It is interesting to compare Lincoln and his treachery in causing the Southern "enemy" to fire the first shot at Fort Sumter, resulting in the Civil War, with Roosevelt's similar manipulation causing the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entry into World War II.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., a well-known American "court historian," has written the definitive defenses for both Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt regarding their reprehensible behavior in causing their respective unnecessary American wars. He clearly documents the unconstitutional behavior of both and offers great praise for the same. He attempts to justify the actions of both presidents on grounds that they were acting during a "crisis" pertaining to the "survival of the American government," and that their unconstitutional actions were thereby made "necessary." Schlesinger has stated that "Next to the Civil War, World War II was the greatest crisis in American history." His defense of these two "great" presidents is as follows:
Roosevelt in 1941, like Lincoln in 1861, did what he did under what appeared to be a popular demand and a public necessity. Both presidents took their actions in light of day and to the accompaniment of uninhibited political debate. They did what they thought they had to do to save the republic. They threw themselves in the end on the justice of the country and the rectitude of their motives. Whatever Lincoln and Roosevelt felt compelled to do under the pressure of crisis did not corrupt their essential commitment to constitutional ways and democratic processes.Schlesinger, however, recognizes the terrible precedents that were created by these presidents' violations of the clear constitutional restrictions on their office:
Yet the danger persists that power asserted during authentic emergencies may create precedents for transcendent executive power during emergencies that exist only in the hallucinations of the Oval Office and that remain invisible to most of the nation. The perennial question is: How to distinguish real crises threatening the life of the republic from bad dreams conjured up by paranoid presidents spurred on by paranoid advisers? Necessity as Milton said, is always "the tyrant's plea."Let us add to John Milton's statement a more specific warning by William Pitt in his speech to the House of Commons on November 18, 1783: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants."
Finally, it is instructive to compare the circumstances for Lincoln at Fort Sumter with those for Roosevelt at Pearl Harbor. In neither case was there an actual "surprise" attack by the enemy. In fact, there was an extended period of time, many months prior to the "first shot," in which both Lincoln and Roosevelt had ample opportunity to attempt to negotiate with the alleged "enemy," who was desperately trying to reach a peaceful settlement.
In both cases, the presidents refused to negotiate in good faith. Lincoln sent completely false and conflicting statements to the Confederates and to Congress — even refused to talk with the Confederate commissioners. Roosevelt also refused to talk with Japanese Prime Minister Konoye, a refusal that brought down the moderate, peace-seeking Konoye government and caused the rise of the militant Tojo regime. Both Lincoln and Roosevelt repeatedly lied to the American people and to Congress about what they were doing while they were secretly provoking the "enemy" to fire the first shot in their respective wars. Both intentionally subjected their respective armed forces to being bait to get the enemy to fire the first shot.
Also, a comparison of circumstances clearly shows that both Lincoln and Roosevelt had ample opportunity to present their arguments and the question of war to Congress as the Constitution clearly required them to do. In fact, Congress in both cases was desperately trying to find out what the presidents were doing, and in both cases the presidents were hiding evidence from them. In Lincoln's case, Congress probably would not have declared war for either the real reasons Lincoln went to war or for those he used only for propaganda. Similarly, Roosevelt could have presented the question of war to Congress and attempted to persuade Congress and the American people that we needed to join Soviet Russia and Great Britain to fight tyranny in Germany.
This might have been embarrassing to the Roosevelt administration in light of the fact that Congress may not have wanted to declare war and join with Soviet Russia, which was already one of the greatest tyrannies the world had ever known, while Germany was Russia's main enemy. A majority in Congress surely were aware of the dangers of Communism, while Roosevelt never seemed to grasp the total evil of Stalin or Communism. Roosevelt gave Stalin everything he wanted throughout the war and referred to this mass murderer as "Uncle Joe." The wartime conferences at Teheran and Yalta clearly demonstrated Roosevelt's complete and secret capitulation to Communism in Russia and China.
Before World War II started in Europe in 1939, it was widely known that Stalin had already murdered more than ten million innocent, unarmed people, three million of whom were Russian peasants he killed between 1928 and 1935. Communism believed that private property was the main source of evil in the world, and therefore he took the privately owned land from these self-sufficient people.
Also, in the period from 1936 through 1938, Stalin murdered millions more during his reign of terror after the "show trials," purging from the Communist Party those he thought were disloyal. Hitler, on the other hand, before 1939, and primarily from June to July 1934, had murdered fewer than one hundred in his purge of the Storm Troopers. This is not to defend Hitler, or to deny that he was evil, but a comparison of these two murderers and tyrants (as Stalin and Hitler were known in the period from 1939 to 1941), shows that Roosevelt could hardly have asked Congress to declare war and to join with Stalin and Communism yet still argue that he was fighting a noble war against tyranny.