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Tags abraham lincoln , alternate history

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Old 8th February 2020, 12:37 PM   #1
Bob001
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Suppose Lincoln had lived?

The mentions recently of Andrew Johnson as the first President to be impeached have left me wondering: Suppose he had never been President at all? Suppose JW Booth had been stopped, and Lincoln had lived out his second term? Johnson would not have been able to sabotage Reconstruction, and Lincoln would have been a force for reconciliation and progress. Where would we be today if Lincoln had had four more years? Discuss.

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Old 8th February 2020, 03:52 PM   #2
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For one thing, there'd be a lot fewer cities and towns named "Lincoln."
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Old 8th February 2020, 04:42 PM   #3
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We wouldn't have all those stupid Lincoln/Kennedy assassination coincidences!
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Old 8th February 2020, 07:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
For one thing, there'd be a lot fewer cities and towns named "Lincoln."
Sure, not as many. But, I'll bet there'd still be a lot of them.
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Old 9th February 2020, 03:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The mentions recently of Andrew Johnson as the first President to be impeached have left me wondering: Suppose he had never been President at all? Suppose JW Booth had been stopped, and Lincoln had lived out his second term? Johnson would not have been able to sabotage Reconstruction, and Lincoln would have been a force for reconciliation and progress. Where would we be today if Lincoln had had four more years? Discuss.
Well there are three possible sets of circumstances to deal with.

1. No-one ever attempted to assassinate Lincoln

2. Someone stopped Booth before he could attempt the assassination

3. Booth attempted the assassination, but Lincoln survived

IMO, the timeline might proceed very differently depending on which of the above scenarios we are discussing, but generally, thing might be different today than they are in reality.

Generally speaking the following might have happened IMO...

Reconstruction might have gone a lot more smoothly and been a lot more forgiving of the south (more like the way the US treated Japan after WW2 than the way Germany was treated after WW1).

We may have seen the Whigs in political power in the South, with Lincoln's support, as they were seen as reluctant secessionists rather than the Democrats who were enthusiastic.

The Civil Rights movement might have happened a lot earlier, say, in the 1920s, and have been far less widespread. It is even possible the there might have been no Civil Rights movement at all because the emancipation of slaves as well as their suffrage, might have happened a lot sooner - and segragation might never have happened.

Remember, the radical Republicans at the time wanted to confiscate the plantations and divide them among the former slaves - that would have been a disaster, and may eventually have led to second Civil War.

There are people in the South who, after almost 160 years, are still deeply resentful of the way in which the region was treated after the Civil War. If Lincoln had lived, and he helped to make that treatment less harsh, then the deep seated resentment we see now might either be far less than it is, of even not exist at all.

With all of the above a possibility, if we fast forward to 2020, American society might not be as racially divided as it is now, because much of the South's current resentment of the North would not be there to fuel it.

EDIT: I could add more about other aspects including education and the economy of the South, but I'll wait to see if others want to join the discussion. So far, there have just been silly remarks so I'm not wasting time on it of no-one wants genuine discussion.
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Old 9th February 2020, 07:46 PM   #6
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Old 9th February 2020, 08:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The mentions recently of Andrew Johnson as the first President to be impeached have left me wondering: Suppose he had never been President at all? Suppose JW Booth had been stopped, and Lincoln had lived out his second term? Johnson would not have been able to sabotage Reconstruction, and Lincoln would have been a force for reconciliation and progress. Where would we be today if Lincoln had had four more years? Discuss.
Lincoln always to me was a “people’s president” because of the stories (log cabin, studying by firelight, etc.) but of course those tales may only have been told as legends are created after the departure of a great one and thus my take on his popularity in the nation could be distorted by that.

With the exception of Johnson becoming president by assassination, the next 4 presidents had all been U.S. Army Generals during the war. This makes me feel that sentiments about the war were still a factor in presidential elections for some years afterward so I believe that Lincoln may have been re-elected, should he have chosen to run, beyond the 2 term custom and may have worn us out long before FDR was even a gleam.

