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Vindicated/Vilified by History! Which President was the best?

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  • KrieghundKrieghund Registered User regular
    George Washington
    While TR is my personal favorite president, I voted for Washington, simply because he pretty much had to start from scratch on what being president meant. Hell the guy was a sitting president and took the army out to stomp some fucks that were trying to dodge taxes.

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  • RozRoz Boss of InternetRegistered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Abraham Lincoln
    MadCaddy wrote: »
    Roz wrote: »
    MadCaddy wrote: »
    And I can easily cite what the NSA did to Angela Merkel, et al. If we allow for non-US citizens to matter. There's also the killing of US Citizens as enemy combatants, something even Nixon didn't do.

    I'm just saying a lot more presidents are shades of gray than most seem to believe. This thread seems leaning towards dog whistle blue/red things than I had in mind and I'll gladly step back.

    Abraham Lincoln had no qualms about killing Americans as enemy combatants. Context matters.

    They actually were citizens of the Confederacy... But I did slip up, and not mention executive ordered the assassination. Abraham Lincoln had a significantly less robust executive privilege, and didn't (to the best of my knowledge) personally sign any death warrants for treason.

    Lincoln himself didn't recognize the Confederacy as a legal entity, and no foreign powers recognized it either. He knew sending troops to retake Federal holdings in the South would spark a larger war and that many American citizens (on both sides) would perish in that conflict. Now, to be fair, he did everything he possibly could to peaceably resolve the conflict short of capitulation. Undoubtedly, the South forced his hand, but lets not kid ourselves. He knew what preserving the Union was going to cost, and had no qualms about what that meant. So yeah, he signed their death warrants albeit slightly less ceremonially I guess.

    That's why I don't find Obama's actions as all that troubling or even that much of a Constitutional crisis, compared to nearly anything Lincoln did.
    Wikipedia wrote:
    "Maryland had numerous anti-Lincoln officials who tolerated anti-army rioting in Baltimore and the burning of bridges, both aimed at hindering the passage of troops to the South. Maryland's legislature voted to stay in the Union, but also rejected hostilities with the South, voting to close Maryland's rail lines to prevent them from being used for war. Lincoln responded by establishing martial law, and unilaterally suspending habeas corpus, in Maryland, along with sending in militia units from the North. Lincoln rapidly took control of Maryland and the District of Columbia, by seizing many prominent figures, including arresting 1/3 of the members of the Maryland General Assembly on the day it reconvened. All were held without trial, ignoring a ruling by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Roger Taney, a Maryland native, that only Congress (and not the president) could suspend habeas corpus (Ex parte Merryman). Indeed, federal troops imprisoned a prominent Baltimore newspaper editor, Frank Key Howard, Francis Scott Key's grandson, after he criticized Lincoln in an editorial for ignoring the Supreme Court Chief Justice's ruling."

    I mean, HOLY SHIT, I hope we never get close to anything like that again.

    Roz on
    Rchanen
  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Roz wrote: »
    MadCaddy wrote: »
    Roz wrote: »
    MadCaddy wrote: »
    And I can easily cite what the NSA did to Angela Merkel, et al. If we allow for non-US citizens to matter. There's also the killing of US Citizens as enemy combatants, something even Nixon didn't do.

    I'm just saying a lot more presidents are shades of gray than most seem to believe. This thread seems leaning towards dog whistle blue/red things than I had in mind and I'll gladly step back.

    Abraham Lincoln had no qualms about killing Americans as enemy combatants. Context matters.

    They actually were citizens of the Confederacy... But I did slip up, and not mention executive ordered the assassination. Abraham Lincoln had a significantly less robust executive privilege, and didn't (to the best of my knowledge) personally sign any death warrants for treason.

    Lincoln himself didn't recognize the Confederacy as a legal entity, and no foreign powers recognized it either. He knew sending troops to retake Federal holdings in the South would spark a larger war and that many American citizens (on both sides) would perish in that conflict. Now, to be fair, he did everything he possibly could to resolve the conflict short of capitulation. Undoubtedly, the South forced his hand, but lets not kid ourselves. He knew what preserving the Union was going to cost, and had no qualms about what that meant. So yeah, he signed their death warrants albeit slightly less ceremonially I guess.

    That's why I don't find Obama's actions as all that troubling or even that much of a Constitutional crisis, compared to nearly anything Lincoln did.
    Wikipedia wrote:
    "Maryland had numerous anti-Lincoln officials who tolerated anti-army rioting in Baltimore and the burning of bridges, both aimed at hindering the passage of troops to the South. Maryland's legislature voted to stay in the Union, but also rejected hostilities with the South, voting to close Maryland's rail lines to prevent them from being used for war. Lincoln responded by establishing martial law, and unilaterally suspending habeas corpus, in Maryland, along with sending in militia units from the North. Lincoln rapidly took control of Maryland and the District of Columbia, by seizing many prominent figures, including arresting 1/3 of the members of the Maryland General Assembly on the day it reconvened. All were held without trial, ignoring a ruling by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Roger Taney, a Maryland native, that only Congress (and not the president) could suspend habeas corpus (Ex parte Merryman). Indeed, federal troops imprisoned a prominent Baltimore newspaper editor, Frank Key Howard, Francis Scott Key's grandson, after he criticized Lincoln in an editorial for ignoring the Supreme Court Chief Justice's ruling."

