How Lincoln Destroyed the United States
Paul Craig Roberts
The title of Thomas J. DiLorenzo new book, The Problem with Lincoln, is an understatement. Lincoln was far more than a problem. He was the worst disaster ever to befall the United States.
Lincoln destroyed the federal republic established by the founding fathers, and he destroyed the Constitution that protected it. He violated every provision of, and every Amendment to, the Constitution. He then rewrote, in effect, the Constitution and left the 10th Amendment out.
The Lincoln regime was a dictatorship. Lincoln disregarded US law, the US Constitution, every right of the people, the power and authority of judges, and even exiled a US Representative. DiLorenzo writes that “freedom of speech was virtually nonexistent in the Northern states for the duration of the Lincoln administration.” Lincoln ordered the arrest and imprisonment of everyone who disapproved of his invasion of the South or made the slightest criticism of him. There were mass arrests of citizens and news paper editors of northern states. A minimum of 38,000 citizens of northern states were imprisoned without due process.
Lincoln committed treason against the Constitution when he suspended Habeas Corpus. No such power resides in the presidency. Only Congress can suspend Habeas Corpus even in the case of rebellion and invasion.
US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus was unconstitutional. New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley wrote that it may be necessary to teach Taney a lesson. Lincoln had an arrest warrent written for Taney’s arrest, but did not serve it, apparently instead relying on Taney’s awareness of the warrant to bring him into line.
Other judges both state and federal who attempted to uphold laws were beat bloody and dragged off to prision or placed under house arrest and prevented from performing their judicial duties. Judge Richard Bennett Carmichael in Maryland attempted to enforce due process. Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Seward sent armed federal soldiers. They pistol-whipped the judge in his chambers, “beat him bloody and unconscious, and dragged him off to Fort McHenry.” US circuit court judge William Merrick issued a writ of habeas corpus for an underaged youth and was put “under house arrest by force of arms without due process.” Under Lincoln, there was not only no separation of powers, there was no other power.
Lincoln used army troops to break up meetings of the Democratic Party. US Senator Thomas A. Hendricks, for example, was prevented from speaking by Union troops with fixed bayonets who threatened “to make a summary disposal of him.”
In other words, life under Lincoln in the North was like life in the Soviet Union during the darkest days of Stalin’s rule. Life under Lincoln in the South was like Stalin’s destruction of the kulaks.
The white liberal “Lincoln scholars” admit much of this. And they justify it. For example, Cornell University professor Clinton Rossiter wrote a book, curiously titled Constitutional Dictatorship, a contradiction in terms. Rossiter declares Lincoln to be “a great dictator” whose “amazing disregard for the Constitution was considered by nobody as legal.” Rossiter celebrates this fact. Being a “great dictator” is what made Lincoln a “true democrat.” Another “Lincoln scholar,” Dean Sprague, wrote a book detailing hundreds of acts of tyranny by Lincoln, “and then somehow managed to conclude that Lincoln ‘had no taste for tyranny’ and was a ‘great humanitarian.’”
“This,” DiLorenzo writes, “is what makes someone a Lincoln ‘scholar’—dictatorship is democracy, tyranny is freedom, destroying the Constitution is constitutional, imprisoning political dissenters is benevolent, dictatorship in the right hands is good and noble—and on it goes.”
The most important chapter in DiLorenzo’s book is the fourth one. In this chapter the war crimes of Lincoln and his generals and army are the subject. Lincoln has the disgrace of being the first ruler in modern times to unleash indiscriminate war on civilian populations. From Lincoln came all of Washington’s subsequent violations of the rules of war and the Geneva protocols and conventions—the firebombing of Japanese and German civilian cities, the nuking of two Japanese civilian cities, the atrocities in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, the murder of 500,000 Iraqi children justified by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in true Lincoln fashion as “worth it,” the massive deaths from Washington’s and Washington-sponsored illegal invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Washington’s bombings of Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, the persecution and torture of journalist Julian Assange, the torture horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. If the South had won the war, Lincoln, the entirety of the Union high command and the bulk of the Union army could have been legally and justly hung as war criminals. Indeed, the war crimes of Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and the Union army “paved the way for all the genocidal horrors of the monstrous 20th century.”
Lincoln’s war plan was designed to destroy the South, not just its army. Arson, looting, rape and murder of civilians, destruction of their homes, barns, livestock, and towns by the Union thugs in uniform were the means. In Missouri vast areas of the state became uninhabited. Union General James H. Lane said: “We believe in a war of extermination. I want to see every foot of ground in Jackson, Cass and Bates Counties burned over—everything laid waste.”
“Union cavalry burned 45 buildings in Dayton, Missouri, 42 in Rose hill, and 150 private homes in Johnson County. The entire town of Columbus, Missouri, was burned to the ground.”
General Thomas Ewing cleared 3,000 square miles of Missouri from habitation and forced 20,000 civilians from their homes, leaving them homeless, bare-footed and bare-headed with all of their possessions stolen by Union “soldiers.” Ewing bragged of his feat to a Washington reporter, telling him that his action was approved by President Lincoln.
Lincoln’s friend, General Grenville Dodge, announced his policy of starving the entire population of the state of Tennessee. “These people are proud, arrogant rebels,” and will be made to understant that “all they they possess belongs to the US Government.”
In December 1862 Fredericksburg, Virginia, was sacked, looted and destroyed by Union “soldiers.” Dilorenzo reports that “similar lawless abuse of civilians occurred throughout the South as Lincoln’s generals continued to condone and even encourage it.”