Also, Lincoln being a “people’s president”, the luxury automobile named after him might look more like a Volkswagen.
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Old 10th February 2020, 12:28 PM   #8
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I suppose my view is based on what actually happened, but I have a hard time conceiving a history where the white power structure would have ever acquiesced to equal relations with the former slaves, no matter how benevolent the President.
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Roberts View Post
I suppose my view is based on what actually happened, but I have a hard time conceiving a history where the white power structure would have ever acquiesced to equal relations with the former slaves, no matter how benevolent the President.
And yet, other countries that had slavery did just that.

In the UK, slavery was abolished in 1833/34, some 32 years before the USA ratified 13A, but they never had a skin colour based civil rights movement, or segregation in education, or separate public facilities for blacks. There was no Rosa Parks or MLK because there wasn't a need for one.

I wonder what might have happened in Britain had PM William Grenville been assassinated before he could introduce the Slave Trade Act of 1807, or PM Charles Grey had been assassinated before he could introduce the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.



Full disclosure: My family's dirty little secret... one of my ancestors was Captain James Millbank, skipper of two slaver ships in the late 1780s... the "Chance" and the "Sally".
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Old 10th February 2020, 05:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
In the UK, slavery was abolished in 1833/34, some 32 years before the USA ratified 13A, but they never had a skin colour based civil rights movement, or segregation in education, or separate public facilities for blacks. There was no Rosa Parks or MLK because there wasn't a need for one.

OTOH, the UK's black population was rather small until the 1950s, which may have had a larger bearing on the issue than any inherent niceness of the population.
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Old 10th February 2020, 06:09 PM   #11
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I don't believe that single men, even if they are presidents, can shape the heads of people all over the land so radically as to fast-forward social developments by decades.

I think part of the reason Lincoln and Kennedy are remembered as greats is because they didn't have as much opportunity to spoil the good looks of their first years.
Same with Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, ...
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Old 10th February 2020, 08:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
And yet, other countries that had slavery did just that.

In the UK, slavery was abolished in 1833/34, some 32 years before the USA ratified 13A, but they never had a skin colour based civil rights movement, or segregation in education, or separate public facilities for blacks. There was no Rosa Parks or MLK because there wasn't a need for one.
Originally Posted by Retrograde View Post
OTOH, the UK's black population was rather small until the 1950s, which may have had a larger bearing on the issue than any inherent niceness of the population.
Indeed. Even today, it's what, 3% of the population? It's not remotely a valid comparison. There was an MLK as well, he was just in India, not the UK.
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
I don't believe that single men, even if they are presidents, can shape the heads of people all over the land so radically as to fast-forward social developments by decades.
Really?

How do you think history would have unfolded if those unknown gunmen had successfully shot and killed Adolph Hitler in the November 1921 Munich Beer Hall melee?

Failing that, what if Maurice Bavaud’s plot to assassinate Hitler in 1938 had succeeded? Would our history be unchanged?
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Old 11th February 2020, 12:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
We wouldn't have all those stupid Lincoln/Kennedy assassination coincidences!
If Lincoln didn't get assassinated, neither would Kennedy.
I thought that was obvious.
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Old 11th February 2020, 05:12 AM   #15
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Mass deportations of black to Africa perhaps. Lincoln vocally supported the "Back to Africa" movement in the years prior to the ACW and most likely would have teamed with community leaders in the north to do so during Reconstruction. Though by 1865 it wasn't a particularly plausible idea.
For those who remain in the USA a lasting commitment to AA citizenship, suffrage, and civil rights is much more likely Than under Johnson. Possibly also female suffrage rather earlier. Though this would conflict with his "Let 'em up easy" policies, and likely cause Congressional problems.
Then there's his family, possibly a political dynasty?
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Old 11th February 2020, 05:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Really?

