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statesmanAbraham Lincoln Philosopher Statesman, Joseph R. Fornieri (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014)

The twin goals of this book are so closely intertwined that it would be easy to see them as a unity. To do so would be unfortunate, however, because it would blind the reader to the important lessons Prof. Fornieri has to offer, as well as to certain all-too-common, problematic assumptions regarding the nature and purpose of our constitutional tradition. The first goal is to put forward a coherent set of criteria for judging whether a political figure is worthy of the title “statesman,” meaning an important contributor to the public weal operating under and fulfilling the duties of public office. The second goal is that of showing Abraham Lincoln to be a great, if not the greatest, example of a statesman in the American context.

It would be easy to conflate these two goals for the simple reason that Mr. Fornieri has crafted his book as a commentary on how Lincoln exemplified all the necessary virtues of the statesman. This assumption of greatness is the book’s great flaw, of course. But those of us who do not share it would do well to take seriously the criteria Mr. Fornieri sets forth as a means of evaluating statesmanship and as a means of evaluating President Lincoln himself. Indeed, by the end of the book it becomes clear that there is another issue of importance to any nation, namely, whether “greatness” itself is a good or bad quality in a statesman.

Prof. Fornieri’s book is well written, well crafted, and exhibits a welcome absence of the invective so often marring such hagiographies. Nevertheless, Mr. Fornieri’s book remains comfortably within the line of works represented by Allen Guelzo, Harry Jaffa, and others of Lincoln’s partisans. Mr. Fornieri has gone beyond his brethren in successfully synthesizing a portrait of President Lincoln as embodying characteristics—wisdom, prudence, duty, magnanimity, rhetoric, and patriotism—grounded in an impressive understanding of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, and constituting a level of virtue only truly great servants of a people could achieve. The Aristotelian roots are clear in his choice of magnanimity (sadly absent from contemporary power politics), as well as a proper understanding of rhetoric and its role in conveying truth, as central aspects of statesmanship. Aquinas’ role in Mr. Fornieri’s schema is of special importance in elucidating the nature and importance of both theoretical and practical wisdom, or prudence. Prudence is an often discussed but little understood virtue in politics, given much lip service by those with political powers who seek radical change but wish to seem “reasonable” and so talk in terms of “maintaining essentials” or “keeping the spirit of the law” while undermining its essential character.

A truly great statesman, in Mr. Fornieri’s reasoning, is one who chooses the right goals for himself and his people, pursuing them according to the duties set forth in his public charge (most obviously, his oath of office) and in a fashion sufficiently wise and otherwise virtuous to “deserve” success, even if events may make such success unachievable.

There are significant problems intrinsic to any analysis of statesmanship. After all, a statesman is in a position of practical authority, dealing with practical realities, which may or may not be liable to success. Thus, the greatest natural statesman could not have defeated Julius Caesar in his drive for ultimate power in Rome—as the noble example of Cato the Younger makes abundantly clear. Other statesmen may not have the opportunity to show their “greatness” at all because they live in more mundane times. Still others, like Caesar himself, may seek their own greatness, or the greatness of a particular national order, at the expense of their people.

As to the second goal of Prof. Fornieri’s work—establishing that Lincoln was a shining example of the virtues of statesmanship—the issue of President Lincoln’s greatness is too often portrayed as a choice of sides in the Civil War itself. As so much of our academic and journalistic elites would have it, one either is a defender of slavery or a proponent of Lincoln. Those few, such as the late George Carey, who maintain both a fairly “northern” or even “nationalist” political creed (Carey was a defender of that early, mild form of nationalism propounded by Alexander Hamilton) have tended to be ignored or simply mis-labeled “neo-confederates.” But it is important to note with Eugene Genovese and others, that one may admire much of the culture of the South and much of what it stood for without admiring slavery. Sadly, it becomes ever more difficult to hear the voice of reason amidst the loud calls for equality above all and the accompanying slanders against any who refuse to “get with the program” of using the federal government to make us ever-more the same.

