The Abolitionists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 198 pages of information about The Abolitionists.
constant opposition, that prevailed in the end, and with a decisiveness that proves it to have been feasible and sound from the beginning.  Mr. Lincoln’s most ultra prescription—­his Emancipation Proclamation—­was ineffective.  If it was intended to eradicate slavery altogether, it was too narrow; if to free the slaves of Rebels only, it was too broad.  So with his other propositions.  His thirty-seven-year-liberation scheme, his “tinkering off” policy (as he called it) for Missouri, his reconstruction proposals, and his colonization projects, all failed.  Indeed, if we take his official action from first to last, it is a question whether the President, owing to his extreme conservatism, was not more of an obstructionist than a promoter of the Anti-Slavery cause.

Not that any change of opinion on the point just stated will materially affect the general estimate in which Mr. Lincoln is held.  Although his popularity, due, in part at least, to the extravagance of over-zealous admirers, has without much doubt already passed its perihelion, it can never disappear or greatly diminish.  His untiring and exhaustive labors for the Union, the many lovable traits of his unique personality, his unquestionable honesty, his courage, his patriotism, and, above all, his tragic taking off, have unalterably determined his place in the regard of his countrymen.  Indeed, so strong is the admiration in which he is held, that it would be vain to attempt to disabuse many, by any amount of proof and argument, of the opinion that African slavery in this country was actually and exclusively killed by a presidential edict.  So firmly fixed in the popular belief is that historical myth that it will undoubtedly live for many years, if not generations, although history in the end will right it like all other misunderstandings.

Mr. Lincoln had his weaknesses and limitations, like other men.  All must admit that his treatment of the slavery question was not without its mistakes.  It has always seemed to the writer that his most ardent admirers seriously blunder in claiming superlativeness for him in that regard, and more especially in giving him credit for results that were due to the efforts of other men.  His fame is secure without such misappropriation.  He would not ask it if living, and it will in due time be condemned by history.



The original and distinctive Abolition movement that was directed against slavery in all parts of the land without regard to State or territorial lines, and because it was assumed to be wrong in principle and practice, may be said, as far as the country at large was concerned, to have culminated at the advent of the Republican party.  To a considerable extent it disappeared, but its disappearance was that of one stream flowing into or uniting with another.  The union of the two currents extended, but did not

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The Abolitionists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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