Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Lincoln the Moderate

In his column today, David Brooks writes: "Once there was a group in the political center that would have understood Ben's [the typcal tea party supporter] outrage. Moderates like Abraham Lincoln believed in the free labor ideology."

I am certainly in the camp that thinks that Lincoln did have the virtue of moderation.  That said, the David Brookses of the 1850s regarded Lincoln and the rentire Republican Party as a bunch of extremists and fanatics.  Going back still further, I find it hard to believe that Brooks, had he been writing in the 1840s would not have thought that Lincoln's spot resolutions were anything more than political showmanship.

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The "house divided" speech was hardly an exercise in "moderation." It electrified the abolition movement, cemented for Southerners their understanding that the country was headed for a showdown and for those who were as yet undecided, --------------- it was a haunting vision of the violence that seemed well nigh unavoidable.

It made Lincoln a household name across the nation.

It was Douglas who represented supposedly the voice of sanity and reason, who was more than willing to continue to allow slavery to exist in the South.

This might be unfair, but I really could see an 1862 Brooks admiring the crease in McClellan's trousers while listening to the man the educated establishment loved rail against that "gorilla in the White House"...

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