How do you think history would have unfolded if those unknown gunmen had successfully shot and killed Adolph Hitler in the November 1921 Munich Beer Hall melee?

Failing that, what if Maurice Bavaud’s plot to assassinate Hitler in 1938 had succeeded? Would our history be unchanged?
In Hitler's case, I'm sure some other nutjob would've kept the momentum going. At that time, Germany was ready to blow.
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:52 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Really?

How do you think history would have unfolded if those unknown gunmen had successfully shot and killed Adolph Hitler in the November 1921 Munich Beer Hall melee?

Failing that, what if Maurice Bavaud’s plot to assassinate Hitler in 1938 had succeeded? Would our history be unchanged?
I did not say, nor suggest or imply, that history would be "unchanged". I thought my wording was clear: that a single person could not "shape the heads of people all over the land so radically as to fast-forward social developments by decades".
Two elements:
  • "shape the heads of people all over the land radically" and
  • "fast-forward social developments by decades".

Let's see about successfully assassinating Hitler.

Then, obviously, Germany would not have slid from political crisis and the 1929ff world economic crisis into specifically the 1933 Hitler dictatorship - but surely Democracy was very much on life support by 1932, when Hitler was but one of many grave diggers. Sooner or later (and probably sooner), Weimar would have been virtually dead, some non-democratic regime established, quite certainly of the far-right nationalist flavor. Antisemitism already existed and would not have disappeared. The balance between powers was untenable and would have shifted dramatically within less than two decades. The communist threat from the Soviet Union would have been perceived, I think a Great European War before the end of the 1940s would have been pretty likely.

We can discuss whether there had been this drastic anti-Jewish program, whether the war would have been delayed, and how development in a hypothetical non-war period 1939-1945 would have changed the course the war that was ultimately to come.

But the shape of the heads in Germany would not have been gravely different under another right-wing leader, and we would not have fast-forwarded to pan-European friendship and Wirtschaftswunder without an intervening catastrophe.
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
In Hitler's case, I'm sure some other nutjob would've kept the momentum going. At that time, Germany was ready to blow.
I disagree.

Hitler was the driving force behind the NSDAP, which only have a membership of about 50 in 1921 (it rose to over 8 million by 1945). If he had been killed right then, it is very unlikely that the Nazis would have got a political foothold in the Weimar Republic.

But I digress. I think one man can make a difference - Lincoln was killed for what he believed, and to prevent what the conspirators believed he could achieve. I think a living Abraham Lincoln would have resulted in a very different USA to what we see today.
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Old 11th February 2020, 10:23 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The mentions recently of Andrew Johnson as the first President to be impeached have left me wondering: Suppose he had never been President at all? Suppose JW Booth had been stopped, and Lincoln had lived out his second term? Johnson would not have been able to sabotage Reconstruction, and Lincoln would have been a force for reconciliation and progress. Where would we be today if Lincoln had had four more years? Discuss.
I have a hard time with couterfactuals that go so far back.

A butterfly flaps its wings and we get a hurricane.

You go back 155 years and there's so much room for reactions and counter reactions. We can start to imagine the most immediate consequences, but when it comes down to where that would lead us today, it feels like a random guess.

Maybe reconcilliation would have gone better. Maybe the a thwated Booth would have become a hero and a rallying point for a second confederacy.

Maybe a stronger, more unified US nearly a century later would have been more isolationist and never gotten involved in the 2nd world war and Hitler would have won.

Maybe a young Hitler would have seen the increased racial harmony in the US and rethought his views and there never would have been any Nazis.

Anything is possible, nothing has any weight.
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Old 12th February 2020, 09:37 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Hitler was the driving force behind the NSDAP, which only have a membership of about 50 in 1921 (it rose to over 8 million by 1945). If he had been killed right then, it is very unlikely that the Nazis would have got a political foothold in the Weimar Republic.
Agreed. Without Hitler, a communist revolution seems more likely, leading to a very different 20th Century.
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Old 12th February 2020, 09:57 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
Agreed. Without Hitler, a communist revolution seems more likely, leading to a very different 20th Century.

