Reflection on the Movie Lincoln Essay

Reflection on the Movie Lincoln Essay.

Lincoln Reflection

Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a historical drama that follows the political aspects of the last four months of the American Civil War and Lincoln’s life as Lincoln strives to gain ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which would bring an end to slavery and unlawful involuntary servitude in the United States. Spielberg, unlike other historical directors, has successfully portrayed Abraham Lincoln from several angles; the fatherly Lincoln who cares for his sons the best he can, the husband who’s career puts stress on his relationship, the charismatic and strong spoken speaker, attempting to diplomatically persuade congressmen for votes for the Amendment, the understanding martial executive, working to make the best decisions for the War, and the stressed president, who must accommodate himself with the burdens of the presidency are interwoven archetypal character roles that Lincoln fills accordingly.

The Father

Early in the movie, Lincoln is seen lying beside his young son, Tad Lincoln, on one of the hearths of the White House, waking Tad, who had fallen asleep playing with little metal soldiers on a war strategy map, whereupon Lincoln carried him to bed and tucked him in.

It reawakened memories of falling asleep on the couch or in the car as a kid, and waking up in my bed, where my dad had carried me. The next day, Lincoln was in the war room, where his consultants noticed that the so-important war map, a “precise and dynamic instrument,” had been slightly burned, where Lincoln coolly remarked that he had only let his son play with it on the hearth.

It made me think of when I was a child and, as so many pictures portray, my father would allow my brother and I to dress up in his military gear, a variety of helmets, bulletproof vests, boots, and packs with equipment dripping from them, and we would get to see my dad’s (unloaded) guns as he cleaned them casually on the couch while teaching us about gun safety. In another scene, Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert Lincoln, visiting home from law school, fervently begs his father to allow him to join the Union army, claiming that he was “the only man over 15 and under 65 who has not enlisted,” however, fearing for his son’s life, Lincoln denied Robert’s plea, and I recalled a discussion in class, where it was said boys too young to enlist often joined army marching bands, or assisted soldiers, where they were generally safe, however habitually in danger, which provoked disturbing thoughts of my own brother, who is 13 now, and, had he lived in the Civil War era, would have been overcome with patriotism and would have joined a band, or lied about his age, due to looking older than he is, in order to fight (at first glance, people think we’re fraternal twins, but then they look closer and realize we don’t resemble each other except that he looks like a 16-year-old boy), where it then made me think of the miserable life that would have been left for my mother and I if my brother and father would have been killed in the war, as so many ladies had.

The Husband

In one scene, Lincoln and his wife, Mary Lincoln, were unwinding after a party, where it was quite obvious that Mary was anticipating a night alone with her husband, as it appeared she had not had in ages, she was addressing him about a manner of her concern, and he had left the room in order to talk with one of his executives. Mary, already suffering from a preexisting mental instability from the death of two of her four sons and the stress of prior assassination attacks on her husband, had a mental breakdown when Lincoln reentered the room some time later, claiming that Lincoln should have had her admitted to a mental institution all the other times he had threatened to. The presidency had obviously taken a dramatic toll on her and Lincoln’s marital relationship, and it scared me to think of that if, someday, my own future marriage may be in jeopardy due to a need to be cared for, and being with a man who may not be able to care enough.

The Orator

Lincoln’s superb orating skills are first displayed in the first scene of the movie- where Lincoln is approached by several young soldiers and a few leaders of a Negro regimen, who take turns reciting pieces of Lincoln’s Gettysburg, displaying their apparent idolization of Lincoln. I thought of my best friend Charlotte, who, upon seeing Lincoln, immediately “fell in love with a dead president, all due to his speaking skills,” and seemed to be akin to the young and patriotic soldiers Lincoln was visiting. In order to ratify the 13th amendment to the Constitution, Lincoln had to gain the support of democrats in congress, many southern, and did so by meeting with many of them personally, in order to persuade them, not bribe them, for their votes. His lack of bribery reveals his honest tendencies to and further engrains the notion that Lincoln is a trustworthy and dependable man, capable of running the country. His excellent skills of persuasion ultimately earthed the ratification of the amendment, ending slavery and illegal involuntary servitude in the United States.

