Christopher's Reviews > The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War

The Real Lincoln by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
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Jun 21, 08

Why was the United States the only country in the world to fight a war to end slavery?

Because the war wasn't about slavery. Like all other wars, it was fought over money and power.

Lincoln, the American Hitler, was the man who single-handedly shredded the Constitution and fathered "Big Government."

The "Church of Lincoln" has distorted facts and history to paint a picture of Lincoln in total contradiction of his real self and motives.

Fortunately, this author demolishes these falsehoods with simple logic, contextual arguments with respect to the Constitution, racism, and politics of the time.

Educate yourself on the real story of Lincoln, not a saint-like emancipator but a blood-thirsty, ruthless dictator.

Learn about the avoidable tragedy and the victims of Lincoln's ambition: the slaves, the citizens, and the transformation of the United States from a Republic to an imperialistic tyranny.

As well, this book makes extensive endnotes to the direct reference materials so everything is open to verification by the reader.

This book was a real eye-opener.
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by Werner (new)

Werner Christopher, I haven't read Dilorenzo's book, but before I selected it for the college library where I work, I read enough print reviews of it to be aware of the author's thesis. I think it's a fair re-evaluation of a part of our history, that can contribute to constructive dialogue in the present. With all due respect, though, that kind of dialogue is not served by a palpably unfair characterization of Lincoln (which I don't believe Dilorenzo himself makes, or would make) as "the American Hitler." (In general, I think the penchant of politicians and pundits on both sides of the political spectrum for demonizing their opponents with Hitler comparisons is usually unjustified, and a hindrance rather than a help to responsible public discourse.) You can have strong differences with someone about political philosophy; you can conclude with some validity that the rush to war in 1861 was too facile (and there's some blame to go around to Confederate politicians for that as well, IMO). That doesn't justify a claim of moral equivalence to somebody who used the mass murder of millions of innocents as an instrument of eugenic policy --something that Lincoln (and every other American politician of that day, northern or southern) would have found as morally repugnant as we do.

message 2: by Ron (new)

Ron Politicians have demonized their opponents as long as there have been politicians. Reflect on some of the debates recorded in ancient Greece and Rome. Many people seem uncomfortable with shades of gray and therefore think in terms of good guys and bad guys.

A. Lincoln wasn't a saint or a Hitler: he was dealing with a cultural and constitutional divide which had threatened the United States since the writing of the Declaration of Independence. That his approach--and the results--were less than perfect only confirms that he was human.

The Civil War was a bad thing, but it was almost inevitable lest the nation crumble into two (or more)lesser states, which might have been capable of nothing against the real Hitler. Some, of course, were (and are) willing for it to divide; some were not. Their motives were mixed; the outcome reflected it. That's life.

message 3: by Werner (new)

Werner True, Ron, our discomfort with shades of gray and liking for a dichotomous view of conflicts is part of our (fallen) human nature. But the example of Greece and Rome gives us a hint that we shouldn't let that part rule us. The extreme polarization and hatreds of their politics led inevitably to factional violence, bloody proscriptions, trampling of the rule of law, and ultimately the death of democracy. And I'm not so sanguine as to think that it can't happen here and now.

And true, too, Lincoln and the other leaders, North and South, of that day were neither saints nor monsters, just decent but flawed humans trying to do what they thought best in terms of their political beliefs. What we can do today is evaluate their beliefs and actions, with the benefit of 150 years of perspective, to hopefully draw some lessons for our own beliefs and actions. But it's probably unwise to evaluate them on the basis of hypothetical future histories. Maybe a divided U.S. could have defended itself against Hitler, and maybe not. Maybe a divided U.S. would never have entered World War I to bring about the draconian dictated peace that led to Hitler's rise in the first place --but again, perhaps it would. We don't know those things; and it's certain that the leaders of 1861 couldn't have considered them, or been expected to. All they, or we, can do is seek the soundest political principles, and apply them to the present and foreseeable future as best we can.

message 4: by Ron (new)

Ron No, we can never know what would have happened down the road not traveled by.

I think you're too kind. While most men may be "decent but flawed", some are just flawed--if not outright evil. I can't think of a single redeeming quality for Hitler. And Stalin was cut from the same cloth. (And their opponents found Churchill and Roosevelt much the same, until they saved the world.) Was it a Twentieth Century thing?

In his day Lincoln got some of the same condemnation, but not so universally. He, like all of us, had flaws and the potential for greatness.

message 5: by Werner (new)

Werner Well, I characterized Lincoln, Davis, et al. as "decent but flawed," but no, I wouldn't be as kind to Hitler and Stalin --I'd agree that they were just plain evil. (The same could be said for Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and others.) Your question about this being a 20th-century thing is astute! I don't think that what Barth called "radical evil" was invented in the 20th century; there have always been psychopaths and sociopaths, and some of them even wielded political power in pre-modern times. But the 20th and 21st centuries have certainly seen a much greater percentage of them, in positions to do more damage.

