A Book With No Credibility–Chapter Nine

In Chapter Nine, Adams’ historical malfeasance is again on display for all to see.

He starts off by writing, “By the mid-nineteenth century Europeans universally believed that slavery was barbaric and not proper for a civilized society.  This view soon crossed the Atlantic and started to take root in America.  In the United States, however, there was no strong political move to abolish slavery even after the Europeans had done so.  This seems strange, since the idea of equality under the law, and personal freedom, had been part of America from its earliest days.”  [p. 127]

This statement shows remarkable historical ineptitude.  The idea of the abhorrence of slavery had been rooted in the United States since the Revolution.  Most of the country in 1860 was free, not slave territory.  The statement that “Europeans universally believed slavery was barbaric” was certainly not true, as Europeans continued to dabble in slavery in their colonies.

Adams says, “Russia had the same problem that America had–the slaves (serfs) were right at home.  The Russian government spent a decade figuring out how to emancipate without creating chaotic conditions.  In fact, Tsar Alexander II’s decree of emancipation has been called by historians ‘the greatest legislative act in history.’  No one says that about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.”  [p. 128]

First, let’s once again point out Adams’ lack of character.  Adams’ cited source is Nicholas Riasanovsky’s History of Russia.  As the source he cited states, only one historian claimed it was “the greatest legislative act in history.”  To claim “historians” call it that is simply mendacious.  And I should point out that Adams’ source, Riasanovsky himself, says that it was an exaggeration:  “The emancipation of the serfs can be called a great reform, although an American historian probably exaggerated when he proclaimed it to be the greatest legislative act in history.”  [Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, History of Russia, 2nd Edition, p. 413]

Alexander’s decree is here.  Alexander’s emancipation [more information here and here] was done by an autocratic ruler, not a democratically elected president.  Also, there is a small distinction between a slave and a serf.  Slavery in Russia was abolished by Peter the Great in 1723.  That distinction, though, was not enough to make a huge difference between the two.  The Emancipation Proclamation was a military measure, which was how Lincoln perceived he had the constitutional authority to issue it.  It was not an imperial decree but could only have effect during wartime.  That is why it was imperative to pass and ratify the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery.  Adams is comparing apples to grapefruits and trying to say they are the same thing.  Let’s go back to Riasanovsky:  “It [the Tsar’s emancipation of the serfs] directly affected the status of some fifty-two million peasants, over twenty million of them serfs of private land owners.  That should be compared, for example, with the almost simultaneous liberation of four million Negro slaves in the United States, obtained as a result of a huge Civil War, not by means of a peaceful legal process.”  [Ibid.]  So we see yet another difference.  Nobody fought a war to prevent the Tsar from emancipating the serfs.  The confederates seceded and started a war in an effort to protect slavery from the threat posed to it by Lincoln’s election.  Adams isn’t going to tell anyone that, though.

Adams spends time pointing out the glaringly obvious fact that what we call racism today existed in all parts of the United States.  He traces the roots of Negrophobia to the slave uprisings in the Caribbean.  “The slaughter of whites by blacks had often accompanied slave uprisings in the Americas, not far from home.  There were over eighty such uprisings in the Caribbean alone from 1805 to 1850, including eleven in Cuba.  But the worst were in Haiti, where the French Revolution brought liberty, equality, and fraternity to black slaves.  Once freedom was announced, the ex-slaves sought revenge.”  [p. 129]

He has a very inaccurate view of the Haitian Revolution.  More information here, here, and here.  He has the chronology wrong and he ignores the brutality the French inflicted on their slaves in Haiti.

Adams claims that Americans in the Free States didn’t want African-Americans in their states in reaction to what happened in Haiti.  This is a stretch.

