Lincoln & Trump Rose to the Presidency in Times of Crisis, & Both Great Men Were Hated by Many

Paul Dowling
Written by Paul Dowling

“The illustrious Honest Old Abe has continued during the last week to make a fool of himself and to mortify and shame the intelligent people of this great nation.  His speeches have demonstrated the fact that although originally a Herculean rail splitter and more lately a whimsical story teller and side splitter, he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion.  People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party.  His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world.  The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President.  The truth is, Lincoln is only a moderate lawyer and in the larger cities of the Union could pass for no more than a facetious pettifogger.  Take him from his vocation and he loses even these small characteristics and indulges in simple twaddle which would disgrace a well bred school boy.”  —Words from the pages of the Salem Advocate, an Illinois newspaper, upon the election of Lincoln, who is alleged to be little more than a mediocre lawyer

“The Trump campaign may be win-win for Trump, but it is a monstrous dilemma for a lot of other people.  It is a dilemma for the Republican Party and a dilemma for the people Trump is running against.  They would love to dismiss him as a sideshow and declare his shark jumped [his show over], except he keeps dominating the campaign and the conversation, and they have no clue whether to engage, attack, ignore, or suck up in response.  It is a dilemma for the elected leaders, campaign strategists, credentialed pundits and assorted parasites of the ‘establishment.’  They have a certain set of expectations, unwritten rules and ways of doing things that Trump keeps flouting in the most indelicate of ways.  And, of course, it is a dilemma for the media, who fear abetting a circus.  This is why The Huffington Post announced in July that it would publish stories about Trump only in its ‘entertainment’ section, so that when it all ended, as it surely would soon, the website could remain pristine and on the side of the high-minded. . . .  Initially, I dismissed him as a nativist clown. . . .  And I was, of course, way too incredibly serious and high-minded to ever sully myself by getting so close to Donald Trump.”

—Mark Leibovich, on September 29, 2015, from the pages of The New York Times Magazine, upon what he saw as the sideshow clownishness of Trump’s campaign for the presidency

 

Unpopular Beginnings

The presidential election of 1860, which resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln, divided the nation and left the United States feeling largely unsatisfied in its aftermath.  Although Lincoln won 180 of 303 electoral votes—or 59.4% of the Electoral College—he won only 39.8% of the national popular vote.  And, by the time of his inauguration, it could rightly be said of Abraham Lincoln that he was much less popular than Donald Trump was when the New York mogul won the presidency 156 years later.  In fact, according to The Civil War Trust (https://www.civilwar.org/about), “[a]t the time Lincoln was sworn in, his ‘approval rating’ can be estimated by examining wintertime Republican losses in local elections in Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis, and state elections in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island; by the observations of Henry Adams (of the presidential Adamses) that ‘not a third of the House’ supported him; and by the published reckoning of the New York Herald that only 1 million of the 4.7 million who voted in November were still with him.  All these indications put his support in the nation at about 25 percent—roughly equivalent to the lowest approval ratings recorded by modern-day polling.”  Also, not too different from Donald Trump’s characterization by many of his critics as a “dunce” or “ignoramus” (http://www.newsweek.com/trump-dunce-or-ignoramus-and-does-it-matter-487914) was the similar description of Abraham Lincoln by Springfield Republican Samuel Bowles, when he wrote in a letter (https://www.civilwar.org/about) that “Lincoln is a ‘simple Susan.’”

 

Abe Lincoln Sneaks into the Nation’s Capital

It was Abolitionist Abe’s election to the presidency—although he was not even on the ballot in many states—that inspired the secession of seven Southern states before his inauguration could take place.  Lincoln’s views on slavery were well-known, having been highly publicized, due to his 1858 debates with Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois.  Lincoln saw the upholding of his Oath of Office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” as being a Constitutional duty that carried with it the solemn obligation to do everything within his power to preserve the Union.  But the eventual loftiness of Lincoln’s enterprise started from inauspicious beginnings, as the president-elect was forced to sneak into the capital aboard a secret midnight train to avoid assassination, disguised in an atypical-for-Lincoln soft-felt hat while sporting a face-veiling muffler and a bob-tailed coat.

