Not the Great Emancipator: 10 Racist Quotes Abraham Lincoln Said About Black People
In March of 1861, Lincoln rendered the following words: “The War is waged by the government of the United States not in the spirit of conquest or subjugation, nor for the purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or institutions of the states, but to defend and protect the Union.”
Lincoln did eventually advocate emancipation. However, he did so to preserve the Union, and not to render a moral decision. He once wrote, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.”
According to Annalee Newitz, a journalist of cultural news, scientific racism “relies on allegedly scientific ideas — whether genetics or phrenology — to claim that some racial groups are naturally superior to other.” Lincoln was an upholder of this institution. In 1858, he said,“…I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
Lincoln was, indeed, a white supremacist. In his 1858 debate with Sen. Steven Douglas, Lincoln maintained, “And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
On Aug. 14, 1862, Lincoln invited free Black ministers to the White House to have a conversation. Lincoln did not hesitate to convince them of their inferiority when he candidly said the following: “You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.”
Lincoln was no supporter of racial equality. In fact, while debating Douglas in 1858, Lincoln declared the following: “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.”
While the previous quotes prove that, politically, Lincoln was not firmly insistent on freeing the slaves of the South, his following quote reveals that he personally did not want to: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
Being that Lincoln was a not concerned with racial equality or the well-being of Black slaves in the South, it should come as no surprise that he did not support the marital union of whites and Blacks. He, in 1858, remarked, “I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.”
Lincoln was not necessarily against the expansion of slavery. But, he only had one primary request: whites and Black could not mix in the new land. When addressing the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, Lincoln quoted the following: “There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races … A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. If white and black people never get together in Kansas, they will never mix blood in Kansas…”
Lincoln believed that Black people living in close proximity to white people would ruin the image of the pure white family that he found ideal. He felt the birth of mixed race children would cause family life to “collapse.” He said, “Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people. As long as blacks continue to live with the whites they constitute a threat to the national life. Family life may also collapse and the increase of mixed breed bastards may some day challenge the supremacy of the white man.”
For those reading this who feel the urge to start calling me out or saying that I’m a bigot, racist, white supremacist, white nationalist, neo-nazi or fascist of any kind –
This is a narrative that I have borrowed courtesy of the ATLANTA BLACK STAR.
Go to atlantablackstar.com to read their “ABOUT” page.
And please do it BEFORE commenting.