Adams writes, “To protect themselves from the dangers posed by free blacks, nonslave states began early in the nineteenth century to pass laws against black immigrants from slave states.  These black codes, as they were called, showed up in the South after the Civil War, but they began in the North.  Indiana and Ohio’s statutes were typical:  No free Negroes were allowed to enter the state or own property in the state.  Illinois used a different approach. Blacks could come if they posted a $1,000 bond.  There were laws against blacks assembling ‘for the purpose of dancing or reveling’ that carried a $20 fine.  Illinois had a tradition, dating back to its territorial period, of restrictive and exclusionary legislation against blacks, culminating in the 1853 black law that in effect barred black people from residing in the state, the ‘most severe anti-Negro measure passed in a free state.’  Lincoln never spoke out against this law.”  [p. 130]

First of all, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, like the rest of the United States, each had a republican form of government.  If Adams thinks he’s making a point that racists lived above as well as below the Mason-Dixon Line, well … duh.  Arvarh Strickland wrote about the racial background of Illinois:  “Many antislavery advocates in a state such as Illinois could oppose slavery in the abstract.  They could condemn it as an institution inimical to the traditions and principles of American democracy without taking into consideration who was enslaved.  Freedom, however, was another matter, for it raised the question of racial adjustment–the status of the Negro after freedom.  When the people of Illinois decided that the state would be free, many meant free from both slavery and Negroes.  The presence of a relatively small number of free Negroes in the state and the fear that their number would be augmented from bordering slave states occasioned alarm, and as abolitionist sentiment grew, free Negroes increasingly became a subject for political agitation.”  [Arvarh E. Strickland, “The Illinois Background of Lincoln’s Attitude Toward Slavery and the Negro,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol LVI, No. 3, Autumn, 1963, p. 482]  Adams hasn’t stumbled on some long-kept secret.

But let’s take a closer look at from where these attitudes came, for the most part:

“For several years after Illinois entered the Union, there were many who advocated removing all legal restrictions against slavery, but opinion on this issue was sharply divided. Settlers from New England and the Middle Atlantic states and some southerners opposed slavery in principle. On the other hand, the ‘most influential families’ from the South, as well as many of the poorer settlers from the upper South, were proslavery in sentiment; but some in all of these groups were opposed to making Illinois a slave state.”  [Arvarh E. Strickland, “The Illinois Background of Lincoln’s Attitude Toward Slavery and the Negro,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol LVI, No. 3, Autumn, 1963, p. 475]

[In Illinois] “Sectional divisions in regard to the status of free Negroes approximated those in the nation on slavery.  The southern counties were strongly anti-Negro, while the northern counties were most affected by abolitionist doctrines.  In the central section–excluding the river counties of the old Military Tract–a state of opinion on the Negro existed which was comparable to that in the border states on slavery.  The central counties occupied somewhat of a mid-point between the extreme views of the north and south.

“These divisions manifested themselves in the convention.  Generally, delegates from the northern counties opposed constitutional limitations on the rights of free Negroes and provisions excluding them from the state.  Those from southern counties and western counties bordering Missouri, favored both exclusion from the state and the denial of civil rights to those already there”  [Ibid., pp. 483-484]

“Southern Illinois, staunchly Democratic, was equally angered at the Kansas-Nebraska Act, because residents feared that opening Kansas to slaveholders would prevent the settlement of small farmers like themselves.  Violently negrophobic, voters in this section wanted to have nothing to do with abolitionism.”  [David H. Donald, Lincoln, p. 169]

The inhabitants of the southern portions of the states had emigrated from the southern states.

“The situation should have been different in Illinois because the language of the ordinance which created the Northwest Territory, of which Illinois was a part, forever forbade slavery and sought to insure universal freedom and democracy.  But Illinois was a southern state in population and traditions.”  [Elmer Gertz, “The Black Laws of Illinois,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol LVI, No. 3, Autumn, 1963, p. 457]

They followed the same basic route as Lincoln’s own family, across the Ohio River into southern Indiana, then into southern Illinois and Ohio.