 

Donald Trump Goes to Washington

Trump was not supposed to win the 2016 presidential election, according to the New York Times, which claimed late in the evening, after the polls had closed, “Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance to win.  Last updated Tuesday, November 8 at 10:20 PM ET” (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/upshot/presidential-polls-forecast.html).  The accompanying text read, “Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state and national polls.  A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible: Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 37-yard field goal.”  The amount of hubris expressed in the New York Times’ write-up is hard to fathom, especially after Trump had demonstrated an uncanny ability to take out his 16 Republican rivals, one by one, in a popular series of nationally-televised debates.

On Election Day, Trump won 30 states, and he went on to win 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227.  But the national polls indicated that, by the time of his inauguration, Trump’s popularity was polling down near 40%.  This was not as low as Lincoln’s popularity had been prior to taking office, but it did present challenges for the nascent presidency of Donald Trump.  All of the uncertainty surrounding the new president-elect can be attributed, in large part, to an unending barrage of negative news coverage by a biased press corps, 96% of whom were registered as Democrats, many of whom had donated to the Hillary Clinton campaign, and virtually all of whom had been rooting for a Clinton win.  The nonstop anti-Trump collusion by the Hollywood media should not be surprising, since just six companies control 90% of American media (http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6).

Upon completing his inaugural address, Trump found himself faced with threats of impeachment by obstructionist Democrats.  This was the first time in history that a president has been so threatened, immediately upon assuming office, and with no basis in law for the threat.  Trump had not even taken any action as president, and he was already being faced with the threat of an investigation in search of a crime—a veritable “witch hunt.”  Punished by subversive leaks and bureaucratic foot-dragging from his first day in office, Trump nevertheless began to work steadily towards implementing his agenda and making good on his promises to American voters, despite the weaponization of the Deep State against him by the outgoing president, an unprecedented act in the annals of presidential history.

 

Lincoln Was No Dictator & Was Not Even Close to Being One

President Abraham Lincoln, while he exercised extraordinary clout under his war powers as Commander-in-Chief, never rose to the actual level of being a dictator.  Had Lincoln wished to have a go at such an un-Constitutional power-grab as the assumption of absolute power, then it could safely be said that the man had no respect for the US Constitution.  However, Lincoln’s repeated citations of the Constitution, along with his careful legal justifications for acting the way he did, demonstrate his deep concern for not overstepping his bounds—or at least not doing so in any way that could not be quickly rectified by Congressional action, if there had been any actual concerns about the executive’s possible encroachment into the legislative sphere.

 

Lincoln’s Suspension of Habeas Corpus

The strongest criticisms of Lincoln came about from the potency with which he acted during his first few months in office.  Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, and was already calling Congress into special session three days after the Confederates’ April 12th attack on Fort Sumter to prevent the resupply of the fort with foodstuffs.  It was during this time that Lincoln suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which is allowed under the Suspension Clause of the US Constitution, per Article I, Section 9, Clause 2: “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”  Lincoln’s claim was that he did so as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during an inarguable time of rebellion, and his Constitutional concerns prompted him to address the Congress on the selfsame day Congress convened, on July 4, 1861.

Concerning his April 27th suspension of the Writ on part of the Florida coast, and his July 2nd order authorizing suspension of the Writ between Philadelphia and New York, Lincoln gave the justification that “we have a case of rebellion, and the public safety does require” the use of that [suspension] clause.  Lincoln continued (https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0029.205/–lincoln-s-suspension-of-the-writ-of-habeas-corpus?rgn=main;view=fulltext): “Now it is insisted that Congress, and not the Executive, is vested with this power [as the Suspension Clause is in Article I, which describes the powers of Congress].  But the Constitution itself is silent as to which, or who, is to exercise the power; and as the provision was plainly made for a dangerous emergency, it cannot be believed the framers of the instrument intended that, in every case, the danger should run its course, until Congress could be called together; the very assembling of which might be prevented . . . by the rebellion. . . .  Whether there shall be any legislation upon the subject, and if any, what, is submitted entirely to the better judgment of Congress.”  Congress, in taking no immediate action, thereby allowed Lincoln’s action to stand without criticism, although Congress did eventually give sanction to Lincoln’s use of the Suspension Clause, by legislative action, on March 3, 1863.

