20 February 2013
Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’
Mid-19th century America, whether in Washington or on the battlefield, and Lincoln’s political machinations by lamplight are so well-realised as to absorb all the viewer’s attention, but the story of the securing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution during the closing months of the American civil war is thought-provoking as well. Non-Americans may well benefit from reading the Wikipedia entry on the History of the US Republican Party. I certainly hadn’t appreciated the GOP’s determination to prevent the slave owners from establishing themselves in the new Territories. And what I’ve read so far about Reconstruction seems to underline that it was hardly directed at establishing the rights of African Americans. What happened after the Civil War that it should take a century for significant progress? Perhaps it had something to do with the huge waves of white immigration later in the 19th century, the emergence of the USA as a world power under the WASP elite, Prohibition? Perhaps a kind US reader of this post will recommend some further reading. Not for the first time though, I couldn’t help thinking that only a wealthy country can afford a political system with a Congress and Senate so often at loggerheads.
great-great-great grandchildren of John Wilkes Booth’s uncle, Sidney Booth. So, of course, are dozens of other people – Cherie’s father alone had eight daughters!