Stewart himself, his news correspondent Jessica Williams and three other Lincoln "scholars" gang up on and attempt to debunk Napolitano. It doesn't work
by Larry Simons
March 15, 2014
On Tuesday's telecast of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart invited back to his program FOX News' senior judicial analyst [and one the most educated libertarians in the country] Judge Andrew Napolitano to discuss comments Napolitano made about Lincoln on a FOX Business channel program called The Independents [from February 15]. These comments were criticized by Stewart on his own show on February 25.
Part 1 of the Stewart/Napolitano interview
One major topic that arose during this interview was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was a law signed by President Millard Fillmore as a part of the Compromise of 1850. The law required federal marshals and law enforcement officials to capture escaped slaves on nothing more than the sworn testimony of a slave owner. This new slave act, which strengthened the previous Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, penalized any law enforcement official [state or federal] who did not arrest the escaped slave. Marshals could get hit with a $1,000 [the equivalent to over $28,000 today] fine for not arresting the alleged slave, and they were awarded bonuses for capturing fugitive slaves.
Lincoln enforced the Fugitive Slave Act during his entire presidency. Lincoln even promised to enforce it in his first inaugural address when he said:
"I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to one section as to another.
There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."In other words Lincoln is saying, "The Constitution [fugitive slave clause] says that fugitive slaves must be returned to their owners, and I will enforce the Constitution."
One huge piece of evidence that slavery was dying off prior to the Civil War [more specifically, prior to 1850] is that roughly 100 slaves a year were escaping to the North in the 1840's. If this had continued, slavery would have eventually disappeared on its own because there was no consequence for escaped slaves since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was being ignored on a monumental scale.
The Supreme Court even ruled in 1842 that states were no longer required to offer aid in the recapturing of runaway slaves. This ruling all but nullified the 1793 Slave Act. The 1850 Slave Act made the law stronger by fining federal marshals for not arresting or capturing fugitive slaves. One may ask, "How is this Lincoln's fault? He didn't sign the Act, Fillmore did."
During Lincoln's entire presidency he trashed the Constitution on almost a daily basis. If he was going to ignore the Constitution anyway, why did he not ignore its only flaw, the Fugitive Slave clause? The answer can be found in his first inaugural. He didn't care about slavery...at all. Lincoln states:
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
His own words. He simply didn't care about it. But one thing he did care about: He did not want one black person [slave or free] coming to the North, hence his strong support for the Fugitive Slave Act. Had Lincoln ignored this Act, slavery would have died off, as Napolitano assured Stewart during the interview.
In Part 2 of the interview, Stewart says this:
"There is very little in our country's history that is morally clear as Abraham Lincoln fighting at great personal cost to preserve the Union and abolish slavery from the American continent forever".
As the idiotic crowd gives a thunderous applause after Stewart spouts off this nonsense, Napolitano fires back and states, "That was not Lincoln's purpose". Stewart responds, "To preserve the Union?" Napolitano answers, "To abolish slavery". Napolitano continues, "His purpose was to preserve the Union so he could collect tariffs from Southern ports". Stewart responds, "That's just silly. That's just silly".
Really Jon? There is one person who can set Stewart straight on this. Lincoln himself. In his first inaugural, Lincoln states the reason for preserving the Union:
"I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.
In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere".
To "collect the duties and imposts". In other words, tariffs. This was his one and only reason for wanting the Union preserved. In reality, it wasn't even to "save the Union". It was to eviscerate States' rights and to employ his new "American system", the program of internal improvements, protective tariffs and centralized banking.
Stewart then says, "The idea that you would place tariffs above slavery, to me is mind blowing". No, Jon, Lincoln placed tariffs above slavery, in his first inaugural address, as I have shown above. Stewart desperately needs to understand one important fact: Secession is NOT war. Slavery may have been an elemental factor is the South's secession, but the main reason for the secession was state's rights. Slavery just happened to be one of the reasons the South wanted their rights protected.
War was never anticipated in the South. It wasn't until Lincoln sent two armed warships into the Charleston harbor to "deliver provisions" despite the fact that federal troops were not going hungry [because the Confederates supplied them with food] that the Confederates fired. It was indisputably provoked.
The best part of the interview is when Napolitano asks Stewart, "Did Lincoln free the slaves?" Stewart responds by saying Lincoln freed only the ones in the Confederacy. Really Jon? Really? So, Lincoln, who had NO authority in the South whatsoever had the authority to free their slaves [despite slavery being constitutional]? Lincoln had always insisted that he was fighting to "save the Union". By even uttering the words "save the Union" he was essentially admitting that the Southern states had taken part in a legitimate secession from the Union, or else there would be nothing to "save".
