By: Jonathan Harris
Before reading the book “Red Republican’s and Lincoln’s Marxists” I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Despite my predisposition to be wary of any fiber of genuine Christian morality flowing within the veins of Lincoln not to mention the founders of the GOP, I did not think it likely that any of them would be sympathetic towards the precepts of communism. After all, communism is a monster of the 20th century isn’t it? Wilson, FDR, Johnson, and Carter may have been affected, but Lincoln?
When we survey the history of the “Civil War” through the eyes of the world’s most notorious communist, we are acquainted with a man who hated (as can be seen in his post-war letter to President Johnson) the South out of pathetic ignorance. Karl Marx supposed that the South had in secret prepared to undermine the United States for years, that Jefferson Davis was a “dictator,” that the Confederate Constitution (which outlawed the slave trade) promoted slavery, that the Supreme Court was a tool of slaveholders, and that the South geographically encompassed three-quarters of the Union.
In the autumn of 1861 Marx, the Father of Communism, wrote the following regarding the “American Civil War.”
The war of the Southern Confederacy is, therefore, not a war of defense, but a war of conquest, a war of conquest for the extension and perpetuation of slavery.
It is interesting to observe that virtually all Liberals and a majority of modern day conservatives would heartily agree with such a statement. This should raise a “red flag” in the minds of those who love liberty.Why is it that the majority of Americans, even those who advocate the free-market, agree with the way in which Karl Marx of all people framed the cause of the war? Though Marx and his partner in communism Fredrick Engels lived in Great Britain, they served “as propaganda agents for the Northern cause in Europe.” The authors point out that “while most Americans think of abolition of slavery as an end in itself, communists had a completely different view of abolition.” Marx stated in The Civil War in the United States, “Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded.” After the war was over Marx said in a speech:
And the successful close of the war against slavery has indeed inaugurated a new era in the annals of the working class. . . Still the Civil War offered a compensation in the liberation of the slaves and the impulse which it thereby gave to your own class movement.
As one can see, the freeing of the slaves was not an end in itself to the Father of Communism, but rather a means to an end- that end being the revolution of the working class against the proletariat. I should note that the authors do dismantle Marx’s notion that the South was aggressively fighting to “perpetuate” slavery. On the contrary, the War Between the States was a war of centralism vs. federation, of humanism vs. Christianity, of socialism vs. capitalism, and of imperialism vs. popular sovereignty. We do not have time to address Marx’s popular lie in this review, but would encourage those curious regarding this issue to pick up a copy of Myths of American Slavery.
After Lincoln’s second inaugural victory, Marx delivered a congratulatory letter to the 16th president on behalf of the International Workingmen’s Association which stated in no uncertain terms where the allegiance of the communist community lay. The last paragraph of the letter is as follows:
The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that 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.
Though no conservative should have a problem with the rescuing of “an enchained race” (Although it may be pointed out that Lincoln never accomplished this task, and the radical republicans enchained all men to civil slavery while in the process making the lot of the slave even worse) all of our eyebrows should raise when we hear the words “reconstruction of a social world.” Was Lincoln fulfilling the next step in creating a world in Marx’s image? How can this be?
The answer lies in an idea of strong central government promoted by Alexander Hamilton, passed on to Henry Clay, and finally making its way into the White House through the election of Abraham Lincoln. The “American System” as it was called is defined by the authors as “nothing less than an attempt to increase the power of the Federal government beyond that which the Constitution authorizes.” Clay, a politician Lincoln modeled himself after, was an advocate of centralized banking, internal improvements, and protective tariffs all of which conflicted with the Constitution and promoted a centralized state. Sometimes these policies are referred to as “State Capitalism,” a system in which the government favors certain businesses and regions over others in exchange for favors and vice-versa. It goes without saying that it takes a strong central government to impose a system of redistribution. The communist transformation (note: communist and socialist meant the same thing in 1860) of America gained legitimacy under the leadership of the early Republican party due to these policies. If we compare the Communist Manifesto to Lincoln’s actions we can see this quite clearly. The Manifesto calls for a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax.” In comparison, Lincoln signed the Legal Tender Act in 1862, and the national currency acts in 1863 and 1864. Instantly a system of nationally charted banks were created and a federally run national banking monopoly was born. One of the leading supporters for nationalizing baking, (R) John Sherman of Ohio proclaimed, “Nationalize as much as possible [and thereby] make men love their country before their states.” In 1862 Lincoln signed America’s first income tax into law creating the first IRS service. Another idea supported by both Lincoln and Marx was Federal involvement in education. In 1862, Lincoln signed the Morrill act, named for Senator Justin Morrill who defended it this way: “The role of the national government is to mold the character of the American people.” Instantly money that was made through Federal land grant sales went to funding colleges. It goes without saying that Washington controlled the curriculum. In Carl Sandburg’s six-volume account of the life of Lincoln he highlights something conservatives should find disturbing. When referring to Robert Owen’s (an early American socialist) utopia it is said that “the scheme lighted up Lincoln’s heart.” It is for these reasons that columnist Vin Suprynowicz has called Lincoln and his most ardent supporters “American Bolsheviks.”
The communist connections and participants in Lincoln’s War emphasized by Red Republicans are to numerous to mention within the limited space here, so for times sake I will mention some of the more influential men and important connections. After the failed socialist revolutions of 1848 which encompassed most of the European continent, many German, English, Hungarian, Bavarian, etc. atheistic socialists flocked to the United States having been banned from their homelands for treason. Ironically just about all of them wound up in the North (for a number of factors including an already strong progressive movement brought on by Transcendentalists and Unitarians) as ardent supporters of the Republican party. During the first GOP convention one of the main objectives of the Forty-Eighters was to assure that “Puritans and native born Americans” would not control the party. The Germans, being the largest of the immigrant groups, contributed the greatest to Lincoln’s election. Frederick Engels (Marx’s brother in arms) pointed out, “had it not been for the experienced soldiers who had entered America after the European revolution — especially from Germany — the organization of the Union army would have taken still longer than it did.” The first GOP convention included 19 German -American delegates, most of whom were forty-eighters some of whom were personal friends of Marx and Engels. In fact, the GOP platform included protection of voting rights for foreign-born citizens and promotion of the Homestead Act under the nickname of the “Dutch” (i.e. German) planks. Lincoln valued the German vote so much that he even secretly purchased a German newspaper, the Illinois Staats Anzieger before his election. In fact, just about every, if not all, of the German communist participants highlighted in Red Republicans were at some point journalists for German newspapers in the U.S.. It was the “default” vocation for exiled socialists… READ MORE =>