    I mean, HOLY SHIT, I hope we never get close to anything like that again.

    And honestly, I think everything Lincoln did was necessary.

    I mean those officials were quite possibly guilty of Treason.

    That is some literal "aid and comfort" shit. So he did what had to be done. Doesn't make it right. Does make it understandable.

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades 地獄のようにかわいい あなたは嫉妬深いかRegistered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    George Washington
    Well, there's two things to note in that case.

    First, that was ruling is suspect. Taney was acting in the capacity of district court judge and thus alone. So it lacks the authority of SCOTUS. And from what I can find, Taney was almost certainly not making an impartial ruling. So while it may technically follow the letter... it's the kind of thing you'd expect to see swiftly appealed and such. SCOTUS has never ruled on the issue.

    Second, when Congress did reconvene they swiftly approved Lincoln's actions and then gave him the authority to keep doing it as he saw fit through the end of the war. I would say there's a strong argument that had Congress been in session they would have given Lincoln the go-ahead on it as a result.

    Also, it's really easy to dismiss it when they guy wrote Dred Scott, but that's probably fallacious.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

    There's a decent chance it would have ended anyway, the entire system depended on the continual importation of new slaves and the royal navy had been tasked with interdicting slave ships and had agreements with other major seagoing countries to stop and search their ships - except the US. So all the slavers that were sailing under the us flag would have been fucked

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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

    There's a decent chance it would have ended anyway, the entire system depended on the continual importation of new slaves and the royal navy had been tasked with interdicting slave ships and had agreements with other major seagoing countries to stop and search their ships - except the US. So all the slavers that were sailing under the us flag would have been fucked

    Best numbers I can find are that about a quarter million new slaves were imported illegally after the slave trade was banned in 1808. There were already 1.2 million slaves in the US in 1810. By 1860 it was about 4 million. The system did not depend on the continual importation of new slaves.

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  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades 地獄のようにかわいい あなたは嫉妬深いかRegistered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

    There's a decent chance it would have ended anyway, the entire system depended on the continual importation of new slaves and the royal navy had been tasked with interdicting slave ships and had agreements with other major seagoing countries to stop and search their ships - except the US. So all the slavers that were sailing under the us flag would have been fucked

    Best numbers I can find are that about a quarter million new slaves were imported illegally after the slave trade was banned in 1808. There were already 1.2 million slaves in the US in 1810. By 1860 it was about 4 million. The system did not depend on the continual importation of new slaves.

    Yes. Slave breeding was a (monstrous) thing.

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  • RozRoz Boss of InternetRegistered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Abraham Lincoln
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

    Right exactly, which is why I was posting it in defense of my original statement. Context matters. He wasn't doing it to secure power for himself, he was using it to preserve the Union. But I am positive at the time - not with the hindsight we have now - the general populace would not have been certain. Lincoln gets a free pass by many because Slavery was a despicable and abhorrent institution, and there was no way to end it without violence. And that wasn't even Lincoln's original aim (that's debatable somewhat), but the South gave him no choice when they refused even the notion of containing slavery's expansion. Lincoln was a brilliant man in a troubled time, who did what had to be done - that is how we see it now, because we have the benefit of distance.

    I don't see Obama's actions as all that dissimilar. I mean, Obama hasn't even jailed editors of newspapers because they published mean things about him.

    Roz on
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  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

    There's a decent chance it would have ended anyway, the entire system depended on the continual importation of new slaves and the royal navy had been tasked with interdicting slave ships and had agreements with other major seagoing countries to stop and search their ships - except the US. So all the slavers that were sailing under the us flag would have been fucked

    Best numbers I can find are that about a quarter million new slaves were imported illegally after the slave trade was banned in 1808. There were already 1.2 million slaves in the US in 1810. By 1860 it was about 4 million. The system did not depend on the continual importation of new slaves.

    only about 5% of the total slaves taken from Africa ended up in the US because very early on, the population of slaves began increasing naturally.

    it's partly because the work that was being done was significantly less dangerous than the work being done in the rest of the Americas (silver mining/sugar processing). Of course it's an entirely new level of horror that was reached by having a slave population that naturally increased. Namely that it allowed for people to be born into slavery, and live their entire lives as slaves, and see their children born into slavery.

    also with the invention of the cotton gin, cotton became insanely more profitable than it already was (which was still pretty good) because more cotton could be processed faster. it made the slave economy of the south even better.

    in some sense yes, I think that eventually slavery would have been eliminated anyway. like, if nothing had happened we probably wouldn't still have slavery today, because the large scale agriculture isn't worth it.

    i think that would be cold comfort to the probably many more decades slavery would have been a horrifying institution.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

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  • TeucrianTeucrian Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    I dunno, I think it was right. If Lincoln had just stood aside and watched the country dissolve we have no idea what would have happened or how long slavery would have gone on in North America. He certainly would have been remembered as the President that was the beginning of the end for America, at least as we knew it. And he didn't take those actions because he wanted to be a tin-pot dictator, he did so because he knew what was at stake was the very soul of the nation, and without every damn Union state pitching in it was gonna get a lot worse than some "damn the law right now" actions.

