Lincoln and the Liberty of Catholic Americans

Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty Too.  Perhaps the most effective campaign song in the history of our nation, it resonates strongly in me this year when our Catholic Church is engaged in a fight for our religious liberty.  Our bishops have proclaimed a Fortnight for Freedom from June 21 to July 4 for Catholics to meditate upon, and proclaim, our American heritage of liberty.  In that fortnight the memory of one man from our history should stand tall, Abraham Lincoln.  Although he was not a Catholic, and most Catholics of his time were members of the Democrat Party, Lincoln ever stood for the rights of his fellow citizens who were Catholics.

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8 in 1844. These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.


Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

Lincoln remained true to this belief.  At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”

In our battle for religious liberty, we have Abraham Lincoln on our side, a man who understood that the great principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution apply to all Americans.


Hurrah for the choice of the nation!

 Our chieftain so brave and so true;

 We’ll go for the great Reformation —

 For Lincoln and Liberty too!      

 We’ll go for the son of Kentucky

 The hero of Hoosierdom through;

 The pride of the Suckers so lucky

 For Lincoln and Liberty too!  

Our good David’s sling is unerring,

 The Slaveocrat’s giant he slew;

 Then shout for the Freedom-preferring

 For Lincoln and Liberty too!  

We’ll go for the son of Kentucky

 The hero of Hoosierdom through;

 The pride of the Suckers so lucky

 For Lincoln and Liberty too!  

Come all you true friends of the nation

 Attend to humanity’s call

 Oh aid of the slaves’ liberation

 And roll on the liberty ball  

We’ll finish the temple of freedom

 And make it capacious within

 That all who seek shelter may find it

 Whatever the hue of their skin.  

Success to the old-fashioned doctrine

 That men are created all free

 And down with the power of the despot

 Wherever his stronghold may be  

They’ll find what by felling and mauling,

 Our railmaker statesman can do;

 For the people are everywhere calling

 For Lincoln and Liberty too.  

Then up with our banner so glorious,

 The star-spangled red-white-and-blue,

 We’ll fight till our Cause is victorious,

 For Lincoln and Liberty too!

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. As a lawyer, perhaps you can only understand one side of an argument. I can understand that. However, step back now and then and appreciate that history is a vast landscape and that you may be seeing only the part that you choose to see. Start with a fresh slate and open mind and expand your horizons. It can’t hurt and might illuminate.

  2. It really is simple Joe. I have read hundreds of books about Lincoln and the Civil War and I know what I am talking about. You are addicted to Lincoln hating cranks like Dilorenzo and do not.

  3. Don, the minority view is sometimes the right one. But far be it from me to disabuse you of your prejudices. I’ve a voracious reader, too, and find some historians more credible than others. DiLorenzo is not a scholar, true, but a good economist in the Ludwig Von Mises/Milton Friedman school of supply side economics, which was embraced by one of your favorite presidents, Reagan. I don’t swallow everything Tom says but he raises some issues that are worth exploring without dismissing him as a “crank” or “idiot.” I’d expect something better than mere ad hominem from you. To me such labels would be better applied to Marxist historians such as Eric Foner and pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who champion the Church of Lincoln.

    I spent most of my adult life as a journalist and try to sell all sides of a story and not rely on single-sourcing for facts. I haven’t quite read “hundreds of books” about the Civil War as you have but enough to raise doubts about the legends created by the court historians. Then again, as Napoleon put it, “What is history but a fabled agreed upon?” And Plato said the winners get to write the history.

    Don’t mean to spoil the thread or the weekend. On more prosaic matters, I’ll be watching the US Open and enjoying the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge, which is 75 years old — a marvel indeed.

    Thanks as always, Don, for allowing me to sing off-key in the choir.

  4. Dilorenzo purports to write history Joe and he is abysmal at it. A typical example which I have cited before:

    “To quote Loyola College economics professor Tom DiLorenzo, who has gained fame as a Lincoln basher: “Hamilton was a compulsive statist who wanted to bring the corrupt British mercantilist system — the very system the American Revolution was fought to escape from — to America. He fought fiercely for his program of corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, public debt, pervasive taxation, and a central bank run by politicians and their appointees out of the nation’s capital.”

    Citing DiLorenzo on any historical point Joe is akin to quoting Bill Clinton on celibacy. DiLorenzo is an historical illiterate who lies to support the political points that he is trying to make in his ignorant polemics. An example of Dilorenzo at work:

    DiLorenzo repeatedly asserts that Lincoln did not believe in human equality and shared the widely held prejudices of his time that blacks were inferior. Here is DiLorenzo:

    “Lincoln even mocked the Jeffersonian dictum enshrined in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. He admitted that it had become “a genuine coin in the political currency of our generation,” but added, “I am sorry to say that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must admit I never saw the Siamese Twins, and therefore will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism” So, with the possible exception of Siamese Twins, the idea of equality, according to Lincoln, was a sheer absurdity. This is in stark contrast to the seductive words of the Gettysburg Address, eleven years later, in which he purported to rededicate the nation to the notion that all men are created equal.”

