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In 1865, as the American Civil War winds inexorably toward conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavors to achieve passage of the landmark constitutional amendment which will forever ban slavery from the United States. However, his task is a race against time, for peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law. Lincoln must, by almost any means possible, obtain enough votes from a recalcitrant Congress before peace arrives and it is too late. Yet the president is torn, as an early peace would save thousands of lives. As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience -- end slavery or end the war. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Steven Spielberg has explained that during the movie's climactic scene in which the names of House of Representative members are being called to vote on the 13th Amendment, the names of many of the men who voted 'No' --for various reasons--were actually changed in the film so as not to embarrass the living descendants of these men whose reputations might have been stained by their negative vote-casting. See more »
Mary Lincoln worries that Robert will be killed by a sniper. The term sniper was not used in the US until well after the Civil War. The equivalent term was sharp shooter. See more »
Steven Spielberg visuals are excellent in movies and this one is no exception. He does a wonderful job recreating the time period that Lincoln was a part of. The difficulty I have is in believing some of the dialogue and the revisionist history that takes place in this movie. The opening scene is a bloody battle and it appears realistic. Unfortunately the following scene has two black soldiers chatting with Lincoln outside in a makeshift camp. He's sitting at a table while they discuss their observations with him. Listening to them you'd think they all grew up on the same block together. One soldier lectures Lincoln and interrupts him during their conversation, while the other is Lincolns best buddy. A soldier wouldn't ever talk to a president in 2012 in this manner. In 1865 if two black soldiers acted this way they would have been immediately been put in irons. Blacks had to be extremely deferential interacting with whites during that century because the law looked the other way when they were murdered by whites. The scene is ridiculous.
Throughout the movie Spielberg emphasizes slavery as Lincolns motivation for engaging with the South. Fact check: Lincoln goal was to preserve the union. He did not remotely believe in equality of the races. Like most whites at that time, he considered blacks inferior. He stated that he would free some of the slaves, or all of the slaves, or none of the slaves if it would preserve the union. The movie is sort of a Disney version of Lincoln and loose on the facts.
This movie is over rated (probably because Spielberg is so powerful in Hollywood) and if you know any civil war history you will be disappointed. Lincoln, like all presidents, was a mixed bag. He believed in that it was acceptable to pay $300 to buy your way out of the war (the Irish didn't like that idea). Lincoln seriously considered deporting blacks to central America or Africa after the war. There was a great deal of corruption during his administration. Like most elites he believed the war should be fought by others(he wouldn't allow his son to put on a uniform until the war was over). Spielberg paints Lincoln as a saint and it would have been better (and far more realistic) if he had been portrayed a man with faults. The movie is a disappointment, if you want real history, read a book. This movie is a fable for children.
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