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Was Abraham Lincoln a Racist?
Part 1: Black American historian presents evidence
More of this Feature
Part 2: Is it True?

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Was Lincoln a Racist? Click Here to Discuss

"Lerone Bennett is a knucklehead."
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"Mr. Lincoln wasn't a racist as far as we can justify using the word to describe an individual of the mid-nineteenth century. By today's standards he was a racist of the worst kind."
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Lerone Bennett

In his new book, Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream, black American author, Lerone Bennett, presents historic evidence supporting the theory that Abraham Lincoln was a racist harboring a life-long desire to see all black Americans deported to Africa.

Bennett suggests that as a young politician in Illinois, Lincoln regularly used racial slurs in speeches, told racial jokes to his black servants, and vocally opposed any new laws that would have bettered the lives of black Americans.

Key to Bennett's thesis is the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation which, Bennett argues, Lincoln was forced into issuing by the powerful abolitionist wing of his own party. Bennett asserts that Lincoln carefully worded the document to apply only to the rebel Southern states, which were not under Union control at the time, thus resulting in an Emancipation Proclamation that did not in itself free a single slave.

At one point, Bennett quotes William Henry Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state, who referred to the proclamation as a hollow, meaningless document showing no more than, "our sympathy with the slaves by emancipating the slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

Henry Clay Whitney, a close friend of Lincoln, is quoted by Bennett as saying the proclamation was "not the end designed by him (Lincoln), but only the means to the end, the end being the deportation of the slaves and the payment for them to their masters - at least to those who were loyal."

Bennett asserts that Lincoln often put forth plans for deporting the slaves to Africa both before and during his presidency.

The tone of Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream is decidedly angry, as if Bennett feels betrayed by what he calls the "myth" of Abraham Lincoln.

"No other American story is so enduring. No other American story is so comforting. No other American story is so false." -- Lerone Bennett, Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream.

Next page > Could Bennett's Claims be True? > Page 1, 2

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