    DiLorenzo cites the first joint debate between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, held in Ottawa, Illinois, in 1858, as the source of the quotation. The language actually comes from Lincoln’s eulogy of his longtime friend and colleague Henry Clay, delivered in July 1852. But that is the least of DiLorenzo’s problems. He uses this quotation, and a few other excerpted phrases, to “prove” that Lincoln’s professed belief in human equality was disingenuous. Here are Lincoln’s actual words:

    “[There are] a few, but an increasing number of men, who, for the sake of perpetuating slavery, are beginning to assail and to ridicule the white man’s charter of freedom, the declaration “that all men are created equal.” So far as I have learned, the first American, of any note, to do or attempt this, was the late John C. Calhoun; and if I mistake not, it soon after found its way into some of the messages of the Governors of South Carolina. We, however, look for, and are not much shocked by, political eccentricities and heresies in South Carolina. But, only last year, I saw with astonishment, what purported to be a letter of a very distinguished and influential clergyman of Virginia, copied, with apparent approbation, into a St. Louis newspaper, containing the following, to me, very extraordinary language:

    I am fully aware that there is a text in some Bibles that is not in mine. Professional abolitionists have made more use of it, than of any passage in the Bible. It came, however, as I trace it, from Saint Voltaire, and was baptized by Thomas Jefferson, and since almost universally regarded as canonical authority ‘All men are born equal and free.’

    This is a genuine coin in the political currency of our generation. I am sorry to say that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must admit I never saw the Siamese Twins, and therefore will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism.

    This sounds strangely in republican America. The like was not heard in the fresher days of the Republic.”

    DiLorenzo thus attributes to Lincoln the words of a Virginia clergyman whom Lincoln quoted and then went on to criticize. In the course of his eulogy of Clay, Lincoln defended the proposition of human equality and equal natural rights, as he did in all his major addresses. His argument is precisely the opposite of what DiLorenzo claims it to be.


    History is very important to me Joe. Any study of the past has to be grounded in a search for the facts of what actually occurred. Dilorenzo, through mendacity or incompetence, lacks that fundamental requirement for any historian.

  5. Too much here to rebut except to say that some is out of context or otherwise incomplete. It is a fact that Lincoln supported the Fugitive Slave Act, made several white supremacist statements, enthusiastically backed colonization of blacks back to Africa, etc., suspended habeas corpus and rebuffed third-party efforts to reach a peaceful settlement to prevent the war.

    As long as you bring up Lincoln-Douglas, I’m sure you’re aware that some of their debates ran for several hours. In one instance, Douglas spoke for THREE HOURS, then Lincoln called a recess for a rebuttal that came later after dinner and ran at least as long.
    Who can know what they said or in what context?

    Cherry-picking quotes from Lincoln speeches, some of which were fictional according to historians other than DiLorenzo, is often used to support or refute an argument but more than words actions are what matter. And looking at the Civil War and all its bitter fruit — which remains to this day — I cannot hold the 16th President in high esteem.

    And truth to tell, I’d rather live in a Jeffersonian America than Hamilton’s America, which is what we have now. States once were sovereign; now they’re just mere vassals. If the colonists asserted the right to secede from King George’s tyranny, then why was it wrong for the confederates to do the same when the North imposed unfair tariffs on the South. The issue of slavery was only a small part of the South’s grievances; it was rooted in economics primarily, but the legend lives on that Lincoln wanted to “save the union” and “free the slaves” and fails to take into account the political and economic oppression that the South genuinely felt. Again way too much here to debate and I’m sure we’ll never agree on what version of history to believe.

  6. I deal in the actual historical record Joe. Dilorenzo does not. Here is a portion of a review of DiLorenzo’s the Real Lincoln by Professor Richard Gamble. Gamble himself is a severe critic of Lincoln, but he is honest enough to recognize abysmal scholarship when he sees it:

    “Despite its provocative insights and obvious rhetorical skill, however, The Real Lincoln is seriously compromised by careless errors of fact, misuse of sources, and faulty documentation. Although individually these flaws may seem trivial and inconsequential, taken together they constitute a near-fatal threat to DiLorenzo’s credibility as a historian. A few examples indicate the scope of the problem: DiLorenzo’s own article on Lincoln as “The Great Centralizer” appeared in the The Independent Review in 1998, not in 1988 (p. vii); Lincoln advised sending freed slaves to Liberia in a speech in 1854, not “during the war” (pp. 16–17); Lincoln was not a member of the Illinois state legislature in 1857 (p. 18); the commerce clause was not an “amendment,” and Thomas Jefferson was not among the framers of the Constitution (pp. 69–70); Thaddeus Stevens was a Pennsylvania representative, not a senator (p. 140); and Fort Sumter was not a customs house (p. 242).

    Unfortunately, these lapses are more than matched by a clumsy mishandling of sources that violates the presumed trust between author and reader. DiLorenzo claims, for example, that in the four years “between 1860 and 1864, population in the thirteen largest Northern cities rose by 70 percent” (p. 225). On the face of it, this statistic is absurd and defies common sense, and sure enough, the source DiLorenzo cites says that the growth occurred “in fifteen years.” Page 11 says that Lincoln’s law partner and biographer William Herndon was quoting his own recollections of Lincoln, but he really was quoting another biographer. A few pages later (p. 14), DiLorenzo claims that Lincoln, in his eulogy for Henry Clay, “mustered his best rhetorical talents to praise Clay,” but all of the examples that follow come from the “beautiful language” of a newspaper that Lincoln was quoting at length. Moreover, Lincoln’s supposed comment about the “deportation” of blacks in his Cooper Union speech was in fact a quotation from Thomas Jefferson, as Lincoln himself says (p. 18). In chapter 3, DiLorenzo claims that in a letter to Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln “admitted that the original [Emancipation] proclamation had no legal justification, except as a war measure” (p. 37). His source, however, is the recollections of a conversation (not a letter) that portrait artist Francis B. Carpenter (not Chase) had with Lincoln, and at no point do these recollections sustain DiLorenzo’s summary of them. Moreover, in the reference for this section, DiLorenzo misidentifies the title of his source as Paul Angle’s The American Reader, when in fact the jumbled material comes from Angle’s The Lincoln Reader. Other errors include misplaced quotation marks, missing ellipses, and quotations with incorrect punctuation, capitalization, and wrong or missing words.

