Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dreamworks "Lincoln" and US Civil War Monetary Policy


Video of a Trailer from the recently released movie "Lincoln" which is now in US theaters.  I have not seen this Steven Spielberg movie yet (plan to sometime), and it looks pretty good, let's face it, Spielberg makes a pretty good flick...




I'm going to assume that this movie does not cover any details related to the US monetary policy during the period depicted.  Probably thought "too dry" for most by Spielberg, but of course not for readers of MNE here!

Some time back I was looking into what I could find from some Lincoln archives sites and have come across some interesting correspondence which we can read today and take a look into the past.

Not as vivid as a motion picture of course but here are two pieces of correspondence that reveal the thoughts of both Salmon Chase, who was a Treasury Secretary in the Lincoln Administration, and President Lincoln himself, on the topic of US monetary policy.

I'll post them in their entirety (neither are long).

Here is the first one by Chase in 1863:
Salmon P. Chase, Draft of Address to Congress  1, January 1863
The condition of the Finances will claim your most diligent consideration.
The vast expenditures incident to the military and naval operations required for the suppression of the rebellion have hitherto been met with a promptitude and certainty unusual in similar circumstances, and the public credit has been fully maintained.
The continuance of the war, however, and the increased disbursements made necessary by the augmented forces now in the field demand your best reflections on the best modes of providing the necessary revenue without injury to business & with the least possible burdens upon labor.
The suspension of specie payments by the Banks soon after the commencement of your last session made larger issues of United States notes unavoidable. In no other way could the payment of the troops and the satisfaction of other just demands be so economically or so well provided for..
The judicious legislation of Congress securing the receivability of these notes for loans & Internal duties & making them a legal tender for other debts has made them an universal currency; and and has satisfied, partially at least and for the time, the long felt want of a uniform circulating medium, saving thereby to the people immense sums in discounts and exchanges. 
A return to specie payments, however, at the earliest period compatible with due regard to all interests concerned, should always ever be kept in view.
Fluctuations in the value of currency are always injurious and to reduce these fluctuations to the lowest possible point will always be a leading purpose in wise legislation. Convertibility -- prompt & certain convertibility into coin is generally acknowledged to be the best & surest safeguard against them; and it is extremely doubtful whether a circulation of United States notes payable in coin and sufficiently large for the wants of the people can be permanently, usefully & safely maintained.
Is there then any other mode in which the necessary provision for the public wants can be made & the great advantages of a safe & uniform currency secured?
I know of none, which promises so certain results and is at the same time so unobjectionable as the organization of Banking Associations under a general act of Congress, well guarded in its provisions. To such Associations the Government might furnish circulating notes on the security of United States Bonds deposited in the Treasury. These notes prepared under the supervision of proper officers, being uniform in appearance and security & convertible always in to coin, would at once protect labor against the evils of a vicious currency and facilitate commerce by cheap and safe exchanges.
A moderate reservation from the interest on the bonds would compensate the United States for the preparation & distribution of the notes and a general supervision of the system, & would lighten the burden of that part of the Public Debt employed as securities. The Public Credit, moreover, would be greatly improved and the negotiation of new loans greatly facilitated by the steady market demand for Government Bonds which the adoption of the proposed system would create.
It is an additional recommendation of the measure, of considerable weight in my judgment, that it would reconcile as far as possible all existing interests by the opportunities offered to existing institutions to reorganize under the act, substituting only the secured uniform national circulation for the local & various circulation, secured & unsecured, now issued by them.
The Receipts into the Treasury, from all sources, including loans, & balance from last the preceding year, for the fiscal year ending on the 30th June 1862 was $583.885.247.06: of which sum $49,056,397.62 were derived from customs; 1.795.331.73 from the Direct Tax; from Public Lands 152.203.77; from Miscellaneous sources $931.787.64; & a from Loans in all forms $529.692.460,50. and The remainder, $2.257.065,80, was the balance in the from last year. The Disbursements during the same period were for Legislative Congressional, Executive, & Judicial expenses purposes, $5.939.009.29; for Foreign Intercourse $1.339.710,35; for Misallaneous Expences, including the Mints, Loans, Post office deficiencies, collection of revenue and other like charge $14,129,771.50; for expences under the Interior Department, $3.102.985.52; under the War Department, $394,368,407,36; under the Navy Department, $42.674.569,69; for Interest on public debt, $13.190,324,45; and for payment of public debt, including reimbursement of Temporary Loan & Redemptions $96.096,922,09; making an aggregate of $570.841,700,25; & leaving a balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July 1862, of $13.043,546,81.
It should be observed that the sum of $96.096,922.09 expended for Reimbursement & Redemption of Public Debt being included also in the Loans made may be properly deducted both from Receipts & Expenditures, leaving the actual Receipts for the year $487,788,324,97; and the Expenditures $474,744,778,16. Other information on the subject of the Finances will be found in the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury; to whose Statements & views I invite your most candid and considerate attention 
There is this note at the end which identifies the context of Chase's letter:
 [Note 1 The following document was prepared by Chase for Lincoln to deliver to Congress in January 1863 when he signed a joint resolution that provided for the immediate payment of the military forces. Lincoln took the opportunity to urge Congress to consider Chase's plan for a national banking system that would supply a uniform currency. For the final text of Lincoln's message, see Collected Works, VI, 60-61.]
Then here is the referenced message from President Lincoln to Congress in follow up to Chase's above letter to Congress (again in entirety):
January 17, 1863 To the Senate and House of Representatives:
I have signed the Joint Resolution to provide for the immediate payment of the army and navy of the United States, passed by the House of Representatives on the 14th, and by the Senate on the 15th instant.
The Joint Resolution is a simple authority, amounting however, under existing circumstances, to a direction to the Secretary of the Treasury to make an additional issue of one hundred millions of dollars in United States notes if so much money is needed for the payment of the army and navy.
My approval is given in order that every possible facility may be afforded for the prompt discharge of all arrears of pay due to our soldiers and our sailors.
While giving this approval, however, I think it my duty to express my sincere regret that it has been found necessary to authorize  so large an additional issue of United States notes, when this circulation, and that of the suspended banks together have become already so redundant as to increase prices beyond real values, thereby augmenting the cost of living to the injury of labor, and the cost of supplies to the injury of the whole country.
It seems very plain that continued issues of United States notes, without any check to the issues of suspended banks, and without adequate provision for the raising of money by loans, and for founding the issues so as to keep them within due limits, must soon produce disastrous consequences.  And this matter appears to me so important that I feel bound to avail myself of this occasion to ask the special attention of Congress to it.
That Congress has power to regulate the currency of the country, can hardly admit of doubt; and that a judicious measure to prevent the deterioration of this currency, by a reasonable taxation of bank circulation or otherwise is needed, seems equally clear. Independently of this general consideration, it would be unjust to the people at large, to exempt banks, enjoying the special privilege of circulation, from their just proportion of the public burdens.
In order to raise money by way of loans most easily and cheaply, it is clearly necessary to give every possible support to the public credit. To that end, a uniform currency, in which taxes, subscriptions to loans, and all other ordinary public dues, as well as all private dues may be paid, is almost, if not quite indispensable. Such a currency can be furnished by banking associations, organized under a general act of Congress, as suggested in my message at the beginning of the present session. The securing of this circulation, by the pledge of United States bonds, as therein suggested, would still further facilitate loans, by increasing the present and causing a future demand for such bonds.
In view of the actual financial embarrassments of the government, and of the greater embarrassments sure to come, if the necessary means of relief be not afforded, I feel that I should not perform my duty by a simple announcement of my approval of the Joint Resolution which proposes relief only by increasing circulation, without expressing my earnest desire that measures, such in substances as those I have just referred to, may receive the early sanction of Congress.
By such measures, in my opinion, will payment be most certainly secured, not only to the army and navy, but to all honest creditors of the government, and satisfactory provision made for future demands on the treasury.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN January 17. 1863.
Looks like in 1863, both President Lincoln and his Treasury Secretary Chase at best reluctantly issued US Notes to pay for US Government war provision.

