mr. Jefferson fulminated a bit off the ranch on the question of
secession, it was Mr. Madison who reined him in.
Although he was a Jeffersonian Republican and a southern
agrarian and disliked Alexander Hamilton every bit as much as
Tom DiLorenzo or you or I might dislike Alexander Hamilton, it
was Mr. Madison who correctly pointed out to Jefferson and
attained Jefferson’s concession, that the Constitution, which
contains no express provision opposing secession, contains no
express provision providing for it.
As a matter of fact, Madison pointed out to Jefferson, that to
allow what Mr. Calhoun wanted in South Carolina – nullification
by the states of federal decisions – or to allow the secession of an
individual state, would be to allow one state on its own to amend
the federal constitution, and that wasn’t the deal. The deal from the
outset was, once you joined the federation as a political matter,
you were bound by the three-fourths rule and you were bound by
the republican guarantee clause and you were bound by the
territorial provisions.
Remember, by the time we get to the Civil War, we have way
more than 13 states in the union. Where did those other states
come from? Those states were carved out of territories that had
been, in a sense, the common property of the original 13 states
acquired at various times and in various ways. If you are seceding,
do you get to take your share of those other derivative states and

- 26 -
MORRIS: REBUTTAL

territories with you? Utter nonsense, Madison argued, and he


walked down the line of Jefferson’s arguments and answered them,
and his answers stand today.

Supreme Court and State Sovereignty


Was it the Civil War that the turned the Supreme Court of the
United States into what it is today, the final arbiter of what the
Constitution means? Mr. DiLorenzo, I’d like to introduce you to a
fellow by the name of John Marshall, and a decision of the
Supreme Court of the United States called Marbury v. Madison in
1804.
By the time the Civil War arrived, that was already old law,
and it had been used and used over and over again by advocates of
the South and southern states in various contests and contexts
where they were challenging northern interests. That included the
case that, probably more than any other single episode in American
history of the era, was responsible for the launch of the war, and
that was the Dred Scott decision.
In that case, the Supreme Court of the United States – the final
word of law in the United States, presided over by Chief Justice
Taney – held ... and how’s this for states’ rights? ... that a state in
the North, a state of free soil, a state that opposed slavery, was not
free to prohibit a southerner from passing through that state with
his chattel slaves in tow and in his possession, and to treat them as
slaves inside those states. There were no states’ rights for northern
states that opposed slavery.
As a matter of fact, Chief Justice Tawney held for the Court in
the Dred Scott decision – in a decision that shocked the conscience
of the nation – that Africans, black human beings, not only were
not but never could be citizens of the United States, or citizens of a

- 27 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

state entitled to the privileges and immunities of a citizen of the


state. What’s that for states’ rights? In states like Illinois and
Indiana and New York and Connecticut and Massachusetts, which
back then were recognizing African-American people as citizens
with full rights and with immunities of a citizen in their states and
expecting those rights and privileges and immunities to be
respected in the other states as well under the supremacy clause
and the full faith and credit clause. What’s that for states’ rights?

Confederate Constitution
Don’t look to the constitution of the Confederacy, much admired
by Tom DiLorenzo, for meaningful answers to those questions.
Because the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that that constitution,
for all its fancy rhetoric, was never successfully implemented by
the so-called lovers of liberty of the South – which had, if you
want to get into the facts, a far larger, more brutal, and more
pervasive KGB and political suppression system than did anything
Mr. Lincoln or Secretary Seward imagined.

- 28 -
Cross-Examination

Questions from the Audience


By Dan Miller

Miller: I am just stunned by the quality of these questions! Let’s


get to as many as we can.
Tom DiLorenzo, please describe the academic and newspaper
efforts to create the Lincoln myth. Why is the media and the
academy so dedicated to creating that myth?

DiLorenzo: A lot of what’s written about Lincoln sort of makes


him into a saint or god-like figure, which no politician should be
made out to be.
In any rankings by historians of the greatest presidents, Lincoln
and FDR are always at the top. Whoever is the most forceful chief
executive, who creates big government or starts a war, is a
war-time president – those are always the presidents the historians
rank at the top.
And the journalists, of course, to the extent that they have any
education about this, they were educated by these same historians
who always rank FDR and Lincoln at the top. I imagine that’s
where this comes from. A lot of the literature is deification of
Lincoln.
People have asked me if I think Lincoln should be at Mount

- 29 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Rushmore. I always say nobody should be on Mount Rushmore.