At a purely academic level, however, it is simply wrong to look to Lincoln as a great practitioner of theoretical wisdom. Like many neoconservative proponents of Lincolnian equality, Mr. Fornieri insists on the wisdom of President Lincoln’s “middle ground” between radical abolitionism and defense of slavery as practiced in the American South. He presents as the height of wisdom Lincoln’s arguments against slavery and the height of prudence; his use of rational, limited measures to contain it; followed by his use of a wartime Emancipation Proclamation to turn the Civil War into a war of liberation; thereby, in Dr. Fornieri’s view, scaring off potential supporters of the Confederacy while solidifying northern fervor and maintaining support from slave-holding border states within the Union.

At the risk of alienating partisans of the Old South, here, it seems important to point out that the argument against chattel slavery as legally authorized in the South (and the Caribbean, among other places) rather obviously was correct. The legal structure of chattel slavery, here, included the right of masters to break up families and abuse slaves; it simply was not defensible on honest intellectual and moral grounds. Analogies to industrial drudgery or to medieval serfdom entailed a level of counter-factual assumption rendering them sophistical, even where there may have been heartfelt emotions involved. Such arguments served only to divert attention or cloak abuses in romantic cultural trappings. It is possible, in this light, to see Lincoln’s earlier approach to slavery, insisting that it be put on the road to extinction, as a prudent answer to an insoluble moral dilemma: how to end an evil practice deeply embedded in a culture that was part of the United States and which (whether President Lincoln himself recognized it or not) had much to recommend it morally as well as politically and intellectually. This would support a finding “for” the early Lincoln in terms of practical wisdom, but would not support Mr. Fornieri’s assertion of his greatness as a “philosopher statesman.”

But was Lincoln, the President, prudent? Did he act in a practical, reasonable fashion in order to uphold the duties of his office, which included upholding the Constitution and, in his mind, maintaining the fundamental character of the nation he served? Here Mr. Fornieri’s analysis cannot stand for the simple reason that he, like nationalists and Progressives at the time and ever since, assumes as an absolute good that which should be questioned—the necessity of maintaining the union at all costs. Only ideological attachment to a large, centralized continental empire justifies President Lincoln’s conduct in jailing presumed enemies without trial, taking legislative actions on his own authority, waging war without Congressional sanction, and turning a war waged over questions of state and national rights into a crusade to establish “equality” as the single principle on which a unified republic would stand or fall.

Time and again Lincoln justified his actions violating the Constitution as necessary for its preservation. But that argument holds true only if (as Mr. Fornieri acknowledges) one sees the Constitution as destroyed if its scope is lessened. That is, only if the loss of states destroys a Constitution fully in effect in the remaining states can one plausibly claim that it is necessary to violate constitutional provisions to “save” the Constitution when the only danger to it is secession. And such an assumption makes sense only if one sees sovereignty as an absolute attribute in a centralized national government, to be valued above and at the expense of ordered liberty and the self-government of communities joined in a federal, compound republic.

There were practical reasons why one might wish to maintain the union, principally relating to foreign threats. But radical abolitionists, for example, had advocated secession before the Civil War, as had northern interests seeking to avoid participation in the War of 1812—both seeing other ends and preservation of limited constitutional government as more important than maintenance of a union of all the states. President Lincoln, for his part, repeatedly justified massive exercises of executive power, suspending habeas corpus, declaring a naval blockade, calling up the militia, suspending laws regarding property, slavery, and a variety of rights without Congressional action—that is, without law. In each case he argued his right to so act as necessary for preservation of the union, itself justified as intrinsically unitary and as the embodiment of a single ideological principle: equality.

Many conservatives, including Edmund Burke, recognized chattel slavery as an evil best put on the road to extinction. But this does not make all means toward the end of emancipation valid and good. Even if one sees the South (and South Carolina in particular) as the military aggressor during secession, and even if one sees the South as a serial violator of constitutional rights, including states’ rights in the north, through draconian versions of Fugitive Slave Laws, one still may, indeed should, see Lincoln’s extraordinary measures as unconstitutional, wrong in themselves, and a crucial part of an ideological movement continuing to do great damage to the republic. In reading our centuries-long constitutional tradition through the lens of one abstract, prefatory phrase plucked from a common law document (the Declaration of Independence) Lincoln simplified, solidified, and worst of all sanctified political and legal arrangements among self-governing communities. He revolutionized the character of our union by remaking it into the primary instrument of a holy cause—equality—removed from its proper place among varied goods pursued by varied communities devoted to ordered liberty and self-government under God.