There was a work of fiction I read in which Hitler and the other leaders were killed during the Beer Hall Putsch. The Communists took over Germany and they and Russia gradually divided a good portion of Eastern Europe between them, before eventually waging war against each other, with other countries taking various sides. The ultimate result was nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare across a good portion of Europe and Asia and a rabidly anti-Communist fascist government coming to power in the US. Trotsky returned to Russia and overthrew Stalin early in the history, and I remember a Communist assassinating Queen Elizabeth at her coronation.
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:20 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
There was a work of fiction I read in which Hitler and the other leaders were killed during the Beer Hall Putsch. The Communists took over Germany and they and Russia gradually divided a good portion of Eastern Europe between them, before eventually waging war against each other, with other countries taking various sides. The ultimate result was nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare across a good portion of Europe and Asia and a rabidly anti-Communist fascist government coming to power in the US. Trotsky returned to Russia and overthrew Stalin early in the history, and I remember a Communist assassinating Queen Elizabeth at her coronation.
Can you remember the title? It sounds awesome.
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:26 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Well there are three possible sets of circumstances to deal with.

1. No-one ever attempted to assassinate Lincoln

2. Someone stopped Booth before he could attempt the assassination

3. Booth attempted the assassination, but Lincoln survived

IMO, the timeline might proceed very differently depending on which of the above scenarios we are discussing, but generally, thing might be different today than they are in reality.

Generally speaking the following might have happened IMO...

Reconstruction might have gone a lot more smoothly and been a lot more forgiving of the south (more like the way the US treated Japan after WW2 than the way Germany was treated after WW1).

We may have seen the Whigs in political power in the South, with Lincoln's support, as they were seen as reluctant secessionists rather than the Democrats who were enthusiastic.

The Civil Rights movement might have happened a lot earlier, say, in the 1920s, and have been far less widespread. It is even possible the there might have been no Civil Rights movement at all because the emancipation of slaves as well as their suffrage, might have happened a lot sooner - and segragation might never have happened.

Remember, the radical Republicans at the time wanted to confiscate the plantations and divide them among the former slaves - that would have been a disaster, and may eventually have led to second Civil War.

There are people in the South who, after almost 160 years, are still deeply resentful of the way in which the region was treated after the Civil War. If Lincoln had lived, and he helped to make that treatment less harsh, then the deep seated resentment we see now might either be far less than it is, of even not exist at all.

With all of the above a possibility, if we fast forward to 2020, American society might not be as racially divided as it is now, because much of the South's current resentment of the North would not be there to fuel it.

EDIT: I could add more about other aspects including education and the economy of the South, but I'll wait to see if others want to join the discussion. So far, there have just been silly remarks so I'm not wasting time on it of no-one wants genuine discussion.
The South had it coming. Freakin Bumpkins..
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:28 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
The South had it coming. Freakin Bumpkins..
You mean, the civil war? Yes, they did. They in fact started it.
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:43 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You mean, the civil war? Yes, they did. They in fact started it.
Zombie Lincoln will rise again!
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:58 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
Can you remember the title? It sounds awesome.

It was actually an adventure for the Champions tabletop RPG called "Wings of the Valkyrie", published in 1987. It can be hard to find a copy because the publisher recalled it and destroyed it after negative fan response. Time travelers kill Hitler, creating the timeline that I described. The players then have to go back in time themselves, save Hitler, and make sure World War II and the Holocaust happen normally. The altered historical events were detailed in a multipage appendix at the end.
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Old 12th February 2020, 11:34 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
It was actually an adventure for the Champions tabletop RPG called "Wings of the Valkyrie", published in 1987. It can be hard to find a copy because the publisher recalled it and destroyed it after negative fan response. Time travelers kill Hitler, creating the timeline that I described. The players then have to go back in time themselves, save Hitler, and make sure World War II and the Holocaust happen normally. The altered historical events were detailed in a multipage appendix at the end.
Available in paperback from Bezos' Bookstore

