Friday, January 25, 2013
Please remember movies are not always based on fact. The Lincoln movie got a lot right. But had to protect Lincoln a little.
I am always amazed by the history of the United States. It is also a sad fact that many in our land do not really know any of our history. Also, we have a tendency to believe movies now. Movies and the Internet have taken the place of books. Movies are not made to teach, they are made to entertain. Therefore, they do not have to follow the true history. Just follow the basics and add what is needed to make the story interesting, somewhat emotional, and of course get a few awards.
A book is written, rechecked, edited, read by many, reworded and reedited. So it is as close to being accurate as possible. I am of course talking about histories, biographies and the like.
Movies of a historic nature are based often on books, but that is where it stops. It is not beholding to the book, it is using the book as a frame of reference to the movie.
The movie is not obligated to follow the book, it is not looked on as a factual item, it is entertainment.
But sadly in our age of popular culture and Internet, there is very little monitoring of the accuracy of movies and what we read on the Internet. There are no massive editing, studying, or rehashing of text. I know I have made mistakes here on this blog, but sadly as a simple writer I do not have an editor. I try to fix my mistakes..but always miss a few :)
Movies once again are not there to teach, sometimes to influence, sometimes to create an image, but they are not required to tell the truth. Remember the old saying " Some is history, the rest is Hollywood".
The new movie Lincoln is nice, it shows Lincoln as a politician. Showing he could be as corrupt and ruthless as any other President. I enjoyed seeing that.
But it does allow him to be more human while dealing with a really screwed up family. I was very pleased to see Lincoln portrayed with his pigeon toed flat footed walk.
Of course finally a movie that has moved Lincoln from the Bass section of the historic choir and rightly to the 1st Tenor section. He had a very high regional voice that was hard to understand at times. Bravo for doing that ...FINALLY!
This was the Lincoln as he tried for the second time to get a 13th amendment through. This was the 2nd 13th amendment. Remember the first was in 1861 saying that Slavery was perfectly legal and would never be touched by the Federal Government. That failed to pass as much and as hard as Lincoln and Seward tried to get it passed.
But here was a more mature Lincoln who sees that the slaves need to be freed and he being first off a politician who had his ear close to the ground, said it must be so.
Cause we need to know that had he lived, Lincoln would not be the godlike person we perceive today. He would have gone through the ringer in reconstruction and also about his Constitutional practices.
There was also some other actions in his administration that were not always on the up and up.
There is a great sense of irony that the person who made Lincoln a greater man in our eyes and saving him from what would have changed our perceptions of him was John Wilkes Booth !
Booth made Lincoln a god.
There were many parts of Lincoln that the movie did not want to show. Surely as he would not be looked at as well by today's audiences. He was much for creating colonies in other nations for the ex slaves. He wanted to free them and then ship them out of the country. This is not talked about much.
At the time of his assassination he was leaning to allow a small number of slaves who were educated to have rights, but not most. As late as early 1865, he was still thinking of creating colonies for the slaves and shipping them out.
Remember Lincoln and others in the North did not want the ex slaves up in their area either. It is a nasty thing, but that was a prevailing thought at the time.
He also created his own "patriot act" and jailed thousands of people from the north who did not agree with him. Many newspaper editors, politicians, and others who he felt were not following his agenda. He even wrote an arrest warrant for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for defying his actions.
Since Lincoln had basically suspended the Constitution, he was a leader without controls. There was talk of unseating him, impeaching him, but there was a war going on. The election of 1864 was the only one that has ever taken place in a country during a Civil War. And the Union Party, Lincoln's own, won.
By a large part due to the military vote.
The restoration of the full Constitution did not take place till 1866 after Lincoln's death. This is part of that history that was not at all mentioned in the movie. One also has to remember that the country was reborn and renewed with the 13th. 14th, and the 15th amendments. This would take place between 1865 to 1870.
Of course this was Civil War too. One has to look on Lincoln's side and understand what he was doing. He was doing what John Quincy Adams suggested 20 years earlier. That is specially in the ideals on slavery. It does show although how Lincoln grew in the office.
He was a most powerful chief executive, and in a time of war, of which he was using every slippery legalism to do what he wanted to do with a not too understanding Congress.
After the war a lot of scores would have been settled. Cause he had expanded the powers of the executive office by a large margin by legal and some illegal actions and stepped on a lot of powerful toes.
But through his and Seward's actions they kept the country together and staved off a possible war with England.
What a mess it might have been had he lived. He died at exactly the right moment. Even the right day.
Study, research, look, and learn. That is what is so important today. For the editor is not around to correct the movies or the Internet anymore. You are the editor... Stop Look and Read. Let the movies inspire you and then study and learn.