Chase felt obligation to return the US to a "specie" or what I interpret as a metallic standard as soon as possible and Chase also exhibits overt supportive language for banking institutions.  Chase doesn't mention taxes and includes language stressing the interest that would be paid on future US bonds.

Lincoln though, does not make statements as overtly accommodating of the banks, and also does not specifically mention a return to "specie"; but rather is imploring Congress to legislate for a national currency system furnished by an association of banking institutions organized and authorized under federal law.  Lincoln mentions taxes in association with such a new currency system, and does not mention interest on US bonds at all.

Although they both can be seen here as strongly advocating for federal legislation from Congress, I detect some disagreement between Lincoln and his Treasury Secretary on the details of any future lawfully authorized US monetary arrangements.

Could there be a future movie in this?

58 comments:

beowulf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

I know of none, which promises so certain results and is at the same time so unobjectionable as the organization of Banking Associations under a general act of Congress, well guarded in its provisions. To such Associations the Government might furnish circulating notes on the security of United States Bonds deposited in the Treasury. These notes prepared under the supervision of proper officers, being uniform in appearance and security & convertible always in to coin, would at once protect labor against the evils of a vicious currency and facilitate commerce by cheap and safe exchanges.

Sounds like a scam to me. Why would a bank bond be better than a buck? Who was Chase really serving? Was he on "the team of rivals," or in the den of thieves?

Matt Franko said...

David,

It looks like they both were against "the buck" to me... at least here in '63...