    Further examination of the endnotes leads into a labyrinth of errors beyond the ingenuity of Ariadne’s thread. On page 281, for instance, note 1 cites page 66 of David Donald’s Lincoln, when in fact the quotation comes from page 66 of Donald’s Lincoln Reconsidered. On the next page, note 7 cites Lincoln’s debate with Stephen Douglas at Ottawa, Illinois, on August 21, 1858, but the quotation comes from the debate at Charleston, Illinois, on September 18, 1858. Moreover, hardly a single citation of the Basler edition of Lincoln’s Collected Works includes the volume number (see notes 25, 26, and 33), and several of the remaining citations of the Collected Works turn out in fact to be references to Basler’s Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings (notes 24, 31, and 44). Note 9 on page 282 again cites Lincoln’s 1858 debate with Douglas at Ottawa, but the quotations this time actually come from Lincoln’s 1852 eulogy for Henry Clay. Note 14 leads down another blind alley to no trace of the quoted material. On page 287, note 3 cites the wrong page number from Donald’s Lincoln, and although note 4 immediately following says “ibid.,” it actually refers to Basler’s Abraham Lincoln. On page 293, DiLorenzo cites Federalist No. 36 as his source, but the quotation comes from Federalist No. 46. Sad to say, this catalog of errors is only a sampling. Readers looking further into the matter will find incorrect titles and subtitles as well as misspelled publishers’ names. Obviously, in view of these problems, the maze of endnotes does not provide the “meticulous documentation” promised by the book’s dust jacket.

    As it stands, The Real Lincoln is a travesty of historical method and documentation. Exasperating, maddening, and deeply disappointing, The Real Lincoln ought to have been a book to confound Lincoln’s apologists and to help rebuild the American historical consciousness. Ironically, it is essentially correct in every charge it makes against Lincoln, making it all the more frustrating to the sympathetic reader. DiLorenzo’s love of the chase needs to be tempered by scrupulous attention to detail. Without it, his good work collapses. He is an author of evident courage and ability, but his sloppiness has earned him the abuse and ridicule of his critics. A book such as The Real Lincoln needed to be written, but until it is revised and corrected in a new edition, this is not that book. In the meantime, there is still hope for skeptical cynics.”


  7. “As long as you bring up Lincoln-Douglas, I’m sure you’re aware that some of their debates ran for several hours. In one instance, Douglas spoke for THREE HOURS, then Lincoln called a recess for a rebuttal that came later after dinner and ran at least as long.
    Who can know what they said or in what context?”

    Because reporters from several newspapers were making contemporaneous stenographic records:

    “Both then and now, the debates’ impact was amplified by changing technology. In 1858, innovation was turning what would otherwise have been a local contest into one followed from Mississippi to Maine. Stenographers trained in shorthand recorded the candidates’ words. Halfway through each debate, runners were handed the stenographers’ notes; they raced for the next train to Chicago, converting shorthand into text during the journey and producing a transcript ready to be typeset and telegraphed to the rest of the country as soon as it arrived. “The combination of shorthand, the telegraph and the railroad changed everything,” says Allen C. Guelzo, author of Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America. “It was unprecedented. Lincoln and Douglas knew they were speaking to the whole nation. It was like JFK in 1960 coming to grips with the presence of the vast new television audience.””

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/face-the-nation.html#ixzz1xxtjULAG

  8. “Too much here to rebut except to say that some is out of context or otherwise incomplete. It is a fact that Lincoln supported the Fugitive Slave Act, made several white supremacist statements, enthusiastically backed colonization of blacks back to Africa, etc., suspended habeas corpus and rebuffed third-party efforts to reach a peaceful settlement to prevent the war.”

    Lincoln gave very grudging support to the Fugitive Slave Act as part of a compromise to keep the Union together. Neo-Confederate attacks on Lincoln as a racist are absolutely hilarious beacause during his day their ideological ancestors attack him routinely as a n—-r lover. Here is what black abolitionist Frederick Douglas had to say:

    “When, therefore, it shall be asked what we have to do with the memory of Abraham Lincoln, or what Abraham Lincoln had to do with us, the answer is ready, full, and complete. Though he loved Caesar less than Rome, though the Union was more to him than our freedom or our future, under his wise and beneficent rule we saw ourselves gradually lifted from the depths of slavery to the heights of liberty and manhood; under his wise and beneficent rule, and by measures approved and vigorously pressed by him, we saw that the handwriting of ages, in the form of prejudice and proscription, was rapidly fading away from the face of our whole country; under his rule, and in due time, about as soon after all as the country could tolerate the strange spectacle, we saw our brave sons and brothers laying off the rags of bondage, and being clothed all over in the blue uniforms of the soldiers of the United States; under his rule we saw two hundred thousand of our dark and dusky people responding to the call of Abraham Lincoln, and with muskets on their shoulders, and eagles on their buttons, timing their high footsteps to liberty and union under the national flag; under his rule we saw the independence of the black republic of Haiti, the special object of slave-holding aversion and horror, fully recognized, and her minister, a colored gentleman, duly received here in the city of Washington; under his rule we saw the internal slave-trade, which so long disgraced the nation, abolished, and slavery abolished in the District of Columbia; under his rule we saw for the first time the law enforced against the foreign slave trade, and the first slave-trader hanged like any other pirate or murderer; under his rule, assisted by the greatest captain of our age, and his inspiration, we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves, and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds; under his rule, and in the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln, after giving the slave-holders three months’ grace in which to save their hateful slave system, penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States. Though we waited long, we saw all this and more.

    Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January, 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word? I shall never forget that memorable night, when in a distant city I waited and watched at a public meeting, with three thousand others not less anxious than myself, for the word of deliverance which we have heard read today. Nor shall I ever forget the outburst of joy and thanksgiving that rent the air when the lightning brought to us the emancipation proclamation. In that happy hour we forgot all delay, and forgot all tardiness, forgot that the President had bribed the rebels to lay down their arms by a promise to withhold the bolt which would smite the slave-system with destruction; and we were thenceforward willing to allow the President all the latitude of time, phraseology, and every honorable device that statesmanship might require for the achievement of a great and beneficent measure of liberty and progress.

    Fellow-citizens, there is little necessity on this occasion to speak at length and critically of this great and good man, and of his high mission in the world. That ground has been fully occupied and completely covered both here and elsewhere. The whole field of fact and fancy has been gleaned and garnered. Any man can say things that are true of Abraham Lincoln, but no man can say anything that is new of Abraham Lincoln. His personal traits and public acts are better known to the American people than are those of any other man of his age. He was a mystery to no man who saw him and heard him. Though high in position, the humblest could approach him and feel at home in his presence. Though deep, he was transparent; though strong, he was gentle; though decided and pronounce in his convictions, he was tolerant towards those who differed from him, and patient under reproaches. Even those who only knew him through his public utterance obtained a tolerably clear idea of his character and personality. The image of the man went out with his words, and those who read them knew him.

    I have said that President Lincoln was a white man, and shared the prejudices common to his countrymen towards the colored race. Looking back to his times and to the condition of his country, we are compelled to admit that this unfriendly feeling on his part may be safely set down as one element of his wonderful success in organizing the loyal American people for the tremendous conflict before them, and bringing them safely through that conflict. His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and, second, to free his country from the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow-countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined. “

  9. “The issue of slavery was only a small part of the South’s grievances; it was rooted in economics primarily, but the legend lives on that Lincoln wanted to “save the union” and “free the slaves” and fails to take into account the political and economic oppression that the South genuinely felt.”

    Jefferson Davis begs to differ Joe:

    “In the meantime, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the wellbeing and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upward of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of the wilderness into cultivated lands covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented from about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the Constitution to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, for the full development and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was and is indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three-fourths of the exports of the whole United States and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man. With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North to the adoption of some course of action to avert the danger with which they were openly menaced. With this view the legislatures of the several States invited the people to select delegates to conventions to be held for the purpose of determining for themselves what measures were best adapted to meet so alarming a crisis in their history.”


    The secession of the Southern states was to protect the instition of slavery Joe. As Alexander Stephens Vice President of the Confederacy put it:

    “The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”


  10. Faced with that onslaught, I still refuse to wave the white flag. For now, you have the last word on this. As a lawyer and Illinoisan, no doubt this plays heavily into your views. We all need heroes, Don.

  11. Abraham Lincoln said: “One person cannot own another person”. The Declaration of Independence says: “All men are created equal, WE hold these truths, and endowed by their CREATOR with unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
    Saint Voltaire (are you sure???) said: ‘All men are born equal and free.” This last is the Declaration on Human Rights from the United Nations. All that “born” stuff. All men are “created equal” in innocence and sovereign personhood by “their Creator” Created equal with a rational and immortal soul as a member of the species HomoSapiens, with each his own DNA when two become one, scientific proof that all men are “created equal”. The soul brings the human being to birth in a human body who has responded to the gifts of charisms and personality endowed by “their Creator”. The sovereign personhood endowed to the newly begotten individual by “their Creator” constitutes the nation from the very first moment of the person’s existence. “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights”. from Aquinas through Suarez. If the individual’s sovereign personhood is not acknowledged, as in abortion, the newly begotten person is a slave of the state, constituting the nation but receiving no Liberty. When the state owns the person, the person can never be a citizen who constitutes the state. FREEDOM is granted by God, not the state. Life is granted by God, not the state. If men “are born equal”, then the state endows Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. God is infinite. The state is finite. Man’s soul is immortal, something the state could not in its finiteness endow. Abraham Lincoln said that one person cannot own another person.
    A great truth, the following is not. “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.” because this reasoning denies that God created all men equal. If there is anyone who will deny or distort our founding principles, he shall forfeit them to himself.

  12. Don, while I wait for Zummo to pile on, here’s more grist to chew on:
    Having read The Real Lincoln, Lincoln Unmasked, Hamilton’s Curse and Killing Lincoln, I’d have to say DiLorenzo got the much the better of “Mr. No-Spin Zone.” O’Reilly’s book is replete with laughable errors. As for Gamble’s review, the worst that could be said is that The Real Lincoln may have had some sloppy footnoting but the same could be said of many other highly rated history books.

  13. As a casual observer of this banter between Don and Joe, it would be a lot more sporting of you Joe to link to sources which don’t make reference to Santorum as the Ayatollah. Just a thought.

  14. Dilorenzo tends to express himself in bitter hysterical vituperation against those he differs with politically, as well as being a joke as an historian.