More Caesar than Cato, Lincoln was right about many things. He no doubt sought to be magnanimous in victory. But, however “great” his achievement in transforming our compound republic into a single nation dedicated to a single principle, the “good” he sought was too narrow and extreme. It undermined the Constitution he was honor-bound to uphold. He cannot properly be deemed a statesman of high rank because he did not fulfill his duty, instead violating it in the name of an ideological goal he valued too highly.

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18 replies to this post
  1. This may be the most objective, honest, and erudite analysis I’ve read on Father Abraham. It’s this kind of open, in depth, and penetrating essay that makes IC a leading website. I am looking forward to the ‘comment’ thread.

  2. good article. I suppose it depends on what part of the country you are from as to how you view Lincoln. Clearly in the South, Lincoln was, indeed, a Caesar……”seeking [his] own greatness, or the greatness of a particular national order, at the expense of their people.”

  3. Interesting observations. Even a sympathetic bard (as in Team of Rivals) points out quite plainly how Lincoln was operating not on some master philosophical plan, but on the principle of expediency. He essentially made it up as he went along. Like all Presidents, he had a steep learning curve, and with a war on the doorsteps of the White House to boot. At the beginning of the war, he was motivated primarily, as his biographers note, by a fear of “obscurity”; by the end of the war, he had indeed grown, whether to the level of “statesman” or not is debatable. (And will be for as long as there is a United States, I presume.)

    Being from the Land of Lincoln, I was saturated in Lincoln-adulation as a child, reinforced by images portrayed by Raymond Massey and Henry Fonda. However, being from the Southern fifth of Illinois, I also was exposed to the debased fringe of a “Southron culture”, marked by the number of Confederate battle flags sold at county fairs as opposed to the Yankee flags. To that end, I would like to address the value of Southron culture. Of which part do you speak? Of the Cavalier-Walter Scott pretentions of the elites? Or of the immorality and belligerence of the po white trash? The portraits of Falkner, Percy, and O’Connor, among others, is much truer than one whose mindset was formed in the North would care to believe. (As Flannery O’Connor once said, she wrote of normal people and the Yanks thought they were monsters, she wrote of monsters and the Yanks thought they were normal.)

    Regarding the hot button issue of slavery, some have suggested, as Bruce Caton did in his centennial trilogy of the War, that Southron intransigence would have precluded any peaceful sundering of the “peculiar institution”. To those folks, the argument between the Fire Eaters and Abolitionists was not solvable other than by dragging the rest of the nation through four years of hell. To others, the South only became intransigent as time and battles wore on. I am not enough of a historian of those times to say definitely who is right. The amusing (?) sidelight of all that is how Lincoln would be regarded as a racist today — he thought the Negro was inferior to the Caucasian WASP, and also that slavery was bad because it debased the moral fiber of the whites. A further sidelight is how the po white trash who fought for the Confederacy did not own slaves for the most part and did not fight for the right of the wealthy planters to own slaves, but for their own “rights”, which they saw the Federals as violating by trying to keep the States together with bayonets.

    Insofar as the shredding of the Constitution in order to save the Constitution — echoes from past wars — it should be taken in context. Jefferson also set aside the Law in order to acquire Louisiana. Which was the primary time, until these recent decades, that a violation of Constitutional integrity was not justified in the name of prosecuting a war of some kind. (I include both Dubya’s “signing statements”, and Obama’s fiat on immigration.)

    One is (almost) reduced to saying with the former Secretary of State, “At this point in time, what does it matter?” It DOES matter, but the principle enshrined in precedent and Constitutional Law decisions of SCOTUS is now embedded so deeply in our politics it can not be removed short of an autopsy on the body politic.

    We are, in fact and “principle”, Stuck With It. I should be open to suggestions as to how it might be removed, for I can see none. (I may be blinded by my own prejudices.) With brother Cheeks, I look forward to comments on this.