It’s sort of a deification of politicians, which is a very unhealthy
thing for a society.

Miller: Joe Morris, our government is said to be a government of


checks and balances. But if a state cannot leave the Union, what
check is there?

Morris: States do and ought to have an enormous amount of


power and responsibility in a federal system, and Mr. Madison, I
think very rightly, pointed out that the new United States of
America under the Constitution was not a unified, centralized
nation-state like France, nor was it an impossible, highly atomized
mere federation like the Articles of Confederation attempted to be,
the Confederacy attempted to be, or some other con-federated
systems in human history attempted to be.
It was something altogether new. It was a notion of divided and
shared sovereignty – that is, on some level, each state is sovereign,
and on some level, the national government is sovereign. There is a
unified sovereignty of the American people, that in turn is
distributed on a subsidiary basis, in part to the government at the
national level and in part to the governments at the state level.
There are some functions that states ought to have that ought
not to be functions of the federal government. The Constitution
attempts to enumerate the federal governments powers.
Public pressure, the pressure of constituencies of interest
groups, for a century and more has attempted to press the federal
government to take over those responsibilities from the states.
People who love liberty will and ought to press in the opposite
direction.
But let me tell you one thing: The doctrine of states’ rights

- 30 -
CROSS-EXAMINATION

ought to be a doctrine of honor and sincere profession in this


country. The notion of states’ rights – those words should be
honorable words, they should be on the lips of defenders of liberty.
But states’ rights, in the modern political context, have an acid
taste to them, because southern lovers of slavery and southern
opposition to the equality of human beings, for more than a
century, before and after Mr. Lincoln’s time, tried to hide behind
the rights and proper powers of sovereign states to perpetuate those
inequalities.

Miller: Tom, Jefferson Davis said that blacks must be integrated


into the society, must be allowed to work, save money, buy
property. Abe Lincoln said that all blacks should be sent back to
Africa. Whose approach won, who triumphed?

DiLorenzo: I’m not necessarily a defender of the Confederacy,


any more than a critic of FDR is a defender of Hitler. Keep in mind
my book is about Lincoln, it’s not a defense of anything the
Confederate government has done.
I do defend the right of secession, and I think I devote one page
to the Confederate government, where I compare their constitution
to the U.S. Constitution. The people who are trying to smear me by
calling me a neo-Confederate make this assumption that if you
criticize Lincoln you’re a defender of the Confederacy. That’s like
saying a critic of FDR is a defender of Hitler and Mussolini, and
that’s just not right.

Miller: Joe, why not let the South secede? Wouldn’t the North be
in a better position to end slavery once the North was free from the
Fugitive Slave Act?

- 31 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Morris: One reason is that you would have left a quasi-totalitarian


regime in power in the South, and it would be immediately next
door to the United States, and that would not be a healthy thing.

Miller: Tom, did Lincoln not clearly show, in his second inaugural
address, that both sides had significant responsibility for the war
and the deaths?

DiLorenzo: That may be his most celebrated speech. People have


written entire books about that speech.
In the second inaugural address, Lincoln said “the war came” –
which is a real cop-out, isn’t it? He just happened to be sitting
there in his office one day and holy cow, the war came – and then
he blames the whole thing on God and absolves himself. He said
the war was God’s punishment for the sin of slavery, and both
North and South were responsible. He blamed the whole thing on
God.
And keep in mind that New York City didn’t abolish slavery
until 1852, and New Hampshire passed a law ending slavery in
1857.

Miller: Joe, if Wisconsin were allowed to secede today, would you


regard it as appropriate to send our boys to shoot people from
Wisconsin?

Morris: A very simple answer, and it’s the answer of Sumter:


Only if they shot first. It’s the answer that should have been given
at Waco.
That’s what we had at Waco, some lunatics who were seceding
from the United States in their little compound. It was absolute
madness to invade that compound. You had the compound

- 32 -
CROSS-EXAMINATION

encircled, you essentially have them in prison. All you had to do


was just sit there.
An attempt by Wisconsin or any other state to secede would
not be harmless. It would not be without injury to the rights of
Americans in Wisconsin or people elsewhere in the other 49 states
with absolute rights and privileges in the state of Wisconsin. So it
would not be harmless, and it ought to be resisted.
There are many ways in which to resist it. There are legal ways
to resist it. There are economic ways to resist it. There are violent
ways to resist it. My answer on the question of violence is, there’s
no need to resist any such act, any such political or other act, by
violence unless violence is initiated by other Americans.
I’m not admitting the legitimacy of a peaceful secession – I am
saying a peaceful secession is an absolute absurdity in modern
America, but it does not need a violent response. A nonviolent
secession in modern America is doomed to failure.