But I can "read between the lines" and yes agree that Chase perhaps looks more Wall St oriented than Lincoln...

Lincoln seems to focus more on a federally authorized system of borrow/spend/tax with convertibility still implied...

One thing I think of with Chase here and before him Hamilton was that only "Wall St" possessed the giant ledger systems to be able to run a monetary system, NOT the government... unlike today where the govt has the largest computer systems on their side....

ie if you were going to run a monetary system for a country as large as the US was back then, you needed a BIG information system, this took the form of the big system of ledgers in the counting houses.

Who had these big ledger systems? The government? No.

The banks and merchant houses had them ... in NYC. There was no where else to go. So it HAD to be delegated to Wall St...

Of course not the same today...

And I would add that neither are morons as they both exhibit true knowledge of the operational aspects of the convertible systems they each were describing/proposing...

Lincoln here: "To that end, a uniform currency, in which taxes, subscriptions to loans, and all other ordinary public dues, as well as all private dues may be paid, is almost, if not quite indispensable. Such a currency can be furnished by banking associations,"

Lincoln knew that "to do a drain you first have to do an add" ... not like these morons that have been foisted upon us today...

rsp,

y said...

The Neoconfederates down at the von Mises Institute Alabama won't much care for this film.

Matt Franko said...

y,

I hope our Bob didnt have a stroke at the climactic part in the trailer where Lewis as Lincoln yells "I am the POTUS and clothed in tremendous power!..."

;)

Dan Kervick said...

I might be missing the background of Chase's proposal. But it seems to me that what he wants to do is to return the government to a system of specie payments as soon as possible, and he is proposing is that the ordinary circulating currency the banks will be permitted to issue can only be obtained from the government in exchange for government bonds. So the banks will need to obtain those bonds, and the only way they will be able to obtain them is by making specie payments to the government. He seems to think that putting the government back on a specie system is necessary for both price stability and he preservation of US credit abroad.

What Lincoln seems to be arguing is that Congress can maintain price stability by taxing the circulating money. He is concerned that the large issues of notes needed to pay the soldiers will continue to cause a rise in prices to the detriment of labor.

Matt Franko said...

Right Dan better summary than I could ever come up with... and both specifically mention concerns for "labor"... (what happened to the GOP?)

Also your point wrt Chase and his concern for the external sector is born out if you go the the site at the first link to Chase's letter and search on "chase" Ive seen often he expresses concern for US credit abroad esp w/ Great Briton...

rsp,

Bob Roddis said...

There are no "neo-Confederates" at the Mises Institute you lying bastards.

"Armies of scholars, meticulously investigating every aspect of [Lincoln’s] life, have failed to find a single act of racial bigotry on his part."

~ Doris Kearns-Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, p. 207.

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people . . . . I as much as any man am in favor of the superior position assigned to the white race."

~ Abraham Lincoln, First Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Ottawa, Illinois, Sept. 18, 1858, in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln vol.3, pp. 145-146.

Lincoln played a much larger role in getting this first Thirteenth Amendment through Congress than merely endorsing it in his first inaugural address and in his letter to the governors. Even Doris Kearns-Goodwin knows this! On page 296 of Team of Rivals she explained how it was Lincoln who, after being elected but before the inauguration, instructed New York Senator William Seward, who would become his secretary of state, to get the amendment through the U.S. Senate. He also instructed Seward to get a federal law passed that would repeal the personal liberty laws in some of the Northern states that were used by those states to nullify the federal Fugitive Slave Act, which Lincoln strongly supported. (The Fugitive Slave Act forced Northerners to hunt down runaway slaves and return them to their owners).

As Goodwin writes: "He [Lincoln] instructed Seward to introduce these proposals in the Senate Committee of Thirteen without indicating they issued from Springfield [Illinois]. The first resolved that ‘the Constitution should never be altered so as to authorize Congress to abolish or interfere with slavery in the states.’" The second proposal was that "All state personal liberty laws in opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law be repealed."

So, go and see Spielberg’s Lincoln movie if you must, but keep in mind that it is just another left-wing Hollywood fantasy.


http://lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo245.html

As one would expect, the virulent racism and genocide of Big Business Whore Lincoln is co-extensive with funny money dilution.

Matt Franko said...

Glad to see you survived the Trailer Bob-o ;)

One thing that looks true is that Lincoln new what authority was and where it came from.... rsp,

Bob Roddis said...

One thing that looks true is that Lincoln new what authority was and where it came from.

Oh yes. Lincoln has been a source of inspiration for genocidal racist tyrants for a century and a half. It's fascinating that his morals coincide with MMT.

LC Septeus7 said...

Neoconfederate Dilorenzo:

"He also instructed Seward to get a federal law passed that would repeal the personal liberty laws in some of the Northern states that were used by those states to nullify the federal Fugitive Slave Act, which Lincoln strongly supported. (The Fugitive Slave Act forced Northerners to hunt down runaway slaves and return them to their owners)."