Also, the Illinois legislature repealed the state’s black laws on 7 Feb 1865. [Helen Horney and William E. Keller, “The Negro’s Two Hundred Forty Years in Illinois–A Chronology,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol LVI, No. 3, Autumn, 1963, p. 435]

As to Lincoln, look at the demographics.  I’m not suggesting he was an egalitarian, but even if he were, it would be politically stupid to come out against a popular measure like that.  “The Republican party was obviously a coalition of interests, including abolitionists, outright racists and Negrophobes, and those somewhere in the middle for whom Abraham Lincoln articulated a ‘gnawing moral anxiety moderate elements in America were coming to feel toward the institution of slavery.’  While not racial liberals by any stretch of the imagination, they were at least bothered by slavery and by the imposition of certain restraints on free black men, such as immigration restriction.  This middle element appears to have been at the core of the Republican party.  Perhaps they did not lead, but they responded to political anti-slavery men and provided the votes for the emergence of the Republican party.  However, they were not numerous enough to capture the state of Illinois by 1856, and so, as Eric Foner has argued, the party leaders realized the need to attract the nativist votes in order to achieve victory in 1860.”  [John M. Rozett, “Racism and Republican Emergence in Illinois, 1848-1860:  A Re-evaluation of Republican Negrophobia, Civil War History, Vol. XXII, No. 2, June, 1976, p. 114]

Adams would like us to believe that Lincoln in Illinois in the 1850s was the same Lincoln throughout his life.  ” ‘In all my interviews with Mr. Lincoln,’ Frederick Douglass recalled in the 1880s, ‘I was impressed with his entire freedom from popular prejudice against the colored race. ‘ ” [George M. Frederickson, “A Man but Not a Brother:  Abraham Lincoln and Racial Equality,” Journal of Southern History, Vol XLI, No. 1, Feb, 1975, p. 39]

Adams writes, “Negrophobia also found expression among the leaders of the North, including Abraham Lincoln.  This racial fear can be traced to the Founders.  Jefferson expressed what most Americans believed:  ‘Nothing is more clearly written in the book of destiny than the emancipation of the blacks, and it is equally certain that the two races will never live in a state of equal freedom under the same government, so insurmountable are the barriers which nature, habit, and opinion have established between them.’  This point of view was dominant when the Civil War started.  Like Jefferson, Lincoln did not believe in racial mixing, nor in the ability of the races to live with one another in harmony.  The solution?  Expulsion.”  [p. 132]

Adams completely mischaracterizes Lincoln.  Yes, Lincoln, in the 1850s, didn’t believe the two races could live together in harmony.  He wasn’t the only one.  However, this wasn’t out of “Negrophobia.”  It was out of a belief that whites wouldn’t let blacks live with them in harmony.  And Lincoln’s plan for colonization was not expulsion.  Adams is simply lying again.  Lincoln’s colonization plan was completely voluntary.  That is not expulsion.

Adams next shows he doesn’t know how emancipation came about in the Northern states:  “Emancipation in the Northern states came easy–too easy.  In 1788, New York prohibited the importation of slaves.  Eleven years later, in 1799, a more decisive measure was taken to eliminate slavery.  All children born to slaves after July 4, 1799, were to be free.  Sounds like a good idea; Jefferson thought so.  Except there was one catch.  By declaring that the children of slaves were free, slaves lost a large percentage of their market value, since their posterity was no longer part of the bargain.  The Northern slave owner had to ship his slaves to the auctions in the South in order to receive full value.  This policy of emancipation throughout the North had the effect of sending all the blacks to the South and draining Northern societies of future black citizens.  It was also in these early postrevolutionary times that black codes were adopted to promote a kind of nineteenth-century ‘racial cleansing.’ ”  [p. 133]

