Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Barack Obama’s admiration of Abraham Lincoln – A President who Historically Played Fast and Loose with the Constitution

It is not without some interest that President-Elect Barack Obama has great admiration for Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president and an Illinois native. Lincoln is best known by most American’s as the ”Great Emancipator”, however, historical evidence exists that his views on slavery were at times, mixed due to family affiliations and the need to control slave states within the Union.

The Secession and Economics: the secession of certain Southern States, was based, in greater part, by Tariffs imposed by the Northern Industrial states - well before Lincoln gained the White House, the economics of the war took precedence over moral issues of the day.

Lincoln, can, therefore, be characterized as a man who took the reins of a country in turmoil, a man who, although his family and background (Kentucky) were vested in slavery, came to have a moral compulsion to end an immoral practice, and a man with a gifted legal mind who would use his talents to defend the union of the United States of American, even if it meant suspending certain elements of the Constitution to achieve his goals.

What is not generally known is that Lincoln suspended Habeaus Corpus during the Civil War. From the creation to Military Commissions to the suppression of the Press, Lincoln was able to ultimately quell anti-war dissent and bring the Civil War to a “successful” conclusion. There is a brief, yet excellent study of Lincoln and his treatment of the U.S. Constitution during his administration at California State University.

As a Conservative and Strict Constructionist with a background in History, reservations regarding Lincoln and the Constitution are worth noting, that said, he also based his argument for Free Markets on the same document. Therefore, it remains to be seen which aspects of Lincoln’s legacy will be brought forth in Obama's admiration. At the moment, Lincoln elements such as the food served during the inauguration or the extensive use of military guards (see Lincoln) are hot topics. Although Obama is dubbed as an "extreme liberal" by detractors, one must understand that to date, he has proved to be somewhat moderate, going so far as to attend a dinner party with known conservatives - causing a bit of a stir with certain press. Perhaps he will give the press greater cause for concern, be it an interest in Lincoln's free market ideology and his ability to bring divisive parties in line, (anathema to the liberal media) or, of greater concern, an ability to effectively shut down the press, if necessary.

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