Typical of the Neoconfederate Dilorenzo. Lincoln was not a "strong supporter of the Fugitive Slave Act" but a reluctant one who didn't want to give credence to the radical abolitionist who where calling for the destruction of the Union and denouncing the Constitution. Anyone who knows anything about Lincoln knows that the preserving the Union was in his view the only way to end slavery and he was correct in that assessment.

Neoconfederate Racist Traitors like racist Bob Roddis hate Lincoln because his defense of the Nation against foreign imperial domination via the "Free Trade" and from attacks by proxy states and terrorists against in the Union in the form successionism.

The strong Federalism of the Union provided the only defense against the formation of a world British Empire with absolute control seeing as the United States was the only truly independent power after the Crimean War and it alone could stand against the international system of Free Trade which demands slavery at it's core to operate.

Bob Roddis is pro-world government just like his buddy Ron Paul as strong it's a "gold standard controlled" by Rothchild and Barring Banks just like it was during the 19th century. All the so-called economist he cites studied at the "London School" and that is why he so obsessed trying to destroy public currency in favor of "sound currency" which was a favorite of the Confederate and Bankster propaganda against the Union.

I'm betting that Bob Roddis will soon start citing Aaron Burr as an authority to use against the evil's of fiat money as soon as he find it just like many Ron Paul supporters have...

He doesn't believe in state's rights but rather wants the states so weak and conflicted that they can be dominated and controlled by foreign banking interests. He has no principled stand against federalism he only opposes interest of the state acting to protect on the basis of principle rather than property.

Libertarianism is the heart and soul of world Imperialism and slavery for the reason that it cannot abide the idea that Nation by it own authority declare certain actions of international markets and forces that controlled those market will not be allowed to imposed their will on the Nation. By standing on the principle of National Independence Lincoln alone defeated the institutions of world slavery because the only principle that could ever defeat slavery that of the sovereign nation claiming it's rightful authority against the privileged claims of property rights and for human liberty.

beowulf said...

In one of the more bizarre Supreme Court decisions, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase ruled that a former Secretary of the Treasury, one Salmon P. Chase, had violated the Constitution by issuing US Notes (the Court soon after overruled this precedent but come on, this should have been an automatic recusal).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_Tender_Cases

Matt Franko said...

Septeus,

Grand slam!

Sept,

One thing I was trying to figure out: Was the US then at that time the last true "Republic" on earth?

wrt the Greek ideal of a "Republic"?

This was like "The Last Stand of the Republic" on the face of the earth?

Were the rest forms of Monarchies? What about France?

rsp,

y said...

"Thomas James DiLorenzo (born August 8, 1954) is an American economics professor at Loyola University Maryland. He identifies himself as an adherent of the Austrian School of economics. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and an associated scholar of the Abbeville Institute...

He was formerly an affiliated lecturer of the League of the South Institute, the research arm of the pro-secession League of the South, widely considered to be a white supremicist hate group. When challenged on this association, DiLorenzo has denied any lasting affiliation, noting that he only gave a few lectures there shortly after its founding.

The Southern Poverty Law Center considers DiLorenzo one of the most important intellectuals "who form the core of the modern neo-Confederate movement." They believe DiLorenzo's depiction of president Abraham Lincoln paints Lincoln as a "paragon of wickedness, a man secretly intent on destroying states' rights and building a massive federal government."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_DiLorenzo

"The League of the South describes itself as a Southern nationalist organization, which states that its ultimate goal is "a free and independent Southern republic." The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy... It advocates a "natural societal order of superiors and subordinates".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_the_South

"the Abbeville Institute (is) named after the South Carolina birthplace of John C. Calhoun, seventh vice president of the United States and a forceful advocate of slavery and states' rights."

Abbeville Institute founder Donald Livingstone was previously a member of the League of the South.

http://chronicle.com/article/Secretive-Scholars-of-the-Old/49337

"the Abbeville Institute... focuses particularly on issues of secession which are kept out of mainstream academia"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Livingston

Funny, Bob says "there are no neo-Confederates at the Mises Institute", and then proceeds to give us a quote by a Mises Institute neo-Confederate.

Matt Franko said...

"The League of the South "

????

Sounds like something out of a Batman movie ("The League of Shadows..." LOL!)

I cant believe some of this stuff these people do or make up!

y and Septeus: Way to keep them honest!

rsp,



Bob Roddis said...

I fail to see any counter evidence to what DiLorenzo said about Lincoln. So natural the ad hominems must fly. When you lying bastards lie, it means you've lied because I've won the argument.

So now we have Matt Franko, who apparently works for Mike Norman, explictly joining in and affirming the outrageously defamatory and false assertions of "y" that I am a white supremicist, a racist and homophobe.

Detroit Dan said...

