“Abraham Lincoln is not seen as much of a hero at all among many American Indian Nations and Native peoples of the United States, as the majority of his policies proved to be detrimental to them,” the San Francisco committee meeting notes said of their decision to add Abe Lincoln to the list of names that will be yanked from schools in that city.
“The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery,” Jeremiah Jeffries, chairman of the renaming committee said.
“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building,” Jeffries added of the man who literally ended slavery in America. Just a stunning move from the left coast.
Senator Diane Feinstein will also have her name removed from a school – the Dianne Feinstein Elementary because she allowed the Confederate flag to fly in front of San Francisco City Hall in the 1980s.
Yet the renaming of Lincoln High School was a slam dunk for the committee, which didn’t even discuss it, according to video of the meetings. The members of the committee, appointed by the school board, deemed whether a person’s actions or beliefs met the criteria for renaming, and moved on. The committee’s spreadsheet with notes on their research listed the federal treatment of Native Americans during his administration as the reason.
“The discussion for Lincoln centered around his treatment of First Nation peoples, because that was offered first,” Jeffries said. “Once he met criteria in that way, we did not belabor the point.”
Jeffries, however, said the narrative of Lincoln’s legacy is false.
Regardless of the pop-culture myths of Lincoln and his motivations, the Civil War was not fought over slavery or the liberation of Black people.
“The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery,” he said. “Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”
“He saved the country from dividing and ruin,” said Harold Holzer, a Lincoln scholar and director of the Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. “He should be honored for it.
Lincoln’s involvement with Native Americans is even trickier to unravel.
Lincoln’s administration supported the Homestead Act of 1862 and transcontinental railroad, which led to the loss of Indigenous peoples’ land. Lincoln himself largely delegated the sometimes bloody response to Native American conflicts while focusing on the Civil War, according to historians.
But Lincoln, whose grandfather was killed by a Native American, oversaw the hanging of 38 indigenous warriors after a Santee Sioux uprising in Minnesota, but only after he personally reviewed the legal cases against the 303 men sentenced to death. He saved the lives of 265 Indigenous men.
Lincoln, historians say, was focused on the Civil War and therefore did little to change policies related to Native Americans, but had planned to.
“If we get through the war and I live, this Indian system will be reformed,” he said. He never got the chance.
“He was more progressive than most people,” Holzer said. “There was pretty rampant hostility (toward Native Americans) and I think Lincoln rose above it.
“Nobody is going to pass 21st century mores if you’re looking at the 18th and 19th centuries.”
Lincoln’s legacy is complicated, Black said.
Thomas Jefferson canceled in Northern Virginia, now Abe Lincoln canceled in San Francisco.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) December 15, 2020
Reminder: This man *freed the slaves.*
Madness has momentum. pic.twitter.com/3eMwrUZr3W