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The Confederate Lawyer
May 20, 2010

Lincoln’s Hypocritical Address
by Charles G. Mills

GLEN COVE, NY — One of the most enduring penalties for losing a war is having to listen to the sanctimony of the winner. Almost 150 years after the Northern victory, we are still bombarded by praise of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A point-by-point examination of the speech reveals its hypocrisy, sanctimony, and deception.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty.…

Lincoln starts with an invocation of “liberty,” something with which no one disagrees. It is hypocritical of him, however, to invoke it for the use of war to force the Southern people to live under a government it had democratically and overwhelmingly rejected. He invokes it for exactly the opposite of liberty.

… and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

It is beyond dispute that Lincoln did not believe in full racial equality. He chose these words only for the purpose of invoking the Declaration of Independence from which they are taken, not because he believed them. It is shameless to invoke the Declaration of Independence for the cause of denying the South’s right to independence.

… Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure….

The “great civil war” was a test of whether that nation would remain one nation or become two nations, not whether its principles and ideals would survive.

… We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live….

There is no basis for accusing anyone of wanting to end the existence of the United States. Such language is purely hypocritical.

… It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate... we cannot consecrate... we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract….

Lincoln leaves the impression that only the Northern dead consecrated the battle field. Those who praise this address are the same ones who present Lincoln as a non-vindictive generous winner.

… The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here….

This is prime example of the “Aw shucks, I am just a simple country lawyer” ploy at which Lincoln was so good. Lincoln knew perfectly well that his address was a masterpiece of demagoguery.

… It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln concludes with a return to his indefensible theme that if the United States becomes two nations, then government of the people, by the people, and for the people will perish from the earth. Such a claim is entirely without basis. Indeed, Lincoln knew that his policies fostered a strong central government rather than liberty. Deception permeates this address from beginning to end.

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The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2010 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.

Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles about the law.

See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.

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