Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln’

Lincoln

In history on January 13, 2013 at 5:51 am

A while ago I posted a list of my favorite movies.  I think I now have to amend that list. No it’s not the best movie I’ve ever watched.  It is the second best. It falls between Gettysburg and the LOTR trilogy.  Here’s why:

I thought the acting superb and really got the essence of the way people spoke at the time.  The screenplay was phenomenal. Mind you it is not hard to read letters written between Grant and Lincoln.  However, the interchanges in the congress especially between Thaddeus Stevens and the scurrilous rep from Ohio where phenomenal.  Daniel Day-Lewis was Lincoln.  When he was telling the stories this was everything Lincoln-lore told me he would be.  The weight of the world on his shoulders and telling a story about a widow who killed her husband.

The one that had me howl (which I already had read somewhere, but seeing it acted out made it more hilarious) was the story of Ethan Allen and the picture of Washington.  I laughed so loud.  It would have been embarrassing except for the fact that everyone else in the theater was laughing as hard as me.

A lot of this movie would be familiar to someone who read “Team of Rivals”.  One thing that this movie did do was elucidate what was happening beside the battles. Most people who know anything about the Civil War know some or most of this:

  • Lincoln
  • Sumter
  • Emancipation Proclamation
  • Gettysburg Address
  • Various Battles

What is often lost is that most people at the time were not anywhere near the battles (even though millions were fighting). Discussions and debates were happening.  Seminal debates that shaped the next 150 years. Just amazing.

However, I still think that Gettysburg was a better movie, and this is why: The story of Lincoln was told through the politicians.  The soldiers that Lincoln visited or the body parts that his son saw being dumped were not where the true carnage was taking place.  Gettysburg showed how leaders could invoke God as being on their side while they ordered thousands of common folk to march to their death over the vile institution of slavery.

Anyway it was an amazing movie (and yes I saw Les Mis a couple of weeks ago and it was phenomenal, but nowhere near as well done or important as this).

Oh and one thing: The current budget debate is nowhere near the importance or scale of the Civil War, and Obama is not a second Lincoln and the republicans of today are not equal to the Copperheads during the civil war.  We shouldn’t be trying to raise the petty politi-dolts of today to be the equivalent of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Webster, Stevens, Sumner, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts.  What’s going on today is political equivalent of a Kardashian marriage.

Finally, I think it is time to make a movie about Grant. Whether that be Turner doing Shaara’s “Last Full Measure” or one of the excellent biographies of Grant, I think it just time to give the man his due.

The full text of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address…we have finally lived up to it…

In Famous Quotes, history, politics on January 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm
Fellow-Countrymen:

AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.


On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.