Lincoln Or Lee? What Would Hitler Say?

By ilana mercer

“Some crazy person just compared President Abraham Lincoln to Hitler. Yes, this just happened on CNN and Brooke Baldwin’s reaction was perfect.”

So scribbled one Ricky Davila on Social Media (Twitter).

Indeed, an elderly Southern gentleman had ventured that President Lincoln, not General Lee, murdered civilians, a point even a Court historian and a Lincoln idolater like Doris Kearns Goodwin would concede.

While the Argument From Hitler is seldom a good one; Ms. Baldwin’s response was way worse. Were she an honest purveyor of news and knowledge; anchor-activist Baldwin would have sought the facts. Instead, she pulled faces, so the viewer knew she not only looked like an angel, but was on the side of the angels.

Pretty, but not terribly bright, Ms. Baldwin would be shocked to hear that the civics test administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes as correct the following answers to questions about the “Civil War”:

If asked to “Name one problem that led to the Civil War,” you may legitimately reply: “States’ right.”

If asked to “Name the war between the North and the South,” you may call it, “the War between the States.”

Brook would wince, but, again, your reply would be perfectly proper if you chose to name “economic reasons” as one of the problems that led to the Civil War.

Not even the government—the USCIS, in this case—will risk denying that the 1861 Morrill tariff was one cause of the War of Northern Aggression. Lincoln, a protectionist, was expected to enforce the tariff with calamitous consequences to the “the import-dependent South, which was paying [at the time] as much as 80 percent of the tariff.”

It’s fair to assume that the civics naturalization test (I took it) was not written by pro-South historians. Yet even they did not conceal some immutable truths about the War of Northern Aggression—truths banished from Brooke Baldwin’s network.

And from Fox News.

There, you must tolerate progressive Republicans, like John Daniel Davidson of the Federalist, warning about the dangers of identity politics in a majority-white country like the US. (Davidson should try out identity politics in a minority white country like my birthplace, South Africa, where the lives of white farmers are forfeit.) Another Federalist editor seen on Fox is Molly Hemingway. She has vaporized about the merits of “taking down Confederate statues.” If memory serves, that was a position the oracular Chucky Krauthammer was willing to dignify.

Back to the white, marginalized gentleman, mocked on CNN.

In all, Lincoln’s violent, unconstitutional revolution took the lives of 620,000 individuals, including 50,000 Southern civilians, white and black. It maimed thousands, and brought about “the near destruction of 40 percent of the nation’s economy.”

While “in the North a few unfortunate exceptions marred the general wartime boom,” chronicled historian William Miller,  “[t]he south as a whole was impoverished. At the end of the war, the boys in blue went home at government expense with about $235 apiece in their pockets.”  “[S]ome of Lee’s soldiers had to ask for handouts on the road home, with nothing to exchange for bread save the unwelcome news of Appomattox.”

Many years hence, Americans look upon the terrible forces unleashed by Lincoln as cathartic, glorious events. However, “The costs of an action cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to morality,” noted Mises Institute scholar David Gordon, in Secession, State & Liberty.

At his most savage, General William Tecumseh Sherman waged “total war” on civilians and did not conceal his intent to so do. On commencing his march through Georgia, in September 1864, Sherman had vowed “to demonstrate the vulnerability of the South and make its inhabitants feel that war and individual ruin [were] synonymous terms.” To follow was an admission (of sorts) to war crimes: “The amount of plundering, burning, and stealing done by our own army makes me ashamed of it.”

For Sherman’s troops sacked and razed entire cities and communities“:

Sherman’s troops exhumed graves to loot the corpses. Sherman’s troops tore up little girls’ dolls and nailed family pets to doors. Sherman’s troops left countless civilians – including the slaves they were supposedly liberating – without food or shelter. Sherman ransomed civilians to armies in the area, threatening to execute them or burn their homes if they did not comply. Sherman had a few contemplative moments and was always careful to maintain plausible deniability, but he knew what was happening and let it happen.

Here’s the brass tacks (via William Miller, Yankee sympathizer) about Lincoln’s brutality and the extent to which the North upended life in the South:

“Confederate losses were overwhelmingly greater, representing a fifth of the productive part of the Confederacy’s white male population. Thousands more died of exposure, epidemics, and sheer starvation after the war, while many survivors, aside from the sick and the maimed, bore the scars of wartime and most war malnutrition and exhaustion all the rest of their lives.”

The South sustained direct damage as the war was fought, for the most, on its soil.

“Land, buildings, and equipment, especially of slaveless farmers … lay in ruins. Factories … were simply forsaken.” “Poor white and planter were left little better than ex-slave. … [A]n every-day sight [was] that of women and children, most of whom were formerly in good circumstances, begging for bread from door to door. In the destruction of southern life few suffered more than the ex-slaves.” By estimations cited in Miller’s A New History of the United States, “a third of the Negroes died” in their freemen, informal, “contraband camps,” from “the elements, epidemics, and crime.”