The Martial Executive

Lincoln was often seen, especially in the latter half of the movie, with general Ulysses S. Grant, taking his word when discussing the strategy of the Civil War and advocating for the pay and wellbeing of the soldiers. All my life, I’ve seen the military side of life, with the deployments, pay, and miscellaneous hardships witnessed by being associated with the military, and as I got older, watched the news, and read history, I’ve found that presidents who have military background, or are closely associated with military generals, such as the bond between Lincoln and Grant, are generally successful in prioritizing martial decisions during times of war, as they understand the budgets and lifestyle held by those in America’s fighting force. Possibly, in modern day, with the Middle Eastern wars, if we elect a president with a military background, the current budget will be balanced, with cuts made in appropriate places.

The President

The stress Lincoln had faced throughout his presidency, with personal relationships, the war effort, and slave emancipation, ages him “more in 4 years in his life, than 10 in any other man’s.” Although he manages to overcome these difficulties, he is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, and dies on April 15th, 1865, where he, in remembrance of all he has done, was finally given to the ages.

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Reflection on the Movie Lincoln Essay

Political compromise Essay

Political compromise Essay.

Evaluate the extent to which political compromise contributed to maintaining continuity as well as fostering change concerning sectional tntions in the period of 1820-1861. Sectional tensions had always existed in America, however during the period of 1820-1861 differences in the North and South became so serious that the nation was on the verge of division. There were many attempts at compromise, including the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, but to no affect. Disunion and division could not be avoided and the Civil War began in 1861.

There were many issues dividing the North and the South, the most controversial of which was slavery. Slavery was seen as a moral abomination in the North and revered as a way of life in the South. Northern reformers and others wanted slavery to end, while Southerners were devoted to its preservation.

When Missouri applied for admission to the union as a slave state in 1819, the balance between non-slave states and slave states in the nation was threatened.

There was violent debate until the Missouri Compromise was submitted by Henry Clay. Under this compromise, Maine was admitted as a free state, Missouri was admitted as slave state. However the compromise was later thrown away after the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Stanford. Scott decided to sue for his freedom after his master had held him in a slave free state on multiple occasions. The Chief of Justice at the time, Roger Taney, disagreed with Dred Scott and even argued he had no right to sue for his freedom because he wasn’t technically a citizen.

This lead to the court rule that congress had no right to ban slavery in any area in particular and the Missouri compromise was overturned. Northern fears of Southern Slave power grew, which further divided the nation. Another ultimately unsuccessful attempt at negotiation was the Compromise of 1850. California had experienced a huge population increase and was ready to apply for statehood as a free state. Southerners objected because the balance of Slave states vs. Free states would be tipped to the Free states.

Once again, Henry Clay had a solution. He proposed compromise admitting California as a free state and banned the sale of slaves in Washington D.C., but strengthened the Fugitive Slave law to keep the South happy. Overall, sectional tensions were hardly decreased by any compromise. The divisions were too deep, and no political compromise could bridge them. The country was left with no solution and the tensions exploded into the Civil War.

Political compromise Essay

DBQ on Sectionalism Essay

DBQ on Sectionalism Essay.

During the period of 1850-1861, America was struggling to stay united as debates over several major issues started to take the forefront. After the war with Mexico ended in 1848, America gained the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and California through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Soon after, disputes over whether these states should be free states or slave states erupted. By 1850, a solution was found in the Compromise of 1850 where California would become a free state, and New Mexico and Texas would have popular sovereignty, allowing them to decide for themselves whether they would be slave states or not.

The Fugitive Slave Act was also written in 1850 in an effort to satisfy southern slave owners by requiring northerners to return any runaway slaves back to their owners in the South. The combination of the Compromise of 1850 and The Fugitive Slave Act, along with debates over the Constitution and popular sovereignty, started to impact the unity of the nation and potentially split the North and South even more.

The actions of the government during the period of 1850-1861 contributed to the deteriorating conditions of America, particularly in the Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Act. In 1852, William Lloyd Garrison expressed the idea that the Constitution influenced slavery in America despite the fact that nothing about slavery was directly mentioned. He feels that a government in support of slavery is corrupt and cannot be trusted and that the people need to overthrow it. The Constitution’s inability to stop slavery leads to division among the people who support slavery and the people who do not. In this way, the government played a part in the weakening of the Union (Doc. E). The Fugitive Slave Act, a part of the Compromise of 1850, helped intensify tension between the pro-slavery South and anti-slavery North. In Boston, freed slaves had to be warned to avoid any interaction with watchmen and police in Boston, who now had the ability to send them back into slavery.