 

Lincoln Never Really Behaved Like a Dictator

If Lincoln were a dictator, the worst of his adversaries would surely have been jailed for the terrible invective they used against him.  An editor of a Wisconsin newspaper wrote the following (https://studyres.com/doc/15309435/-dictator-lincoln—surveying-lincoln-and-the-constitution): “The man who votes for Lincoln is a traitor because Lincoln is a traitor and a murderer.  And if he is elected to misgovern for another four years, we trust some bold hand will pierce his heart with a dagger point for the public good.”  Nothing happened to the editor. Indeed, many newspapers spewed hateful, over-the-top rhetoric about Lincoln.  It is also true that the number of people who were imprisoned during the Civil War by means which arguably violated their civil rights were generally being arrested in areas that had come under military control.  In his authority over the military courts, within the scope of his authority to declare and enforce martial law during wartime, Lincoln was bound to encounter Constitutional gray areas.

Lincoln would continue to run afoul of public opinion upon his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.  William O. Stoddard, the secretary who read and screened Lincoln’s mail, wrote (https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/evidence-unpopular-mr-lincoln): “[Dictator] is what the Opposition press and orators of all sizes are calling him.  Witness, also, the litter on the floor and the heaped-up wastebaskets.  There is no telling how many editors and how many other penmen within these past few days have undertaken to assure him that this is a war for the Union only, and that they never gave him any authority to run it as an Abolition war.  They never, never told him that he might set the negroes free, and, now that he has done so, or futilely pretended to do so, he is a more unconstitutional tyrant and a more odious dictator than ever he was before.”

 

The Emancipation Proclamation: A Carefully-Crafted Document

It must be pointed out just how careful Lincoln was in his drafting of the Emancipation Proclamation.  In order to stay carefully within Constitutional boundaries, this executive order authorized military commanders to free the slaves only in the ten states still in rebellion at the time the order was issued.  The proclamation also said that suitable persons among those freed could be admitted into the US armed forces.  This executive order did not outlaw slavery in the Union or in any areas under Union control.  The Emancipation Proclamation (https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation/transcript.html) was carefully crafted within the guidelines set by the Constitution, since it did not apply to the four slave states not in rebellion (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri); nor did it apply to Tennessee, since that state had been occupied since 1862.  Lower Louisiana was excluded, as were the counties of Virginia later to become West Virginia.  It would take the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, in December 1865, to accomplish universal emancipation.  Lincoln’s careful construction of the proclamation hardly helps his detractors in their assertions that Lincoln acted as a dictator.

 

The Horrible Maltreatment of Donald Trump & His Family

Before Trump was able to make his first executive decision, he was faced with a resistance movement sponsored by his political opponents.  Regardless of the fact that Trump has exercised care to stay within Constitutional bounds as president, the drumbeat of “Impeach 45” [since Trump is the 45th president] has been continuous.  Accusations of collusion with the Russians have been universally promoted as truth by a media culture that no longer believes in verifying information through credible sourcing or the Constitutional principle that people are “innocent until proven guilty.”  And, indeed, if there has been any evidence of Russian collusion, it has been along the lines of Hillary Clinton’s having colluded, not Donald Trump.  Clinton’s Russian collusion came about in the form of the Uranium One Scandal, whereby Clinton, as Secretary of State, approved the sale of over 20% of America’s uranium to Russia’s Rosatom, in exchange for a $145 million donation to the Clinton Foundation (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html).  Also, there was Clintonian collusion in Hillary’s payment of British spy Christopher Steele to work with Russian operatives to create a false dossier on Donald Trump for the purpose of obtaining an illegal FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant allowing Democrats in the government to spy on the Trump campaign (http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/26/nolte-hillary-clinton-colluded-with-russians-to-rig-election-against-trump/).

