Forced into Glory : Abraham Lincoln's White Dream
by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

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Forced into Glory : Abraham Lincoln's White Dream , by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Hardcover - 600 pages
First Edition, February 2000
ISBN 0-874-85085-1

            In February of 1968, Lerone Bennett, Jr. caused some public outrage when he used the term "white supremacist" to describe Abraham Lincoln in an article in Ebony magazine. With the publication of Forced into Glory : Abraham Lincoln's White Dream in February 2000, Bennett is back in the news, this time armed with historical documentation.

Forced into Glory - Abraham Lincoln's White Dream by Lerone Bennett Jr.

            Bennett gets off the track when he presents evidence that Lincoln "liked to tell nigger jokes" [sic] and attend black-face comic shows. The real point isn't whether Lincoln was about as prejudiced as the vast majority of white people were in his day. The real point, the one strong point which Bennett probably should have limited himself to, was that Lincoln did not do what American grade school mythology says he did: he didn't take the options, which were in his power as President to take, to end slavery.

            Lincoln wrote the first draft of the Emanicipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and signed the final draft on December 31, 1862. Despite the breakaway of the Confederacy, Lincoln immediately had the legal power to free the 100,000 slaves in Louisiana and the 80,000 slaves in eastern Virginia, both of which were under Union control. Lincoln chose to exclude these regions from the scope of the Emanicipation Proclamation. Instead, he wrote the document to apply to the Confederate states, where he had no power.

            Bennett explains: "What Lincoln did -- and it was so clever that we ought to stop calling him honest Abe -- was to 'free' slaves in Confederate-held territory where he couldn't free them and to leave them in slavery in Union-held territory where he could have freed them."

            Lincoln supported the Fugitive Slave Act, and he gave clear orders to the Union army to capture any escaped slaves they might find and to return them to their so-called owners.

Table of Contents

Forced into Glory : Abraham Lincoln's White Dream , by Lerone Bennett, Jr.


Preface
Works Frequently Cited

PART ONE -- MIRAGE

1. The Most Famous Act In U.S. History Never Happened
2. The Emancipation Proclamation That Wasn't
3. Pharaoh And Moses

PART TWO -- MIRROR

4. A Fantasy For All Seasons
5. Prologue In Blackface And Whiteface

PART THREE -- MYTH

6. Fooling All The People All The Time

PART FOUR -- THE WHITE DREAM
7. The Last Best [White] Hope
8. In The Red, White And Black Beginning

PART FIVE -- THE JIM CROW LINCOLN

9. Backing The Black Laws
10. Toward The Ethnic Cleansing of America

PART SIX -- "WHITE MAN'S CHARTER"

11. How To Emancipate Without Emancipating
12. A Politician Divided Against Himself
13. Ignoring America's Greatest Moral Crisis
14. Supporting the Great American Slave Hunt
15. Prelude to Halfness

PART SEVEN -- "WHITE MAN'S WAR"

16. "The Negro Has Nothing To Do With It"
17. The Bull Run Blues
18. "Linconia" : Lincoln's Fantasy Plan For Banishing Blacks

PART EIGHT -- THE EMANCIPATORS NOBODY KNOWS

19. The Emancipating Congress
20. The "Conversion" of Abraham Lincoln
21. Lincoln Asks Blacks To Leave America

PART NINE -- "LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME"

22. Lincoln Tries To Escape History
23. Lincoln Asks Congress To Deport Blacks
24. No Hidin' Place

PART TEN -- "WHIPPED INTO ... GLORY"

25. Emancipating The Emancipator
26. Goin' To Gettysburg, Sorry I Can't Take You

PART ELEVEN -- WITH MALICE TOWARD SOME
27. Reconstruction Of The White People, By The White People, For The White People
28. The Last Lincoln

            While actions speak louder, Lincoln's own words should also preclude any misunderstanding. He said in his inaugural address that he supported a Constitutional amendment, not to abolish slavery, but to guarantee it.

            If not to emancipate the slaves and permit them to participate as American citizens, what, then, did Lincoln want to do? He wanted to persuade the U.S. Congress to allocate the money to buy all of the slaves (very slowly -- as slowly as possible), and then forcibly deport them. Lincoln believed that different races could not possibly coexist in harmony in the same country.

            Thus, the truth goes even further than the points to which Lincoln admitted in his debate with Stephen A. Douglas (September 18, 1958 in Charleston) -- that he didn't believe in political equality for whites and blacks, that he didn't believe black people should be allowed to vote or hold public office, and that he didn't believe it should be legal for whites and blacks to marry. The truth goes further still. Lincoln didn't even believe that black people should be permitted to exist in North America. They should not be asked whether they would like free transportation to Africa; instead, they should be seized and deported to Africa, and the intent of this action should be to produce an all-white country. Documents show that this was Lincoln's opinion consistently until his death.

            There were some genuine Abolitionists in Lincoln's era, such as Wendell Phillips and Ralph Waldo Emerson. What was their political relationships to Lincoln? They considered Lincoln to be an archconservative, and Lincoln considered all of them to be radical crackpots.

            Consider the title of the first chapter: "The Most Famous Act In U.S. History Never Happened." A student of history is likely to reply that Lincoln, known as the Great Emancipator, didn't literally free the slaves, since it was the 13th Amendment that accomplished that ... but Lincoln did whatever he could to facilitate freeing the slaves. That's the point -- Lerone Bennett argues that Lincoln didn't do what he could; instead, he did several things to impede the abolition of slavery.

Reviewed by Mike Lepore for
crimsonbird.com

            The Abraham Lincoln described in songs and poetry never existed. And yet, Bennett says his own mission isn't to disrupt the cozy comfort many people feel with the image he calls the "secular saint." Indeed, Bennett knows that our loss of the myth will, unfortunately, have to be "painful." His mission, instead, is to disclose truth for its own sake. A free society cannot be based on propagation of intentionally fabricated lies. If we would be free, we don't have a choice but to have a dialogue that hasn't yet begun.

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Forced into Glory : Abraham Lincoln's White Dream , by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

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Quotations from the Book

"The mythology of 'the great emancipator' has become a part of the mental landscape of America. Generations of schoolchildren have memorized its cadences. Poets, politicians, and long-suffering Blacks have wept over its imagery and drama. No other American story is so enduring. No other American story is so comforting. No other American story is so false."


"The most famous act in American political history never happened. Sandburg wrote tens of thousands of words about it. Lindsay wrote a poem about it. Copland wrote a musical portrait about it. King had a dream about it. But the awkward fact is that Abraham Lincoln didn't do it."


"It is in the precise sense scandalous that Americans, Black and White, are so totally misinformed on this subject. Professors, museum curators, media prophets say almost without exception that slavery in America was ended by a presidential edict."


"A growing body of evidence suggests that the Emancipation Proclamation was a ploy designed not to emancipate the slaves but to keep as many slaves as possible in slavery until Lincoln could mobilize support for his conservative plan to free Blacks gradually and to ship them out of the country. What Lincoln was trying to do, then, from our standpoint, was to outmaneuver the real emancipators and to contain the emancipation tide, which had reached such a dangerous intensity that it threatened his ability to govern and to run the war machinery. This is no mere theory; there is indisputable evidence on this point in documents and in the testimony of reliable witnesses, including Lincoln himself. The most telling testimony comes not from twentieth-century critics but from cronies and confidants who visited the White House and heard the words from Lincoln's mouth."


"What was Lincoln's real plan? It was the only emancipation plan he ever had: gradual emancipation, the slower the better, with compensation to slaveowners and the deportation of the emancipated."


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