    There's a decent chance it would have ended anyway, the entire system depended on the continual importation of new slaves and the royal navy had been tasked with interdicting slave ships and had agreements with other major seagoing countries to stop and search their ships - except the US. So all the slavers that were sailing under the us flag would have been fucked

    Best numbers I can find are that about a quarter million new slaves were imported illegally after the slave trade was banned in 1808. There were already 1.2 million slaves in the US in 1810. By 1860 it was about 4 million. The system did not depend on the continual importation of new slaves.

    The natural population increase of slaves in the US South was one of the most significant precipitating incident of the war. Southern politicians were obsessed with territorial expansion and the addition of slave states not only to maintain a balance of power in the Senate, but also because older states like Tennessee actually had significant slave surpluses and needed someplace to which they could legally export them. Many Southern states were particularly sensitive to the possibility of significant majorities of slaves in the population because they were terrified of revolt.

    Living and teaching in Texas, I occasionally hear people suggest that the Civil War was one of Northern aggression. The notion is preposterous. Even Lincoln had given in to all of their military and territory demands (which would have been insane) the Confederates were certain to invade Cuba and perhaps other Caribbean islands after that. Hell, the only reason why they didn't want central Mexico was because it was too populous. The chance of the US being sucked into one of these wars of aggression was high. And that's assuming that they wouldn't have decided to reopen the whole Kansas thing

    Lincoln was forced to take unprecedented acts as president, things that we would hope no president would ever have to repeat. But I think if he had been more cautious or unwilling to take extreme action the outcome had the potential to be much worse. I don't think ranking presidents is really fair, but I do think that we are much better off as a nation because of the leadership of Lincoln.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Ronald Reagan
    I don't think that many of the other Presidents on the list would have had the strength of character to do what Lincoln did, had their places been exchanged. Maybe Washington and FDR... none of the others.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

    It was already a economic loser by the time the Civil War came around.

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

    It was already a economic loser by the time the Civil War came around.

    that is just straightforwardly untrue unless you are talking about long term sustainability, which maybe, but even then it's not clearly a loser

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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

    It was already a economic loser by the time the Civil War came around.

    Different argument than the one I'm making.

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    Other
    spool32 wrote: »
    I don't think that many of the other Presidents on the list would have had the strength of character to do what Lincoln did, had their places been exchanged. Maybe Washington and FDR... none of the others.

    Comes the Hour, Comes the man situation.

    I hope we will never have need of his like again.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    George Washington
    Hm. This was a hard decision.


    FDR has such a slanted historical bias in his favor that it isn't even funny. He was flagrant, proud racist who locked-up Japanese citizens in concentration camps and would not share the same room as a black man. His accomplishments in WWII are certainly noteworthy, though again here he gets to compare himself against the worst tyrants Europe has seen in centuries. Not even Churchill could walk away from that looking like the villain he was. Poor candidate, in my opinion.


    Lincoln is an excellent candidate, though his assassination left his actual leadership cut short & I tend to think of one's latter term as more indicative of their character. Choosing the civil war & potentially sundering the state for the sake of expunging slavery was an act of audacious courage not seen since that time, IMHO. Suspending Habeas Corpus is a grotesque black mark, and was clearly used by Lincoln to censor & silence political opposition wholly unrelated to the war, but nevertheless he's a close second for me.


    Washington is my pick because, given the option of taking proto-America for himself with an army at his back after the revolutionary war was over, he decided to carry out the American experiment. That is such an extraordinary act that the world has literally only seen it happen once in known history (granted, there are caveats; Washington knew that he was reliant of French naval support, American forces were not ready for a more dedicated British attack should it come, diplomatic parlaying with the British was dependant on the new world not coming under the sway of a new monarchy, etc). His indulgence in slavery is his black mark, although he did free his slaves by the end of his term and wrote in great detail about why the slave economy would undoubtedly collapse & how it would likely lead to conflict down the road.


    Fuck Thomas Jefferson. Father of a newly minted slave trade, opportunistic slimeball, knew far less than he'd ever have admitted and faux-revolutionary who let everyone else do the heavy lifting while he was busy raping his house slave.


    I honestly haven't read enough about Teddy Roosevelt to render any sort of judgment. He wanted to bring hippos & elephants to America, though, so he at least gets points for that.