His claim that emancipation in the Northern states was “too easy” highlights his ignorance.  Space limitations prohibit a complete citation of everything that happened, but suffice to say the fight against slavery began in the Colonial years.  The struggle from then until emancipation in the North was chronicled in Louis Filler’s The Crusade Against Slavery, 1830 to 1860 and Arthur Zilversmit’s The First Emancipation:  The Abolition of Slavery in the North.  It started with lonely pamphleteers.  Ralph Sandiford published A Brief Examination of the Practice of the Times in 1729 and was repudiated by the Quakers.  Benjamin Lay published All Slave-Keepers That Keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates in 1737 and was shunned as well.  John Woolman published Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes in 1754 and was finally embraced by the Quakers, as was Anthony Benezet.  [Louis Filler, The Crusade Against Slavery, 1830 to 1860, pp. 13-14]  “The slow evolution of Quaker thought on the justice of slavery aroused widespread opposition among slaveholding Friends.  At the 1758 meeting of the Yearly the issue came to a head.  During the previous summer several Philadelphia Quakers had purchased slaves in contravention of the new policy.  Now they sought to persuade the meeting to reverse its stand on slavery and justify their conduct.  Antislavery Quakers not only succeeded in defeating this move, they took the offensive and tried to strengthen the antislavery position of the society.  A spirited debate ensued.”  [Arthur Zilversmit, The First Emancipation:  The Abolition of Slavery in the North, pp. 73-74]  The Quakers then led the way, demanding that their Members release all their slaves.  “Despite the few continued violations of the slavery rules in New Jersey, virtually all members of the Philadelphia Yearly had freed their slaves by 1783 and, furthermore, had agreed to give their former slaves a just compensation for their years of involuntary servitude.  When New York Friends announced in 1787 that they had no more slaveholding members, northern Quakers had achieved the unique position of being the only major group that refused on grounds of conscience to hold slaves.  They had achieved this goal as the result of a long struggle on the part of the abolitionists within the society.  The Quaker abolitionists, having won their cause within the society, did not rest on their laurels.  They now sought to make abolition universal.”  [Arthur Zilversmit, The First Emancipation:  The Abolition of Slavery in the North, p. 83]  Still, it took a war, the American Revolution, to provide the impetus for abolition in the North.  Filler writes, “To sanguine observers, it was a mere incident of economics which allowed the northern states first to inaugurate gradual abolition.  Vermont proclaimed it in 1777.  Massachusetts (including Maine) wrote abolition into its state constitution in 1780, according to judicial interpretation, and New Hampshire in 1783.  Gradual abolition was won in Pennsylvania in 1780, in Rhode Island (which had large-farm slavery) and Connecticut in 1784, in New York in 1799, and in New Jersey in 1804.  Most important to antislavery perspectives was the Ordinance of 1787, based essentially on Thomas Jefferson’s plan of 1784 for organization of the western territory of the United States.  The Ordinance abolished slavery in the territory north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi rivers:  an area which would include the states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota.”  [Louis Filler, The Crusade Against Slavery, 1830 to 1860, pp. 10-12]

Adams also claims that all the slaves in the North were sold to southerners.  That’s a phony claim.  There were indeed some slaves sold south.  However, in Massachusetts slavery ended immediately when the Walker Case was decided.  Some owners may have been able to sell some slaves south, but not the majority.  As Zilversmit tells us, when the legislatures found out about this tactic they passed laws prohibiting sales of slaves outside the states.  Sometimes, as with Connecticut, laws prohibiting sale of slaves outside the state were passed before the abolition bills were passed.  Still, this practice was widespread in New York State, and the legislature sought to curb this abuse.  “Less than a year after the passage of the abolition law, the [New York Manumission] society noticed a sinister development–the export of Negroes, slave and free, to the southern states and the West Indies ‘had become very general.’  Not only that, but New Yorkers were also violating the ban on slave importations.  An assembly committee assigned to study a manumission society petition substantiated the abolitionists’ claims.  The existing laws were riddled with loopholes.  For instance, the slave code did not prohibit the export of slaves, only their sale with intent to export, leaving prosecutors the impossible task of proving the intent of a master who sold his slave to an exporter.  Consequently, the exportation of slaves was increased ‘to an alarming magnitude,’ and “Slaves to a number not to be credited, and with circumstances of great barbarity, have been exported from the city of New York to the West India Islands.’  The legislature responded by strengthening the prohibitions on slave imports and exports.  Nevertheless, the standing committee of the manumission society was forced to exercise continual vigilance to prevent violations of the law.”  [Arthur Zilversmit, The First Emancipation: The Abolition of Slavery in the North, pp. 208-209]  From that kernel of truth, Adams builds a cornstalk of a lie:  “The Northern slave owner had to ship his slaves to the auctions in the South in order to receive full value.  This policy of emancipation throughout the North had the effect of sending all the blacks to the South and draining Northern societies of future black citizens.”  As Zilversmit tells us, “By 1830, when there were over 2,000,000 slaves in the United States, fewer than one per cent were found in the New England and Middle Atlantic states, and most of these were in New Jersey.  Only 2,780 Negroes remained in bondage in the northern states, and the free Negro population increased rapidly from just over 27,000 in 1790 to well over 122,000 by 1830.  Each federal census revealed that freedom, rather than slavery, was rapidly becoming the normal condition of northern Negroes as gradual abolition laws and voluntary manumissions reduced the number held as slaves.”  [Arthur Zilversmit, The First Emancipation: The Abolition of Slavery in the North, p. 222]