Athens, Alabama was sacked by Union Col. Turchin, a Russian immigrant and Czar Nicholas enforcer. The atrocities suffered by the civilian residents included the organized gang-raping of negroe women by Union “soldiers.” This was too much even for Union generals. Major General Don Carlos Buell court-martialed Turchin and dismissed him from the army, but Lincoln intervened and promoted Turchin to general. The Chicago Tribune praised Turchin’s elevation and wrote that Turchin “has had, from the beginning, the wisest and clearest ideas of any man in the field about the way in which the war should be conducted.” This should tell you all you need to know about the “great moral North,” but, alas, there is much worst to come.
Unable to defeat Lee on the field of battle, the Union war criminals increasingly targeted civilians. Charleston, South Carolina, was bombarded for six months by the Union navy. Unexploded shells were still being discovered in 1963,
Atlanta was completely destroyed by General Sherman, first by bombardment and then by planted explosive charges. Sherman’s chief military engineer, Captain O.M. Poe, dismayed at so many corpses of women and children, advised Sherman that there was no military purpose in the continued bombardment. To the contrary, Sherman said, “the corpses are a beautiful sight.”
DiLorenzo writes: “In city after city, town after town, the same routine was followed: bombardment of civilians, theft of their property, burning of their homes and businesses, killing of livestock, even the bizarre, gratuitous and cruel killing of all family dogs.” Orangeburg, South Carolina, was turned into one heap of ashes. “Even graves in cemetaries were dug up as [Union] soldiers searched for any valuable jewelry on the corpses.” Two-thirds of Columbia, South Carolina, was burned to the ground. A Union colonel boasted: “We have burnt one city, the capital, and most of the villages on our route, as well as most of the barns, outbuildings and dwelling houses, and every house that escaped fire has been pillaged.”
The South lost the war when Stonewall Jackson was killed by Confederate sentries who mistook him for a Union scout. With Jackson out of the picture, Union General Philip Sheridan could destroy the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Grant ordered Sheridan to turn the land into “a barren waste.” And he did. “Sheridan informed Grant that he had set fire to 2,200 barns and 70 flour and wheat mills and had stolen or killed at least 7,000 cattle and sheep in one day. ‘Tomorrow I will continue the destruction.’”
DiLorenzo writes: “It took a special kind of ‘soldier’ to commit such war crimes. Sherman biographer Lee Kennett wrote how in Sherman’s army ‘the New York regiments were filled with big city criminals and foreigners fresh from the jails of the Old World.’ . . . These men committed atrocious war crimes under the direction of commanders like Sherman, who wrote to his wife that his ultimate purpose in the war was ‘extermination, not of soldiers alone, that is the least part of the trouble, but the people’ of the South. A few years later Sherman would become even more notorious for his saying that ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian’ as the commanding general of the [genocidal] Plains Indians Wars.” [The quote attributed to Sherman is Sheridan’s. The two Union generals had such identical views of southerners and Indians that it is easy to confuse them.]
The “Lincoln scholars,” frauds to the last, pretend that Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan and the Union armies fought the war in order to free the slaves. Hundreds of thousands of white Northerners died in order to allegedly free black people that Lincoln said were unfit to live among white people. This is the kind of “history” that Americans get from their “historians.” Not a single historical document supports the false claim that the war was fought over slavery. See: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/07/20/the-cause-of-the-so-called-civil-war/
It has never, ever, struck “Lincoln scholars” as notable that within six weeks of the end of the war Sherman and Sheridan were busy at work with the Union army exterminating the Plains Indians who were, like the Confederacy, in the way of the empire and the railroad barons.
Sherman wrote to Grant that “We are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress of the railroads.” Lincoln’s friend, General Grenville Dodge, proposed enslaving the Indians and making them do the work on the railroad beds. DiLorenzo writes: “The same army that had just pillaged, plundered, and looted its way throughout the South ‘to free the slaves,’ as folklore has it, was to become a giant collection of slave plantation overseers.”
Sherman regarded native Americans the same as he regarded southerners—creatures to be exterminated. The native American, the Union general said, was “a less than human and savage race.” The armies of Sherman and Sheridan conducted more than a thousand raids on Indian villages, mostly in winter months when families would be hunkered down together. Orders were given to kill everyone and everything, including women, children, and animals. A war of extermination of the buffalo was launched in order to deprive the Indians of food and to starve them to death, making them an ineffectual fighting force. The crimes committed by the Union army from 1861 unto well into the 1880s exceed the war crimes of any other period of history.
DiLorenzo concludes: “Their behavior paved the way for the great sins and war crimes of the twentieth century’s wars.”
DiLorenzo describes how the criminal Lincoln was turned into a saint and how Lincoln’s criminal actions became precedents for presidents who followed. President George W. Bush repeated Lincoln’s illegal act of suspending habeas corpus, and Congress and the Supreme Court did not challenge Bush’s usurpation of the power of Congress. Both Bush and Obama dispensed with due process. Because of Lincoln, the United States today bears no resemblance to the country created by the Founding Fathers. The United States, as it once was, was in its grave in 1865.
When the war was over, the real destruction of the South began. It is known as Reconstruction. The humiliation of southern people and the poisoning of racial relations by the Republicans and the Union occupiers, had southerners been less decent people, would have ended in the extermination of blacks and the killing on sight of every northerner and their southern accomplices. But southerners were a moral and civilized people. Consequently, it was the South that was exterminated.