    What is Woodrow Wilson doing here? WWI was a sordid land grab, and his aristocratic answer to trying to prevent another catastrophe was a wretched failure.


    President Obama has been a good man & status quo contemporary U.S. leader, IMHO. It's easier to criticize a contemporary leader because we know so much more about their policies & flaws, so this is not really a fair contest for him. I hope he will always be noted by history as the first (but not the last!) African American to hold office, the impetus for comprehensive health care & the beginning of a slow decline in military adventurism. Well, until we dig out the BENGHAZI papers and blow the STAND DOWN order scandal wide open, anyway! hueueueue


    Fuck Reagan. 'Welfare Queens'. Nuff said.


    Fuck Kennedy. If he hadn't been assassinated nobody would be bothered to remark on him at all (...okay, fine, his moon speech would probably still be quoted). The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep. Kennedy was far more an impediment to Civil Rights than a boon, and consistently defended the Southern Democrats that involved themselves in violence against blacks.


    Other. Hm. I want to put Eleanor Roosevelt here. And before you cry foul and say she was not really a President, I will argue that she did more during FDR's reign and was more involved in the policy struggles re: The New Deal than her husband was by miles. FDR could not physically go to all of the rallies & panels & impromptu meet / greets - so Eleanor went in his staid.

    She was gay (or bi), she fought for civil rights before it was even a thing anyone though to fight for, she set-up a miner's labor community, struggled for refugee rights, chaired the first UN Commission fighting for human rights... <3 <3 <3

    She's the President we won't call a President, but totally was.

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  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Choosing the civil war & potentially sundering the state for the sake of expunging slavery was an act of audacious courage not seen since that time, IMHO.

    Wasn't the state sundered by the Confederates? They're the ones who seceded before he even took office, and began hostilities a month into his term. The audacious courage of abolishing slavery coincided with the aims of fighting a massive rebellion. To not choose the civil war was to leave the state already sundered.

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep.
    ...how?

    MrVyngaard
  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »


    Washington is my pick because, given the option of taking proto-America for himself with an army at his back after the revolutionary war was over, he decided to carry out the American experiment. That is such an extraordinary act that the world has literally only seen it happen once in known history (granted, there are caveats; Washington knew that he was reliant of French naval support, American forces were not ready for a more dedicated British attack should it come, diplomatic parlaying with the British was dependant on the new world not coming under the sway of a new monarchy, etc). His indulgence in slavery is his black mark, although he did free his slaves by the end of his term and wrote in great detail about why the slave economy would undoubtedly collapse & how it would likely lead to conflict down the road.


    Fuck Thomas Jefferson. Father of a newly minted slave trade, opportunistic slimeball, knew far less than he'd ever have admitted and faux-revolutionary who let everyone else do the heavy lifting while he was busy raping his house slave.

    Washington didn't free his slaves, or at least not all of them. His wife did. In his will his slaves were to be freed on his wife's death, but she went ahead and did it while she was still alive (because who wants to hang out in a house where everyone is waiting for you to die?)

    Jefferson actually wrote texts about how much he despised slavery, and it's clear to see the tension between his ideals and his practices. This is not to say that I want to offer a serious defense of Jefferson, because where he was wrong he was thoroughly and completely wrong.

    But your reasons for preferring Washington outside of his unwillingness to become King of America either also mostly apply to Jefferson or your hatred of Jefferson should bleed into Washington more.

    I mean you even call his participation in the institution of slavery an "indulgence"

    If his was, so was Jefferson's.

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  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    George Washington
    i'd vote washington because he was the one guy who didn't want to be president.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    George Washington
    The Ender wrote: »


    Washington is my pick because, given the option of taking proto-America for himself with an army at his back after the revolutionary war was over, he decided to carry out the American experiment. That is such an extraordinary act that the world has literally only seen it happen once in known history (granted, there are caveats; Washington knew that he was reliant of French naval support, American forces were not ready for a more dedicated British attack should it come, diplomatic parlaying with the British was dependant on the new world not coming under the sway of a new monarchy, etc). His indulgence in slavery is his black mark, although he did free his slaves by the end of his term and wrote in great detail about why the slave economy would undoubtedly collapse & how it would likely lead to conflict down the road.


    Fuck Thomas Jefferson. Father of a newly minted slave trade, opportunistic slimeball, knew far less than he'd ever have admitted and faux-revolutionary who let everyone else do the heavy lifting while he was busy raping his house slave.

    Washington didn't free his slaves, or at least not all of them. His wife did. In his will his slaves were to be freed on his wife's death, but she went ahead and did it while she was still alive (because who wants to hang out in a house where everyone is waiting for you to die?)

    Jefferson actually wrote texts about how much he despised slavery, and it's clear to see the tension between his ideals and his practices. This is not to say that I want to offer a serious defense of Jefferson, because where he was wrong he was thoroughly and completely wrong.

    But your reasons for preferring Washington outside of his unwillingness to become King of America either also mostly apply to Jefferson or your hatred of Jefferson should bleed into Washington more.

