Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here is an interesting letter to the editor as printed in the Chicago Tribune today:

"Sitting across the table from an archenemy"

By Steven Lubet

[Steven Lubet is a law professor at Northwestern University]

Describes a bit of history I was not familiar with. At the very end of the American Civil War, President Lincoln was quite willing and able, and did engage in negotiations with a leader of the Confederacy. Negotiations surprisingly held, at a moment when the Union forces held all the cards. Negotiations conducted and failing, but held in an atmosphere of earnestness, to prevent further loss of life and destruction of property.

"On Feb. 3, 1865, with the Civil War still raging, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Hampton Roads, Va., where he met with Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy"

"the two sides held a cordial discussion. Stephens asked if there was any way to make peace, or even to call a truce. But Lincoln was adamant. The only way to make peace was 'for those who were resisting the laws of the Union to cease that resistance'"

"Lincoln did, however, suggest a compromise. He offered to compensate Southern slaveholders for the loss of their 'property' [slaves] by appropriating as much as $400 million from the federal treasury, on the condition that the South submit immediately to the 'restoration of national authority.'"

That Lincoln was willing to sit down with the Vice-President of the Confederacy at this point in time is somewhat surprising. The Union forces were near to total victory on the battlefield. Southern land was occupied and being devastated by the army of the ever-advancing Sherman. Lee was in retreat and had no hope of EVER stopping Grant!! Again, the Union held all the cards and was on the ascendancy big time!!

Lincoln was a magnanimous man who sought post-war reconciliation!?

Undoubtedly so!


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