Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Mother of All Executive Orders

Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction was a charitable and humane offer issued by Mr. Lincoln on December 9, 1863 during the height of a bloody Civil War which he never wanted but was by God not going to lose for the purpose of giving the traitors states yet one more chance to end the slaughter by reestablishing "national authority and loyal state governments" as quickly as possible.

But of course, the Confederates, being Confederates, told him to pound sand  Or, as today's Washington Post would have reported it if they had been on the scene (via Brother Charles Pierce, with one amendment made by me):
Courtesy of our guest chefs today here at the Cafe, the editorial board of The Washington Post, the absolutely perfect Beltway word-souffle.
He has tried compromise, and the Republicans Confederates spurned him. We will not relitigate that last contention except to note that behind the legislative disappointments of the past six years lies fault on both sides.
Just. Fking. Wow.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, the 16th President of the United States of America:


WHEREAS, in and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment;” and

Whereas, a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal state governments of several states have for a long time been subverted, and many persons have committed, and are now guilty of, treason against the United States; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have been enacted by congress, declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated, and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any state or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such times and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare; and

Whereas, the congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon accords with well-established judicial exposition of the pardoning power; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion, the President of the United States has issued several proclamations, with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and

Whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal state governments within and for their respective states: Therefore–

I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:–

“I,                  , do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States there under; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by congress, or by decision of the supreme court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the supreme court. So help me God.”

The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are, or shall have been, military or naval officers of said so-called Confederate government above the rank of colonel in the army or of lieutenant in the navy; all who left seats in the United States congress to aid the rebellion; all who resigned commissions in the army or navy of the United States and afterwards aided the rebellion; and all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity.

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that whenever, in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, a number of persons, not less than one tenth in number of the votes cast in such state at the presidential election of the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, each having taken the oath aforesaid, and not having since violated it, and being a qualified voter by the election law of the state existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and excluding all others, shall re√ęstablish a state government which shall be republican, and in nowise contravening said oath, such shall be recognized as the true government of the state, and the state shall receive thereunder the benefits of the constitutional provision which declares that “the United States shall guaranty to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or the executive, (when the legislature cannot be convened,) against domestic violence.”

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that any provision which may be adopted by such state government in relation to the freed people of such state, which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent as a temporary arrangement with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the National Executive.

And it is suggested as not improper that, in constructing a loyal state government in any state, the name of the state, the boundary, the subdivisions, the constitution, and the general code of laws, as before the rebellion, be maintained, subject only to the modifications made necessary by the conditions hereinbefore stated, and such others, if any, not contravening said conditions, and which may be deemed expedient by those framing the new state government.

To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say that this proclamation, so far as it relates to state governments, has no reference to states wherein loyal state governments have all the while been maintained. And, for the same reason, it may be proper to further say, that whether members sent to congress from any state shall be admitted to seats constitutionally rests exclusively with the respective houses, and not to any extent with the Executive. And still further, that this proclamation is intended to present the people of the states wherein the national authority has been suspended, and loyal state governments have been subverted, a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal state governments may be re√ęstablished within said states, or in any of them; and while the mode presented is the best the Executive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.

Given under my hand at the city of Washington the eighth day of December, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth.


By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


Batocchio said...

Balloon Juice linked that editorial, and I was planning to pass it on if you hadn't already seen it. Oooyyyyy.

Basically, if you want honest, adult political discussion, stay away from mainstream Beltway outlets. It is simply not fucking allowed.

What's the best metaphor at this point for the "centrism" fetishists? Cops who lock up a battered wife who fights back? … Perhaps it's cops who receive a credible report that a known arsonist has committed arson, who then arrest the whistle-blower… and join the campaign to defund the fire department (in the name of unity).

Great choice with the Lincoln piece, by the way. (Also somewhat relevant, in terms of general pearl-clutching.)

Monster from the Id said...

In the years of Reconstruction, neither modern (electronic) mass communications nor modern propaganda techniques had yet been invented.

Given those limitations, how would it have been possible to change the toxic features of Confederate culture enough for Reconstruction to have succeeded?

This is not a rhetorical question; I actually want to know if something could have worked.

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion that the most important thing we could have done is crush the domestic terrorists in the form of militias and organizations like the KKK who were allowed to run rampant through south for 100 years after the close of the civil war. By not doing so the wrong message was sent and the ramifications haunt us today. I also think that all Confederate officers should have been banned from holding office beyond the principle level. Along with this some kind long term educational plan would have been nice.

It is a shame that the lost cause mentality and southern apologists were able to gain ground early and now hold so much sway.

- Andre

Horace Boothroyd III said...

@Monster Not to take away from your overall point, which is quite sound, but I think you misunderestimate the sophistication of propaganda in the age of mass newspapers, on a scale that we can not understand today, using the speed of light communication afforded by the telegraph which after twenty five years had become a mature medium.

My opinion, developed over forty years as a scholar in a non allied field reading serious non professional works is that Reconstruction might have succeeded at the point of the bayonet by rounding up every white person in South Carolina, selling him into slavery in Africa, resettling the open spaces with hard working freedmen, and telling Georgia "you're next." That and hanging every treasonous Confederate officer above the rank of Major and every politician above the office of mayor.