Lincoln has been a source of inspiration for genocidal racist tyrants for a century and a half. It's fascinating that his morals coincide with MMT. Bob Roddis

As a fervent MMTer, I'm proud to be on Lincoln's side. He was a reluctant warrior, but ultimately did the right thing and ended slavery in the U.S. Over 4 million slaves were freed.

He was selflessly devoted to his country, and died a martyr for freedom...

y said...

I've never said you're a racist, white supremacist or homophobe.

Rothbard praised "racialist science", in your utopia homophobia is perfectly acceptable and DiLorenzo is a neo-Confederate with links to racist organisations, despite your assertion that "there are no neo-Confederates at the Mises Institute".

y said...

Murray Rothbard:

"individuals, ethnic groups, and races differ among themselves in intelligence and in many other traits, and... intelligence, as well as less controversial traits of temperament, are in large part hereditary.

"If and when we as populists and libertarians abolish the welfare state in all of its aspects, and property rights and the free market shall be triumphant once more, many individuals and groups will predictably not like the end result. In that case, those ethnic and other groups who might be concentrated in lower-income or less prestigious occupations, guided by their socialistic mentors, will predictably raise the cry that free-market capitalism is evil and "discriminatory" and that therefore collectivism is needed to redress the balance. In that case, the intelligence argument will become useful to defend the market economy and the free society from ignorant or self-serving attacks. In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors."

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch75.html

Bob Roddis:

"Rothbardville is my name for private neighborhoods where like minded people could live together. Liberals with liberals. Conservatives with conservatives. Liberals with conservatives. Whatever. Ban dopers. Ban immoral people. Require immoral people. Ban guns. Require guns. Ban gays. Require gays. Who cares?"

http://bobroddis.blogspot.co.uk/

...ban black people, require black people... Who cares?



John Zelnicker said...

Matt -- The League of the South is not a joke. They are very serious about creating their "Southern Republic". Unfortunately, there remain many people in the South who are still fighting the Civil War (still known as "The Recent Troubles" in some quarters). The Ku Klux Klan may have been mostly put out of business, but a lot of them just put on suits instead of hoods.

Matt Franko said...

I almost cant believe this John... (almost) rsp,

Bob Roddis said...

Thanks to y's critique, I've slightly changed my profile to make my position clearer:

Rothbardville is my name for private neighborhoods where like minded people could live together. Liberals with liberals. Conservatives with conservatives. Liberals with conservatives. Whatever. Ban dopers. Ban immoral people. Require immoral people. Ban guns. Require guns. Ban gays. Require gays. Who cares? The point that is always missed and misunderstood on this topic is that there are plenty of effective sanctions other than the initiation of violence. Bigots could be easily dealt with through ostracism and they would be easily identifiable by their refusals to deal. These arrangements would mean the end of the drug war, public schools and the culture war. If you do not want to associate with someone, then don't. These lifestyle issues are simply not POLITICAL questions and can be resolved voluntarily. POLITICS should be concerned solely with the important issues of crime and the violations of individual rights by the state and non-state criminals. Further, and perhaps most important, these voluntary associations would be safe not only from criminals but from political demagogues who always whip up hate and political persecution against the powerless.

And since "racialist science" is bogus, there is no reason to think that any particular group or ethnicity requires any special government favors, right?

Jose Guilherme said...

Matt,

Were the rest forms of Monarchies? What about France?

France at that time was an Empire under Napoleon III.

And it's interesting that Marx, an opponent of Napoleon, congratulating Lincoln on his re-election in 1864 wrote this:

...it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world

So it seems like Marx would agree with classifying America as the world's last true Republic - back in 1860s.

Bob Roddis said...

Lincoln managed to slaughter between 620,000 and 750,000 souls all so that his employers, the northern business elite, could collect their tariffs from the south. No wonder Marx liked Lincoln, a mass-murdering thug.

Jose Guilherme said...

No wonder Marx liked Lincoln, a mass-murdering thug

This is a total non sequitur.

Marx never killed anyone, so there is no reason he should like "mass murdering thugs".

It's simply confusing people with state power - including the power to make war and, yes, kill - with pure intellectuals such as Marx.

Tom Hickey said...

Marx & Engles: Letters on America

Entries from 1846 until 1893. Marx passed away in March, 1883.

beowulf said...

"They believe DiLorenzo's depiction of president Abraham Lincoln paints Lincoln as a "paragon of wickedness..."

The question turns if you think human beings should ever be property that can be bought and sold to the highest bidder.
If you do, then Lincoln was the greatest destroyer of property rights in history. If you do not, then Lincoln is, well, the Great Emancipator.

