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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Mrs. T , friends Steve, Jewel and I took in the much talked about Spielberg film Lincoln recently. Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and a host of other well known actors, the film focuses on the period shortly after Lincoln’s reelection in January 1865.   Lincoln  knows that the North is going to win the war and is already focusing on “binding up the nations wounds” and making sure slavery is no more forever and ever.   Three commissioners from the Confederacy head up to Washington City, and Lincoln is confident that he could have their surrender within a week. But before that can happen, he is driven to pass the 13th Amendment, which would outlaw slavery. The Democrats hate the amendment, and even Lincoln's  Republican comrades want him to delay the vote. Only Lincoln grasps the stakes: that once the Civil War is over, the amendment won't pass — it will be blocked by the Southern states. Winning the war could prove a Pyrrhic victory. Only by threading the amendment through the eye of a legislative needle can he alter the course of history. Thus the film is really the story of an often overlooked side of Lincoln – his political genius. For those who have read Doris Kearns Goodwins  wonderful book, A Team of Rivals  this is old news and the film is partly based on that book. 
Daniel Day Lewis was Lincoln just a Merly Streep could be Julia Childs or Margaret Thatcher. Oddly enough though, it was the old detective and hard boiled crime stopper Tommy Lee Jones who astonished me as abolishonist Thadeous Stevens . Sally Fields was also spot on as Mary Todd Lincoln.
This is a great film of ideas.  It clearly has current relevance given our presently divided nation and government. I highly recommend it.

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