Lincoln, Voting Rights, Radicals, and Human Rights

1. Here is Abraham Lincoln to Michael Hahn (all italicized words are my emphasis):

Private Executive Mansion, Hon. Michael Hahn Washington, My dear Sir: March 13. 1864.

I congratulate you on having fixed your name in history as the first-free-state Governor of Louisiana. Now you are about to have a Convention which, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in—as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

2. Here is Abraham Lincoln writing about Owen Lovejoy, perhaps one of the most radical members of Congress.

Hon. John H Bryant Executive Mansion, My dear Sir. Washington, May 30, 1864.

Yours of the 14th. Inst. inclosing a card of invitation to a preliminary meeting contemplating the erection of a Monument to the memory of Hon. Owen Lovejoy, was duly received.

As you anticipate, it will be out of my power to attend. Many of you have known Mr. Lovejoy longer than I have, and are better able than I to do his memory complete justice. My personal acquaintance with him commenced only about ten years ago, since when it has been quite intimate; and every step in it has been one of increasing respect and esteem, ending, with his life, in no less than affection on my part. It can be truly said of him that while he was personally ambitious, he bravely endured the obscurity which the unpopularity of his principles imposed, and never accepted official honors, until those honors were ready to admit his principles with him. Throughout my heavy, and perplexing responsibilities here, to the day of his death, it would scarcely wrong any other to say, he was my most generous friend. Let him have the marble monument, along with the well-assured and more enduring one in the hearts of those who love liberty, unselfishly, for all men. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

3. Here is Abraham Lincoln delivering a speech to the “One Hundred Sixty-Fourth Ohio Regiment”:

“SOLDIERS – You are about to return to your homes and your friends, after having, as I learn, performed in camp a comparitively short term of duty in this great contest. I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country. I wish it might be more generally and unviversally understood what the country is now engaged in. We have, as all will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed.”

You can find all of these in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Sadly, these types of remarks are far less quoted by the president’s critics than those which they believe reflect poorly on him. I wonder why that is?

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