That there are people who actually go with the former is kind of sad. As you'll recall, in one of Lincoln's standup comedy bits, he talked about how hard it is being polite to slave owners (""The only thing I'm really tired of is arguing with slave owners about slavery as if they're not just f----g a--holes....You gotta act like you're kinda cool with it. If I could own a couple dudes, I'd love to own a couple dudes.") :o)
http://www.businessinsider.com/louis-ck-played-abraham-lincoln-as-a-standup-comic-during-this-weekends-snl-2012-11

Bob Roddis said...

Of course human beings cannot ever be considered the "property" of others. The problem with Lincoln that is constantly suppressed is that he was never really that concerned with ending slavery except for appearances sake. In fact, Lincoln was still pursuing his goal of deporting all of the freed slaves up to the time of his death.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8319858/Abraham-Lincoln-wanted-to-deport-slaves-to-new-colonies.html

Did anyone actually read the DiLorenzo article? Did anyone ever read Lincoln's first inaugural address about the Corwin amendment? Doesn't anyone know that after slaughtering the south that the "Union" army immediate set forth to slaughter the plains Indians?

Anyone who challenges the Lincoln myth is never refuted in a scholarly manner but is instead subject to the typical "racist racist racist" bullshit.

Bob Roddis said...

Hundreds of thousands of slaves freed during the American civil war died from disease and hunger after being liberated,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/16/slavery-starvation-civil-war

Jose Guilherme said...

I think it was Chomsky who once called the attention to a powerful argument made by southern slave owners against northern industrialists.

Warning: it's more difficult to rebutt than it seems at first sight. I wonder what Bob will have to say about it.

It went more or less like this: the slaves are our property so we have an incentive to treat them well; you northerners just rent labor power so you treat workers like s***

Comments welcome.

Tom Hickey said...

The argument is correct but irrelevant, because it doesn't matter how the lord treats the slave, its still slavery as a social and economic institution.Since the advent of surplus economies, humankind has been dependent on slavery of one sort or another and still is.

Marx drew a distinction between chattel slavery and wage slavery, and said that historically they amount to pretty much the same thing as far as freedom and bondage go. Chattel slaves are controlled by slave lords, serfs and tenants by land lords, and wage "earners" by owners of capital. The slave lords and land (feudal) land lords are types of aristocracy, and the owners of capital are the haute bourgeoisie. It is only the owners that are free, the rest are bound.

Neoliberalism tacitly admits this given the economic notion that workers trade-off work and leisure based on the wage. Work is bondage, in that one is selling oneself into bondage to the "boss" under the conditions of employment. Leisure is freedom to do as one please with one's time.

Moreover, debt is a bonds that binds a person to work for income to service the debt. Modern capitalistic society is organized to maximize worker debt in order to create wage-slaves. Most workers never become completely free of debt.

Tom Hickey said...

And speaking of lords, I should have mention the slum lords as well. They figure into the picture, too.

Jose Guilherme said...

And I suppose it follows that capitalism is not a moral improvement upon feudalism - and that Lincoln was a simply an effective politcal and war leader who promoted the change from one form of bondage into another.

Bob Roddis said...

As I repeat ad nauseam, laissez faire is not the same thing as crony capitalism and it is not the same thing as a "regulated" market. Progressives purposefully confuse all three distinct concepts because otherwise they would lose the argument.

It appears to be a law of nature that business people ALWAYS seek special favors from the government while at the same time managing to escape being called welfare queens. I don't make that mistake. Business people only like "laissez faire" when it is to their advantage to do so and they are shameless about seeking special favors. The civil war was a "special favor" of the government for the northern business elite who insisted upon collecting tariffs from the southern states. READ LINCOLN'S FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS: "I'll make slavery permanent but don't even think about not paying your tariffs". Later, the Federal Reserve was a government "special favor" to the banking elite.

Slavery is and was an abomination. I assume that northern workers could leave their jobs at any time and that their children and spouses were not being sold off so that might never see them again so I fail to see how their lot was worse than the slaves.

Tom Hickey said...

As a person familiar with the anthropology and sociology and sociology of his time, Marx recognized that social change is gradual, other than at turning point, which he traced to changes in production. Marx was also aware of Darwin and although there is no evidence of direct influence, Marx saw the theory of evolution as a confirmation in the natural science of his theory of social science.

Marx, trained in philosophy, held that the social problem of knowledge was generally traceable to the notion of eternal ideas that provided an invariant structure governing change. He rejected that view as unscientific and contradicted by historical development.

In is erroneously believed that Marx was "anti-capitalist" in the sense of capitalism being a "bad" system and communism being a "good" system. This is not quite the way Marx saw it. He viewed capitalism as progress over feudalism, and saw communism as the next step of historical development, as the consciousness of workers was expanded due to changing environmental conditions.

