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"Lincoln" legal mistake
03-02-2013, 06:10 AM
Post: #25
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake
First of all I would like to welcome David Lockmiller to the forum. Some members here were posters on the defunct Abraham Lincoln Online Friends of Lincoln Mailbag and will remember David as being an integral part of the discussions there. Welcome aboard, David!

I believe the parts of the movie which I was referring to have now been mentioned by the posts above. I think, with Abraham and Mary Lincoln, it's sometimes difficult to get at the absolute truth. Neither of them kept a diary. Although we have plenty of letters, when it comes to conversations, language, mannerisms, etc. we often have to rely on the recollections of others. These recollections do not always agree with each other. Many of the recollections were made many, many years after the fact.

One example would be Lincoln's voice. I have a book entitled "Abraham Lincoln: Public Speaker" by Waldo W. Braden. Chapter 8 is entitled "Penetrating and Far Reaching: Lincoln's Voice." Although many of the "ear witnesses" do say something like "high-pitched," not all do. It's not unanimous. So what Daniel Day-Lewis tried to emulate is simply what the majority of folks thought. I am sure there are probably some people from Lincoln's time who, had they seen the movie, would say, "No, that's not the way he sounded at all."

The movie is partly based on Goodwin's book. In her book she uses a variety of sources, some quite obscure. Are her sources accurate? In some cases, there is no way of telling. If a conversation was reported by one single individual, how can we tell if it's accurate when there is no other source? I don't think we can.

As far as I know Elizabeth Keckly is the sole source for the conversation about the big white building. Did she remember it correctly? We really have no sure way of knowing. I had not previously been aware that Mary turned away from Tad after Willie's death. That was new to me. Maybe someone who knows more than me can expound upon that.

Regarding the "clothed in immense power" quote, the only source I see for this are the reminisces of Congressman John B. Alley published in "Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by Distinguished Men of His Time" collected and edited by Allen Thorndike Rice. Goodwin used an 1886 edition.

The two House members who are supposed to have heard this remark are not named either in Goodwin's book or Rice's. Goodwin writes, "He (Lincoln) assigned two of his allies in the House to deliver the votes of two wavering members. When asked how to proceed he said (see above quote)." Unless I am missing it, Alley doesn't even say if he is one of the two Congressmen present for the remark.

When I researched that quote I found that the Fehrenbachers did not even think it was worthy enough to include in their excellent book. This made me wonder about the accuracy of other quotes in the movie. How much of what Lincoln says in the movie is based on dubious sources?

In truth I agree with both David and Liz. I thought it was a terrific movie....I absolutely loved it and along with many in the theater gave it a standing applause at the end. I did this despite having some misgivings on the historical accuracy. I wish I didn't feel that way; so my opinion on the movie is "divided," but I still loved it (if that makes any sense!). Do we "nit-pick" too much? I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion on that, and there will never really be a consensus. I agree that it is important that the movie stay true to Lincoln's actions, thoughts, and character. In some respects it may not have, but I still loved the movie anyway. If the inaccuracies in the movie do divert the audience from Lincoln's true character, then I disagree with that. I doubt we can reach a consensus as to what degree this happens. What is "nit-picking" to one person may be serious movie flaws to another. I think we should respect both views.

I am NOT a movie critic. So, David and Liz, if you are disappointed in this posting, please know that critiquing a movie is not something I am good at doing. I did not take part in the "Killing Lincoln" analysis. I didn't know what to say - I just loved the production although articulating why is hard, if not impossible, for me to do. As a teacher I rarely assigned my students essays as I myself am poor at writing them and didn't know how I could possibly justify assigning a letter grade to what the students wrote. Most of the teachers on my old staff were far better at writing essays than I was.
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Messages In This Thread
"Lincoln" legal mistake - Lindsey - 02-05-2013, 10:52 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 02-06-2013, 06:17 AM
RE: "Lincoln" movie criticisms - Gene C - 03-01-2013, 09:40 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - LincolnMan - 02-06-2013, 09:51 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 02-06-2013, 10:33 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - HerbS - 02-06-2013, 10:43 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - HerbS - 02-06-2013, 05:19 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - Rob Wick - 02-06-2013, 07:51 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 02-07-2013, 03:26 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - HerbS - 02-10-2013, 03:08 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - Jim Garrett - 02-14-2013, 07:06 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - ELCore - 02-18-2013, 08:23 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 02-19-2013, 06:12 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - LincolnMan - 02-19-2013, 09:12 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 03-02-2013 06:10 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - HerbS - 03-02-2013, 10:41 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - LincolnMan - 03-02-2013, 06:25 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - L Verge - 03-02-2013, 08:28 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - LincolnMan - 03-03-2013, 08:21 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - Gene C - 03-03-2013, 10:20 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - LincolnMan - 03-03-2013, 10:42 AM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - Jim Page - 03-03-2013, 12:08 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - Gene C - 03-07-2013, 06:06 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 01-20-2014, 02:43 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - Anita - 01-20-2014, 03:30 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 01-20-2014, 04:06 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - L Verge - 01-20-2014, 03:36 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 01-20-2014, 05:14 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - L Verge - 01-20-2014, 07:36 PM
RE: "Lincoln" legal mistake - RJNorton - 01-21-2014, 08:46 AM

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