I saw “Lincoln” last weekend. Daniel Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones should win Oscars for “Best Actor” and “Best Supporting Actor” for their roles as Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens, a Radical Republican leader in the House of Representatives.
While it was a great film which relies on plot rather than action or special effects to hold your interest for over two hours, it is, as it’s title makes clear, all about…well, Lincoln. But Lincoln was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of the effort to end slavery in the United States.
In order to get the 13th amendment passed, Lincoln had to rely on the anti-slavery sentiment in the North. A sentiment which was cultivated by others.
As the film reveals, passage of the amendment was not a “no brainer.” There were a number of… conservative… elements opposed to the…radical… Republicans’ demand for abolishing slavery.
Rather than appeal to elected representative’s to “do the right thing” (which I believe politicians rarely do in politics), Lincoln had to find other means of persuasion. The film focuses on those means of persuasion.
As a politician, Lincoln may very well have been the LBJ of his era. Conversely, LBJ may have been the Lincoln of his era for the way LBJ… persuaded … Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act just short of the 100th anniversary of the 13th amendment.