Lincoln had never publicly given legitimacy to the South's secession, and if he never gave it legitimacy it stands to reason that he still considered it part of the Union [United States]. Since this is the case, this means Lincoln committed treason according to Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution, which states:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
My point is, if Lincoln still considered the seceded states part of the Union, he was committing treason by levying war against them. If Lincoln gave legitimacy to the seceded states, then he had no authority, for it was a separate nation. The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to Southern states and did not apply in the North or Union-controlled areas of the South. Why would Lincoln "free" slaves where he had no authority but do nothing about slavery in the areas where had had total control? The answer is simple: The Emancipation Proclamation was not about ending slavery. It was a war measure designed to do everything but end slavery, everything from attempting to cause slave rebellions in the South to deporting all the "freed" slaves out of the country. It had nothing to do with anything humanitarian.
Napoiltano was absolutely correct in stating that the 13th Amendment abolished slavery [not anything Lincoln did]. For if the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery, there would be no need for a 13th Amendment two years later. The fact is, Lincoln never supported our current 13th amendment. But he did support the original 13th amendment, the Corwin amendment.
The Corwin amendment was a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would have made slavery a permanent fixture in the Constitution and would make it impossible for the federal government to ever interfere with slavery. The amendment stated:
"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions [slavery] thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."
Lincoln expressed his support for this proposed amendment in his first inaugural address by stating:
"I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service....holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable."
After Napolitano points out to Stewart that the Emancipation Proclamation actually preserved slavery in the border states and parts of Louisiana, Stewart says, "He didn't want the border states to join the Confederacy". So, in other words, Stewart is saying that Lincoln was so opposed to more states seceding, that he allowed those states to keep their slaves. Odd move for a man who "supposedly" despised slavery. And it is equally odd that Stewart would think that Lincoln fought the war over slavery when Stewart basically just acknowledged that Lincoln allowed some states to keep their slaves in hopes that they remained in the Union, but he was against the South having slaves because he [Lincoln] hated slavery so much, he would go to war over it.
Just a minute earlier in the interview, Stewart justified the North's complete destruction of the South, the burning of their cities, raping of their women and murdering innocent civilians because "war is hell" and because "the South clung to the abhorrent institution of slavery", then literally a minute later he justified Lincoln's allowing the border states to keep the institution of slavery in hopes they would stay in the Union.
Translation of Stewart's words: Slavery is OK as long as you live in a state that is loyal to the Federal government. But if you stand up to the Federal government and rightfully secede as the Constitution permits and you want to keep your slaves as the Constitution permits, it is completely justified if federal armies invade you, destroy and bomb your cities, rob your banks, blow up your court houses, rape your women and murder your children.
Then came the segment where Stewart gangs up on Napolitano and has five, yes FIVE Lincoln apologists against Napolitano, the only one in the segment defending the truth against revisionist bullshit. It was a game show format and Stewart called it The Weakest Lincoln.
The five people are: Stewart himself, his news correspondent Jessica Williams, and three Lincoln "scholars", Prof. Eric Foner, Prof. Manisha Sinha and Prof. Jim Oakes.
Stewart would ask a question about Lincoln or the Civil War. Either the Judge or Williams [dressed as Lincoln] would ring in and answer. Stewart would then go to the "experts" for the final word.
When Stewart asked Oakes about the tariff issue, Oakes replied, "Nobody was thinking about the tariff at that time". Then Oakes tried to save face and add, "They failed to mention it when they seceded from the Union". Stewart says, "Nobody likes a good tariff". Oakes then flat out lies and says, "There was no tariff".
Napolitano chimes in and reminds Oakes that the tariff was at 32%. Actually the good Judge is wrong here. The tariff went to 37.5%, more than doubling it from 15%. It is true that the actual tariff was not passed and signed into law until March 2, 1861, long after seven states had already seceded. But the Morrill tariff had already passed the House in 1860 by a vote of 105-64. Only 15 of the 64 "nay" votes came from the North. In other words, the tariff was highly opposed in the South.
When the bill was passed to the Senate for a vote, it was held up until the second session of the 36th Congress. It was expected to be voted on in March 1861, but in late 1860 and early 1861, seven states seceded and 11 pro-Confederate Senators withdrew their seats in the Senate. It passed 25-14. Ironically, had the Southern Senators remained in the Senate and voted, the bill may not have passed. But then again, if the tariff was going to pass [and it was], the Senators may have just been expelled anyway.
The federal treasury was in a financial crisis, with only $500,000 on hand. The government needed revenue desperately. Everyone knew the Morrill tariff would pass. After the first seven states seceded, Lincoln may have already been planning how he would invade the Southern states.
