Is Questioning Lincoln Racist?

Often when an individual brands a political opponent as a racist, it is a subtle admission that an argument cannot be won when focused solely on policy. The most recent such accusation of racism has come from both the left and the right towards a friend of the liberty movement, Jack Hunter.

This, of course, is a political maneuver to attempt to damage Hunter’s former employer, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, in his political career and potential run for the presidency in the future. The establishment left and the right is increasingly threatened by the libertarianism advocated by Hunter, and, more importantly, by the potential for the libertarian-leaning Paul to gain increasing political power.

But is this charge an accurate one? When examining the case against Hunter, you find that much of it relies on his pro-secession and anti-Lincoln views — neither of which make him a racist. While the mainstream narrative would have you believe that if you don’t support Lincoln, you may in fact be a racist, what isn’t taught in schools is that Lincoln himself was a blatant racist who supported deporting and colonizing blacks. In a debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln stated:

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way 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.

And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race”

“But, but, but he had a change of heart over time,” claims the Lincoln worshiper. This simply means that Lincoln morphed his public views to suit whatever change was becoming politically popular. However, Lincoln was in favor of deporting and colonizing blacks until his death. That’s some change of heart.

“But, but, but he fought to end slavery.” This is another questionable claim. Contrary to the most recent cinematic portrayal of Lincoln, he did nothing to fight for the 13th Amendment that exists today. In fact, the first 13th Amendment that he explicitly supported would have done quite the opposite of ending slavery. In his first inaugural address Lincoln expressed support for the “Corwin Amendment,” which would have banned any future legal interference with slavery.

As surprising as it isn’t, none of the blatant and deplorable white supremacy of Lincoln has been mentioned by those attacking Jack Hunter. It wouldn’t be shocking to learn that his attackers aren’t even aware of these facts of history

Being anti-Lincoln is perhaps the furthest thing from being racist. As for being in favor of secession, Tom Woods has debunked the foolish view that this is racist in his hilarious “Interview with a Zombie,” which covers nullification and is equally applicable to its ultimate extension, secession.

Jack Hunter’s opposition to Lincoln and views on succession do not make him racist. However, that doesn’t keep those threatened by the rise of the liberty movement he represents from trying to claim it does. Unfortunately, many are ignorant to the truth concerning these views, so the demagogues attacking Hunter could have temporary success. This makes it paramount that libertarians do an adequate job of educating others to the truth.

Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.

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