"With malice toward none, with charity for all..."" Not A question, but THE question

The words are from Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address.

He didn't extol liberty, justice or equality for all...

He carefully and meticulously chose both the word, and the concept of "charity for. all".

Why "charity" rather than the other virtues and values I've given here?

Views: 264

Comment by Ron Powell on August 20, 2018 at 11:06pm

Here's a hint:

This post was inspired by Amy's post and my response to it:

http://oursalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/this-pope-s-welcoming-lgbt-...

Comment by koshersalaami on August 21, 2018 at 4:47am

let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan”

I don’t think the liberty or equality of the Confederates in the aftermath of the war would be the issue. These people were just shooting at the North and just finished “wringing their bread from the sweat of other mens’ faces” (well, not exactly finished, but slavery was technically about to be over) and yet they will have suffered from the war, as will the widows and orphans of Confederate war dead. Effective reunification entailed, as far as Lincoln was concerned, not revenge toward the enemy but charity, help. In spite of the fact that they were just the Union’s enemies, Lincoln is saying that they will still need the nation’s care, that they will be Americans and should be treated as such. 

Lincoln’s whole sentence:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on August 21, 2018 at 5:24am

To paraphrase, "Get the fuck out of my face with that platitudinous, euphemistic 'welcome' 'charity' bullshit and stick it up your ass...".

Lincoln's use of "charity" was to telegraph that there would not be a peace between equals.  It was used to convey a HUUUGE power differential and gave the green light to the hordes of Northern Carpetbaggers who raped the South of any real wealth & power for decades.

It also was a "brilliant" work around that prevented having to acknowledge and/or ::gasp:: pay reparations to those who suffered through American government sanctioned kidnapping and slavery. 

Lincoln was a lot of things, but one thing he was NOT was an advocate for "equality for all"

Comment by koshersalaami on August 21, 2018 at 5:37am

Lincoln was dead by the time there were carpetbaggers. I don’t think they were his intention. He was worried about facilitating reunification, which is I think what this passage is about. This passage is not about former slaves, it’s about treatment of Confederate Whites. 

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on August 21, 2018 at 6:51am

That the passage  "is not" about slaves was on purpose.  That is the point.  Lincoln was NOT an Abolitionist and did NOT believe blacks should have the same rights as whites.  Once again, that is the point.  The last thing he wanted to do was promote "equality".

Lincoln's policies were directly responsible for the carpetbaggers (i.e. Northern capitalists).  He might not have been alive by the time the hordes descended, but he sure as hell got them to the starting line.  Even though "venerated" by many, Lincoln was every bit as "Corpocracy" owned as Obama and Trump.

Comment by Ron Powell on August 21, 2018 at 7:55am

There was a time, in certain social circles, or the 'higher' echelons of society, when "being charitable" meant being tolerant of the "unwashed masses".

Lincoln's choice of wording was a call to tolerance. The tolerance required to move forward....Tolerance of repatriated rebels and tolerance of newly freed slaves...

Amy, you're correct re the fact that while Lincoln may have been an abolitionist, he certainly was not an egalitarian.

Most politicians of the time were beholden to money interests, but given that the industrial revolution was just beginning to pick up steam, corporate entities didn't have the influential impact that they have today...

It was Andrew Johnson who changed the course of Reconstruction in such a manner as to solidify and cement the North/South political and social schism and dichotomy that persists to this day.

Kosh, the "charity" of which Lincoln spoke is the non-monetary social, CHRISTIAN, virtue or value of 'tolerance' of and for those viewed as being of lesser status or stature:

"unwashed-masses. Noun. (plural only) (idiomatic) The collective group ("mass") of people who are considered by someone to be somehow uneducated, uninformed, or in some other way unqualified for inclusion in the speaker's elite circles"

----Wikipedia

The subject or target groups of such 'charity' were the defeated Confederacy and the newly freed slaves...

At one point Lincoln was seriously considering paying black people to return to Africa...

A plan that Frederick Douglass vehemently opposed...

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on August 21, 2018 at 8:00am

In the mid-19th C "charity" (also) meant a reaching out, an effort to understand the 'other' even w.o forgiving...the kind of understanding that, while it did not excuse serious moral and political transgressions (such as secession or slavery), recognised that any degree of national healing could occur only if victors, regardless of the emotions they harbored,  restrained their desires to punish utterly, destroy utterly, thus making re-Union wholly impossible.

Lincoln was a wiser and better man that I likely would have been in the same moment.

Comment by koshersalaami on August 21, 2018 at 8:35am

I don’t know why anyone is attempting to argue with me about Lincoln’s egalitarianism. I don’t think his speech has anything to do with that, nor do I think he was egalitarian. 

My take is the same as Jon’s.

Comment by Ron Powell on August 21, 2018 at 8:39am

@JW; "In the mid-19th C "charity" (also) meant a reaching out, an effort to understand the 'other' even w.o forgiving...the kind of understanding that, while it did not excuse serious moral and political transgressions (such as secession or slavery)..."

I would argue that this is where the Catholic Church stands re "acceptance" of LGBTQ individuals and their community...

Hence my reaction and response...

This "acceptance" or "tolerance" is as condescending as it gets and is about as conciliatory as Jim Crow and the system of sharecropping....

Comment by Ron Powell on August 21, 2018 at 8:53am

Kosh, no one is arguing your point re Lincoln's posture re equality...

If anything it's a reaffirmation of the fact that he did not see black people as equals...

My argument is that he very much had the status and condition of the newly freed black population in mind when he carefully and meticulously chose to encourage the Christian virtue and value of "charity"  for all rather than the social or political virtues and values of liberty, justice, and/or equality.

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