 

Trump’s promise during the campaign to “drain the Swamp” [of corruption in the nation’s capital] has doubtless made him a hated target of public officials in Washington, DC, who are likely to be compromised by the justice that Trump insists must be brought to bear, in order to rid the land of a corrupt two-tiered justice system.  It is political corruption of the highest order that is eroding the ability of American citizens to live with any feeling of conviction that America is safe within its borders or that American citizens can rightfully claim to live in a land of freedom and justice for all, according to the rule of law.  By stirring up a proverbial hornets’ nest upon his arrival in Washington as an outsider, beholden to none, and insisting that America’s Constitutional protections and its right to national sovereignty be restored, Trump has invoked the wrath of the Hollywood Media/Washington Establishment axis.  Thus, Trump has been heartlessly depicted as being brutally decapitated.  According to TMZ (https://www.tmz.com/2017/05/31/barron-trump-thought-donald-beheaded-image-real/), “Trump family sources tell us [the president’s son] Barron was in front of the TV watching a show when the news came on and he saw the bloody, beheaded image.  We’re told he panicked and screamed, ‘Mommy, Mommy!’  As it was put to us, ‘He’s 11.  He doesn’t know who Kathy Griffin is and the head she was holding resembled his dad.’  Melania called out Kathy, saying what she did was disturbing, wrong and ‘makes you wonder about [her] mental health.’  President Trump also blasted Griffin for posing with the head, saying, Barron was having a hard time dealing with it.”

This brutal maltreatment of those associated with Trump was nothing new, however, as presidential advisor Stephen Miller had also been previously depicted as being decapitated with his head impaled on a spike (http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/02/14/colbert-depicts-stephen-miller-head-on-spike/).  Also, the rapper Snoop Dogg had been openly calling for President Trump’s assassination, going so far as to act it out in a rap video (http://freebeacon.com/culture/anti-trump-activists-call-presidents-assassination/).  America looked on while none of these entertainers were ever investigated, which only helped to justify the votes of Trump supporters who, during the presidential campaign, saw a two-tiered system of corruption reflected in the biased media coverage as well as in the kangaroo investigation of Clinton’s classified email deletion scandal; and now they saw a failure to protect their duly-elected Republican president by a system that would have protected Democrat Barack Obama by investigating anyone who might make threatening statements or gestures towards him or his family.

 

Democrats Accuse Trump of Being Hitler

Accusations that Trump is a dictator erupted soon after his inauguration.  And comparisons between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump abounded throughout the press.  Even the Washington Post (http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2017/03/02/adolf-hitler-washington-post-likens-donald-trump-voice/) lied about the president, after President Trump stood up for the victims of illegal-alien criminals, by denouncing the president as anti-immigration and racist, as well as implying that Trump is anti-Semitic.  Unmentioned is the fact that Donald Trump is married to an immigrant—Melania—and that his election to the presidency has made Trump the first president to be both parent and grand-parent of observant Jews (http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/207978/trumps-jews).  The danger of repeatedly crying “wolf” with regard to every action Trump takes is that any legitimate concern the media may voice in the future will be hard for the public to take seriously.

 

Lincoln & Trump: Men for Their Times

Just as Abraham Lincoln was a man for his time, who saved America’s republic by giving it “a new birth of freedom,” Donald Trump also found himself to be the indispensable man in his efforts to rescue the American republic from big-government tyranny and deep-state despotism.  Both men were vigorously vilified and threatened with assassination.  Lincoln is now regarded as one of the all-time greatest presidents.  Trump’s time in office is not yet finished, but many now believe the potential for him to restore the separation of powers and American federalism under the Constitution is real.  Will Trump, like Lincoln, be seen as one of America’s greatest presidents?  Only time will tell, but it is a strong possibility.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Paul Dowling

Paul Dowling

Paul Dowling is an American patriot whose mission in life is to educate and enlighten his fellow citizens about the correct principles for facilitating a life of freedom and a culture based upon the Golden Rule, as well as to do whatever is in his power to help protect his countrymen from their government.

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