Bring ex-felons back into democracy; let them vote

Commentary | February 18, 2009 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago last Friday. Lincoln began his presidency intent, as were most white citizens, on the preservation of the union rather than the defeat of slavery. But the war itself, in a prolonged, agonizing effort, delivered the death knell to slavery in our country. It forced the president to recruit and arm 200,000 black men, most of whom were born into slavery, for service to the union. Blacks made up 10 percent of the union army. This arming of black folk made it impossible to accept slavery after the war. You give a former slave a uniform and a rifle, and he will never turn back. And so, in 1865, Lincoln led us to a new world.

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