    More on Dilorenzo’s shortcomings in The Real Lincoln:

    “Contrary to a number of reviews that have appeared on Amazon’s website for this book, DiLorenzo’s ‘Real Lincoln’ is NOT well researched; it is sloppy and looks hastily written, in spite of the fact it has been revised from its original release. In addition to the book’s highly questionable interpretations of a number of abridged Lincoln quotes and a sweeping and blanket acceptance of several controversial legal and historical claims, there are numerous errors of fact and citation that mar this book and do irreparable damage to its thesis. I have written a longer review of this book elsewhere; just a small fraction of the myriad of errors is listed below. To cite a few, on p.68 in the first edition of his book DiLorenzo wrote: “In virtually every one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln made it a point to champion the nationalization of money and to demonize [Andrew] Jackson and the Democrats for their opposition to it.” I challenge the Amazon reviewers that said DiLorenzo’s book is “well researched” to go and read the Lincoln-Douglas debates for themselves – they will strain to find anything much on the nationalization of money and related topics. In a later edition of his book, DiLorenzo corrected this mistaken reference to the debates, but then compounded his error it by replacing it with the statement: “Lincoln frequently made it a point to champion the nationalization of money and to demonize Jackson…” Yet there are no such “frequent statements” in Lincoln’s Speeches and Writings nor is any citation given to show that Lincoln “frequently” did this. Such a citation is obligatory, certainly in a “well researched” scholarly book. This book is characterized by numerous similar sweeping statements that are either unsupported or have very weak support.
    A few more examples are worth noting. In chapter 3, DiLorenzo wrote that Lincoln, in a letter to his Treasury Secretary, stated that the Emancipation proclamation had no legal justification, except as a military [War Powers?] measure. But DiLorenzo did not cite from a letter, rather from a recollection of a conversation that painter Francis Carpenter had with Lincoln, and this recollection is inaccurately rendered in the book. The cited reference, Paul Angle’s ‘The American Reader’ (p. 286 n14) is also wrong. In fact, this (incorrectly rendered) material actually comes from Angle’s 1947 book ‘The Lincoln Reader.’ On p. 289 of the endnotes, DiLorenzo corrects the Angle book’s title for us but then gets the publisher wrong, listing Da Capo Press rather than Rutgers (Da Capo was not in business in 1947). On p.14 DiLorenzo wrote “Lincoln mustered his best rhetorical talents to praise [Henry] Clay…” but the examples given came from a newspaper that Lincoln was quoting — hardly Lincoln’s rhetorical talents. Similarly, Lincoln’s supposed comment about the “deportation” of blacks (frequently and incorrectly ascribed to Lincoln by sloppy writers) was actually a quote from Thomas Jefferson, which Lincoln states clearly in his famous Cooper Institute speech – and Lincoln is clearly NOT advocating this position. Rather than reading Lincoln’s work for themselves, sloppy writers and Lincoln critics seem to simply read and cite each others’ work and thus regularly make this and similar errors of interpretation. In addition, almost none of the references to a major primary source – Roy Basler’s Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln – includes the volume number while several references to ‘Collected Works’ were actually references to Basler’s ‘Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings.’
    Many more small errors emerge for those that are familiar with U.S. 19th century history. On page 293, DiLorenzo cites Federalist # 36, but the quote cited actually came from Federalist # 46. In chapter 7, DiLorenzo calls Lincoln a war criminal and describes certain rules on treatment of civilians and civilian property in war, supposedly adopted by governments at an international conference in 1863 and based on an 18th century book. At the end of the chapter he again refers to the 1863 conference and its rules, and criticizes Lincoln and the U.S. government for not following them during the Civil War. Like so much of the work in `The Real Lincoln’ the 1863 conference never occurred. There was a conference on the law of war held in Geneva in 1864, but it primarily about the treatment of wounded soldiers, not civilians. The U.S. did not attend. The first conference to adopt a treaty dealing with civilians and civilian property was held at The Hague in 1899, some 30 years after the Civil War. Further, DiLorenzo gives no evidence for his claim that
    “American politicians and military officers relied on the [18th century] work of Swiss jurist Emmerich de Vattel…” (p. 174) about the rules of war. He mentions a book by Halleck written in 1861, but that book’s publishing date indicates that it hardly could have been an authoritative source that trained officers of the Civil War. DiLorenzo states that it was so used but again offers no evidence for this. The errors in this book continue relentlessly: miscites, wrong publishers, wrong pages, misquotes, sweeping statements with zero evidence offered, etc. Although The Real Lincoln’s book jacket says this book is meticulously documented, it is nothing of the kind. As well known Lincoln historian Phillip Paludan has stated, ‘The Real Lincoln’ “subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge.” If you choose to read ‘The Real Lincoln’ do so with the primary sources such as Basler, Fehrenbacher, Donald, Angle, and others open on the desk next to you. But rather than putting in that much effort, try reading the seminal works on the American Civil War from James McPherson, Gary Gallagher, David Herbert Donald, Phil Paludan, Gabor Boritt, Steven Woodworth, Robert Toplin, Henry Jaffa and many others. Or read some of the good books by DiLorenzo on economics. Your time will be much better spent.
    Professor David Ahlstrom
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong”

  15. The Real Abraham Lincoln was called “Honest Abe” and the “Great Communicator” by his people, the people whom he birthed at Gettysburg. I am far more inclined to call them friends than some writer who never even met Abraham Lincoln and puts his opinion on paper.

  16. “As a casual observer of this banter between Don and Joe, it would be a lot more sporting of you Joe to link to sources which don’t make reference to Santorum as the Ayatollah. Just a thought.”
    Sorry, Paul, but I don’t get the Santorum reference.

