I år är det 150 år sedan president Abraham Lincoln påbörjade det som blev en andra amerikansk revolution i syfte att återupprätta självständighetsförklaringens idéer om alla människors lika rätt till frihet. Jag har tidigare bloggat om sydstaternas utträde, Statskuppen i Södern.
Lincoln hade flera brister, men hans synpunkter på slaveriet var baserade på fundamentalt liberala principer, vilket Timothy Sandefur beskriver här angående debatterna mellan Lincoln och Stephen Douglas, som 1860 blev nordstatsdemokraternas presidentkandidat. Och flera av Lincolns brister överträffades av sydstaterna. Likaledes hade The Founding Fathers brister, men äkta liberaler missar inte det unika i sammanhanget vad beträffar deras insatser för idéerna om individens rättigheter och en begränsad stat.
”The American Revolution was legitimate only insofar as it was based on principles that necessitated the ultimate demise of slavery. The founders admitted this. And it was precisely for this reason that Lincoln believed that the fathers had placed slavery in the course of ultimate extinction. It was when the south abandoned that principle–when the south ceased to be ashamed of slavery and insisted that it be made national and perpetual–that the war came. Lincoln sought to find some way that slavery might ultimately and peaceful end, as the Revolutionary principles required and without which the Revolution would lose any justification. And the south chose to start a war rather than see that happen. In short, it was precisely because the founders acknowledged the inconsistency of slavery, and pledged themselves to principles requiring its demise that their act was justified; it was the Confederacy’s pledge to perpetuate slavery as a fundamental principle of their society that not only obliterated their own claim to legitimacy, but also cast a cloud of doubt over the legitimacy of the Revolution itself.
To borrow an analogy from Lincoln and from Martin Luther King, one might say the founders were operating on moral credit, borrowed from the principles of equality and liberty, which they could make good only by ending slavery. The Confederacy sought to default on that debt–no, to simply expropriate the loan. The Lincoln Administration did not seek to pay it immediately, but to simply acknowledge that it was a debt, and to move toward its eventual payment. The south, however, chose to begin a war rather than see that done.”
Läs även min senare bloggpost Constitution Day.