    I mean you even call his participation in the institution of slavery an "indulgence"

    If his was, so was Jefferson's.

    Jefferson did not have an army at his back right as the revolution ended, ready to do whatever it is he wanted. Washington did.

    Every other time in history that this has happened (that we know of), the revolutionary forces have simply seized power for themselves and installed a dictatorship with some 'ends justifies the means' excuse. Washington is an exception among exceptions in that regard.


    Jefferson's early writings were about how much he despised slavery, back when he was also penning down screeds about the blood of tyrants and all that jazz. Then he set-up an industrial nail manufacturing slave work camp, mostly which used children to produce said nails, and his writings about the injustice of slavery stopped. I think it's pretty clear that by that point he was firmly in the 'Oh the wealth & prosperity created by this institute will totally eventually justify it's use!' camp.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    George Washington
    Choosing the civil war & potentially sundering the state for the sake of expunging slavery was an act of audacious courage not seen since that time, IMHO.

    Wasn't the state sundered by the Confederates? They're the ones who seceded before he even took office, and began hostilities a month into his term. The audacious courage of abolishing slavery coincided with the aims of fighting a massive rebellion. To not choose the civil war was to leave the state already sundered.

    I think many people in Lincoln's position would have tried to cut a deal ('You guys can have those states over there, we'll have ours over here, we'll sign a treaty or ceasefire agreement of some kind, bish bash bosh, job's a good 'un!'). There was even precedence from the war of 1812.

    The civil war was very high stakes; we know in hindsight that the Confederates had little chance of winning a protracted war, but from Lincoln's perspective at the time things surely wouldn't have seemed rosy given the amount of military infrastructure controlled by the south. I suppose you're right that it's more appropriate to frame it as the south initiating the bifurcation, but nevertheless I think Lincoln took quite a bold stance by saying that he would fight the war rather than agree to some redrawn borders.

    With Love and Courage
  • MadCaddyMadCaddy Registered User regular
    Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »


    Washington is my pick because, given the option of taking proto-America for himself with an army at his back after the revolutionary war was over, he decided to carry out the American experiment. That is such an extraordinary act that the world has literally only seen it happen once in known history (granted, there are caveats; Washington knew that he was reliant of French naval support, American forces were not ready for a more dedicated British attack should it come, diplomatic parlaying with the British was dependant on the new world not coming under the sway of a new monarchy, etc). His indulgence in slavery is his black mark, although he did free his slaves by the end of his term and wrote in great detail about why the slave economy would undoubtedly collapse & how it would likely lead to conflict down the road.


    Fuck Thomas Jefferson. Father of a newly minted slave trade, opportunistic slimeball, knew far less than he'd ever have admitted and faux-revolutionary who let everyone else do the heavy lifting while he was busy raping his house slave.

    Washington didn't free his slaves, or at least not all of them. His wife did. In his will his slaves were to be freed on his wife's death, but she went ahead and did it while she was still alive (because who wants to hang out in a house where everyone is waiting for you to die?)

    Jefferson actually wrote texts about how much he despised slavery, and it's clear to see the tension between his ideals and his practices. This is not to say that I want to offer a serious defense of Jefferson, because where he was wrong he was thoroughly and completely wrong.

    But your reasons for preferring Washington outside of his unwillingness to become King of America either also mostly apply to Jefferson or your hatred of Jefferson should bleed into Washington more.

    I mean you even call his participation in the institution of slavery an "indulgence"

    If his was, so was Jefferson's.

    Jefferson did not have an army at his back right as the revolution ended, ready to do whatever it is he wanted. Washington did.

    Every other time in history that this has happened (that we know of), the revolutionary forces have simply seized power for themselves and installed a dictatorship with some 'ends justifies the means' excuse. Washington is an exception among exceptions in that regard.


    Jefferson's early writings were about how much he despised slavery, back when he was also penning down screeds about the blood of tyrants and all that jazz. Then he set-up an industrial nail manufacturing slave work camp, mostly which used children to produce said nails, and his writings about the injustice of slavery stopped. I think it's pretty clear that by that point he was firmly in the 'Oh the wealth & prosperity created by this institute will totally eventually justify it's use!' camp.


    Washington's greatness has been blown out of proportion, and he hardly had a leal army at his back to instate an Emperor Washington. Washington was no Napoleon, I'm afraid.

    I agree with everything that you said about Eleanor and FDR. I would put Eleanor towards the top of our best presidents list if it were allowed, and she is by leaps and bounds one of the most progressive and influential public figures to ever live in the White House. The Roosevelts history and story is very interesting and nuanced, but I will always prefer the Oyster Bay branch.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    George Washington
    The Ender wrote: »
    The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep.
    ...how?

    The protection, enlistment of and championing of J. Edgar Hoover. Hell, it was Kennedy's VP (and eventual replacement) that extended Hoover's tenure indefinitely.

    With Love and Courage
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep.
    ...how?