Now let’s take a closer look at his claim that “The Northern slave owner had to ship his slaves to the auctions in the South in order to receive full value.  This policy of emancipation throughout the North had the effect of sending all the blacks to the South and draining Northern societies of future black citizens.”

If we look at the US Census from 1800 to 1860, looking specifically at numbers of slaves and numbers of free blacks in each state:

State

1800

1810

1820

1830

1840

1850

1860

Alabama (S)

N/A

N/A

47,449

117,549

253,532

342,844

435,080

Alabama (FB)

N/A

N/A

633

1,572

2,039

2,265

2,690

Arkansas (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

4,576

19,935

47,100

111,115

Arkansas (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

141

465

608

144

California (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

0

0

California (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

962

4,086

Connecticut (S)

951

310

97

25

54

0

0

Connecticut (FB)

5,330

6,453

7,870

8,047

8,105

7,693

8,627

Delaware (S)

6,153

4,177

4,509

3,292

2,605

2,290

1,798

Delaware (FB)

8,268

13,136

12,958

15,855

16,919

18,073

19,829

Florida (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

25,717

39,310

61,745

Florida (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

817

932

932

Georgia (S)

59,699

105,218

149,656

217,531

280,944

381,682

462,198

Georgia (FB)

1,919

1,801

1,763

2,486

2,753

2,931

3,500

Illinois (S)

N/A

N/A

917

747

331

0

0

Illinois (FB)

N/A

N/A

457

1,637

3,598

5,436

7,628

Indiana (S)

N/A

N/A

190

3

3

0

0

Indiana (FB)

N/A

N/A

1,230

3,629

7,165

11,262

11,428

Iowa (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

16

0

0

Iowa (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

172

333

1,069

Kentucky (S)

40,343

80,561

126,732

165,213

182,258

210,981

225,483

Kentucky (FB)

741

1,713

2,759

4,917

7,317

10,011

10,684

Louisiana (S)

N/A

N/A

69,064

109,588

168,452

244,809

331,726

Louisiana (FB)

N/A

N/A

10,897

16,710

25,502

17,462

18,647

Maine (S)

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

Maine (FB)

818

969

929

1,190

1,355

1,356

1,327

Maryland (S)

105,635

111,502

107,398

102,994

89,737

90,368

87,189

Maryland (FB)

19,587

33,927

39,730

52,938

62,078

74,723

83,942

Massachusetts (S)

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Massachusetts (FB)

6,452

6,737

6,740

7,048

8,669

9,064

9,602

Michigan (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

32

0

0

0

Michigan (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

261

707

2,583

6,799

Minnesota (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

0

0

Minnesota (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

39

259

Mississippi (S)

N/A

N/A

32,814

65,659

195,211

309,878

436,631

Mississippi (FB)

N/A

N/A

458

519

1,366

930

773

Missouri (S)

N/A

N/A

10,222

25,096

58,240

87,422

114,931

Missouri (FB)

N/A

N/A

347

569

1,574

2,618

3,572

New Hampshire (S)

8

0

0

3

1

0

0

New Hampshire (FB)

852

970

786

604

537

520

494

New Jersey (S)

12,422

10,851

7,557

2,254

674

236

18

New Jersey (FB)

4,402

7,843

12,460

18,303

21,044

23,810

25,318

New York (S)

20,613

15,017

10,088

75

4

0

0

New York (FB)

10,374

25,333

29,279

18,303

50,027

49,069

49,005

North Carolina (S)

133,296

168,824

205,017

245,601

245,817

288,548

331,059

North Carolina (FB)

7,073

10,266

14,612

19,543

22,732

27,463

30,463

Ohio (S)

N/A

0

0

6

3

0

0

Ohio (FB)