DiLorenzo: Thank God the Russians had Gorbachev and not


Lincoln. Fifteen republics peacefully seceded. Of course, I would
not send troops into Wisconsin to keep them from seceding. It
would be barbarianism to do such a thing.

Miller: Tom, why didn’t Lincoln use the courts?

DiLorenzo: Because he knew he would lose.


That’s why they never tried Jefferson Davis – they had him
imprisoned, but they never tried him. One of the most prominent
lawyers in New York City at the time, Charles O’Conor, offered to
defend him pro bono. The trial would have been in Virginia. I
think they knew they would not have won on the issue of the
constitutionality of secession, and they didn’t want to lose through

- 33 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

the courts what they had just gained through 620,000 deaths.

Miller: It’s just amazing to me the integration, the hard drives of


the people of The Heartland Institute – and indeed, of all people of
libertarian persuasion. All of the questions I have here are
remarkable. Nevertheless, this is the last question.

Tom, and then Joe: What would the United States look like today if
the South had been allowed to secede peacefully?

DiLorenzo: There’s a new book out by Charles Adams, titled


When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for
Southern Secession. It’s a collection of European essays on the
Civil War. It’s really fascinating: Charles Dickens is in there.
All of these authors, from England, France, Greece – all over
Europe – seem to recognize that when the South seceded it
nullified the Fugitive Slave Act, and that was a law that socialized
the cost of slavery. It forced the northern states to run down
runaway states, and they returned most of them to their owners.
That’s why the underground railroad ended up in Canada. And
these European authors recognized that this would break the back
of slavery. Regardless of what the Southerners were saying, these
European authors thought the smarter ones surely had to
understand that this really was the end of slavery.
In my opinion, a real statesman could have sped that up by
offering compensated emancipation of some form, like the rest of
the world had done. Slavery could have been ended very quickly
and peacefully. Lincoln talked about it a lot, but he never used his
legendary political skills to actually get it done. He went to war
instead.

- 34 -
CROSS-EXAMINATION

I think the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century


was a time of consolidated government power – in Germany, in
Russia, and everywhere else – where centralized, monopolistic
bureaucracies were created. The United States would have been
the one counter-example of decentralization and federalism that
was allowed to work for the rest of the world to see. Today, we
usually hold up Switzerland as an example of that.
I think allowing secession would have tempered the
imperialistic proclivities of the U.S. government. We wouldn’t
have had the Spanish-American War, for example. Just as the
secession of Wisconsin would temper the proclivities of the U.S.
government to tax the pants off everybody, like it’s doing now.
That was always the idea behind secession, or the threat of
secession.
And if we hadn’t gotten into the Spanish-American War, I
doubt we would have had a Woodrow Wilson to plunge us into
World War I, and without World War I there probably wouldn’t
have been a World War II. I also think the two sides of the country
could have reunited if they thought it was in their interest to do so.

Morris: Let’s make sure we got that straight: Abraham Lincoln is


responsible for World War II ...
Tom DiLorenzo argues in his books that if the South had won
the Civil War, the shame of slavery could not have survived. It
didn’t make economic sense for the South, he writes.
I respectfully submit that any survival of slavery after 1865 –
in fact, the survival of slavery into 1865 – was a shame and a
scandal on its face and a denial of American principles. That it
could be acceptable that slavery would last into the last third of the
nineteenth century is just completely unacceptable to me.

- 35 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Had the South succeeded in its rebellion and its secession, I


don’t think the North would have gone a merry and homogenous
way. Had this precedent of secession been successfully
established, I think we would have seen an atomization of the rest
of the North. I think the New England secession would have
occurred. I think the Mid-Atlantic states would have gone their
own ways. The West never would have been opened as the West
was opened, as the American West.
Spain and Mexico would still have significant presences in
North America, and the dominant power in North America would
probably be a very strong British Empire. There would have been
by the early twentieth century no arsenal of democracy to resist
World War I – as if Woodrow Wilson and the United States started
World War I?
If there had been no United States, including a strong and
economically vibrant, decidedly American, South, then, by the
middle of the twentieth century, there would have been no leader
of the West, no America to defeat the Nazis and ultimately to
defeat the Communists.
So in my view, if the rebellion had succeeded, if secession had
been established as a viable precedent for the United States of
America, the lamp would have gone out on the hilltop, and the
experiment in human self-government would have failed.