  4. Thankfully this is a lot more measured than the usual anti-Lincoln hysteria….

    David Naas,

    Your argument that the institution of slavery and it’s problematic hold on American politics was probably not the cause of the Civil War would have been found curious to those who led the secessionist movement and were the intellectual leaders of southern rebellion.

  5. Lincoln was a statesman, and one of our greatest. His position was Washington’s eventual position: slavery was wrong, the Constitution was a compromise designed to eventually extinguish that wrong, and should the North and South split over the issue the only side any moral person could take would be with the North. Lincoln was no crusader–it’s always amusing to see him knocked for being both insufficiently opposed to slavery and then for being overzealous in pursuit of equality. At the same time, he clearly believed in equality as expressed in the Declaration. He believed that was a true principle and the foundation of the republic. He also strived to stay within the bounds of the Constitution, only ostensibly violating the Constitution when multiple constitutional provisions were at odds due to open rebellion. Ignore the secondary sources and just read Lincoln’s own writings….

  6. It’s maddening to see someone state the Declaration is a testament to equality. While today’s Cultural Marxists may believe that, the Founders clearly did not. In Notes on Virginia, Jefferson made it clear he did not subscribe to any such delusion. The Declaration itself refers to the colonists’ preference for English laws, and to the savagery of the Indians — not ideas our multiculturalists would agree with.

    The actual intent of the Declaration was to proclaim the right of all people to self-determination, which was what the South was fighting for. That’s why we call it the Declaration of Independence rather than the Declaration of Universal Equality.

  7. Joe Laughon — My apologies for lack of clarity. Slavery was the exact casus belli of the ACW. The “Fire eaters” and Abolitionists were each spoiling for a fight, and the fight was over slavery. I only think the poor grunt who carried the brunt of the fighting and dying was told it was in defense of his “rights” the war was being fought.
    Please re-read my third paragraph.

  8. I’m not going to play Monday Morning Quarterback on Lincoln’s career. He no doubt made the best decicions that he could given the conditions that existed at the time. That said, if anything is to blame for the Civil War and the mess that followed, it was the pig-headedness of the South in refusing to even *consider* compromising on slavery. If just one Southern statesman of note had risen up and said “Gentlemen, slavery has to go. The rest of the civilized world has abandoned it, and it is an abomination before both God and Man”, then it might just have saved everyone a whole lot of trouble.

  9. “It’s maddening to see someone state the Declaration is a testament to equality. ”

    Well, equality IS the central theme in the Declaration of Independence, attributed to God, no less.

    That said, I don’t get why *some* conservatives react to the word “Equality” like vampires to holy water. The fact that left wingers and Marxists have corrupted the meaning of “Equality” for their own selfish ends does not make the term itself a bad one. Do conservatives *really* want to be on the side of supporting inequality? That’s a guaranteed political loser.

  10. Eric,

    Please read the Declaration for yourself. It’s a proclamation of the right of self-government — secession — not equality.

    And yes, I do not believe in equality. I’m so extreme in that belief that I even oppose “marriage equality” for homosexuals.

    • Why can’t it be about both? It pretty firmly declares that all men are created equal and in fact so much so that the Confederacy declared this to be a “great lie” and that they were founded upon the very opposite.

      Also I would have to take issue with the term “secession” since it has very American Civil War connotations. In reality the DoI is expounding on a classic natural law liberal/European Protestant civil theory called the “right of revolt” not secession, an argument that subordinate polities have a right to a legal process of leaving the authority of the wider polity (something the colonies definitely had no legal right to do).

    • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” That does not talk about the right of self-government. It talks of the right to rebel against a government that does not secure unalienable rights. Mike, I think you are mistaken to think that the Declaration imposes an excuse for slavery. The South had agreed to eventually abolish slavery at the time of the Constitution – and then reneged when it came to admitting new states, fearing they would be outvoted in the Senate. There was no honor in slavery. There was no honor in the South’s intentions on slavery. And there was no honor when they fired on federal troops at Fort Sumter. Lincoln was perhaps our greatest statesman – managing an unprecedented crisis. The testimony to his statesmanship is the most powerful unified nation the world has ever known – and enduring democracy, that yes, has its problems, but somehow always manages to keep Reagan’s vision of the best days always being ahead. Without Lincoln none of this would happen.

