“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”
The San Francisco Unified School District targeted 44 schools for possible name changes back in October. The list included Abraham Lincoln. Dianne Feinstein, Herbert Hoover, and others.
The school district voted this week to rename Abraham Lincoln school due to his comments about black people and “the majority of his policies proved to be detrimental to [Native Americans].”
A lot of people prop up Abraham Lincoln as a hero because he kept the country together and ended slavery.
Warning: Unsavory thoughts and facts about Lincoln are up next, but stick with me. I have a point to it!
The renaming committee has legit reasons for speaking out against Lincoln.
Lincoln was a tyrant. For example, he shut down 300 newspapers and ordered the military to occupy the New York World newspaper because of something “wicked and traitorously printed and published.”
Lincoln did not agree with slavery, but blacks were only equal to whites when it came to natural rights. Lincoln once said:
“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. … There is a physical difference between the white and Black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
Oh, Lincoln wanted to ship blacks to other countries:
They found an order from Mr Lincoln in June 1863 authorising a British colonial agent, John Hodge, to recruit freed slaves to be sent to colonies in what are now the countries of Guyana and Belize.
“Hodge reported back to a British minister that Lincoln said it was his ‘honest desire’ that this emigration went ahead,” said Mr Page, a historian at Oxford University.
The plan came despite an earlier test shipment of about 450 freed slaves to Haiti resulting in disaster. The former slaves were struck by smallpox and starvation, and survivors had to be rescued.
Mr Lincoln also considered sending freed slaves to what is now Panama, to construct a canal — decades before work began on the modern canal there in 1904.
Are you still with me? OK, good.
We all talk about Andrew Jackson (rightfully), but history tends to gloss over Lincoln’s treatment of Native Americans:
For instance, the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 helped precipitate the construction of the transcontinental railroad, which led to the significant loss of land and natural resources, as well as the loss of lifestyle and culture, for many tribal people. In addition, rampant corruption in the Indian Office, the precursor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, continued unabated throughout Lincoln’s term and well beyond. In many cases, government-appointed Indian agents outright stole resources that were supposed to go to the tribes.
In other cases, the Lincoln administration simply continued to implement discriminatory and damaging policies, like placing Indians on reservations. Beginning in 1863, the Lincoln administration oversaw the removal of the Navajos and the Mescalero Apaches from the New Mexico Territory, forcing the Navajo to march 450 miles to Bosque Redondo—a brutal journey. Eventually, more than 2,000 died before a treaty was signed.
Several massacres of Indians also occurred under Lincoln’s watch. For example, the Dakota War in Minnesota in 1862 led to the hanging of thirty-eight Indian men—303 Indian men had been sentenced to hang, but the others were spared by Lincoln’s pardon. The Sand Creek Massacre in southeastern Colorado in 1864 also resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho.
Cancel Culture SUCKS
The renaming committee used Lincoln’s treatment of Native Americans as the main reason to strip his name from the school.
But they did not miss Lincoln’s feelings on blacks. From The San Francisco Chronicle:
“Uprooting the problematic names and symbols that currently clutter buildings, streets, throughout the city is a worthy endeavor,” said Jeremiah Jeffries, chairman of the renaming committee and a first-grade teacher in San Francisco. “Only good can come from the public being reflective and intentional about the power of our words, names and rhetoric within our public institutions.”
“The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery,” he said. “Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”
Princeton University scholar Allen Guelzo had a great point:
If an offensive racial opinion “is the only yardstick that we use to measure people today, they will have to pull down monuments to everybody from before 1950,” Guelzo said.
Is this how we handle it from now on? I go a little further than Guezlo. How about 1970? I mean, the Civil Rights Act didn’t happen until 1964.
I’m happy people have acknowledged the real history of Lincoln and others.
But at what cost?
Everyone and everything will offend at least one person. Should we just number the schools? Name them after trees? Wait, maple might offend someone who hates Canada.
Next thing you know we will end up in a world portrayed in the school play in South Park’s first Christmas episode.DONATE
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