It was known as early as March 4, 1861, two days after the bill was passed, that Lincoln did not care about Southern slavery but yet demanded "duties and imposts" from the seceding states as he mentioned it in his first inaugural address.
Oakes is flat out lying that "nobody was talking about the tariff". The tariff was the main platform of the new Republican party. Lincoln was very pro-tariff, and he was a staunch protectionist. As economist Thomas DiLorenzo writes in The Real Lincoln, "[Lincoln] was one of the most ardent protectionists in American politics during the first half of the nineteenth century and had established a long record of supporting protectionism and protectionist candidates in the Whig Party".
It may be true that only Georgia mentions the tariff in their Declaration of Secession, but several Southern states discussed tariffs in their conventions. It was a huge issue of the seceding states. Maybe one major reason the Southern states referenced slavery and not the tariff in the secession declarations is because Southern slavery not only benefited the economy in the South but Northern interests as well. They were simply attempting to plead their case that slavery benefited both portions of the country and to make any attempt to abolish it, would also affect Northern interests.
The seceding states felt no need to mention tariffs at great length in the declarations simply because once their states seceded, they were no longer obligated to pay it since they were establishing a new government. They knew that Congress had the constitutional authority to raise tariffs, so their separation from the Union was not over a constitutional issue per se, but an economic one. In their minds, the Federal government not only wanted to disrupt slavery, but also hit them with a 37% tariff [up from 15%], which would have decimated the economy in the South.
During the "Weakest Lincoln" segment, Prof. Manisha Sinha is very disingenuous when she tells Stewart that the Morrill tariff was not raised until after the states seceded. The bill was passed after the states seceded. The Democrat and Republican proposals for the tariff were submitted between 1857 and 1859, two full years before the bill actually passed. This means that the seceding states knew what the tariff increases were long before secession. Stewart then gloats that he was actually "correct" earlier during the interview with Napolitano. Stewart wasn't right and either was Sinha. They are both liars.
Commenting on Napolitano's statement during the interview that slavery was on its way out [a comment that has always been misrepresented by the way. Napolitano only means it was on its way out as a whole, because 11 other countries around the world between 1813 and 1854 had abolished slavery. It stood to reason that the U.S. was not far behind], Foner says:
"Slavery was not only viable, it was growing. There were more slaves in the United States in 1860 than there ever had been before. This idea that it was dying out, it was going to die out, is ridiculous. It was thriving and growing....".
Even if this is true, it was because of one thing only, the enforcement and lack of abolishment of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. If slavery was abhorrent to Lincoln, why did he never make any attempt to abolish it?
Near the end, Napolitano says, "..the President used federal marshals to chase down slaves that had escaped and returned them to the South during the Civil War!"
All three "experts" immediately interject, "That's not true", which many left wing blogs have characterized as "debunking" Napolitano. In fact, it is very true. I have already spoken at great length about this at the beginning of the article. In addition to that evidence, author and scholar Stanley Campbell writes in his 1970 book The Slave Catchers:
"In the meantime  the Fugitive Slave Law remained in force and was executed by the federal marshals in the border states".
"In October 1861 the Louisville Journal was pleased to report that a resident of Louisville had recovered his fugitive slave from the state of Indiana by due process of law. The federal marshal had acted promptly, and the fugitive slave tribunal performed efficiently in remanding the slave to his owner".
"In May 1862, the Superior Court in the District of Columbia ruled that the Fugitive Slave Law was as applicable to the District of Columbia as it was to any of the states. The docket of the court for 1862 listed the claims of twenty-eight different slave owners for 101 runaway slaves. In the two months following the court's decision, twenty-six fugitive slaves were returned to their owners from the fugitive slave tribunal in the nation's capital".
"As late as June 1863, six months after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, fugitive slaves were still being returned to their masters in the loyal states. On June 12, for example, three women and four children were arrested as fugitive slaves and taken before United States Commissioner Walter S. Coxe, in Washington. After a hearing they were remanded to the claimant from Prince George's County, Maryland, and on June 28, Commissioner Coxe remanded two fugitive slaves to claimants from the same county in Maryland".
For Foner to suggest that Lincoln did not carry out the Fugitive Slave Law would be suggesting that his Lord and Savior did not enforce a federal law. Foner cannot have it both ways. He cannot claim Lincoln did not have his marshals arrest and return slaves while at the same time claim that Lincoln was the law-abiding, Constitutional champion that himself and the rest of his fellow Lincoln cultists insists he was.
For any thinking and rational human being who has enough intelligence to distinguish revisionist history from cold hard fact, they would not have been fooled by this entire charade Stewart put on, and they would conclude that Napolitano, not Stewart, is on the right side of history.
"Weakest Lincoln" segment