Lincoln on Secession

“Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right – a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is the right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit. More than this, a majority of any such portion may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with or near about them, who may oppose this movement. Such minority was precisely the case of the Tories of our own Revolution. It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines or old laws; but to break up both and make new ones.”

- Abraham Lincoln


  1. I really think Lincoln was one of the sublime Machiavellian sociopaths in history. His career is replete with statements that if taken at face value would mark him for a great American Patriot but... he brought doublespeak to bear on everything. If he told you his position plainly you'd think you understood it only to have him elegantly dissemble on the matter later. He had the power to convince a crowd that he had not really said things which they had plainly heard him say. What a snake.

  2. He certainly must have been as you say.

    I still haven't read anything substantial on the Civil War or Lincoln.

    Should I start with DiLorenzo's stuff?

  3. Normally, if someone were approaching a subject with which they're trying to familiarize themself you'd direct them to the "standard works" first, then to the more eclectic expose` but in the case of Lincoln we've all been force-fed so much Abolitionist and Propositional Nation Theory tripe that I think one should go straight to DiLorenzo's work.

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  5. I'm also considering the best "firsthand" accounts to read.

    Should I find Sherman and Lee's writings and journals?

  6. Not bad but I like the transcripts from the Linclon/ Douglas debates. It highlights Lincoln's hypocrisy in bold relief.