- 36 -
Speaker Biographies

Thomas J. DiLorenzo earned his Ph.D. in economics from


Virginia Tech and is an American economics professor at Loyola
College in Maryland. Tom is an adherent of the Austrian school of
economics, a senior faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises
Institute, and an affiliated scholar of the League of the South
Institute.
Tom is the author of more than 10 books, including The Real
Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an
Unnecessary War. That’s the one about which Barron’s newspaper
wrote, “more than 16,000 books have already been written about
Abraham Lincoln, but it took an economist to get the story right.”
He also wrote How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History
of Our Country from Pilgrims to the Present and Lincoln
Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know about Dishonest
Abe. I’ll bet you can deduce where he’s comin’ from on that one!
Tom has spoken out in favor of the formation of the
Confederate States of America, claiming the South had the right to
secede. He also has criticized the crediting of the New Deal with
ending the Great Depression. Tom lectures widely and is a
frequent speaker at Mises Institute events as well as on national
media.

- 37 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

Joseph A. Morris is a partner in the law firm of Morris &


DeLaRosa, with offices in Chicago and London. He maintains an
active practice, conducting trials and appeals, particularly in the
areas of constitutional, business, labor, administrative, and
international law. He is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court
of the United States, the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, and
several other courts.
Joe serves pro bono publico as president and general counsel
of the Lincoln Legal Foundation – which tells you where he’s
coming from! – and he’s an active member of many other civic,
charitable, and other organizations.
Joe served under President Ronald Reagan as assistant attorney
general and director of the Office of Liaison Services at the U.S.
Department of Justice. He also has been an American delegate to
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. He
is a national director of the American Conservative Union and has
been chairman and president of the United Republican Fund of
Illinois.
A frequent lecturer and debater, Joe appears often on national
and local television and radio.

- 38 -
The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit public policy
research organization based in Chicago. Founded in 1984, its
mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions
to social and economic problems. Such solutions include parental
choice in education, market-based approaches to environmental
protection and health care finance, tax and spending limitation, and
deregulation in areas where property rights and markets do a better
job than government bureaucracies.
Heartland publishes books and policy studies, hosts an online
clearinghouse for public policy research and commentary called
PolicyBot, organizes events featuring experts on public policy
issues, and supports a growing network of prominent senior
fellows.
Heartland’s unique contribution to the national debate over
public policy is its series of five monthly public policy
newspapers: Budget & Tax News, Environment & Climate News,
Health Care News, InfoTech & Telecom News, and School Reform
News. These publications feature the best work of the country’s
leading think tanks and present research and commentary as news.
Heartland sends these public policy newspapers to every state
and national elected official in the U.S., plus 8,440 local officials,
2,000 journalists, and thousands of subscribers, Heartland
supporters, and opinion leaders.

- 39 -
LINCOLN: FRIEND OR FOE OF FREEDOM?

More than 130 academics and professional economists


participate in Heartland’s peer review process, and nearly 100
experts on the staffs of other think tanks serve as contributing
editors of Heartland’s publications. Approximately 500 state
legislators serve on Heartland’s Board of Legislative Advisors,
providing feedback and guidance to Heartland staff. A 15-member
Board of Directors oversees a staff of 35.
Heartland’s annual budget of approximately $7 million is
funded by 2,100 donors. No corporate donor gives more than
5 percent. Contributions are tax deductible under Section 501(c)3
of the Internal Revenue Code.
For more information, contact The Heartland Institute,
19 South LaSalle #903, Chicago, IL 60603, phone 312/377-4000,
fax 312/377-5000, or visit http://www.heartland.org.

- 40 -
Abraham Lincoln:
Friend or Foe of Freedom?
Order Form

Number of copies x
volume discounts
Price/copy = prices include shipping/handling

Copies Cost/copy Discount


$ Total enclosed
1-10 $4.95 —
11-50 3.95 17%
51-100 2.95 33%
101+ 1.95 50%
If charged to a credit card, please
provide this information:

[ ] Master Card [ ] Visa [ ] American Express

Card Number Exp. Date

Signature

Name

Title

Business

Street

City, State, Zip

Preferred Phone

Preferred Email

Please mail this form and check or money order to The Heartland Institute, 19
South LaSalle Street #903, Chicago, Illinois 60603. Questions? Call 312/377-
4000. For more information about The Heartland Institute, visit our Web site at
www.heartland.org.