N/A

1,899

4,723

403

17,342

25,279

36,673

Pennsylvania (S)

1,706

795

211

403

64

0

0

Pennsylvania (FB)

14,564

22,492

30,202

37,930

47,854

53,626

56,949

Rhode Island (S)

380

108

48

17

5

0

0

Rhode Island (FB)

3,304

3,609

3,554

3,561

3,238

3,670

3,952

South Carolina (S)

146,151

196,365

251,783

315,401

327,038

384,984

402,406

South Carolina (FB)

3,185

4,554

6,714

7,921

8,276

8,960

9,914

Tennessee (S)

13,584

44,535

80,107

141,603

183,059

239,459

275,719

Tennessee (FB)

309

1,317

2,727

4,555

5,524

6,422

7,300

Texas (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

58,161

182,566

Texas (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

397

355

Vermont (S)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Vermont (FB)

557

750

903

881

730

718

709

Virginia (S)

346,671

392,518

425,153

469,757

449,087

472,528

490,865

Virginia (FB)

20,493

30,570

36,889

47,348

48,852

54,333

58,042

Wisconsin (S)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

11

0

0

Wisconsin (FB)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

185

635

1,171

While these numbers indicate some support for Adams’ claim for New York between 1820 and 1830, it has no support for his claim for any other Northern state.  In fact, the free black numbers in the south suggest support for a claim there may have been a concerted effort in some of those states to re-enslave free blacks in those states.

Adams writes, “The attitude in the North explains correspondence that Lincoln received from his commander of the armies, ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker, on the Emancipation Proclamation.  Wrote General Hooker, ‘A large element of the army had taken sides against it, declaring that they would never have embarked in the war had they anticipated this action of the government.’  The army, observed one historian, ‘which was strongly anti-abolition, was demoralized.’ ” [p. 134]

Once again, Adams shows incompetence as a “historian.”  This wasn’t correspondence from Hooker to Lincoln.  Hooker said this in testimony before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.  His citation for his claim about “one historian” is T. Harry Williams, Lincoln and the Radicals, pp. 216; 240-244.  Those words don’t appear to be there.  This is not to say that the Emancipation Proclamation was universally popular in the Union Army; however, it was not nearly as unpopular as Adams would have us believe.  Democrats, for the most part, hated it.  Republicans, for the most part, cheered it.

Adams continues his one-man assault on the truth:  “All accounts from the army uniformly indicate that soldiers who fought the battles had no stomach for the emancipation of the slaves.  ‘Let it be understood,’ said an educated and respected colonel of a regiment that had seen hard service, ‘let it be understood that [if] this is a war for the emancipation of the Negro, instead of a war in defense of the Constitution, three quarters of the army would lay down their arms.’ ”  [p. 134]

Soldiers more and more, as the war dragged on, saw the necessity of destroying slavery, and they saw that necessity before their officers saw it and they saw it before many politicians saw it.  “In October [1861], a member of the Third Wisconsin told the Wisconsin State Journal ‘the rebellion is abolitionizing the whole army.’  Time in the South forced troops ‘to face this sum of all evils, and cause of the war,’ slavery.  ‘You have no idea of the changes that have taken place in the minds of the soldiers in the last two months,’ the soldier continued, and the changes were not restricted to Republicans.  Now that they saw slavery with their own eyes, ‘men of all parties seem unanimous in the belief that to permanently establish the Union, is to first wipe [out] the institution’ of slavery.  A Missouri private agreed that since ‘it was slavery that caused the war,’ it would take ‘the eternal overthrow of slavery’ to win it.  Throughout the rank and file, as enlisted soldiers decided that only elimination of the war’s cause could end the rebellion and prevent its recurrence, they championed the destruction of slavery a full year ahead of the Emancipation Proclamation, well before most civilians, political leaders, or officers did.”  [Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over:  Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War, p. 45]

Bruce Catton identified this early consensus.

