Readers might recall that this blog is not simply a blog about history, but about other things as well. Being on sabbatical, I’ve tried not to think too much about the other things, such as life in the academy. However, I will start blogging a little bit more about those issues as I slowly gear up for a return to the classroom in August 2011.
Not too long ago we had a rather lively exchange in the comments section in which a commenter saw much in common between Lincoln’s plans for colonization, Grant’s plans for annexation, and a series of proposals to relocate African Americans within the United States (somewhere in the South). My position was (and continues to be) that the differences in these plans are critical to understanding them, and that while Lincoln publicly supported the relocation of freed blacks outside of the United States, he was far quieter about resettlement within the United States: what we have on that issue is based largely on the recollections of others some time after the fact. Lincoln himself seemed rather non-committal about the notion, and as of now we lack the documentation on his views about internal relocation that we have for his views on colonization outside the United States. Moreover, many of those people who developed resettlement plans within the boundaries of the United States opposed Grant’s plan of annexation, suggesting that they saw the two ideas as vastly different.