Tom DiLorenzo says that “Spielberg’s Lincoln movie is just another left-wing Hollywood fantasy.” Lincoln didn’t use his political heft to push for the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. He did, however, push for an earlier iteration, the “Corwin Amendment.” It “would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery”:
Steven Spielberg’s new movie, Lincoln, is said to be based on several chapters of the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns-Goodwin, who was a consultant to Spielberg. The main theme of the movie is how clever, manipulative, conniving, scheming, lying, and underhanded Lincoln supposedly was in using his “political skills” to get the Thirteenth Amendment that legally ended slavery through the U.S. House of Representatives in the last months of his life. This entire story is what Lerone Bennett, Jr. the longtime executive editor of Ebony magazine and author of Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream, calls a “pleasant fiction.” It never happened.
It never happened according to the foremost authority on Lincoln among mainstream Lincoln scholars, Harvard University Professor David H. Donald, the recipient of several Pulitzer prizes for his historical writings, including a biography of Lincoln.
UPDATE (Nov. 30): Writes Myron Pauli:
“I would like to correct one thing. The Congress that passed the Corwin 13th Amendment was not overwhelmingly Republican. There was a small House Republican majority but the (lame duck) Senate was Democratic (and only barely Republican if you count 14 Senators walking out) and a 2/3 majority is needed for an Amendment.
Nevertheless, Lincoln did almost nothing (and impeded efforts) to stop the impending Civil War during the nearly 10 months from his election to the Battle of First Manassas. A professor of history from LSU (whose name I regrettably forgot) went over all the proposed compromises and Lincoln’s opposition/inaction to preventing war.
Ironically, the Crittenden and Peace Conference Plan compromises would have confined the extension of slavery into Arizona and New Mexico – regions so barren that they did not become states for another 40 years – and not conducive to plantation slavery whatsoever! To keep slavery out of Arizona (!!), over 600,000 people died, a region got impoverished, with more wounded and PTSD and
drug addicted, the income tax imposed, etc.
Lincoln, of course, blamed the War on the South (or God – 2nd inaugural).”