Fake news isn’t a recent problem in the US—it almost destroyed Abraham Lincoln

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-04-16 23:15Z by Steven

Fake news isn’t a recent problem in the US—it almost destroyed Abraham Lincoln


Gwynn Guilford, Reporter

Fake news almost brought down Honest Abe. (Reuters/Molly Riley)

Abraham Lincoln was more than just a foe of slavery. He was also a mixed-race eugenicist, believing that the intermarriage of blacks and whites would yield an American super-race.

Or at least, that’s what newspapers in 1864 would have had you believe. The charge isn’t true. But this miscegenation hoax still “damn near sank Lincoln that year,” says Heather Cox Richardson, history professor at Boston College.

In February 1864, Lincoln was preparing for a tough re-election campaign amidst a bloody civil war when he and his Republican party were blindsided.

The attack came from Samuel Sullivan Cox, an Ohio congressman from the pro-slavery Democrats, who gave a fiery speech to Congress condemning Republicans for championing the idea that whites and blacks have children together to create a new “American race,” declaring these views to “have been a part of the gospel of abolition for years.”

Democratic papers around the country reprinted the transcript of Cox’s speech. The Republicans’ “disgusting theories” had gone viral.

Cox was citing a 72-page anonymous pamphlet titled “Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the American White Man and Negro” that extolled intermarriage of races and encouraged Republicans to openly endorse this philosophy by adding it to their official party platform…

Read the entire article here.

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