“The New York soldier was beginning to see it.  The war was changing, and it was no longer being looked upon as a species of tournament between unstained chivalrous knights.  It had reached a point now where the fighting of it was turning loose some unpleasant emotional drives.  It had become a war against–against slavery, perhaps against the men who owned slaves, by inevitable extension against that man and his family and his goods and chattels who by living with the hated institution seemed to have made war necessary and who in any case were standing in the road when the avengers came.”  [Bruce Catton, Glory Road, pp. 86-87]

“Increasingly the men ran into the problem of slavery, and as they did they began to encounter an arrogance in the southern attitude toward slavery that increased their own antagonism.  Slavery seemed to be central.  It was the one sensitive, untouchable nerve-ending, and to press upon it brought anguished cries of outrage that could be evoked in no other way.”  [Bruce Catton, This Hallowed Ground, p. 224]

“When fugitive slaves came into camp these boys would shelter them; yet there were not really very many cases of this kind, after all, ‘and had the owners been satisfied to exercise a little patience when the fugitives could not readily be found the soldiers would soon have got tired of their new playthings and turned every black out of camp themselves.

“But there was no patience.  The slaveholder was driven on by a perverse and malignant fate; he could not be patient, because time was not on his side.  Protesting bitterly against change, he was forever being led to do the very things that would bring change the most speedily.  He was unable to let these heedless Federals get tired of their new playthings.  He had to prod them and storm at them, and because he did, the soldiers’ attitude hardened and they grew more and more aggressive.”  [Ibid., p. 225]

Regarding his claim about the “educated and respected colonel of a regiment,” his cited source is a Scottish publication, Northern British Review, October, 1862.  There is no “Northern British Review.”  The North British Review has no such wording in it as he quoted.  What he wrote is verbatim from the North American Review, October, 1862, p. 529.  In fact the part he wrote that is outside the quotation marks is also verbatim in the North American Review, so Adams plagiarized part of the quote.  Now we can add “plagiarist” to Adams’ résumé.

We’ll probably never know who that alleged unnamed “colonel” is, but we do know what happened.  Emancipation went forward and three-quarters of the army did not lay down their arms.

Adams continues, “This Northern  hostility to emancipation explains Lincoln’s rebuke of General Fremont in August 1861, when Fremont emancipated the slaves in his theater of operations, Missouri.  Fremont also ordered any civilian found in arms to be tried by a  military tribunal and then shot.  Lincoln had to cancel both orders and return the slaves to their masters.  Fremont immediately went to Washington and sent his wife to the White House late one evening to demand an immediate audience with the president.  Lincoln expressed to her his disapproval of Fremont’s attempted emancipation order:  ‘It was a war for a great national idea–the Union, and General Fremont should not have dragged the Negro into it.’  Lincoln had enough problems with stirring up Negrophobia in the North, which Fremont’s order would have stimulated.  Fremont was relieved of his command.”  [pp. 134-135]

Once again, Adams botches things.  He cites David H. Donald’s Lincoln as his source.  His source shows that Frémont himself didn’t go to Washington, but just his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont, went.  His own source also shows that it wasn’t Northerners Lincoln was worried about regarding the emancipation portion.  “The President viewed Frémont’s order to liberate slaves of traitorous owners as even more dangerous.  Such action, he reminded the general, ‘Will alarm our Southern Union friends, and turn them against us–perhaps ruin our fair prospect for Kentucky.’ ”  [David H. Donald, Lincoln, p. 315]  So it wasn’t “Northern hostility to emancipation” but rather “our Southern Union friends” who led to Lincoln’s asking Frémont to modify his order, and then ordering him to do so when Frémont refused to do so on his own.  This wasn’t two separate orders, but rather both were contained in the same proclamation.  Also, this incident wasn’t the cause of Frémont’s removal, as the source Adams claims to have used tells us.  I touch on that here.

Adams claims, “The American ambassador to France wrote home to Secretary of State Seward, explaining the negative impact of Lincoln’s firing of Fremont and of the canceling of his emancipation order.  No doubt this found its way to the president’s ear, and he then realized that notwithstanding Northern apathy and opposition, emancipation as an objective of the war would do much to enhance the Northern cause abroad and undermine the cause of the South.”  [p. 135]  Again, Frémont’s firing had nothing to do with his order.  Adams has no source cited for his claim.  As Allen Guelzo points out in his excellent book, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation:  The End of Slavery in America, the proclamation had just as much chance of provoking an intervention by Britain and France as it did to prevent an intervention.