Like the Romans did, and they knew a thing or two about suppressing treason. Sowing the fields with salt would probably be excessive.

Dan said...

Not for nothing, but this is no longer contained by geography. Most states of the Union have been infected as the virus no longer recognizes the Mason Dixon line.
There are no "sides" only the uninfected VS brainless undead

Redhand said...

Your Photoshop: Normally I enjoy them, but this one just looks creepy. Although he was viciously caricatured when alive, perhaps Abe's image is too iconic now to be tampered with. Just sayin.

As for the WaPo, I long ago stopped considering it a serious news or opinion source. But thanks for pointing out this latest editorial dropping.

Monster from the Id said...

@HB3: Oh yeah, the omnipotent Romans. *rolls eyes*

Yeah, they crushed those troublemaking Jewish rebels once and for all, didn't they? The world never heard from the Jews again.

Oh, and what was the name of that Jewish offshoot religion the Romans went after? Croesusanity or something like that? Never heard from it again, either.

Yeah, why didn't the Union crush the Rebs the way they crushed those bothersome Commie Viets and Islamofascist Ay-rabs? Both of those luckless peoples now writhe in torment under the iron boots of Almighty Uncle Sam, never to rise again.

Oh, and how about that omnipotent police state which went from strength to strength, and now bestrides the world like a very Colossus, the USSR?

Kill one enemy, and two, three, many rise in his place, lusting for vengeance. See our Middle Eastern wars for details.

HB3's tactics would merely have provoked a second war, and might well have brought in one or more opportunistic foreign powers, at least as suppliers of guerrillas.

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."--Salvor Hardin

Monster from the Id said...

Afterthought: I just acquired a new respect for Lincoln. He knew exactly how much violence to use to defeat the Rebellion, without using so much as to provoke a second rebellion.

IIRC, Lincoln's Reconstruction plans were rather softer than what was actually enacted. Booth and company did the South no favors.

Horace Boothroyd III said...


Okay..... I guess next time I will try to be even more over the top in my exaggerated stupidity. But come on, didn't you find the tiniest bit of humor in the idea of kicking the arch secessionists out of the union and selling the slavers into slavery?

Horace Boothroyd III said...


Hi again. Just out of curiosity, with whom do you typically correspond? You don't present like a Freeper, so I am guessing Firebaggers or Kossacks or (but this is a stretch) what ever they style themselves at TheWeek. Lawyers, Guns, and Money doesn't feel right either. Don't answer if you don't like, I'm just interested.

Monster from the Id said...

@HB3: Apologies, dude--my Snark-O-Meter must have malfunctioned. I tend to use "snark tags" to avoid such misunderstandings.

The political/current events sites which I visit most often are this site (the only fairly-orthodox Democratic site I hang around at), The Confluence, Cannonfire, Antiwar.com, and Counterpunch--4 various shades of left, 1 libertarian right (although one can find a few leftists even at Antiwar).

Perhaps I deceive myself, but I pride myself on not easily belonging to any political "tribe"--the Great Murkan mythology of individualism and all that.

Horace Boothroyd III said...


I hear you, brother, and in fact I am always trying to calibrate myself - but you never really know where the mines are until you step on one.

And I learned something today, as I am somehow not familiar with Cannonfire & I will have to go check it out. Thanks.

Dan said...

OK, but how does that explain the Republicans in the north?
Sorry, but I m pretty much seeing pure greed behind this

Dan said...

Nothing like some good old Roman justice
They also knew a thing or about slavery
Good example

Monster from the Id said...

@Dan: Greed indeed--the whole "Southern Strategy" was, and still is, based on using non-economic issues to bamboozle non-elite white folks (such as moi) into voting against their economic self-interest, in the service of the greedy elite.

That is one reason, likely the main reason, for the non-Southern GOP.

However, one should also consider that since 1865, many people who were culturally "Southern" have migrated to states which did not belong to the former Confederacy, seeking better wages. Many of them stayed up North or out West and begat descendants. Hence, there are now many "Southerners" who don't live in Dixie. I remember Drifty writing about the prevalence of "Southern" attitudes in Illinois south of Chicago, and IIRC, the 1920s Klan was headquartered in Indianapolis.

Dan said...

OK, but I don't want to turn every issue into some kind of left wing version of Glen Becks NAZI Tourette's.
Also there is such a thing as taking responsibility for ones behavior.. I'm simply not going to give a pass to people based on 150 year geography.
Economic development and justice was happening until Jesus saint Reagan decimated the middle class and its been a beat down ever since

Anonymous said...

Sowing the fields with salt excessive? Hardly. Who ever heard of the Carthnigians again? Sherman should have burned all the south, sown every field with salt and not left two boards joined together or one stone stacked atop another

Monster from the Id said...

@Anon 4:39 PM:

That is basically what we have been doing in the Middle East, all propaganda from the Corporate Government and the Corporate Media notwithstanding.

Is it working?