I look forward to seeing Steven Spielberg's new movie, Lincoln. I understand from the synopsis that it focusses on the clash between Lincoln and his cabinet in the last few months of his presidency. I'm sure it will be a great movie, given the director, his writer, Tony Kushner, and the fine leading actors.
But, knowing Spielberg's and Kushner's political sympathies, I am also confident that the film will not speak of two major aspects of Lincoln's political career and the anti-slavery movement.
First, Lincoln was a Republican, the first Republican president, of the same Republican Party that continues today; and that the major opposition to the War and to abolition and support for slavery came from the Democratic Party, the same Democratic Party that continues today.
Second, that one of the two major impulses behind the anti-slavery movement was evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity, the same evangelical and fundamenalist Christianity that is so reviled and ridiculed today by liberals and the Left. (The other major impulse was the revolutionary philosophy of equality in the Declaration of Independence, which has important roots in Christianity, and also seen in the secularizing French Revolution.)
Despite these expected omissions, no adequate understanding of Lincoln's political ability to undertake emancipation can exist without understanding the importance of the radical Republicans, the extreme abolitionist wing of the Party, which was anchored in Christianity and who came to dominate Congress, without understanding either of these important facts.