“The weakening of purpose, morale, and aspiration among the survivors was depressing enough to make many envy the dead,” laments White, noting that “rebel losses in youth and talent were much greater than the devastating total of human losses itself.”

“The men in blue,” said one Southerner late in 1865, “destroyed everything which the most infernal Yankee ingenuity could devise means to destroy: hands, hearts, fire, gunpowder, and behind everything the spirit of hell, were the agencies which they used.”

Still, despite having just fought a civil war, there was a greater feeling of fellowship among our countrymen then than there is today.

Struck by how achingly sad the South was, a northern observer, on a visit to New Orleans in 1873, cried out with great anguish: “These faces, these faces, one sees them everywhere; on the streets, at the theater, in the salon, in the cars; and pauses for a moment struck with the expression of entire despair.”

Today’s America lectures and hectors the world about invading Arab leaders for “killing their own people.” What did the sixteenth American president do if not kill his own people?

Yes, “Emerson’s ‘best civilization’ was about to be ‘extended over the whole country’ with a vengeance.”

Of this, Adolf Hitler wholly approved.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin will be shocked—OMG! kind of shocked—to know that in his Mein Kampf, Hitler “expressed both his support for Lincoln’s war and his unwavering opposition to the cause of states’ rights and political decentralization.” (Primary sources: &

Hitler vowed that in Germany as well, he and his National Socialists “would eliminate states’ rights altogether,” political decentralization being the greatest obstacle for all dictators.

In a word, Ms. Baldwin, Hitler liked Abe Lincoln’s impetus and for good reason.

Pull faces all you like. Your guest was right. “Confederate generals, despite hearing news of death and destruction from home, strictly enforced orders protecting the person and property of Northern civilians.”


Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.


  1. I have often compared Sherman’s treatment of Southerners with Hitler’s treatment of the Russians. The biggest difference being that Hitler was murdering alien “unter-menschen” whereas Sherman was slaughtering his fellow-countrymen. What utterly baffles me is America’s acceptance – the world’s acceptance – of Lincoln as some sort of saint when the facts of history tell us the precise opposite. When Sherman marched into South Carolina he declared “This is where Treason began, and this is where we shall end it”. Except that it was not Treason. What George Washington and the Founders did was Treason; what Lee and the Confederacy did was entirely legal. The right to secession was written into Virginia’s Articles of Ratification of the Constitution. The Union was established as a joint venture between sovereign States, and right from the outset it was implicitly recognised and explicitly stated that the States retained the right to secede. Much was written about the subject – it was universally decried as something to be regretted – much like a divorce – but entirely lawful. Lincoln’s invasion, therefore, was unlawful. As was his repeal of Habeas Corpus (only Congress had that right, not the President) as was his jailing or deporting some 3,000 political prisoners for the ‘crime’ of speaking against the President and his War.

    A ‘Civil War’ it was not. The Revolutionary War was a civil war, in that the population was divided about how the country should be run. That issue was settled by force of arms. What hapened in 1861 was quite different; there was no dispute about how the country should be run; the Southern Sates were not ganging up to try to impose the Confederate Constitution on the whole country – they just wanted to be left alone, but Lincoln and his invading army would not let them alone.

    Robert E. Lee was opposed to secession. Lincoln invited him to lead his army, but General Lee vowed that he ‘could not raise his sword against his homeland’. On the 4th April 1861 a Virginia State Convention voted against secession. Eleven days later, when Lincoln called up an army to invade the Southern States, that position was reversed. Lee resigned from the US Army and took up arms to defend his homeland. For that he was ultimately declared a traitor and stripped of his citizenship (which was not restored until Gerald Ford got around to it in 1975).

    Lincoln is generally credited with having ‘saved the Union’. He did no such thing. He destroyed what had been a Union of sovereign States and made it voluntary at the point of a gun. Whereas Jefferson had declared that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed”, Lincoln obtained that consent at gunpoint. As did Hitler in Europe. As do tyrants everywhere. By a curious irony, not only did Hitler admire Lincoln, so did Karl Marx, who congratulated Lincoln on his victory.

    Children today are taught that ‘Lincoln fought a war to free the slaves’. In fact it is the other way around – he ‘freed the slaves’ in order to win the war. Britain and France were on the point of recognising the Confederacy in 1862, so Lincoln had the bright idea of pretending he was fighting the War in order to end slavery, as a means of forestalling that recognition. The Emancipation Proclamation freed not a single slave, since it only applied to the Confederacy. Many Union soldiers deserted when they heard the news that Lincoln had suddenly decided to make slavery a ‘casus belli’ – they had joined up to keep the Union together, not to free the Negroes.