    The protection, enlistment of and championing of J. Edgar Hoover. Hell, it was Kennedy's VP (and eventual replacement) that extended Hoover's tenure indefinitely.

    You do know why that was, right? Something to do with Hoover's extensive files...

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • MadCaddyMadCaddy Registered User regular
    Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »


    Washington is my pick because, given the option of taking proto-America for himself with an army at his back after the revolutionary war was over, he decided to carry out the American experiment. That is such an extraordinary act that the world has literally only seen it happen once in known history (granted, there are caveats; Washington knew that he was reliant of French naval support, American forces were not ready for a more dedicated British attack should it come, diplomatic parlaying with the British was dependant on the new world not coming under the sway of a new monarchy, etc). His indulgence in slavery is his black mark, although he did free his slaves by the end of his term and wrote in great detail about why the slave economy would undoubtedly collapse & how it would likely lead to conflict down the road.


    Fuck Thomas Jefferson. Father of a newly minted slave trade, opportunistic slimeball, knew far less than he'd ever have admitted and faux-revolutionary who let everyone else do the heavy lifting while he was busy raping his house slave.

    Washington didn't free his slaves, or at least not all of them. His wife did. In his will his slaves were to be freed on his wife's death, but she went ahead and did it while she was still alive (because who wants to hang out in a house where everyone is waiting for you to die?)

    Jefferson actually wrote texts about how much he despised slavery, and it's clear to see the tension between his ideals and his practices. This is not to say that I want to offer a serious defense of Jefferson, because where he was wrong he was thoroughly and completely wrong.

    But your reasons for preferring Washington outside of his unwillingness to become King of America either also mostly apply to Jefferson or your hatred of Jefferson should bleed into Washington more.

    I mean you even call his participation in the institution of slavery an "indulgence"

    If his was, so was Jefferson's.

    Jefferson did not have an army at his back right as the revolution ended, ready to do whatever it is he wanted. Washington did.

    Every other time in history that this has happened (that we know of), the revolutionary forces have simply seized power for themselves and installed a dictatorship with some 'ends justifies the means' excuse. Washington is an exception among exceptions in that regard.


    Jefferson's early writings were about how much he despised slavery, back when he was also penning down screeds about the blood of tyrants and all that jazz. Then he set-up an industrial nail manufacturing slave work camp, mostly which used children to produce said nails, and his writings about the injustice of slavery stopped. I think it's pretty clear that by that point he was firmly in the 'Oh the wealth & prosperity created by this institute will totally eventually justify it's use!' camp.

    Eh, Jefferson is an interesting figure. I'd rank him below say Madison, Monroe or Hamilton for that matter in what has become our current fairly Federalist republic, but he was a confirmed coal burning lover of all races (or at least luster), and borderline fetishized the French and the right of the individual, and the possibility of fascism of the majority.
    His greatest accomplishment was also a perfect example of his canny, done for different reasons, but became an eventual extreme boon for the republic when he purchased the Lousiana Territory (whose actual size, contents, and climate was largely unknown to those involved).
    His relationship and frenemy status with Adams is also extremely interesting and is indicative of the implicit adversity within the body politic from the very foundation of our nation.

    The Enderspool32override367
  • MadCaddyMadCaddy Registered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
    The Ender wrote: »
    Choosing the civil war & potentially sundering the state for the sake of expunging slavery was an act of audacious courage not seen since that time, IMHO.

    Wasn't the state sundered by the Confederates? They're the ones who seceded before he even took office, and began hostilities a month into his term. The audacious courage of abolishing slavery coincided with the aims of fighting a massive rebellion. To not choose the civil war was to leave the state already sundered.

    I think many people in Lincoln's position would have tried to cut a deal ('You guys can have those states over there, we'll have ours over here, we'll sign a treaty or ceasefire agreement of some kind, bish bash bosh, job's a good 'un!'). There was even precedence from the war of 1812.

    The civil war was very high stakes; we know in hindsight that the Confederates had little chance of winning a protracted war, but from Lincoln's perspective at the time things surely wouldn't have seemed rosy given the amount of military infrastructure controlled by the south. I suppose you're right that it's more appropriate to frame it as the south initiating the bifurcation, but nevertheless I think Lincoln took quite a bold stance by saying that he would fight the war rather than agree to some redrawn borders.

    There were constant attempts at deal making, and political outrage over abolitionist or slave states all throughout the beginning of the 19th century. Kansas was burning long before Lincoln took office, and the Douglas-Lincoln debates are a perfect example of how the presidential debates so often define the times, and pulse of the nation.

    Institutionalized Western State Slavery was on the way out, with the Portuguese (also the original founders, or well at least of the trans-Atlantic) in Brazil being the final outliers. The way slavery ended in Brazil is also interesting to study for those wondering what may have happened if the Civil War didn't; although I don't see a parrallel for what would be the free state/slave state districting which would've occurred in the US. I honestly don't see any way for the civil war to be avoided.