IMO, part of the difference lies in the moral beliefs of society, and the influence of those beliefs on the individuals in it. In the 1860s, virtually everyone believed in the existence of objective right and wrong, the idea that moral considerations should be a check on government actions, and the role of a judging and superintending Providence to enforce the right. Yes, they might rationalize and explain away evil in some cases, or disagree about particular cases, and some might be hypocrites; but they were all influenced to some degree by this moral climate, and in democracies the electorate was influenced by it. Today, though, vast portions of the population --and virtually all of the "elites"-- dismiss those beliefs as at best quaint, and more likely excerable and dangerous. That climate has its effect, too: it makes individuals much less apt to feel any need to restrain their socipathic impulses, and much easier for sociopaths to find smooth ascents to power.

message 6: by Ron (new)

Ron Sounds reasonable to me. One of Hitler's schemes was to undermine traditional values by creating/expanding the Aryan superman myth, with him as the messiah to bring in the golden age of virtue and power. Certainly a lot of other folks--down at the level of people I know/have known--doing whatever they wish as not needing justification. It makes for interesting clashes, if nothing else.

Christopher Werner wrote: "Christopher, I haven't read Dilorenzo's book, but before I selected it for the college library where I work, I read enough print reviews of it to be aware of the author's thesis. I think it's a fa..."

First of all, you didn't read the book.

Second of all, how the hell do you know how DiLorenzo would characterize Lincoln? You're clairvoyant? You didn't even read his book.

Third, where did I say I spoke for DiLorenzo? Last time I checked it's a free country and I can form & voice my own opinions. At this point, I have a better idea of what DiLorenzo thinks anyway, atleast I read his book.

Fourth, go ahead and invoke Godwin's Law but keep your sanctimonious lectures on "responsible public discourse" to yourself. This is the internet. As for responsible public discourse, what about talking out of your ass? You didn't even read his book.

Lincoln was the first President to officially wipe his ass with the Constitution, thereby firmly establishing himself as the first American dictator.

As for "eugenic policy --something that Lincoln (and every other American politician of that day, northern or southern) would have found as morally repugnant":

What planet did you come from? Earth to Werner, have you ever heard of "Manifest Destiny?" Did you ever see "Dances with Wolves?" I only bring up the movie because you obviously didn't read the book.

Why don't you read about how the US treated the Indian nations before you go on making more assumptions. Furthermore, go read up on the history of eugenics in the US because you obviously don't know how popular that used to be in my country, either.

Imagine my surprise when I check my email, just to find this turd of a post. Why don't you come back later with a rebuttal containing a fact or two? Until then,

[Big Lebowski:]
"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
[\Big Lebowski:]

message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner Christopher, Proverbs 26:4 says, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." That's wise advice, which I intend to heed. (Any more notifications I receive about rants you post on this thread will get the attention they deserve --which is to say, be deleted unread).

message 9: by Ron (new)

Ron Concur.

Christopher Werner wrote: "Christopher, Proverbs 26:4 says, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." That's wise advice, which I intend to heed. (Any more notifications I receive about ra..."

Haha, nice one! Was my post a little too much reality for you? That'll teach you for making stuff up. See 'ya never and take it easy, sleazy.

message 11: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL Christopher: If I read a post by someone who attacks other people, it really makes me question their capacity for reasoned discourse.

Is the insulting mindset you display toward Werner the way you read or feel about anyone who disagrees with you?

Christopher Do you often comment on books you've never read?

Lecture strangers like they're your kids?

And then snipe at people using the Bible?

From my perspective:
"With all due respect," "no offense, but" are the types of cues that they're going to basically open their mouth when they should just mind their own business.

I don't mind people saying I'm wrong if they got some facts to back it up. I don't mind people disagreeing with me. And I know my "winning personality" isn't for everyone.

But reading, "You can have strong differences..." "you can conclude with..."

Nobody is going to be telling me you-can -- you-can't nothing.

You're right, I've got an insulting mindset for people I think are talking down to me. I should have just let it go but I didn't and I'm not sorry for it.

That other guy's had enough, I've had enough, and neither of us is going to change. I guarantee it.

I'm done explaining myself and then that's it for me.

Have a nice day.

message 13: by Mary JL (last edited Apr 07, 2010 11:11PM) (new)

Mary JL I am not commenting on a book I have never read; I am commenting on your BEHAVIOR, particularly your insulting languege.

I feel that first, I expect adult to be able to referr to an annoying e-mail using the word "annoying", not "this turd of an email". Such immature language damages credibility of anyone at anytime, for me.

Also, we do have some teens and even middle classes on Goodreads. Should we not perhaps set an example with some maturity for them? Yes, I do know kids DO talk like that--why not have the adult members show them how to disagree without vulgar language?

I am not "telling you what to do"--you obviously will do as you wish. I am merely stating that if you use certain types of language, for me, it weakens you arguments. A reasoned, mature response might work better in convincing me of our ideas--not just convincing me, but others as well.

Don Incognito This is why the phrase "reductio ad Hitlerum" was coined.

message 15: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Since Hitler came later, shouldn't Hitler be "The German Lincoln?"

Aaron Peterson Christopher = Awesome

Don Incognito Ryan wrote: "Since Hitler came later, shouldn't Hitler be "The German Lincoln?""

That's an excellent point. With one question, you just instantly made his criticism of Lincoln--and, to a lesser extent, the entire review, sound ridiculous.

message 18: by Shrike (new)

Shrike "Why was the United States the only country in the world to fight a war to end slavery?"
Because it wasn't. Haiti. Next?

"Like all other wars, it was fought over money and power."
Yep. Slaveowners' money, tied up in human beings, and slaveowners' power to control the federal government and force it to serve their needs, to prop up their barbarous system, to violate the rights of Northern states and all rational people who saw the Southern aristocracy for the parasites they were.

Anything else I can help you with? Like maybe the facts that diLorenzo is part of a neo-Confederate hate group, or that his PhD. is in economics, not history.

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