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Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the anti-government GOP presidential candidate who is now surging in Iowa, is not a fan of Abraham Lincoln. He believes the Civil War was a “senseless” bloodbath that was the result of Lincoln’s desire to “enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic.”

“He shouldn’t have gone to war,” explained Paul in a December 2007 appearance on Meet The Press. Failing to fight for the union, however, would not mean embracing slavery — after all, it was on its way out, and in 1833 the British Empire had successfully abolished it without violence. His advice to the north: “you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years?”

In other words, the “Godfather of the Tea Party” thinks the best policy would have been a massive public bailout of slaveowners. (There was no federal income tax until 1861, when it was implemented to fund the war.)

The rebels never indicated they were willing to sell off their slaves. The “peculiar institution” of owning human beings dominated the political and economic culture of the states that seceded. In March 1861, a few weeks before Lincoln’s inauguration, the newly-minted Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens explained that the new government rested “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

Paul’s disdain for Lincoln’s “iron fist” might not be a wise political move, but it’s much less of a problem compared to those official Ron Paul newsletters left over from the 1990s. “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,” was how one of the articles explained the riots of 1992.

 

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