The Scandals Of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham LincolnThink Presidential scandals are new?  Even Abraham Lincoln, a man almost always ranked in the top three Presidents this country ever had, was not immune to a good scandal.  Quite a few, actually.  He wasn’t a particularly well-liked man, which may come as a surprise to many people.  Consider for a moment that there were people who REALLY didn’t like him – so much so that they killed him.  Then you can get an idea of his reputation.  Here are five of the best scandals of Abraham Lincoln.

myfivebest -1Honest Abe Was Just Another Dirty Politician
Prior to becoming President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was an attorney that represented the railroads in the Midwestern States.  In other words, he was a lobbyist.  After he was elected President, he had to pay back his railroad supporters.  One of his first priorities — about two months after the war started — was to call Congress to Washington to get the ball rolling on the Pacific Railroad Bill.  When the bill passed a year later it gave the president the right to determine the eastern terminus — where they would begin building the transcontinental railroad. Lincoln chose Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he had just bought a vast land holding, which to this day some people call “Lincoln’s Hill” in Council Bluffs.  If you think this is a stretch, read the books, “The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War” and “Lincoln Unmasked,” by Thomas DiLorenzo of Loyola University.


myfivebest - 2Lincoln Helped Virginia Decide On Leaving The Union
Virginia had remained neutral.  They didn’t want to go to war with the Southern states, but with the siege on Fort Sumter in April of 1861, Lincoln forced their hand by ordering 75,000 soldiers from the remaining United States.  Virginia balked.  They didn’t want to be a part of this, yet Lincoln had given his presidential order.  Furthermore, he marched Union troops THROUGH Virginia, which was an insult to the native Virginians.  They considered Lincoln’s acts as those of a tyrant.  Think about that for a moment.  This isn’t like calling out the National Guard.  This is more akin to sending an army through your hometown.  Virginia voted to secede.  To make matters worse for Virginia, the pro-Union northwestern counties ended up seceding from the new Confederate state.  Lincoln quickly gave them statehood with the provision they would not allow slavery.  Note, this is also unconstitutional, but historians believe it slid through because West Virginia was rich in saltpeter which is used in the production of gunpowder.


myfivebest - 3Lincoln Tossed Out Part Of The U.S. Constitution
Tea Party advocates are always talking about following the U.S. Constitution to the letter, but Abraham Lincoln went so far as to toss out the part of Habeas Corpus while he was in office.  Habeas Corpus, which is Latin for “You shall have the body” is a principal from British law that means if you have been imprisoned unlawfully, you can petition the courts to allow you to go free.  When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Lincoln threw out Habeas Corpus in the state of Maryland and parts of the Midwestern states.  The Supreme Court declared this unconstitutional, which was ignored by Lincoln and the military.  After this controversy, Lincoln extended the ban throughout the United States in 1862.


myfivebest - 4Was Lincoln Gay?
Not that it is a big issue, but the rumor went around at the time he was President.  Lincoln had a hard time relating with women and was rather stand-offish with them.  For men, however, Lincoln was very warm and affectionate and biographers think that at least two of the men he associated with had homosexual overtones.  Before you go thinking that there is only a fringe group of historians who thought Lincoln was gay, consider one of them was Carl Sandberg in his 1926 biography of America’s 16th President.  Sandberg commented that Lincoln and his friend Joshua Fry Speed as having “a streak of lavender, and spots soft as May violets.” “Streak of lavender” was slang in the 1930s for an effeminate man, and later connoted homosexuality.  In addition to this, Lincoln was the author of a poem that contained a couple of men being married to each other.  His step-mother, Sarah Bush Lincoln (no relation to the Presidents Bush), commented that he “never took much interest in the girls“.  Was Lincoln gay? No one really knows for sure, but it was supposed during his lifetime.


myfivebest - 5The Lincoln Solution To Slavery In America
Everyone knows that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the slaves.  Lincoln was a strong supporter that Americans shouldn’t own slaves, but freeing them to live in the United States wasn’t his original plan.  Lincoln was an advocate of Henry Clay, a Kentuckian politician who was both a Senator and Representative.  Clay, a founder of the American Colonization Society, believed that a colony should be established in Liberia (Africa) and that all freed slaves should be moved to there.  When this idea seemed to be implausible, Lincoln switched tactics in 1862 and tried to colonize the Chiriqui region of Panama. Lincoln signed a contract with businessman Ambrose W. Thompson, the owner of the land, and appointed Kansas Senator Samuel Pomeroy to administer the project, with plans to send as many as 50,000 slaves. The plan was aborted before a single ship sailed though, due to a host of reasons involving objections from neighboring Central American governments and questions about the validity of Thompson’s land titles.  In early 1863, Lincoln signed a contract with Bernard Kock to establish a colony on the Ile a Vache near Haiti. 500 freed slaves departed for the island from Fort Monroe, Virginia, though the project proved to be a disaster. Poor planning, an outbreak of smallpox, and financial mismanagement by Kock left the colonists under-supplied and starving, requiring the rescue of survivors by the United States Navy after only a year.  Finally, he tried sending the freed slaves to the British Honduras, but this also failed and the entire idea was abandoned.