Lincoln at Cooper’s Union

Steven Hayward over at PowerLine reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun, and also that Abraham Lincoln was a very wise man.

Lincoln noted toward the very end of the speech that the pro-slavery faction in the South wasn’t content with Republicans allowing slavery to exist in the South: it was necessary that everyone change their mind and express publicly their positive support for slavery. In other words, the pro-slavery forces demanded that everyone else submit to their opinion. Sounds like the left today on every social issue in sight, no?

Here’s the key language from the end of the Cooper Union address about the demand for uniformity of opinion:

The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly–done in acts as well as in wordsSilence will not be tolerated–we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas’s new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

I suspect that sounds very familiar indeed to my readers in both the US and the UK. I don’t think it’s going to happen anymore today than it did in 1860. So there is going to be a lot of anguish for them. Hopefully, they won’t act out as badly as their forebearers did in 1861.


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10 Responses to Lincoln at Cooper’s Union

  1. the unit says:

    Well, I’ve wondered if the true motive behind “free trade” wasn’t really just another form of slavery (legitimate by law) instead of to bring up the living standard of the poorer peoples of the world as has been said by some. I mean lower costs in production for more profit, cheaper prices for us all for more money in our pockets, but sweat shops (maybe some being slave shops) in the third world.
    Are we all (well, many) as Dirksen said…”I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      Many of us are all of the time, and I suspect all of us are, some of the time. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Nicholas says:

      This is one of those interesting choices: on the one hand, if you adopt protectionism, you can make the companies in your territory use equitable methods, but you make yourself uncompetitive on the world market; on the other hand, if you adopt free trade you support, as you say, slave labour (or something close to it). No easy answers there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • NEO says:

        There aren’t. And you hurt people either way. We joke about products made by slave labor of the Chinese army, but its too close to the truth to be very funny. But on the other hand some of our people need those products. Nothing easy about it in the real world.

        Liked by 2 people

        • the unit says:

          Usually it’s hard to decipher the pros and cons of the issues because of the “stray voltage”. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          That’s when you need a VOM instead of a DMM. Much lower impedance, filters out some of the noise. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          We do need to keep measurement of the so-called resistance bringing us “the change we’ve been waiting for.” 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yepper! 🙂


  2. Btw, look at the American Black Caucus today! Generally a liberal mess!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have myself met several American Black people that are true conservatives however! But indeed mental freedom is individual, the essence of freedom of course. But the conservative mind is Pauline to my belief, Romans 13!

      Liked by 1 person

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