      This Confederate apologetics seems weird and desperate. As a study of history, perhaps it is interesting to try to study how Southerners rationalized away slavery and disunion, but as a lesson for the future it seems imprudent, counterproductive and unworthy of our democratic republic – and it really offers no helpful lesson for today.

  11. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them…

    Lincoln levied total war on the civilian populations in Georgia, the Shenandoah, etc.

  12. Very much appreciate the part of your article that talks about the civic virtues of wisdom, prudence, rhetoric, duty magnanimity and patriotism – all needed so greatly – I had the privilege to study under Willmoore Kendall (the one semester he was there in 1962) and George Carey at Georgetown and to write my dissertation under George Carey – amazing how the issues for discussion transcend the years!!!

  13. In viewing the definition of a Statesman in Johnson’s dictionary of the English language (1755) edition, A Statesman is defined as…..
    1. A politician ; one versed in the arts of
    government.
    2. One employed in public affairs.
    Under this true and simple definition Lincoln could be said to have been a Statesman. However, he was in rebellion to the lawful authority of the 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitutions tenth amendment which is worded uite plainly….
    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
    No power was granted to the States in union collectively to prevent a State from exiting the union individually.
    The perpetuity of the union under the Articles of Confederation was not a part of the 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitution.
    The 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitution begins with the wording….”We the people”, in such case we need determine: Was the United States ended with the 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitution, and a union of “We the people a replacement of the “United States”?
    If it was a union of States, then we need to examine just what constitutes a “State”. Here we refer again to Johnson’s dictionary of the English language (1755) edition which defines a State as…..
    “Mode of government..”
    Each State had its own constitution establishing a “Mode of government”.
    Therefore if the States were the “United States”, then clearly the 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitution was a product of the State governments, rather than that of as James Madison stated in his letter to Mr. Everett in August 1830…..
    “It was formed, not by the governments of the component states, as the federal government for which it was substituted was formed. Nor was it formed by a majority of the people of the United States, as a single community, in the manner of a consolidated government.

    It was formed by the states, that is, by the people in each of the states, acting in their highest sovereign capacity; and formed consequently by the same authority which formed the state constitutions.”

    Mr. Madison had already explained in the CONstitutional debates #39 and #62 that the 1787 CONstitution was a partially Federal system and a partially national system.
    If indeed it excluded the State governments then it was an act of rebellion to the lawful authority of article XIII of the Articles of Confederation, which clearly states…..
    “Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.”

    Again….
    “nor shall ANY ALTERATION AT ANY TIME HEREAFTER BE MADE IN ANY OF THEM; UNLESS SUCH ALTERATION BE AGREED TO IN CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND BE AFTERWARDS CONFIRMED BY THE LEGISLATURES OF EVERY STATE”.

    Madison stumbled in his letter with the statement that….
    “It was formed, not by the governments of the component states, as the federal government for which it was substituted was formed”.

    By the lawful authority of the Articles of Confederation, the 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitution had to be ratified (formed) by the State legislatures: In this it was a compact/charter between State governments, NOT the people.

    Now when Lincoln claimed he was trying to “preserve the union”, he was in fact destroying the union of States, and establishing in place of that union of States a single State under a wholly national system wherein the very State governments made up the United States,were removed from the equation and left without any part in legislation or any participation in the central body. One must consider these question….
    If a man beat his wife into submission in order to preserve the marriage after she left him, could that marriage still be considered as such, or was the marriage replaced with a tyranny, and subjugation of the wife?
    Would the wife be considered sovereign and independent, or would here freedom be limited not by her own choice, but rather that of her captor?