https://www.amazon.com/Wings-Valkyri.../dp/0915795949

Its pricey!
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Old 12th February 2020, 08:38 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Available in paperback from Bezos' Bookstore

https://www.amazon.com/Wings-Valkyri.../dp/0915795949

Its pricey!
Also accessible on-line to members of these services.
https://www.scribd.com/doc/294951723...f-the-Valkyrie
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Old 12th February 2020, 09:03 PM   #29
Bob001
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Well there are three possible sets of circumstances to deal with.

1. No-one ever attempted to assassinate Lincoln

2. Someone stopped Booth before he could attempt the assassination

3. Booth attempted the assassination, but Lincoln survived

IMO, the timeline might proceed very differently depending on which of the above scenarios we are discussing, but generally, thing might be different today than they are in reality.

Generally speaking the following might have happened IMO...

Reconstruction might have gone a lot more smoothly and been a lot more forgiving of the south (more like the way the US treated Japan after WW2 than the way Germany was treated after WW1).

We may have seen the Whigs in political power in the South, with Lincoln's support, as they were seen as reluctant secessionists rather than the Democrats who were enthusiastic.

The Civil Rights movement might have happened a lot earlier, say, in the 1920s, and have been far less widespread. It is even possible the there might have been no Civil Rights movement at all because the emancipation of slaves as well as their suffrage, might have happened a lot sooner - and segragation might never have happened.

Remember, the radical Republicans at the time wanted to confiscate the plantations and divide them among the former slaves - that would have been a disaster, and may eventually have led to second Civil War.

There are people in the South who, after almost 160 years, are still deeply resentful of the way in which the region was treated after the Civil War. If Lincoln had lived, and he helped to make that treatment less harsh, then the deep seated resentment we see now might either be far less than it is, of even not exist at all.

With all of the above a possibility, if we fast forward to 2020, American society might not be as racially divided as it is now, because much of the South's current resentment of the North would not be there to fuel it.

EDIT: I could add more about other aspects including education and the economy of the South, but I'll wait to see if others want to join the discussion. So far, there have just been silly remarks so I'm not wasting time on it of no-one wants genuine discussion.

Lincoln was the subject of numerous assassination plots going back to before his first inaugural. I was assuming that Booth never got to Ford's Theatre, for whatever reason.

For the purposes of the question, I was assuming that Lincoln's governent would have supervised the education and training of freed slaves and would have enforced their rights, including the right to vote, and would have kept the South from establishing the Black Codes, the Jim Crow laws, blocking black voters, etc., not to mention prohibiting lynching. It's conceivable that some freed slaves might have continued to work on the plantations as free laborers earning fair wages.

I'm not so sure that giving land to the freed slaves would have been such a radical idea. That's where "40 acres and mule" came from. It was a serious proposal. Suppose freed slaves had been helped financially to settle in the western territories, like white homesteaders?

And was the South really treated harshly after the war? I don't think anybody was shot or hanged for treason, and only a few people went to jail, even then only for a short time. Jefferson Davis became a businessman in England. Robert E. Lee became a college president. Pres. Johnson issued two proclamations of amnesty and pardon. If the South was mad about anything, it was that it lost the ability to own human beings. But it didn't pay nearly the price it should have, or could have.

I'm thinking that if Lincoln's Reconstruction had been allowed to proceed, former slaves and their children would ultimately have been fully integrated into the larger society much earlier. It wouldn't have taken a Civil Rights movement a hundred years later. But, as noted above, we can never know.
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Old 13th February 2020, 03:20 AM   #30
Ian Osborne
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
And was the South really treated harshly after the war? I don't think anybody was shot or hanged for treason
The only person executed after the war was Henry Wirz (not for treason). You're right overall, though; the South wasn't treated harshly after the war. During the war was another matter, with much of its infrastructure destroyed.
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