The Fugitive Slave Act further divided the North and South because it forced the anti-slavery North to go against its beliefs and involve itself in the institution of slavery instead of preventing it (Doc. C). Ralph Waldo Emerson further describes the immortality of the Fugitive Slave Act by comparing the government’s varying disciplines on the institution. In 1807, Congress had banned the importation of slaves into America, but by 1850, they encouraged the capturing of freed slaves in the North and sending them back into servitude. This contradiction adds to division because it proved to northerners that the government would bend to the South’s desire to keep slavery. Emerson viewed this act as immoral and felt that if the government implemented it, the Union would immediately fall apart. In a way, Emerson’s view was not wrong, as the Fugitive Slave Act did contribute to increasing division between the North and South over slavery (Doc. D).

Another issue that led to the crumbling of the Union was the debate over popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty embodied the idea that the new states coming into the Union should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they would allow slavery or not. This belief is rooted in the Compromise of 1850, which was basically an effort to maintain the balance between the slave states in the South and the free states in the North. A map depicting the Compromise of 1850 shows the slave states in the South, the free states in the North, and the new territories that could be swayed either way. The reason the possibility of popular sovereignty in these territories caused controversy was because whatever way they went, they could potentially upset the balance between the North and South, which could lead to serious conflict over slavery (Doc. A).

President Jefferson Davis further explains the debate over popular sovereignty in terms of the Constitution. Although the Constitution does address state power through amendments, it was unable to prevent opinions regarding a lack of state sovereignty from developing in the North. This proves that the Constitution was becoming weak and unable to meet the conditions of that time period. Also, the states are beginning to feel entitled to their rights and are forgetting that the Union existed based on a combination of the states (Doc. H). The Kansas and Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and gave the settlers of that land the right to decide whether they would be slave states or not.

This act increased tensions around slavery amongst the settlers and thus led to violence because some settlers were advocates of slavery and then others were against slavery. The artist of this cartoon depicted a freesoiler being held down by Presidential nominee James Buchanan and Democratic senator Lewis Cass on the “Democratic Platform,” which was a shot at the Democratic Party because many blamed them for the increase in violence towards anti-slavery settlers in Kansas. The platform is labeled with “Kansas,” “Cuba,” and “Central America,” which represents the alleged Democratic goals of spreading slavery outside of America. The freesoiler is being fed a slave by Democratic senator Stephen A. Douglas and President Franklin Pierce. This cartoon shows that many people felt that the new states were being forced to accept slavery by the Democratic Party (Doc. F).

Sectionalism increased tensions between the North and South and thus contributed to the failure of the Union by splitting the nation apart on several key issues. Sectionalism is when a part of the nation, either the North or South, puts their owns interests over the whole nation’s concerns. Sectionalism can often lead to states breaking apart from the Union. From the period 1850-1861, the North and South were split over slavery and whether the new territories being added to the Union should be slave or free. The only way to prevent conflict over sectional issues is to have a strong Constitution that addresses the needs of each area of the country. Without that, the Union will inevitably fail (Doc. B). President James Buchanan, who felt that in order to preserve the Union, the Constitution must protect the rights of the South, further explains this idea. If the needs of the states are not met, then the states have the right to withdraw from the Union because of their own sovereignty.

To prevent the succession of the South, Congress should recognize slavery, protect the right of slavery in new territories, and support the Fugitive Slave Act (Doc. G). President Abraham Lincoln felt that sectionalism and succession would lead to the demise of the Union. To even consider leaving the Union, a state has to feel that it is better than all the others and will be more successful on its own. However, no state in America had ever been on its own, leading President Lincoln to believe that no state can truly fend for itself (Doc. I). Because it was believed that succession would lead to the failure of the Union, sectionalism was discouraged because it would split the country apart. In reality, sectionalism occurred anyway and resulted in the North and South being divided based on slavery.

The actions of the government along with conflicts over popular sovereignty in new territories and sectionalism contributed to increasing tensions between the North and South, especially over slavery, and overall weakened the Union. The actions the government took during the period of 1850-1861 influenced the division between the North and South over slavery by passing the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act. The Compromise of 1850 created controversy over popular sovereignty because it would give new states the right to decide for themselves if they would support slavery or not. The combination of government actions and popular sovereignty resulted in sectionalism, which furthered the divide between the North and South.

