Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New 'Lincoln' Trailer, The Same Old Myths

A new trailer for the upcoming Steven Spielberg film Lincoln aired during last night's Presidential Debate. As you can see, Lincoln will more than likely be supporting the same old myths including the idea that "Honest Abe" was actually interested in liberating the slaves in America:

Never mind that Lincoln had this to say regarding his views on slavery:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of the definitive works on Abraham Lincoln The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked, delves into that topic more in a great article "Another Big Lincoln Lie Exposed."

The trailer includes a couple of interesting tidbits. To be fair, the trailer seems to indicate that the film will feature at least some of the criticisms against Lincoln. However, during the introductory monologue, the phrase "There are those who unite us all" glows onto the screen and disappears into an image of Abraham Lincoln. How can anyone claim that Lincoln united an entire country let alone enough people to encompass the word "all"? Thomas J. DiLorenzo again explains through another great article that Lincoln was deeply hated by those in the North and the South. Invoking the memory of the New York Draft Riots alone should be proof enough that Lincoln was no grand uniter.

The most interesting aspect of the trailer for me occurs at the very end. The ending of the trailer gives us a glimpse into what is either an indictment or exoneration of Lincoln's vast abuse of power as Lincoln shouts, "I am the President of the United States of America - clothed in immense power!" Of course, anyone who has actually read the Constitution understands that the President has very limited powers but little stood in the way of Lincoln achieving his ultimate goal to, as he put it, "save the Union."

Will Spielberg chose history or myth in his depiction of Abraham Lincoln? I have doubts that history will be honored in the film but I am interested to find out.

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