I grew up in the deep South, but my male ancestors were Union officers. I find the web letters posted here objectionable in their strange combination of sloppy history, crazed libertarianism and fits of hysterics. I also notice that the authors of these letters did not read Professor Foner's article. Lincoln was not a "fervent racist" and he did not give orders that Southern women and children be assaulted.
Mr. Lingenfelser seems not to have heard of the famous system of checks and balances and the three branches of government. If what he writes were true, why would the founders have bothered to establish an executive branch? Revolutionary France just had an assembly.
In fact, the power of the states relative to the federal government was a matter of dispute from the get-go. The Constitution involved compromises. The decision of each state to join the union was not revocable; it was a commitment. Georgia and South Carolina didn't have to join; they decided to.
One of the major founders warned that if the states did not form a strong union, they would be fighting wars against one another just as European states had done for so many centuries and at the cost of so many lives.
Coonfederate forces fired on Fort Sumter. The Confederate Army marched on Washington, fighting at Manassas and Bull Run, which is why the Union Army went south. The South did not simply secede; it also attacked.
Mr. Banta is delusional in his belief that "the Constitution was created to limit federal authority." In fact, the country already had the Articles of Confederation, which loosely bound the states together. Those who attended the Constitutional Convention considered the Articles of Confederation too weak to meet the needs of the new nation.
Why don't people like Mr. Banta and Mr. Lingenfelser, who hold President Lincoln, President Obama, American history (and my ancestors) in such contempt--and the South in such high esteem--just move to Alaska? It's a huge state with plenty of room for all the disaffected, resentful, right-wing libertarian secessionists in the country. I think they'd be happier there, back in the nineteenth century.
Carol V. Hamilton
Feb 13 2009 - 2:11am