    If Lincoln was attempting to preserve the union of States, then he failed, and utterly destroyed that union, and federalism.
    If Lincoln was attempting tom end slavery in the U.S. then that was accomplished with the secession of the Southern States, and passage of the13th and 14th amendments basically unopposed.
    As for the accusation that South Carolina was the aggressor: That is a false assertion. The People of South Carolina had every right to protect the land and Waters surrounding Fort Sumpter within Charleston harbor that were theirs from the invasion of the U.S. with its attempts to traverse South Carolina waters to resupply the U.S. Fort without first establishing a treaty to do such. The land underneath the waters as well as the waters surrounding Fort Sumpter belonged to South Carolina….(See the SCOTUS opinion in….

    Pollard’s Lessee v. Hagan
    44 U.S. (3 How.) 212 (1845)

    Which states that the United States never held municipal jurisdiction within a State once that State was formed and admitted to the union, and that the soil, the shores, waters, and land beneath the waters belonged to the State respectively: Hence all the land and waters that the U.S. would need to traverse to resupply Fort Sumter without benefit of a treaty to do so constituted an invasion of South Carolina. It must also be noted at that time, that each State owned the land and waters three miles out from the low tide mark.
    The fact is that Lincoln as a Statesman by definition was also in rebellion to the lawful authority of the CONstitution to which he gave an oath to defend.

  14. “But, however “great” his achievement in transforming our compound republic into a single nation dedicated to a single principle, the “good” he sought was too narrow and extreme. It undermined the Constitution he was honor-bound to uphold. He cannot properly be deemed a statesman of high rank because he did not fulfill his duty, instead violating it in the name of an ideological goal he valued too highly.”

    I disagree. Of course Lincoln was a great statesman. He prevented our country from being torn apart. His actions freed millions. He had no way of knowing the cost. It was a civil war. He had to work the problems as he went along, making mistakes, but also good decisions, along the way. His violations of the constitution, if we can call them that, were minimal. Because of Lincoln we became a much stronger, greater country. No other American politician comes close.

  15. Lincoln sent his armies into the Confederate nation in an effort to thwart the establishment of free ports and at the behest of the ‘eastern monied interests,’ who cared less about African chattel slavery, but worried much about competing with French and English products (plows, harrows, etc.) entering the American markets via low tariff ports such as New Orleans, etc., and shipped north. Wars tend to be about economics.

  16. Lincoln, did not prevent “Our country from being torn apart”, what he did was destroy the union of States, hence the United States, and consolidated them into a single State under a national govt system. I would ask…..How can there be a “United States” if the State governments no longer participate in the central body, as in the federal system that James Madison, referred to it in the CONstitutional debates #62, wherein the appointment and control of each States Senators was by each State’s legislature, via appointment and threat of removal by the very State legislature that appointed them?
    As Madison stated in #62….

    “It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems.”

    “Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.”

    “It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems.”

    I ask….What did Madison mean when he referred to the States Governments the “AUTHORITY”?

    In #39 Madison explains the two cobbled together systems being the national government system and the federal system…..

    “The difference between a federal and national government, as it relates to the operation of the government, is supposed to consist in this, that in the former the powers operate on the political bodies composing the Confederacy, in their political capacities; in the latter, on the individual citizens composing the nation, in their individual capacities.”

    The Senate was the federal portion and what made the States… “United States” via the appointment of these two State government representatives within the central body…THE COLLECTIVE OF STATES IN UNION.
    The House of Representatives is the national portion as they are elected by the people of the whole divided NOT BY STATES, but by simple districts without regard to States, or State governments.
    The Senate represented the State governments via a State legislature appointees, maintaining the union of States…The Confederacy of States that existed under the Articles of Confederation….
    The House of Representatives being representatives elected by the people, rather than appointed by each State’s legislature was the new addition that established the NATIONAL portion of the 1787/1789 U.S. CONstitution.

    Now the result of Lincoln’s war was the destruction of the union of States, and the federal system, via the subjugation of the States which resulted in the 17th amendment which removed the appointment of the Senators by each respective State legislature removing the States from the equation which completely destroyed the balance and the union.

    How could anyone call such an act, that of a “Statesman”?

    If Slavery was the issue, then Slavery ended in the U.S. with the secessions of the Southern States.
    If preserving the union was the goal he did the opposite.
    In short, he threw the baby out with the dirty bath water.
    There is no way to argue different.

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