Lincoln's Unflinching Words

By now, most readers of this site will have seen Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. Each of us, doubtless, has his own opinion of the film. But all of us, doubtless, were moved by its portrayal of the courage, humanity, intelligence and sheer, rascally wiliness of our first Republican president. Lincoln never boasted: "we are the change we have been waiting for." He didn't need to. Lincoln knew he was a superior man -- literally, a giant among pygmies, the most consequential president in American history. Underneath the "scrub" accent (which, perhaps for tactical reasons, he rarely eschewed), Abraham Lincoln was pure steel. As the movie shows, the 16th President of the United States was perfectly willing to use patronage, trimming, and horse-trading to muster the Congressional votes to pass his Thirteenth Amendment. But Lincoln did not compromise on the principle which the Thirteenth Amendment represented. As Ta-Nahisi Coates wrote in the Atlantic on-line edition this weekend, compromise...(Read Full Article)

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