Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Lincoln was what?

The editorial writer Choi Sang-yeon ("Try Roh's way," JoongAang Daily, June 1-2, 2019) attempts to distinguish two Lincolns:
Lincoln was a skilled politician who attained emancipation rather than being a "great liberator."
The trouble with this statement is that it does not clearly state any opposition between emancipation and liberation. In fact, they are surely synonyms.



At 2:53 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Does Choi Sang-yeon have a distinction in mind that is clearer when expressed in the Korean language?

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Possibly, but my wife wasn't sure about that.

I think what Choi probably meant was that Lincoln was not especially interested in freeing the slaves, but in keeping the Union together. Only when Lincoln realized that the Union could not exist half-slave and half-free did he turn against slavery and issue the Emancipation Proclamation. He was never an abolitionist, never a liberator.

At least, I suspect that Choi was thinking about this view of Lincoln. He just didn't express himself well.

Jeffery Hodges

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