How Did Lincoln Screw Up America?

How did Honest Abe screw up America? It could take a book to answer that question, but I think we could certainly focus on one issue: secession.

With Marjorie Taylor Greene’s recent viral comments on “national divorce” and several other more public discussions about decentralization taking place in recent years, Lincoln’s arguments against secession have become important for our understanding of the issue.

And they were not very logical. Or legal. Even historian Cynthia Nicoletti thinks that Lincoln’s denunciation of secession lacked any kind of legal punch.

Lincoln distorted the original understanding of the Constitution and the federal republic in his First Inaugural Address, shredded the Constitution while in office, and made a mockery of how virtually every member of the founding generation conceived of Union, excluding the most ardent nationalists.

If Lincoln really wanted to “save the Union,” he could have done so by urging Republicans to support the Crittenden Compromise. He could have taken a less belligerent stance with the South in 1861. He could have opted not to try to supply Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens.

Lincoln instead chose aggression and the War came.

And by choosing aggression, he ignored the fact that both Northerners and Southerners in the founding generation believed secession to be legal–perhaps not wise–but certainly legal.

I discuss Lincoln and secession on Episode 785 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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