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Lincoln puzzler

Fabienne

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Recently discovered while cleaning the garage: a set of Lincoln cast iron bookends. Puzzler: why would the phrase "L'union fait la force" be inscribed above Lincoln's profile? I would guess the bookends are at least 50 years old, signed: Aristo.

The only link I can find: Haiti's motto is L'union fait la force, and Abraham Lincoln recognizing Haiti in 1863.

A puzzled Fabienne
 

Manton

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AlanC might be the best person to answer this question.


If I had to guess, I would say that is a play on the phrase "monopoly of force," i.e., one pillar of sovereignty is that the state should have a total monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Lincoln and other unionists believed that the Conferderacy had no right to use force, that only the Union could legitimately compel obedience by force (if necessary), and that recourse to force by the Confederacy amount to regression from "ballots to bullets." Hence, legitimately, "the union makes the force."
 

Fabienne

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Why AlanC?

Thank you for the attempt at an explanation, you are probably correct. But why in French? The bookends look US-made to me, but I may be wrong. Is "L'union fait la force" a well-known phrase in the US?
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by Fabienne
Why AlanC?
I just like to tease him for being an inveterate Lincoln-hater.

But why in French? The bookends look US-made to me, but I may be wrong. Is "L'union fait la force" a well-known phrase in the US?
Not that I have ever heard. I'm not sure why in French. Massachussetts has, or had, a sizeable population of Quebecois who left Canada after the Revolution, because they saw a way to escape English domination. They were always stauch republicans and unionists. Maybe it was made for that community. Just a guess.
 

esquire.

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Originally Posted by Manton
I just like to tease him for being an inveterate Lincoln-hater.

Why the hatred for Lincoln? Wasn't he supposed to be one of our greatest presidents by saving the Union and freeing all the slaves?
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by esquire.
Why the hatred for Lincoln? Wasn't he supposed to be one of our greatest presidents by saving the Union and freeing all the slaves?
His detractors say that he waged an unjust war, violated Southern sovereignty, centralized power in executive hands, and basically killed off the Founding era balance between state and federal authority.

Alan, did I leave anything out?
 

JBZ

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Originally Posted by Manton
His detractors say that he waged an unjust war, violated Southern sovereignty, centralized power in executive hands, and basically killed off the Founding era balance between state and federal authority.

Alan, did I leave anything out?


And he wore black suits (or at least black frock coats).
 

Huntsman

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Originally Posted by Manton
His detractors say that he waged an unjust war, violated Southern sovereignty, centralized power in executive hands, and basically killed off the Founding era balance between state and federal authority.

Alan, did I leave anything out?


Not that I'm coming down on either side, but there also was that little habeas corpus thing.

Regards,
Huntsman
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by Huntsman
Not that I'm coming down on either side, but there also was that little habeas corpus thing.
Covered under "centralized power in executive hands".
 
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he sold poisoned milk to schoolchildren
 

lawyerdad

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1862 The United States, under President Lincoln, grants Haiti formal diplomatic recognition
Never mind, just saw that's already in Fabienne's original post. Lincoln also apparently supported plans to relocate freed slaves to Haiti (or Liberia), which may or may not be relevant . . .
 

Tokyo Slim

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Originally Posted by Manton
His detractors say that he waged an unjust war, violated Southern sovereignty, centralized power in executive hands, and basically killed off the Founding era balance between state and federal authority. Alan, did I leave anything out?
well... there is this...
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln On October 16, 1854: Kansas-Nebraska act
“What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the greater mass of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question, if indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, can not be safely disregarded.”
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln On June 26, 1857: RE Dredd Scott decision
“Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and, at the same time, favorable to, or, at least, not against, our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be.”
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln On August 21, 1858: Lincoln/Douglas debate in Ottawa, Illinois.
“I will say here while upon this subject, that 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. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position."
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln In Charleston, Illinois on September 18, 1858 during the Fourth Lincoln/Douglas debate
“I will say then that I am not, nor ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor to qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln In July of 1862
Lincoln spoke of moving blacks out of the country. He stated the following, “I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization, can be obtained cheaply, and in abundance; and when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the free people will not be so reluctant to go.”
This actually did occur, the Northern African country of Liberia and a few South American countries recieved "shipments" of our "freed" slaves.
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln: Emancipation Proclamation, Sept 22 1862
“Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander In Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first Day of January, in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and in accordance with my so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, towit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana,(except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St.Johns, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans (including the City of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk & Portsmouth); and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.”
I.E. he issued the proclamation to free the slaves only in areas where at the time he had no political control or authority, He freed no slaves in the north, and he freed no slaves in areas where the northern Army had captured or had any influence. He did it to try and cause chaos amongst the farmlands of places he hadn't been yet, hoping for slave revolts and escapes. He also only "freed" the slaves for 100 days, at the end of which I am assuming, they returned to being property. So, in effect, he freed NO slaves.
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase on September 2, 1863
“The original proclamation has no constitutional or legal justification, except as a military measure.”
 

Tokyo Slim

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I'm just stirring the pot...

 

Fabienne

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Wow, a few roundabouts around here. I donated the bookends to a friend who's a Lincoln buff. She expressed, in other words, Manton's theory, but couldn't explain the French.
 

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