Monday, December 3, 2012

Musing Over Spielberg's Lincoln

Me: I saw Lincoln for a second time and liked it a lot better than the first time. I'm perplexed by one point:

Lincoln wanted to delay the Confederate Peace Commissioners' peace offer and keep them out of D.C.

The reason for that is, I think, that conservative Republican congressman knowing that peace was nigh upon them wouldn't then have supported passage of the Amendment.

And that's because save

for hastening the end of the war they, unlike the radical Republicans, were cold toward the idea of the Amendment on its own terms.

Which is to say, again, it was thought passage of the Amendment would hasten the end of the war.

But why?

That's what I'm not getting: why from the standpoint of the Confederacy would passage of the Amendment have caused it to end the war more quickly?

The only answer I can derive from the movie is that if that the end of slavery was a legal fait accomplit the Confederacy would no longer be motivated to keep fighting.

But this "answer" seems illogical, since the potential ending of slavery was a very cardinal thing the Confederacy was fighting against in the first place.
I feel like I'm not getting something, but what?
Haven't seen the movie, but I'll venture an opinion anyway. As I understand it, this passage came at a time when the last hope of the Confederacy was for some sort of negotiated settlement which would leave them with some claim to slavery within their existing territory, which after all was Lincoln's original position when the war began. What Lincoln saw was necessary, then, was for some large and irrevocable step that would remove that last shred of hope -- and that step was the passage of the Constitutional Amendment.
Me and Jeff:
Makes sense to me, too

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