    MadCaddy on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited July 2016
    George Washington
    I will admit that my loathing of contemporary use of Jefferson's tree of liberty speech may bias me against him somewhat.

    EDIT:

    Oh, I missed the Nixon discussion. Damn it to Hell.

    Nixon hired an insane, armed thug (Gord Liddy) to break into a psychiatrist's office to find evidence that an academic critic of his was crazy (no such evidence was actually found, either). By Liddy's own account, the burglary involving prying-open the barred windows of the office, thrashing the interior and literally shooting out all of the surrounding street lights. There is very little doubt that if an unfortunate bystander had stumbled onto the scene, they'd have been killed.


    Nixon was Goddamn crazy; he was constantly drunk, he was paranoid to the point of having his own office wiretapped, he went out at night to argue with college kid protesters and finally he decided, "Fuck it, I'll just break into my political opponents' headquarters and spy on them because I've convinced myself that they really must all be commies and/or KGB agents,"

    He was Churchill without any Nazis to go fight.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
    MadCaddyHeirMrVyngaard
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Abraham Lincoln
    wrong president thread

    PantsB on
    11793-1.png
    day9gosu.png
    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep.
    ...how?

    The protection, enlistment of and championing of J. Edgar Hoover. Hell, it was Kennedy's VP (and eventual replacement) that extended Hoover's tenure indefinitely.

    So the McCarthy era doesn't begin with Joe McCarthy?

  • TeucrianTeucrian Registered User regular
    I think some of the criticism people are lining up against presidents is excessive. It's a lot easier to not make mistakes when you're not actually the president. I admire Eleanor Roosevelt too and she accomplished many great things. But if she had been sitting in the big chair does that guarantee Japanese internment doesn't happen? No one can possibly know that.

    I still find the animus towards Kennedy to be bizarre. Gladhandling southern racists was a huge element of being a Democrat at that time, and I think many historians have come around to the view that JFK had a pretty reasonable chance to pass the civil rights bill in 1964, popular perception about the Johnson treatment and assassination sympathy aside. Who would have been a better president who was available at the time? I'm not thrilled at the idea of potential presidents Kefauver, Humphrey or Stevenson. LBJ we know he was a mixed bag.

    Three guys I haven't seen anyone talk about who bear mentioning--

    Martin Van Buren is an interesting case. I think his economic policies were mostly wrongheaded, but someone had to play the foil to Henry Clay, and it wasn't fair to lay the Panic of 1837 at his doorstep. But most significantly, in his post-presidency he was increasingly vocal in his anti-slavery position, a risk for one of the founders of the Democratic party. While his run on the Free Soil ticket was partially motivated by spite against Lewis Cass, it was still a big statement.

    James K. Polk. . . a duplicitous and unliked man. But which other presidential candidate in history can fairly claim to have accomplished all of his major campaign promises. Now as it happens, I think most of us can agree that some of those promises were kind of horrifying, and his solutions even more so. The instigation of the Mexican-American war was a travesty. But he was effective at the things he set out to do, and those things changed the face of America permanently. If you're measuring by morals he has to be near the bottom. . . but if you're measuring by whose policies most obviously produced long term benefits for the United States? He might be at the top.

    I kind of think Taft is underrated, but the argument for him turns on "Yeah, he used military intervention in Latin America, but not as much as the other guys around him." In general, I think he was a sober and reasonable leader with his heart in the right place.

    MadCaddy
  • Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    Other
    Teucrian wrote: »
    Martin Van Buren is an interesting case. I think his economic policies were mostly wrongheaded, but someone had to play the foil to Henry Clay, and it wasn't fair to lay the Panic of 1837 at his doorstep. But most significantly, in his post-presidency he was increasingly vocal in his anti-slavery position, a risk for one of the founders of the Democratic party. While his run on the Free Soil ticket was partially motivated by spite against Lewis Cass, it was still a big statement.

    On the other hand, heavily involved with Indian Removal, in particular the 1838 Cherokee Trail of Tears.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited July 2016
    George Washington
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep.
    ...how?

    The protection, enlistment of and championing of J. Edgar Hoover. Hell, it was Kennedy's VP (and eventual replacement) that extended Hoover's tenure indefinitely.

    So the McCarthy era doesn't begin with Joe McCarthy?

    Not at all. It ends with McCarthy, and is only known by that name due to McCarthy's famous outburst.

    McCarthyism starts right after the USSR achieves First Lightning (and some even argue that it begins a few months prior to the end of WWII, as the Allies slowly begin to size one another up and make post-war plans).
    Tuecrian wrote:
    I still find the animus towards Kennedy to be bizarre. Gladhandling southern racists was a huge element of being a Democrat at that time, and I think many historians have come around to the view that JFK had a pretty reasonable chance to pass the civil rights bill in 1964, popular perception about the Johnson treatment and assassination sympathy aside. Who would have been a better president who was available at the time? I'm not thrilled at the idea of potential presidents Kefauver, Humphrey or Stevenson. LBJ we know he was a mixed bag.