    Then there is the travesty of the Gettysburg address. This is hailed as a masterly piece of oratory. Maybe it is, but people seem to be blinded to its meaning by the beauty of the words. Lincoln quotes Jefferson’s famous phrase “all men are created equal”, but twists its meaning into something Thomas Jefferson would not have recognised. Jefferson was talking of Kings and commoners as being equals. He was saying ‘Why do we need kings to govern us – they are no more capable than we are of governing ourselves’. This was a revolutionary statement, coming not long after Kings claimed to rule by Divine Right. Jefferson used a similar phrase (“Angels in the form of Kings”) in his First Inaugural Address. What Jefferson was manifestly NOT talking about was ‘Black and White and the Brotherhood of Man’.

    Finally, let us look at the concluding phrase of Lincoln’s speech; “…we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Why can people not recognise this for the gibberish it is? Tell me how the Secession of the Southern States, exercising their democratic will, jeopardised “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. As is often the case with Lincoln, the Truth is the absolute inversion of what is said. It was not the Confederacy that threatened democracy, but the tyrant Lincoln and his marauding army.

    Can I commend this excellent article on the subject;

  2. I think the current focus on the legacy of the civil war in the US has little to do with the actual events of the conflict and more to do with erasing the historical memory of a white and anglo-centric America. The left is ideologically commited to the dissolution of the US on the secular religious principal that America was founded on the original sin of “racism”, and that any unequivocal form of national self affirmation is therefore suspect. In order to repent for historical misdeeds there must be a cathartic erasure of all symbols of ethnocultural pride, and a constant willingness to embrace the demographic suicide of the historical American nation. The continued importation of millions of foreigners into America is not only perceived as a repudiation of America’s racially conscious past in demonstrating a supposed racial tolerance, but is also designed to ensure the genetic extinction of the descendants of the “dead white males”; in collective suicide the left finds the ultimate penance. What people on the “centre-right” fail to appreciate when criticising confederate monuments is that the left won’t stop at attacking southern identity. There is no reason why the left in the long run won’t come for the founding fathers, or indeed Abraham Lincoln. If the left are internally consistent within their own moral paradigm there’s ultimately no reason why any aspect of American history prior to the 1960s which doesn’t fit into a narrative of post racial reconciliation or white self abasement won’t be targeted. The only reason why they haven’t yet done so is that public opinion has not been sufficiently prepared for a more fundamentally destructive iconoclasm and that demographics still aren’t sufficiently in favour of the left.

    • That all makes perfect sense. What puzzles me is why so many people jump on the bandwagon whenever somebody comes up with a crazy new idea. If I wanted to re-shape the world according to my ideology, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Yet somebody comes up with an idea, for example that the US Constitution was the work of Black people and had its origins in Africa, and half the world seems to buy it and screams insults at anybody who dissents. What is going on?

      • It’s difficult to say why the West has headed into this particular direction and why so many European and European diaspora populations have accepted it. The rapid demographic transformation that has taken place exceptionally in predominantly white countries has always been opposed by the majority of western electorates. While public opinion has in general been opposed to mass immigration, racial preferences for minorities(e.g “affirmative action” or “positive discrimination”), and institutionalised ethnomasochism most people aren’t really affected by these phenomenons on a daily basis. Individual westerners and certain regions are directly affected by these issues but there is never a sufficiently large number of citizens at any given time to launch a real opposition. When mass immigration or “diversity” does directly affect whites most often tend to just leave the localities they have grown up in to more homogenous areas. But I think another point you raise (which is why whites are so amenable to forms of ideological indoctrination) is more difficult to answer. “Anti-racism” as an ideological doctrine runs against everything that was held axiomatic in the west until a few decades ago. The idea that was America was a propositional “nation of immigrants” or that somehow there was a latent intention within the US constitution for state mandated racial integration would have seemed bizarre to anyone in the 1950’s for example. I suppose the simplest explanation is that the left has had control of every centre of cultural production (academia, media, various quasi government bodies) and has by a process of gradual ideological escalation achieved a complete and socially all encompassing cultural revolution.

  3. I am wary when people resort to valourising or demonising the contribution of historical figures. It’s cartoon history. Things are a bit more complicated than that.

    • Much of the hstory of what we refer to as the Civil War’ is black-and-white. No, that’s not a pun. Secession was legal. Lincoln’s invasion of the South was illegal, as was his suspension of Habeas Corpus and subsequent detention or deportation of approx 3,000 individuals for merely opposing him (after the war they arrested Jeff Davis and wanted to try him for Treason, until they quickly realised he would be acquitted as he had done nothing illegal, let alone treasonous, so they let him go!). Sherman devastated the South, murdered women and children, destroyed crops and livestock and effectively starved much of the South into submission. General Lee, on the other hand, when he entered Maryland, ordered that there be no reprisals against civilians. This order was almost universally obeyed. Lincoln gave no such orders to his troops. The Emancipation Proclamation freed not a single slave. Lincoln, by today’s definition, was a White Supremacist. All the above are matters of historical record.

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