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Separate and Unequal

Alexander H. Stephens, on March 21, 1861, delivered in Savannah, Georgia what came to be known as the Cornerstone Speech: "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

"This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity...

"Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. ... This stone which was rejected by the first builders "is become the chief of the corner" the real "corner-stone" in our new edifice."

During the Lincoln-Douglas debates in Ottowa, Illinois on August 21, 1858 Lincoln said: "I have no disposition to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together on terms of respect, social and political equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there should be a superiority somewhere, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position;"

Lincoln repeated the same idea at Charleston, Illinois on September 18, 1858: "I will say then, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people...there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man."

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln on September 22, 1862 as an executive order in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief on the grounds of military necessity and consistency.

Lincoln's idea of what to do with freed blacks was to have them leave the US. He stated so very plainly on August 14, 1862 in "Address on Colonization to a Committee of Colored Men, Washington, DC. " the President, after a few preliminary observations, informed them that a sum of money had been appropriated by Congress, and placed at his disposition, for the purpose of aiding the colonization, in some country, of the people, or a portion of them, of African descent, thereby making it his duty, as it had for a long time been his inclination, to favor that cause. And why, he asked, should the people of your race be colonized, and where? Why should they leave this country? This is, perhaps, the first question for proper consideration. You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss; but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think. Your race suffer very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason, at least, why we should be separated. ... Your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on any people. But even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race. You are cut off from many of the advantages which the other race enjoys. The aspiration of men is to enjoy equality with the best when free, but on this broad continent not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours.... There is an unwillingness on the part of our people, harsh as it may be, for you free colored people to remain with us."




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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:33:10 ZULU