Friday, November 23, 2012

Lincoln - the movie

It's a quiet Friday after Thanksgiving here at the registry of deeds.  The roads were empty and the only one in line at Dunkin Donuts was a security guard from the Lowell District Court buying a "Box of Joe" presumably for the few employees there who did not take the day off.  With so many other folks having the day off, it's good to have the registry of deeds open: we always record a lot of homesteads on the day after Thanksgiving.

Yesterday I not only had the pleasure of enjoying a great dinner with my extended family and watching the Patriots overwhelm the Jets, but also seeing the new Steven Spielberg movie, Lincoln.  If you have any interest in politics or history, go see this movie.  (And if you're not interested in either of those subjects, perhaps seeing this film would spark some interest).

The film is almost exclusively about the political maneuvering to get the 13th Amendment (the one that abolished slavery) through the House of Representatives in January 1865.  It had passed the Senate the previous year but with a substantial number of opposition Democrats in the House, the two-thirds vote needed for its passage seemed out of reach.  In the election of November 1864, however, 62 of those Democratic Congressmen lost which changed the political dynamic.  Although his closest advisers recommended waiting until the newly-elected Republicans took office, Lincoln felt the need to move quickly, fearing that the end of the war - something that seemed imminent - would cause many to reconsider their support of the amendment.  Using promises of jobs and other tactics some would consider questionable, Lincoln and his compatriots cobbled together enough votes to win by 2. 

The movie also teases the viewers with enough "might have been" moments about Lincoln's plans for post-war America, plans that were snuffed out when he was assassinated just a few months later.

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