I have no doubt that Marx was correctly in this fundamental insight although whether development will take the course as he though remains to be seen. There are many possibilities. But history does have a liberal bias and the trend is toward the gradual development of greater freedom for humanity as a species. We still have a long way to go in this regard, and the historical course is uncertain. Moreover, progress is not always linear and it occurs differently in different parts of the world. With the digital age and globalism it is bound to take a course that we cannot foresee from where we stand due to complexity and emergence, as Marx certainly could not from where he stood. But he had the outline of it right quite early on.

Tom Hickey said...

I fail to see how their lot was worse than the slaves.

Of course, wage slaves are usually (but not always) better off materially than chattel slaves. However, they are worse off in that they are persuaded to choose their own slavery. This begins with the institutionalized educational process and it is embedded into cultural rituals and institutional arrangements so deeply that most never even notice it. Usually owners are smart enough to keep conditions acceptable, but a times, like now, they overreach and workers begin to wake up to their condition.

y said...

"since "racialist science" is bogus, there is no reason to think that any particular group or ethnicity requires any special government favors, right?"

Depends. Can you specify what you are referring to exactly?

y said...

"Of course human beings cannot ever be considered the "property" of others."

Walter Block ("austrian", "libertarian") apparently disagrees with you on that.

y said...
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Jose Guilherme said...

In antiquity, slaves were often teachers, preceptors,etc of rich families. The lot of those slaves was probably better than that of say, poor Romans from the plebs.

So it is definitely the case that throughout human history there were many instances where some free people lived worse than slaves.

But of course one could argue that freedom is priceless. That it's better to be poor yet free, rather than rich and in bondage.

And maybe this could apply to many among today's rich. Often, CEOs are totally enslaved to money, never having the time to lead normal lives. It's their wives and children who end up capturing the benefits from their efforts in terms of conspicuous consumption and leisure.

In a sense, the old gentlemanly aristocracy of inherited wealth were the ones who came closer to living up to the full potential of humanity so cherished by Marx- in terms of leisure time and cultured interests. Today's hyperactive, angst-ridden, ill-mannered CEO class does not even come close.

The utopian ideal of a just and fulfilled society should perhaps take the old leisured aristocracy as the example - to be extended to all the classes of society, of course.

A great essay on this topic is Russell's "In Praise of Idleness". It's simply a shame that contemporary society refuses to provide everybody with a 4 hour workday at meaningful pay. The productive capacity is there - but our social organization and values have led us astray, towards a stressful life where some people work too much whereas others are condemned to a life of un or underemployment.

y said...

Frederick Douglass

"At the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park, Douglass was the keynote speaker. In his speech, Douglass spoke frankly about Lincoln, noting what he perceived as both the positive and negative attributes of the late President. He called Lincoln "the white man's president" and cited his tardiness in joining the cause of emancipation. He noted that Lincoln initially opposed the expansion of slavery but did not support its elimination. But Douglass also asked, "Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word?" At this speech he also said: "Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the Negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery...."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass#Lincoln.27s_death

y said...

"Lincoln was still pursuing his goal of deporting all of the freed slaves up to the time of his death." (Bob)

"After seeing over 200,000 African-Americans volunteer and fight alongside Union forces, Lincoln dropped his support for plans to colonize freed slaves to Africa after the Civil War. In an 1863 speech, Lincoln stated, "there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation, while, I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart, and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it."

On April 11, 1865 Lincoln delivered an address in which he became the first president to advocate extending voting rights to African-Americans who fought for the Union when he stated, "It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers."

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa082800b.htm

y said...

"racist racist racist" (Bob)

Well, Rothbard and Lew Rockwell both published racist views.

DiLorenzo, Rockwell and Woods all have links to the racist "League of the South", and have expressed sympathy and nostalgia for the Confederate, or neo-Confederate "cause".

This isn't back in the 19th century. It's today (or in the recent past).

Bob Roddis said...

y:

Define "racist".

Then, based upon your definition, explain why it matters so much if a particular person is a "racist".

y said...

"history does have a liberal bias and the trend is toward the gradual development of greater freedom for humanity as a species"

Are you implying or are you not implying that 'communism' would be a step towards greater freedom for humanity? Difficult to know what your position is.

Tom Hickey said...

In antiquity, slaves were often teachers, preceptors,etc of rich families. The lot of those slaves was probably better than that of say, poor Romans from the plebs.

Yes, the upperclass Romans had upperclass Greek slaves as teachers preceptors and administrators.

In a sense, the old gentlemanly aristocracy of inherited wealth were the ones who came closer to living up to the full potential of humanity so cherished by Marx- in terms of leisure time and cultured interests.

Yes, this was the basis of Athenian "democracy."

Tom Hickey said...

"Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the Negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery...."

Marx, too, like most whites of the time.

y said...
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y said...

"The utopian ideal of a just and fulfilled society should perhaps take the old leisured aristocracy as the example - to be extended to all the classes of society, of course."

Maybe that's why we hear a lot about the coming age of the robot slaves here...?