  17. Don, I think “bitter hysterical vituperation” is a bit strong. I suspect DiLorenzo’s contrarian views stem from his avowed Liberatarianism. Like Ron Paul, he’s a Jeffersonian and a states rightist through and through and takes a dim view of Hamilton because of what he perceives as “big government” ideology. If you watch his YouTube interviews he comes across as a bit arrogant at times. I would concede he’s no Toynbee or Durant but he makes for interesting reading. I don’t buy everything he says, of course. He tends to be repetitious in his arguments. Lincoln Unmask did not really break any new ground.

    Have you ever read Neil Postman? His “Amusing Ourselves to Death” is an insightful read 28 years after being published. He felt Huxley and not Orwell was more accurate in predicting the future.

  18. The Church at which John Paul Neumann’s body lays in Germantown Philedephia has the windows extra high because protestants had broken the windows before.

  19. Somebody mentioned Liberia which I would make interesting social note about which is that after lots of the freed slaves went to Liberia they enslaved the local Africans and for a while after the local Africans were free they had good and beautiful country so much so that it was called “The Switzerland of Africa” but now after several wars the whole country is rampant with brothels, cannibalism, and drug dens and most townships have war lords ruling them or at least for protection. So if anybody is gonna send a free slave to Africa make sure he’s chaste, straight, and morally sound.

  20. Lincoln was a great friend of the Irish Catholics in particular. Off the boat and into a blue uniform.

  21. About 150,000 Irish served out of the 2,000,000 men who made up the Union Army.

    Listed below are the names of Irish Born Medal of Honor Recipients for bravery in the line of duty during the war.

