This weekend I had at least one day off, something which is pretty unusual for someone that has a job in retail. Last night (Saturday) I was watching the biopic ‘Lincoln’, you know, the one with Daniel Day Lewis portraying the 16th POTUS. Sally Fields played Mrs. Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones played Congressman Thaddeus Stevens from Pennsylvania.
The majority of the movie dealt with the impending passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that would abolish slavery in the United States and eventually any territories the country might possess in the future. It went into a good amount of detail of the fight that occurred in the House of Representatives during the month of January of 1865, culminating in the vote of the 31st. As with any sort of history movie, many things that might be considered important were still glossed over and history was changed a bit to make the movie run better. That’s to be expected. Yes, Robert Lincoln was at Appamatox when Lee surrendered. However, he was a junior officer on US Grant’s staff, and wouldn’t have been on the porch overlooking Grant bidding good-bye to Lee after the surrender was signed. It makes a good scene in a movie, but it didn’t happen.
Finally, toward the end of the movie, when the 13th Amendment was finally passed, a great shout went up in the House chamber, Representatives were throwing papers and singing ‘Battle Cry of Freedom‘ from within and without celebrating their hard fought victory. However, they really hadn’t sealed the fate of slavery just yet, because the states of the Union still had to do their part, either ratifying the amendment, or not. That didn’t happen until the end of 1865, but again, you have to have a happy ending.
What’s the point of all this you might ask. I’m just observing that the heavy duty flag waving of today that one sees in the U S of A, was just as fervent 153 years ago. And they had something to celebrate. Do we? Time will tell I suppose.