    I will extend this much to Kennedy - as I alluded to earlier, it's easier to critique more modern presidents because we know much more about them.

    Kennedy represents to me everything that is wrong with dynastic wealthy politics in America; over-privileged shitty rich people with cash & glamour to shower over themselves in self-congratulation while committing kids to combat theaters in countries they've never even visited. Probably as much a drunk as Nixon but forgiven for it because he made it look cute, frustrated that all these poor & black folks are 'distracting' from the srs bsns of bombing & defoliating Vietnam, leveraging the FBI to spy on people - not even because they might be security risks, but to dig up dirt that they could leak to the press as a means of discrediting critics, etc.

    The fact that embracing the southern Democrats as a political strategy was status quo says nothing about the repugnant nature of such business, and is hardly a good defense (especially when Kennedy's most vaunted positive traits are how different he made politics & how far he was able to move the needle towards progressive domestic policy & youth engagement).


    EDIT: Oh yeah; and fuck Ronald Reagan.




    And fuck his idiot, superstitious wife who made a central contribution to the séance & anti-Satanism craze in the 80s, which allowed an industry full of scam artists that robbed widows to blossom and culminated in the McMartin preschool trial - perhaps the most disgraceful abuse of the legal system seen in modern times.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
    MadCaddyoverride367MrVyngaardTicaldfjam
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Mortius is correct Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    The Ender wrote: »


    Other. Hm. I want to put Eleanor Roosevelt here. And before you cry foul and say she was not really a President, I will argue that she did more during FDR's reign and was more involved in the policy struggles re: The New Deal than her husband was by miles. FDR could not physically go to all of the rallies & panels & impromptu meet / greets - so Eleanor went in his staid.

    She was gay (or bi), she fought for civil rights before it was even a thing anyone though to fight for, she set-up a miner's labor community, struggled for refugee rights, chaired the first UN Commission fighting for human rights... <3 <3 <3

    She's the President we won't call a President, but totally was.

    <3 <3 <3

    I feel a bit vindicated now.

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    The McCarthy era can trace a straight & bold line right to Camelot's doorstep.
    ...how?

    The protection, enlistment of and championing of J. Edgar Hoover. Hell, it was Kennedy's VP (and eventual replacement) that extended Hoover's tenure indefinitely.

    So the McCarthy era doesn't begin with Joe McCarthy?

    Not at all. It ends with McCarthy, and is only known by that name due to McCarthy's famous outburst.

    McCarthyism starts right after the USSR achieves First Lightning (and some even argue that it begins a few months prior to the end of WWII, as the Allies slowly begin to size one another up and make post-war plans).
    Oh. So, by "Camelot's doorstep" you actually meant "the sign saying that the exit for Camelot was two miles away".

    Rchanen
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

    It was already a economic loser by the time the Civil War came around.

    that is just straightforwardly untrue unless you are talking about long term sustainability, which maybe, but even then it's not clearly a loser

    Depends on how you define success. It was great for a select few but crap for the South in general. The South was rapidly falling behind in industrialization and urbanization compared to the North by the time of the war.

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

    It was already a economic loser by the time the Civil War came around.

    that is just straightforwardly untrue unless you are talking about long term sustainability, which maybe, but even then it's not clearly a loser

    Depends on how you define success. It was great for a select few but crap for the South in general. The South was rapidly falling behind in industrialization and urbanization compared to the North by the time of the war.

    Yes, if your criteria for economic success are industrialization and urbanization then slavery in the American south was shit.

    But the reason that the south didn't industrialize or urbanize was because it didn't need to

    the agrarian economy that slavery allowed for was hugely profitable. yeah, that profit didn't trickle down to the lower class, but when did it? even then, it wasn't like the lower class didn't see material benefit from the institution of slavery

    yes long term, the massive agrarian economy would have had to slow down (because it was fed by territorial expansion which is limited), but we're talking pretty long term.

    it's not clear by the time of the civil war that slavery was becoming at all less profitable than it had been, it was more profitable

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    Abraham Lincoln
    Slavery was too much of a status symbol and there was too much wealth tied up in it for it to have ended peacefully in the short term future. Medium and long term it's hard to say.

    It was already a economic loser by the time the Civil War came around.

    that is just straightforwardly untrue unless you are talking about long term sustainability, which maybe, but even then it's not clearly a loser

    Depends on how you define success. It was great for a select few but crap for the South in general. The South was rapidly falling behind in industrialization and urbanization compared to the North by the time of the war.

    Industrialization isn't the end-all-be-all of advancement though. The south wouldn't have been better off if they had burned the crops and built factories on their ashes, for instance. The ready supply of cotton, hemp, tobacco, and grains from the south are why the factories in the north were successful, and they were why they had the ear of other countries to propose trade and defense deals. They didn't have a lot of railroads, but outside of wartime that wasn't really a hindrance to them.

    MadCaddy
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