RCC Honors History Project

Abraham Vs. Bush

Posted by blooney on December 6, 2008

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and 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.

I read this quote and I thought about the misconception that many people have of Abraham Lincoln being this great friend to the Negroes and a man of justice when obviously with the comments he publicly made he was not. Not only was he not seeking justice for Negroes he violated every American’s right when he suspended habeas corpus. Lincoln also committed acts against congress when he called forth the militia and increased the size of the army without congressional approval.

Would it be fair to compare Abraham Lincoln to George Bush?

(For example George Bush’s patriot act and the Iraq War.)

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7 Responses to “Abraham Vs. Bush”

  1. jabberwhacky said

    This is an interesting quote for a few reasons: As a president, Lincoln would have likely been aware that his words were constantly being viewed by both the South and the North, especially the South who objected to Lincoln as a president before he was even elected. Had he made a bold statement that was purely in favor of the North, than the South side would have likely seceded the moment he had made his statement. Lincoln took a pragmatic approach: he chose to make a bold statement that though the North might resent, it would not lead to him being outright abandoned

    Yet, had he even shown the slightest indication that he was for abolishing slavery, the Southern secessionists would have seceded. Though it happened regardless, it seems like Lincoln’s intentions were to keep the nation intact.

    I think to compare him to bush would be a sad and misguided mistake. Even if he had meant what he said, this does not diminish what he had actually accomplished within the context of his presidency. For example, whether his intention was to abolish slavery or not likely comes second to the fact that it occurred during his president and under his authority.

  2. drwprkr said

    Earlier in the year we had a discussion on whether we, as a nation, will realize the makings of history as we are in them now, ie. do we realize the makings of history and the affects it is having on us this very moment. The different between Bush and Lincoln is that we have had a LONG time to digest what has happened, so we know the good and the bad far more than we do now, with Bush, although most agree it has become bad. I personally believe that although we are currently making history, there is a big different between making it and looking back on it. Now we can say that the quote pulled by Lincoln was a political moved to keep the North and South together, some back then would have seen it differently. But the main difference is the digestion time. I do not think we can compare them quite yet. Lincoln was obviously a brilliant man who said the things he did for a political gain and to make sure the nation stayed together but some would disagree that Bush is doing the same.

  3. andrewptscott said

    I agree with jabberwhacky. I think in a critical and unique situation that the United States was in during the Lincoln era had to be handled to perfection. In my belief, it was handled to perfection whether it was to the intention of Lincoln or not. He handled this situation and bluffed when it was necessary. In this case, I personally believe he was saying what the southern states wanted to hear just as any president does when trying to maintain or even gain the support of the swing voters.

    I do like the comparison made between Lincoln and Bush. However, the move that Lincoln made was better executed than the way Bush went about the reinvigoration of the executive branch. It is important to keep in mind that in today’s time it is much more difficult for the President to go about executing aggressive actions because we have history to tell us how to maneuver our forces. I think it is completely fair to compare the moves the president made. It is also fair to say the Lincoln executed his actions far better than Bush. I do believe Bush’s intentions were correct, as was Lincolns

  4. katchtwentytwo said

    I do not believe that Abraham Lincoln should be viewed in a negative light. Yes, he did some things that could be seen as violations of people’s rights, but he did these types of things in a time when the nation needed it the most. You must remember that the nation was in great turmoil at the time of all of these actions. Lincoln had to do what he thought was necessary in order to preserve the nation. I also believe that he said this quote in order to get the South to some what delay their secession. He was simply letting the voters hear what they wanted to hear. It was very similar to what many presidential hopefuls did in the 2008 election for president. The biggest example being Mitt Romney, or the “Flip-Flopper”. It also wasn’t Lincoln’s intention to free the slaves, yes, it was his intention to preserve the Union. Freeing the slaves was only a step he was forced to take for a last resort to order to fulfill that intention.

    I think comparing Bush to Lincoln is a reasonable idea, however, when it comes to finding out who handled each of their situations better, the winner would undoubtedly be Lincoln.

  5. dnsom said

    I think that if we argue Lincoln’s case from a political perspective, we would say that he behaved like a politician and a smart one for that matter. I hold him in high esteem in that regard. However, when it comes to personal integrity regarding his perception of the dignity of the ‘Negros’, I find it hard to see him as a role model. Well, we know he was killed before he ever had time to reflect on whether or not he was wrong in any case regarding the slavery issue. However, in the case of George Bush, I think that he still has the time to be able to say in honesty what he did or did not do wrong regarding his fight against terrorism. He would be my hero if he honestly admits his wrongs and possibly ask for forgiveness where it is due. May be I am naive, but I truly believe that politicians need to learn to say “I am or I was wrong.” Our politicians must stop pretending never to have made any serious mistakes in their policies or ideologies!

  6. kriemer said

    I think comparing Bush to Lincoln is a hard comparison to make, America was a very different nation when Lincoln was president. I agree with many other commenters in saying that Lincoln said a lot of things to the American public, like keeping slavery intact, to get votes– just like Bush said a lot of untrue things to America– like WMD to get us into Iraq. I think that the big difference here is that Lincoln made some progressive movement in our country, whether or not he saw “negroes” as people abolishing slavery was a huge step in the right direction. Personally I find it hard to say we’ve made any progressive steps under the Bush administration. Also, I don’t see Bush as a racist so I don’t see how Lincoln’s views of African-Americans can compare with him. I do however understand that Lincoln did some unconstitutional things as president; like all presindets, including Bush. Also, I do think it is a mistake to see Lincoln as a great “friend” of African-Americans– for the most part he was just making political moves like many other politicians.

  7. ookpo said

    That is not a comparison I would think of making but I can see how it is possible. I agree with Drwprkr about the difference between looking back at history and making history. As we talked about in class, history can take on different meanings depending on the context in which it is studied. Lincoln did not plan to be at war for four years but as the war progressed, newer issues came up that also needed to be tackled and that elongated the fighting. Without going into whether or not the conflict was necessary, Bush is facing a similar situation in Iraq. He cannot completely withdraw the troops because there is no stability in the Iraqi government.

    Lincoln’s words are very specific and leave no room for interpretation. It is interesting to know that the same person issued the document that freed these same ‘Negros’ he was referring to although there was a hesitant undertone in the document when I read it. I was personally amazed when I realized that freeing the slaves was somewhat accidental, I was surprised but relieved because it meant that America could move on and become a more civilized country. People who wanted to live a free life could possibly do so.

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