I'm guessing Marx never conceived of "robot slaves"?

y said...

"explain why it matters so much if a particular person is a "racist".

Is it a problem if Mr A is sexist? Possibly not, so long as he keeps it to himself and doesn't impose his views on others. Is it a problem if Mr A is the CEO of a major corporation, or a politician for example? I would have thought so. Is it a problem if Mr A's kids are brought up to be sexists? I think so. Is it a problem if Mr A's community is filled with sexists like Mr A? I'll hazard a guess and say yes.

Tom Hickey said...

Are you implying or are you not implying that 'communism' would be a step towards greater freedom for humanity? Difficult to know what your position is.

As Marx conceived of it, communism would be universal freedom through elimination of economic rent. Don't confuse the view of communism that Marx and Engels held with Leninism, Stalinism, or Maoism.

y said...

Tom,

Engels had this to say about communism:

"The proletariat seizes the public power, and by means of this transforms the socialized means of production, slipping from the hands of the bourgeoisie, into public property. By this act, the proletariat frees the means of production from the character of capital they have thus far borne, and gives their socialized character complete freedom to work itself out. Socialized production upon a predetermined plan becomes henceforth possible. The development of production makes the existence of different classes of society thenceforth an anachronism. In proportion as anarchy in social production vanishes, the political authority of the State dies out. Man, at last the master of his own form of social organization, becomes at the same time the lord over Nature, his own master — free."

(Socialism: Utopian or Scientific)

Was Marx's view different to Engels'?

Matt Franko said...

Let's not forget that Lincoln was assassinated.

So any future opportunities he would have had to provide influence and indirect leadership in the US after guiding the country thru the most perilous time in the then young country's history was taken from him.

Sounds like he was an advocate for lawfully established state currency...

rsp,

Matt Franko said...

" In proportion as anarchy in social production vanishes, the political authority of the State dies out. Man, at last the master of his own form of social organization, becomes at the same time the lord over Nature, his own master — free."

y,

Sounds like Bob Roddis could agree with that.. if I am reading you right????

rsp

Tom Hickey said...

Was Marx's view different to Engels'?

Same. Marx & Engles did not advocate abolition of all private property, only property involved in extraction of economic rent, i.e., means of production. Means of production is agricultural land, which was worked by field laborers at the time, often land-bound serfs, and industrial capital goods like machine and factories, which are built and operated by workers. Marx and Engels argued that value comes from the workers and should belong to them directly to deal with based on consensus on the principle, from each according to ability and to each according to need. Marx & Engels were anti-state, which they viewed as the enforcer of rent extraction for the advantage of the privileged few at the expense of workers' freedom.

Matt Franko said...

"Marx & Engels were anti-state, which they viewed as the enforcer of rent extraction"

Do you see this being true (state as rent 'enforcer') with the polis/nomos (ie "state") at the founding of western civilization in ancient Greece Tom?

Or even wrt ancient Rome, if you read "The Deeds of the Devine Augustus", doesnt mention "rent" enforcement as much as absolute fiscal authority of the state and MANY fiscal transfers...

rsp,

Tom Hickey said...

Matt, the notion of the state and government as the administrator of the state is based on the military on one hand, and the priesthood on the other. This is Ravi Batra's warrior class and intelligentsia. Since deepest antiquity, surplus societies have been ruled by "the palace and the temple." This is still the hierarchical institutional model. that predominated. However, as Marx & Engles point out in section one of the Communist Manifesto, the bourgeoisie has largely replaced the warrior class and intelligentsia by eradicating feudalism and making those two clases its hirlings. Batra calls the bourgeoisie the acquisitors. Batra's laborers are the traditional slave, serfs and tenants become industrial workers bound by the need for jobs and debt in an environment in which owners ensure a buffer stock of unemployed to keep wages low.

"Anarchism" opposes the hierarchical model of government with the consensual model in which the tribal council characteristic of pre-surplus society is the governing principle. The republic is the government of the bourgeoisies in which the minority, "men of property," can control the majority, the laborers, through representative government instead of real democracy.

Jose Guilherme said...

Don't confuse the view of communism that Marx and Engels held with Leninism, Stalinism, or Maoism.

Right. Many politicians and statesmen have reclaimed their political inspiration from Marx's writings yet held very different, sometimes diametrically opposed views.

For instance, Germany's SPD was originally the Marxist party par excellence and people such as Willy Brandt or even Helmut Schmidt might consider themselves Marxist-leaning and yet had scarcely anything in common with the likes of Lenin, Stalin or Mao.

That's why it's silly to connect Marx with historical events and deeds of the 20th Century practised under his name. Marx is responsible for his writings, not for things that happened long after his passing.

To cite Marx as the moral author of Stalin's or Lenin's crimes is as absurd as claiming Christian philosophy as a necessary, logical antecedent of the actions of a Torquemada.