12 February 2010

Meatless Friday: A Presidents' Day Quiz

SLC Note: Dear Readers, don't blame me. This is merely intended to stimulate some interest in history from a perspective you don't often see.

History Quiz: American Presidents

by Clyde Wilson

  1. What American President launched a massive invasion of another country that posed no threat, and without a declaration of war?

  2. What President raised a huge army at his own will without the approval of Congress?

  3. What President started a war of choice in violation of every principle of Christian just war teaching?

  4. What President said that he had to violate the Constitution in order to save it?

  5. What President declared the elected legislatures of thirteen States to be "combinations" of criminals that he had to suppress?

  6. What President said he was indifferent to slavery but would use any force necessary to collect taxes?

  7. What President sent combat troops from the battlefield to bombard and occupy New York City?

  8. What President sent the Army to arrest in the middle of the night thousands of private citizens for expressing their opinions? And held them incommunicado in military prisons with total denial of due process of law? And had his soldiers destroy newspaper plants?

  9. What President was the first ruler in the civilized world to make medicine a contraband of war?

  10. What President signed for his cronies special licenses to purchase valuable cotton from an enemy country even though he had forbidden such trade and punished other people for the same practice?

  11. What President refused medical care and food to his own soldiers held by the enemy country?

  12. What President presided over the bombardment and house-by-house destruction of cities and towns that were undefended and not military targets?

  13. What President’s forces deliberately targeted women and children and destroyed their housing, food supply, and private belongings?

  14. What President’s occupying forces engaged in imprisonment, torture, and execution of civilians and seizing them as hostages?

  15. Under what President did the Army have the largest number of criminals, mercenaries, and foreigners?

  16. Who was the first American President to plot the assassination of an opposing head of state?

  17. Who had the least affiliation with Christianity of any American President and blamed God for starting the war over which he presided?

  18. What President voted for and praised a law which forbade black people from settling in his State?

  19. What President said that all black people should be expelled from the United States because they could never be full-fledged citizens?

  20. What President was the first to force citizens to accept as legal money pieces of paper unbacked by gold or silver?

  21. Who was the first President to institute an income tax?

  22. Who was the first President to pile up a national debt too vast to be paid off in a generation?

  23. Who is considered almost universally as the greatest American President, indeed as the greatest American of all times and as a world hero of democracy?

  24. What predecessor is President Obama most often compared to?

    This is a take-home quiz. Please grade yourself.

    From LewRockwell.com


Andy said...

Abe Lincoln to all of the above.

Meg said...


Did I say, Lincoln?

Love this, Timman! Do I hear a Rebel Yell?

StGuyFawkes said...

Tim and all,

Of course it's Lincoln but many of Rockwell's questions are skewed and misleading.

1.) Lincoln and Christianity:

Lincoln was a theist of a kind that one could discover in the works of German Idealists like Ficthe and Schelling, whom he read (see Edmund Wilson's "Patriotic Gore"). But he did NOT, in his Second Inaugural Address, blame God for the Great War. He used a trope consistent with the Puritan tradition of Jeremiads and asked whether the pain suffered by both sides of the conflict wasn't part of some inscrutible design of the Creators. He points to slavery as a possible motive in the designs of a creator whose mind we cannot divine.

2. Lincoln and the C.S.A. :

Similarly, Rockwells refering to the C.S.A. as another country is argumentative and begs the question. As for that country's having done no harm please ask that question of any black citizen of the United States. Or ask it of anybody from Kansas who lived through Confederate "squatter sovereinty".

The list is a provocative thought teaser nonetheless and a lot of fun. But it slanders Lincoln and implies a lot of falsehood. I'm sure most of our readers see that, I just wanted to point it out.

Anonymous said...

Famous Masons for 500, Alex

Anonymous said...

Ah, Tim, thank you for revealing your colors so blatantly here. You cannot stand Lincoln and you think that the South was an innocent party in the Civil War. I get it! You're not a racist, of course, but you think Lincoln was a bad guy and the South represented a just cause. But no, you abhor racism. (Maybe some of your best friends are black?)

Go study some history, dude. And while you're at it, pray for those long-dead Americans who committed mortal sin by owning slaves, as well as for those who committed mortal sin by championing slavery as a worthy practice.


athanasius_magnus said...

Yet as big a racist and pro-slavery guy that he was, it was worth sacrificing all that for the sake of progressing the cause of unlimited (not to mention unconstitutional) Federal power over the states. Quite sick when you really begin to think about it. Great Emancipator? Maybe great politician, but nothing more.

Alison said...

Thank you St. Guy Fawkes. I have nothing to add.

thetimman said...


Dude, one of the first lessons learned by studying history is that the victors generally write it. I am sure you have assimilated well the history you have been taught.

Your somewhat veiled insults to me I can and will ignore.

Anonymous said...

I forwarded this post to a friend of mine and this was his reply:

"Without Lincoln to keep the union together so that it could be there as a bulwark to all kinds of far worse evil, the Nazis, Communists or Islamists would be in charge now, and the Pope would be some dictator's court jester."

Does anyone want to conceed he may have a point?


StGuyFawkes said...

Dear ATW,

I think you have a point. If you read Lincoln's speeches, and I mean all of them, he had a very well developed theory of what the outcome of slavery would be. His belief was that the slave economy would eventually force into penury all the white freeholder, who in turn would become sharecroppers to the plantation owners and eventually slaves themselves. The final result would be the destruction of the American democracy and the hope of the world as the slave economy moved West and took up a majority in the House and senate.