Adams continues to demonstrate his lack of credibility.  He writes, “When asked if it was all right to have Abolitionists in the Republican party, he replied in the affirmative, ‘as long as I am not painted with the Abolitionist brush.’ ” [P. 135]

Lincoln didn’t have a say in who could or couldn’t be a member of the Republican party.  Lincoln also never said, “as long as I am not painted with the Abolitionist brush.”  Adams identifies as his source Robert W. Johannsen’s Lincoln, the South, and Slavery as his source.  Johannsen writes, “Although the results of the Decatur meeting were not exactly what the abolitionists had in mind when they tried to persuade Lincoln to join their movement, they needed the organization and strength which Lincoln and his Whig friends could bring to the party and acquiesced in its new and more conservative tone.  There were, to be sure, misgivings among some who were especially disturbed by Lincoln’s refusal to demand the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, to support the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and to oppose the admission of new slave states.  Nonetheless, political realities overcame their doubts.  Eastman, speaking for the radical leadership, observed that ‘there was no longer any opposition to Mr. Lincoln from the most radical of the abolitionists.’ for they now ‘understood him’ and ‘knew that he was wholly with them.’

“Lincoln would not have agreed that he was ‘wholly with them,’ but he too was adjusting to political realities.  Some of his Whig friends balked at an association with abolitionists and were bothered by the sectional nature of the Republican party.  To allay their suspicions (as well as his own), Lincoln felt that the party must be molded in the Whig image.  ‘Our party,’ he remarked, ‘is fresh from Kentucky and must not be forced to radical measures,’ by which he mean that the spirit of Henry Clay must be its moving force.  ‘Nine tenths of the Anti-Nebraska votes have to come from old Whigs,’ he reminded Lyman Trumbull.  ‘In setting stakes is it safe to disregard them?’  The abolitionists and the anti-Nebraska Democrats, he was convinced, ‘will go with us anyway.’  Within two years, he was telling Illinoisans that ‘there was no difference’ between the principles of the Whig party ‘as expounded by its great leader, Henry Clay,’ and those of the Republican party.  To those who continued to complain that they were in the company of men ‘who have long been known as abolitionists,’ Lincoln replied with one of his basic political rules of thumb:  ‘What care we how many may feel disposed to labor for our cause?’  He would accept support from wherever he could get it, so long as he himself was not tarred with the abolitionist brush.”  [Robert W. Johannsen, Lincoln, the South, and Slavery:  The Political Dimension, pp. 54-55]  The “abolitionist brush” phrase was Johannsen’s, not Lincoln.  Adams’ incompetence as a “scholar” strikes again.

Adams then tries to plumb new depths of despicability.  He goes on a tirade against abolitionists, blaming them for “destroying any chance of Southern support for emancipation,” [p. 136] and saying “The leaders of the Abolition Society were fanatics of the worst sort who advocated getting rid of slavery by slaughtering every person in the South.  John Brown was typical.”  [p. 136]  Brown was probably the most atypical of abolitionists.  See David S. Reynolds, John Brown, Abolitionist:  The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights to see just how atypical Brown was.  Needless to say, nobody, not even John Brown, wanted to “slaughter every person in the South.”  That’s simply Adams lying again.

Adams says, “Once the Civil War took up the cause of emancipation, Brown became a martyr and the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ acquired new verses:  ‘John Brown’s body lies a-mouldring in his grave, But his soul is marching on.’ ”  [p. 136]

Once again, Adams the self-proclaimed “historian” doesn’t know his history.  “John Brown’s Body” came first.  Julia Ward Howe gave it new lyrics, and that birthed “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Adams further shows his historical illiteracy when he claims, “The abolition movement took form in 1833, when the British were abolishing slavery throughout the British empire.”  [p. 137]  As we’ve seen, the abolition movement began much earlier than that.  As to the British, Adams has obviously never heard of William Wilberforce.  He’s also never heard of Anthony Benezet and a host of other pre-1833 abolitionists.

The rest of this chapter is really more of the same, with Adams showing his disapproval of the Emancipation Proclamation and abolitionists.

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