    1. ADAMS, PETER – Company A, 98th Pennsylvania Infantry
    2. ALLEN, JAMES – Company F, 16th New York Infantry
    3. ANDERSON, ROBERT – USS Keokuk
    4. BARRY, AUGUSTUS – 16th U.S. Infantry
    5. BASS, DAVID L. – USS Minnesota
    6. BEGLEY, TERRENCE – Company D, 7th New York Heavy Artillery
    7. BLACKWOOD, WILLIAM R. D. – 48th Pennsylvania Infantry (Philadelphian)
    8. BRADLEY, CHARLES – USS Louisville
    9. BRANNIGAN, FELIX – Company A, 74th New York Infantry
    10. BRENNAN, CHRISTOPHER – USS Mississippi
    11. BROSNAN, JOHN – Company E, 164th New York Infantry
    12. BROWN, EDWARD, JR. – Company G, 62d New York Infantry
    13. BURK, E. MICHAEL – Company D, 125th New York Infantry
    14. BURKE, THOMAS – Company A, 5th New York Cavalry
    15. BYRNES, JAMES – USS Louisville
    16. CAMPBELL, WILLIAM – Company I, 30th Ohio Infantry
    17. CAREY, HUGH – Company E, 82d New York Infantry
    18. CASEY, DAVID – Company C, 25th Massachusetts Infantry
    19. CASSIDY, MICHAEL – USS Lackawanna
    20. COLBERT, PATRICK – USS Commodore Hull
    21. COLLIS, CHARLES H. T. – 114th Pennsylvania Infantry
    22. CONNOR, THOMAS – USS Minnesota
    23. CONNORS, JAMES – Company E, 43d New York Infantry
    24. COOPER, JOHN – USS Brooklyn (2 Citations)
    25. COSGROVE, THOMAS – Company F, 40th Massachusetts Infantry
    26. CREED, JOHN – Company D, 23d Illinois Infantry
    27. CULLEN, THOMAS – Company I, 82d New York Infantry
    28. CURRAN, RICHARD – 33d New York Infantry
    29. DELANEY, JOHN C. – Company I, 107th Pennsylvania Infantry
    30. DONOGHUE, TIMOTHY – Company B, 69th New York Infantry
    31. DOODY, PATRICK – Company E., 164th New York Infantry
    32. DOOLEN, WILLIAM – USS Richmond
    33. DOUGHERTY, MICHAEL – Company B, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry
    34. DOUGHERTY, PATRICK – USS Lackawanna
    35. DOWNEY, WILLIAM – Company B, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry
    36. DRURY, JAMES – Company C, 4th Vermont Infantry
    37. DUNPHY, RICHARD D. – USS Hartford
    38. ENGLISH, EDMUND – Company C, 2d New Jersey Infantry
    39. FALLON, THOMAS T. – Company K, 37th New York Infantry
    40. FLOOD, THOMAS – USS Pensacola
    41. FLYNN, CHRISTOPHER – Company K, 14th Connecticut Infantry
    42. FORD, GEORGE W. – Company E, 88th New York Infantry
    43. GARDNER, WILLIAM – USS Calena
    44. GASSON, RICHARD – Company K, 47th New York Infantry
    45. GRIBBEN, JAMES H. – Company C, 2d New York Cavalry
    46. GINLEY, PATRICK – Company G, 1st New York Light Artillery
    47. HALEY, JAMES – USS Kearsarge
    48. HARRINGTON, DANIEL – USS Pocahontas
    49. HAVRON, JOHN H. – Company G, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery
    50. HIGHLAND, PATRICK – Company D, 23d Illinois Infantry
    51. HINNECAN, WILLIAM – USS Agawam
    52. HORNE, SAMUEL B. – Company H, 11th Connecticut Infantry
    53. HOWARD, MARTIN – USS Tacony
    54. HUDSON, MICHAEL – U.S. Marine Corps / USS Brooklyn
    55. HYLAND, JOHN – USS Signal
    56. IRWIN, PATRICK – Company H, 14th Michigan Infantry
    57. JONES, ANDREW – US Ironclad Chickasaw
    58. JONES, WILLIAM – Company A, 73d New York Infantry
    59. KANE, JOHN – Company K, 100th New York Infantry
    60. KEELE, JOSEPH – 182d New York Infantry
    61. KELLEY, JOHN – USS Ceres
    62. KELLY, THOMAS – Company A, 6th New York Cavalry
    63. KENNEDY, JOHN – Company M, 2d U.S. Artillery
    64. KEOUGH, JOHN – Company E, 67th Pennsylvania Infantry
    65. KERR, THOMAS R. – Company C, 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry
    66. LAFFEY, BARTLETT – USS Marmora
    67. LOGAN, HUGH – USS Rhode Island
    68. LONERGAN, JOHN – Company A, 13th Vermont Infantry
    69. MADDEN, MICHAEL – Company K, 42d New York Infantry
    70. MANGAM, RICHARD C. – Company H, 148th New York Infantry
    71. MARTIN, JAMES – U.S. Marine Corps / USS Richmond
    72. MARTIN, WILLIAM – USS Varuna
    73. McCORMlCK, MICHAEL – USS Signal
    74. McGOUGH, OWEN – Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery
    75. McGOWAN, JOHN – USS Varuna
    77. MOORE, CHARLES – US Gunboat Marblehead
    78. MORRISON, JOHN G. – USS Carondelet
    79. MORTON, CHARLES W. – USS Benton (Philadelphian)
    80. MURPHY, MICHAEL C. – 170th New York Infantry
    81. MURPHY, DENNIS J. F. – Company F, 14th Wisconsin Infantry
    82. MURPHY, JOHN P. – Company K, 5th Ohio Infantry
    83. MURPHY, PATRICK – USS Metacomet
    84. MURPHY, THOMAS C. – Company I, 31st Illinois Infantry
    85. MURPHY, THOMAS J. – Company G, 146th New York Infantry
    86. NOLAN, JOHN J. – Company K, 8th New Hampshire Infantry
    87. NUGENT, CHRISTOPHER – U.S. Marine Corps / USS Fort Henry
    88. O’BEIRNE, JAMES R. – Company C, 37th New York Infantry
    89. O’BRIEN, PETER – Company A, 1st New York (Lincoln) Cavalry
    90. O’CONNELL, THOMAS – USS Hartford
    91. O’CONNOR, TIMOTHY – Company E, 1st U.S. Cavalry
    92. O’DONNELL, MENOMEN – Company A, 11th Missouri Infantry
    93. PLATT, GEORGE C. – Troop H, 6th U.S. Cavalry (Philadelphian)
    94. PLUNKETT, THOMAS – Company E, 21st Massachusetts Infantry
    95. PRESTON, JOHN – USS Oneida
    96. QUINLAN, JAMES – 88th New York Infantry
    97. RAFFERTY, PETER – Company B, 69th New York Infantry
    98. RANNAHAN. JOHN – U.S. Marine Corps / USS Minnesota
    99. REYNOLDS, GEORGE – Company M, 9th New York Cavalry
    100. RILEY, THOMAS – Company D, 1st Louisiana Cavalry
    101. ROANTREE, JAMES S. – U.S. Marine Corps / USS Oneida
    102. ROBINSON, JOHN H. – Company I, 19th Massachusetts Infantry
    103. ROBINSON, THOMAS – Company H, 81st Pennsylvania Infantry
    104. RYAN, PETER J. – Company D, 11th Indiana Infantry
    105. SCANLAN, PATRICK – Company A, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry
    106. SCHUTT, GEORGE – USS Hendrick
    107. SEWELL, WILLIAM J. – 5th New Jersey Infantry
    108. SHIELDS, BERNARD – Company E, 2d West Virginia Cavalry
    109. SMITH, WILLIAM – USS Kearsarge
    110. SPILLANE, TIMOTHY – Company C, 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry
    111. STEWART, JOSEPH – Company G, 1st Maryland Infantry
    112. SULLIVAN, TIMOTHY – USS Louisville
    113. TOBIN, JOHN M. – 9th Massachusetts Infantry
    114. TOOMER, WILLIAM – Company G, 127th Illinois Infantry
    115. TYRRELL, GEORGE WILLIAM – Company H, 5th Ohio Infantry
    116. URELL, M. EMMET – Company E, 82d New York Infantry
    117. WALSH, JOHN – Company D, 5th New York Cavalry
    118. WELCH, RICHARD – Company E, 37th Massachusetts Infantry
    119. WELLS, THOMAS M. – 6th New York Cavalry
    120. WELSH, EDWARD – Company D, 54th Ohio Infantry
    121. WELSH, JAMES – Company E, 4th Rhode Island Infantry
    122. WHITE, PATRICK H. – Chicago Mercantile Battery, Illinois Light Artillery
    123. WILLIAMS, WILLIAM – USS Lehigh
    124. WILSON, CHRISTOPHER W. – Company E, 73d New York Infantry
    125. WRIGHT, ROBERT – Company G, 14th U.S. Infantry

  22. Don the video you posted seemed a bit inaccurate in the way that there was probably a hell of a lot more smoke on the battlefield.

  23. I know my Grandpa was the German Ambassador to Ireland and Egypt (he even met Mubarak) but he knows more about Irish German relations and the Irish civil war (much of which was insane on both sides), now he lives in Dun Laoghoraie.

