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The Evil Compromise That Saved Our Nation
By Kathy Hare

          Making compromises is a necessary part of living in society. After all, the world does not revolve around one individual.  In order to live peacefully in this world, married couples, friends, and even enemies must learn to settle their differences through mutual agreement.

          But when it comes to our core beliefs and values is there room for compromise?  I self- righteously shout "NO!" 

          However, after a closer examination of the life of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever produced, I have begun to question my own "no compromise" stance. 

          Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 to uneducated parents. But it was his parents who planted the seed for his anti-slavery ideology when they left the Baptist church during Lincoln's childhood after the church came out in support of slavery.

          Lincoln carried his anti-slavery beliefs into his political career. He changed his affiliation with the Whig Party in 1854, when the fledgling the Republican Party came out in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  The act would have allowed the expansion of slavery into Kansas.

          When he accepted the Republican nomination to the Senate in 1858, Lincoln gained national recognition after delivering a powerful anti-slavery speech.  He said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand.  I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other."

          But our history books gloss over the compromise Lincoln had to make shortly after being elected president in 1860.

          Upon his election, South Carolina seceded from the Union because of Lincoln's anti-slavery stand.  Lincoln then faced the horror of the bloodiest war this country has ever experienced.  He quickly realized his beliefs concerning slavery may have to be compromised in order to meet a larger obligation - preserving this nation as a whole.

          In an Aug. 22,1862 letter to Horace Greeley Lincoln wrote, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it,  and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it: and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

          Today few people realize that Lincoln selected the third course of action.  His famous "Emancipation Proclamation," declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."  

          In reality the proclamation was not designed to free slaves, it was a calculated device designed to break the economic back of the Confederacy by doing away with the majority of its work force - slave labor - while also retaining the support of northern territories that allowed slavery.

          Think about the bitterness and sense of betrayal those slaves living in northern territories must have felt.  Their greatest defender decided to put their freedom on hold in order to win a war.

          Freedom for all slaves only came after the passage of the 13th Amendment to the constitution in December 1865, eight months after Lincoln's assassination.

          Lincoln could have held to his convictions against slavery, and by doing so he may have lost the Civil War.  Slavery may have continued in the south for decades if the Confederacy won the war, and our nation, as we know it, would have ceased to exist.

          Without Lincoln's evil compromise the lofty goals set forth by our forefathers and reiterated in his 1863 Gettysburg Address may have never come to pass.

          "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

          That proposition became a reality as the result of a nasty, immoral, evil, but necessary compromise.

First published in The New Falcon Herald
Article Copyright © 2007 Bluestack Consulting, Inc.
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