Sunday, June 2, 2013
BRAZIL SAYS NO TO MR. LINCOLN!
Washington, December, 1862: in the middle of a War that was costly in terms of lives and money, and in which the Government was desperate for funds to stifle the rebellion of the confederate states, President Abraham Lincoln, in his annual State of the Union speech, was bold enough to ask Congress for US$ 600,000 for purposes other than the conflict.
“Congressmen need to release the money necessary to deport free black people to any place outside the United States”, stated Lincoln. It was neither the first, nor the only time that the president, one year before proclaiming the emancipation of the slaves, spoke officially and publicly of his interest in deporting blacks: he made five political declarations to this effect, including two State of the Union speeches and the speech that preceded emancipation.
“The place where I’m thinking of having a colony is in Central America. It’s closer to us than Liberia [a territory in Africa, dominated by the USA, where freedmen were sent]. The land is excellent for any people, especially the climatic similarity to their native land, and it is therefore suitable for their physical conditions”, he wrote in an article for the New York Tribune entitled, “The colonization of people of African descent.”
The Brazilian political elite rejected the idea because it was already focused on attracting white European immigrants to Brazil just as the US was doing at home.