His belief as he so elegantly phrased it in the Gettysburg Address was that democracy as a concept would not survive the break up of the union.

He wanted to save the very idea of democracy and ATW has a point.

Does anyone really think a dissolved and schismatic collection of confederation of states would have entered the Second World War? I doubt it.

By the way, he may have believed in the superiority of whites but he did not, I emphatically repeat did not think slavery was moral.

In the Lincoln / Douglas debates he made it abundantly clear that the evil of slavery did not consist in inequality. It consisted in stealing other men's labor. In other words even if the African was inferior you had no right to steal his labor and the fruits of his labor. This theft Lincoln believed was unconscionable. Thus he was able to tell Horace Greeley that he would put off signing the Emancipation Proclamation until he thought it would have the maximum impact on defeating the South, and that he truly wished that all men everywhere were free.

He was a complicated and profound thinker. Take a look at his speech before the Illinois Men's Lyceum where he forecasts that the American democracy will produce some future tyrant. In writing this he presaged not only his own career but gives us a mind that might well have divined Nietzsche.

St. Guy

dulac90 said...


At least your friend concedes we are talking about degrees of evil.

thetimman said...


Your last comment does not persuade, and I think works somewhat the opposite effect on me. OK, Lincoln's opinion was that "democracy" would not survive Southern independence. So? Did that give him extra-constitutional powers, or infallible clairvoyance? Every elite social planner knows what to do better than you, or me, or the law.

And I don't know that the Second World War point is one I'd use, even if true. Certainly, LIncoln's success in forcing states to remain in a union against every legal principle then known did force a centralized government that has continued to consolidate power to the point where now the states are merely local branch offices of the all-powerful federal government. And the Presidency continues to draw all power in that government to itself. Ultimately, the emperor will no longer need the facade of Congress or the Courts to provide the veneer of separation of powers. This trend is largely a legacy of A. Lincoln.

But, of course, pointing out the fact that slavery was evil makes the pill easier to swallow.

Was Lincoln a brilliant politician? Sure. Smart? Very. Clever? Yes. A great orator? Like we have not seen in this country before or since.

But for all that, he presided over the beginning of the end of this republic.

Jane Chantal said...

Man proposes; God disposes. The great figures of history do not always fully know the "why" of the decisions they make; even men of greatness see through a glass darkly, and I think that Lincoln was unusually candid wrt his continual struggle to discern God's purposes.

I guess that this is an appropriate moment for me to say that it has occurred to me, in moments of hyper-anglophilia, that God allowed the success of our Revolutionary War in order that the union thus forged could become strong enough to save the homeland of our national soul -- i.e. England -- from the Nazis.

Are we having fun yet? :-D

God bless America, and God bless England.

StGuyFawkes said...


Leaders do not have crystal balls with which to divine the future or the will of the divine.

However, the tragedy of political leadership is that a leader must try to divine both of these things in order to lead.

This is the stoop shoudered burden Lincoln accepted. He believed that the break up of the union had huge implications for the future of mankind.

He may have been wrong but he would have been even more wrong to shun the burden of his political vision.

Can you imagine the southern states turning into anything other than a nightmareish replica of the Boer Republic of South Africa?

I cannot.

What does your crystal ball divine?

Have you ever thought through what a successfully nazified Europe would have looked like.

Just to throw in a point.

There was once a very stoop shouldered and brooding, troubled soul who had to divine the future of a de-christinized Europe, a Europe destroyed by either godless communism, or godless pagan nazism. His name was Pius XII and he was forced to envision two evil fates for Europe and his burden was to try and see if he could find a way for the Church to survive.

He also, as I recall, moved quickly to centralize Church goverment.

And he freed and saved Jews wherever he could and failed to save them where he thought it would do no good, or do more harm. And he nowhere stopped praying that all Jews could be free of their murders.

This in essence is what Lincoln said to HOrace Greeley when asked when would he sign the "Emancipation Proclamation."

He said he would free all of the slaves, or some of the slaves or none of the slaves but he would pursue whichever strategy would save the Union. And he added that in no way did this diminish his wish that all men everywhere cold be free.

St. Guy

Not for Civil War said...

I have come to believe that Lincoln should have let the South succeed from the Union. Slavery was not the only issue and slavery would have eventually died as we became more industrialized and slaves found their way to the sympathetic Northern states.

I think that the South would have cooled off and asked to rejoin the union when it would have benefited them in the years ahead.

The Civil war was the bloodiest war and it is still hard to stomach the fact that it could have been avoided.

StGuyFawkes said...

Tim and all,

A correction and a parting thought.

I wrote of Pius XII: "And he nowhere stopped praying that all Jews could be free of their murders." That meant to read, "free of their murderERS".

A parting thought:

Tim argued: "LIncoln's success in forcing states to remain in a union against every legal principle....."

Indeed you are RIGHT except hie did forward and act on the basis of one very powerful legal principal: NATURAL LAW.

Lincoln is one of the foremost disciples of Natural Law in American Political thought and Clarence Thomas acknowledged the same in his confirmation hearing when he cited the argument against slavery and its analogy with the argument against abortion.

Lincoln realized that the theft of men's bread and sweat was the evil of slavery and no positive law could do anything but create a house divided.

Natural Law. It was what Lincoln and The Church have always defended.

St. Guy

X said...

Maybe someday there will actually be an intelligent discourse on the "Civil" war on this website, but I doubt it. The Second World War? No way.

Latinmassgirl said...

Mr. X,

You might try a slice or two of humble pie. Not everybody claims to be a brilliant as your reflection is. Maybe you just need some new glasses. . .