DBQ on Sectionalism Essay

Second American Revolution Essay

Second American Revolution Essay.

America, as a nation, has undergone severe political, social, and economic changes during the years of 1860 and 1877. Industrialization, modernization, and the way people were thinking brought about change in the nation, such as antislavery, anti-secession, and rebellion. With the Civil War, Reconstruction, and several newly added amendments to the Constitution, America was undergoing what could be referred to as the second American Revolution.

The Civil War left a great impact on the nation. President Lincoln stated that he had no intention of interfering with slavery but the south had no actual right to secede from the Union.

When South Carolina was the first state to secede and other states quickly followed, Lincoln felt that he had to take matters into his own hands and enacted his power as both the Commander in Chief and the Chief Executive. We see in Document A that South Carolina felt differently about this issue. They felt that there isn’t anything written in the Constitution that says that can’t secede and because the people were unhappy they had the right, as a sovereign state, to secede.

The southern states seceding was the first step towards the need for reconstruction.

Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves that were still under possession in 1863. This only applied to Confederate States outside of the union and border-states were still allowed to keep their slaves. Eventually, in 1865, the 13th amendment was passed which abolished slavery. Even though blacks were now freed, they had no role in society yet and had difficulty adjusting to their new freedom. In a political view of things, more Republicans were introduced into both houses of Congress, which meant more support of their freedom.

Democrats were more opposed to their freedom and criticized Lincoln. In Document C, we see that African Americans are able to fight in the war and be considered free but are still unable to vote. They still feel neglected because the courts won’t listen to their testimony. Document D also agrees with this and states that the Federal government should not be able to cause suffrage in states. Even though blacks are freed, they still don’t have any tangible rights.

In attempts to unite the nation several acts were put into affect. The Freedman’s Bureau was created in order to provide welfare, shelter, food, and medical attention to those hurt and misplaced by the war. Unfortunately, negative acts were also put into effect. The south created the Black Codes, which prohibited blacks from renting land or borrowing money to buy land. It forced them to sign working contracts, which was very similar to slavery. It also prohibited blacks from testifying against whites in court. President Johnson was in office during this and felt that the Black Codes was necessary because he didn’t want America to become “Africanized.” Republicans were outraged and felt that this was treasonous. In Document E the freed blacks feel as if they were promised things form the Freedman’s Bureau and are still being neglected. Freed slaves were questioning ‘who won the war?’ due to the fact that they were still being oppressed even after they received freedom.

Republicans were taking control of the government and were ignoring the orders of President Johnson. A branch of republicans, called Radical Republicans, was struggling for four years for equal right for all Americans. In 1866 the Civil Rights Act was created. This stated that African Americans were United States citizens and shielded them from the Black Codes. Shortly following this was the 14th amendment, which stated that all people born in the United States were citizens and had equal protection of the law. In Document F we see that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the changing of the constitution to include the 14th amendment was considered to be absolutely revolutionary. Following the trend of Republicans taking control of the government and revolution, President Johnson was impeached in 1868 due to 11 high crimes and misdemeanors. He was the first president in history to be impeached.

After Johnson’s impeachment, blacks started to receive more equal treatment. Women received property, debt relief and penal codes. Blacks were able to vote in the 1868 election, which ended up giving the Republicans a margin of victory, as shown in Document G. The 15th amendment was also added to the Constitution, which prohibited any state form denying a citizen the right to vote. Revolution had been going positively throughout the nation. This all ended when white men from the south organized secret societies. The created the Ku Klux Klan, whose goal was to scare and terrorize blacks. The Ku Klux Klan burned buildings and murdered newly freed blacks. Document H and Document I speak of how the increase of power in the central government imposes new power into groups that have never had power before, such as the freed slaves. Document I depicts how members of the Ku Klux Klan’s goal was to terrorize blacks by force. In 1870 congress banned these secret organizations form forming and used acts of force to enforce the 14th and 15th amendments.

The United States under went severe changes throughout the years of 1860 and 1877. The goal for most was, as stated by Lincoln, “with malice towards nonce and charity for all.” Presidents Lincoln and Johnson used their executive power to bring the 11 seceded states back to the union. Reconstruction was becoming inevitable after the Black Codes were passed. Revolutionary ideas such as freedom of slaves, anti-secession, and rebellion played a key factor in these years.

Second American Revolution Essay