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Honor to the "Honest Abe"

Publié le par JoSeseSeko

Honor to the "Honest Abe"

150 years after his murder, Abraham Lincoln became a popular character in the United States where the political class across the Atlantic refers to it abundantly. The closest equivalent in France could well be Jean Jaurès, died more than 100 years ago from now on.

John Wilkes Booth, a comedian known for his confederate sympathies, entered the history books by making of Abraham Lincoln, the first murdered American president, at night of April 14th, 1865, about the theater Ford in Washington, thus 150 years ago. This tragedy marks the difficult beginnings of the "Reconstruction" era, hardly one week after the surrender signed by general Robert Lee in front of general Ulysses Grant for Appomattox (Virginia), officially terminating the American Civil War.

A hated president...

One doesn't imagine, here in France, the hatreds which this name could feed both in the Southern States and the Northern ones of the United States, during its presidency. In particular with the workers, for often recent immigrants. The latter did not support to be sent to battlefields (Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, etc.) for a cause which made them indifferent, the abolition of slavery, and that they could not escape the conscription. Where from violent demonstrations, as Draft riots in July, 1863, shortly after the butcher's shop of Gettysburg. Officially, the American Civil War was caused by the question of the slavery and its abolition. But unofficially, it is a fight of well-to-do, those of the Union against those of the Confederacy, coupled by a thought of economic policy diametrically opposite. Lincoln was firmly protectionist, whereas his democratic opponents defended free trade.

Then Lincoln, at the beginning of the war, suffered from a personal incompetence, doubled by an incapacity to most of the general Nordists in the military affairs; while opposite, the confederated president Jefferson Davis, hero of the American-Mexican war, knew how to be made in the military question there, helped in more by valuable generals (Lee, John "Stonewall" Jackson, James Longstreet, Pierre Gustave Toutan-Beauregard, etc.). But the more the conflict moved forward, the more it gained confidence in its directives to the various armies, while taking care of naming rather quickly a generalissimo, who was Grant, and that general Nordists show themselves during the fights, such Winfield Scott Hancock or William Sherman. At Dixieland, the intervention of Davis was problematic for the generals and (too) late, he named Lee as generalissimo of the Confederacy.

... then popular

In time, Lincoln's political work (abolition of slavery with the XIIIth amendment of the Constitution of 1787) got the upper hand over its responsibility in what remains the most murderous war for the Americans, with 620.000 deaths and 412.200 wounded persons, in both camps. Now, Lincoln makes man's figure of consensus in the political class across the Atlantic, as indicates it the New York Times, in an article published on April 14th. This reference is such as Mark K. Updegrove, director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, tell with the New York daily paper: "There’s no president I’ve interviewed — Ford, Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 — who hasn’t said that it was Lincoln that they thought of first and foremost as an inspiration during the most trying days of their presidencies." Finally, in a poll of the New York Times and CBS News appeared in 2012, Lincoln is considered as the favorite character of the People from the United States, for 55 % of the people polled, in front of George Washington, hero of the war for independence and the first president of the United States, with only 31 % of the people asked which place him in front of.

Jaurès, a hexagonal equivalent

If there is a character in the history which has a trajectory quasi-similar to that of the Lincoln, it is good Jean Jaurès. Jaurès was murdered by Raoul Villain on July 31st, 1914, he forbade a socialist line, beside Jules Guesde, and wished to bring a logic of emancipation for numerous men, women and children, outcasts by the bourgeoisie. As well as, as Lincoln in the United States, Jaurès reached a consensus within the French political class. These two big speakers were charismatic, had strong convictions and it was those who exposed them in the face of the murderous insanity of opponents (Booth for Lincoln, Villain for Jaurès).

Nevertheless, important nuances exist between these two politicians. At first, Lincoln was murdered further to a disastrous war on the human and economic plan (damages estimated at dozens of billion dollars of 2014), whose responsibility he carried, whereas Jaurès was before shot down 14-18, this slaughter which he wanted to avoid at the most. Then, Lincoln is a radical Republican, certainly abolitionist, but he acted all the same in the interest of the industrialists, who were made a fortune, in particular in the armament and the textile, although the International Workingmen's Association (1st International) congratulated him for its re-election in 1864, as indicates it this Karl Marx's letter of late November, 1864. By opposition, the socialist tribune defended a partial collectivization of the economy, the improvement of the rights of the proletarians, the separation of the Church and the State, or took anticolonialist positions, in particular since the expansion in Morocco.

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