  24. Don why do Irish spell Gaelic in such wierd ways? My friend Joe who is a part of the ancient order of Hiberniens tells me it’s because they picked the roman alphabet when they were preliterate.

  25. It wasn’t meant to be a documentary Valentin as to battlefield conditions of the time. The US military did not adopt smokeless powder until 1894 so Civil War battles, using black powder, did tend to be smokey affairs, although how smokey depended upon volume of fire and wind conditions.

  26. Gaelic was the language of a people, the great mass of whom were illiterate and divided with no central authority. Irish scholarship tended to be traditionally carried out in Latin, until the English came, and then often in English. Irish Gaelic uniform orthography was largely a creation of the twentieth century since the Republican movement placed great emphasis upon the language:

    “Printface and Spelling

    There was always an awareness among those involved in the Oireachtas translation service of the need to develop a system of orthography and a typeface that would promote and facilitate the use of Irish as a modern European language. For instance, the Irish version of the new state’s Acts were printed in roman type from the beginning, despite the fact that the gaelic type was in common use. Moreover, the staff of the translation service simplified the spelling used in Dineen’s Dictionary (1904 and 1927). Great advances were made in this respect and, in the year 1931, a memorandum entitled Spelling of Irish in Official Documents was issued, setting out the approach employed by the Translation Section and advising that Translation Section usage be generalised throughout the civil service. Liam Mac Cionnaith, who was compiling an English-Irish dictionary, was also directed to use a roman typeface for the work. However, things took an unexpected turn when a newly-elected government immediately reversed that direction. As a result, Mac Cionnaith’s dictionary was published using a gaelic typeface in 1935, as was the Constitution of Ireland in 1937.

    The Constitution

    The first Act passed by Dáil Éireann was the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) Act, 1922. A committee was established to translate the Constitution from English. Sitting on the committee were Eoin Mac Néill (Minister for Education), Pádraig Ó Máille (Leas-Cheann Comhairle), Piaras Béaslaí, Professor Osborne Ó hAimhirgin, Professor T. Ó Raithille, Liam Ó Rinn (Translation Section) agus Colm Ó Murchadha (Clerk of the Dáil). Although there were a number of dictionaries available at the time, the committee had to devise a large number of new technical terms that were not available in any dictionary. Quite a number of terms that are still in use in Acts of the Oireachtas were first seen in the Constitution of the Irish Free State.

    With regard to the current Constitution that was approved by the people in the year 1937, Mícheál Ó Gríofa, a writer and native Irish speaker from County Clare, was charged with providing the Irish language version. Liam Ó Rinn and Tomás Page were asked to review the text before it went to the printers, however. At the same time, a document entitled Tuarascbháil choiste litrighthe na Gaedhilge sa Dréacht-Bhunreacht (Saorstát Éireann, 1937) [Report of the committee on Irish spelling in the Draft Constitution] was submitted to the Government. Not all of the changes were accepted, resulting in a mixture of old and new spelling in the Constitution. It appears that an Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, regretted that decision. In 1941, he said that the wiser course would have been “to follow the spelling of the translation department”. The Translation Section has, of course, provided the Irish version of every Bill drafted since then to amend the Constitution.

    In 1945, it was decided to further progress the standardisation process, and Taoiseach de Valera asked the Translation Section to review the spelling system of the Irish language and draw up proposals for a simplified system for use as a standard. That standard was devised as a guide for the civil service when writing Irish, but it was decided to make it available to the public. This led to the publication of a booklet in July 1945: Litriú na Gaeilge: lámhleabhar an chaighdeáin oifigiúil (The spelling of Irish: the official standard handbook). This manual was of great assistance to people writing schoolbooks and to those involved in Irish language journalism. That same year, a version of the Constitution using the simplified spelling system was published. This first ‘popular edition’ of the Constitution was based on the work done by the Translation Section in simplifying the spelling.

    Legal terminology

    The Irish Legal Terms Act was passed in 1945. Under that Act, ‘the Irish Legal Terms Advisory Committee’ was established to approve legal terminology in Irish. Under the Act, the representative of the Translation Section is joint secretary to the committee. Arising out of the committee’s work, ten Legal Terms Orders were made between 1947 and 1956. They were published together as a dictionary, entitled ‘Téarmaí Dlí’ (Legal Terms) in the year 1959.


    In 1957, the Translation Section was recognised as the authority on grammatical and orthographical matters when the Taoiseach asked the Chief Translator to prepare a manual for publication ‘as a standard for all official purposes and as a guideline for teachers and for the general public’. That project led to the publication of the Official Standard, (An Caighdeán Oifigiúil) ‘Gramadach na Gaeilge agus Litriú na Gaeilge’. Material from Litriú na Gaeilge: lámhleabhar an chaighdeáin oifigiúil, which had gone out of print, was incorporated into this manual.”


    Some of the more hard core Republicans thought that Gaelic would replace English in Ireland which has not occurred. About 94,000 Irish, claim, note the emphasis on claim, to use Gaelic on a daily basis outside of school. Other than those who work for the government and the few who live in the small areas which retained Gaelic down through the centuries, I find that doubtful.

  27. great information song and video. Very nteresting about the language.
    Do you know why we with Welsh in our names use the letter “y” so much?
    …seems like thre should be a rimshot there— but I don’t ave an answer either.
    I do really appreciate history and would always like to know more!
    My family came from Ireland, England and Wales. My husband’s came from Ireland and Scotland….We are both very proud.
    Husband and I have as much Normandy and Belgium as Elizabeth Warren has Cherokee. The Harding part of me still has no definite answer to the woodpile mentioned in an old thread!

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