Lincoln Baloney

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Published : February 13th, 2013
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( 19 votes, 4.3/5 ) , 8 commentaries
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When Steve Spielberg’s movie "Lincoln" came out Time magazine featured interviews with him and his historical advisor on the film, Doris Kearns-Goodwin. Spielberg said the movie is based on part of Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals, because he was so impressed with her scholarship and the great detail and abundance of historical facts in the book. Goodwin herself wrote in Time that she spent ten years researching and writing the book to assure audiences that the movie was in fact very, very well researched. (This project was commenced shortly after she was kicked off the Pulitzer Prize committee and PBS for confessing to plagiarism related to an earlier book of hers).

Tim’s cover story included another article by another historian, in order to further persuade Americans that the movie portrays The True Story about the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that ended slavery. Another major theme of the movie, one which is accurate but not developed nearly enough, is how much of a political conniver, liar and manipulator Lincoln was, and how he ignored the law and the Constitution in myriad ways. This was brought out in the movie so that the punditry could then editorialize about how President Obama should be "more like Lincoln" and ignore any and all constitutional constraints on presidential powers. The punditry did indeed behave in exactly that way before and after the November election.

A couple of years before the movie came out Goodwin was a pervasive presence on various news programs proclaiming how brilliant and magnanimous Lincoln was to have appointed several former political rivals to his cabinet and praising Obama for doing the same (keeping Bush’s Defense Secretary, for instance). In an LRC article entitled "Team of Liars" I pointed out that numerous presidents had done exactly the same thing for generations prior to the Lincoln presidency; the main theme of Goodwin’s Team of Rivals is therefore trivial and false. Nevertheless, these instances are examples of how dishonest "historians" like Doris Kearns-Goodwin attempt to twist and manipulate history in service of the state.

Yours truly recognized the Spielberg movie as fraudulent from the beginning. In another LRC article entitled "Spielberg’s Upside-Down History" I pointed out that Harvard’s Pulitzer prize-winning historian David Donald, the preeminent mainstream Lincoln historian of our time, wrote in his biography of Lincoln (page 545) that Abe in fact had almost nothing whatsoever to do with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, contrary to the main story line of Spielberg’s movie. In fact, as Donald wrote, when asked by genuine abolitionists in Congress if he would assist them in getting the Amendment passed, Lincoln refused. (He did struggle mightily, however, to try to get a first Thirteenth Amendment, known as the Corwin Amendment, passed in 1861 that would have enshrined slavery explicitly in the U.S Constitution).

To my surprise, a member of Congress recently noticed a glaring falsehood in Spielberg’s "Lincoln" and called him out on it. Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut was sitting in the movie theater when he was informed by the film that Connecticut congressmen voted against the Thirteenth Amendment. He smelled a rat, and contacted the Congressional Research Service, which informed him that the "facts" portrayed in the movie are false; the entire Connecticut delegation voted FOR the Thirteenth Amendment.

Congressman Courtney wrote to Spielberg asking him to correct the inaccuracy in the DVD version of the movie but was ignored. Spielberg was painted into a corner: If he did what the congressman requested he would be admitting that his film contained a heavy dose of propaganda, contrary to the great effort that had been made to assure audiences of the movie’s historical accuracy. If he ignored the Congressman he risked having him make a big deal of the issue with further press releases. So Spielberg’s screenwriter, Tony Kushner, eventually came out with a feeble defense of the falsehood by writing in USA Today that the purpose of the now-admitted falsehood was "to clarify to the audience the historical reality" of how the Thirteenth Amendment was passed. There you have it in the words of a famous left-wing Hollywood screenwriter (is there any other kind?) –clarifying historical "reality" for the public requires lying about historical reality.

This is the kind of bait-and-switch game that is played by Hollywood leftists with their statist propaganda films. They trot out "distinguished presidential historians" like the disgraced, confessed plagiarist Doris Kearns-Goodwin to assure audiences of the movie’s historical accuracy, but then when they are caught red handed in a pack of lies they plead "poetic license" and argue that "it’s only a movie, after all, and not a portrayal of reality." No wonder some people believe that the word "cinema" is a combination of "sin" and "enema."

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Thomas DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola College, Maryland, and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author or co-author of ten books, on subjects such as antitrust, group-interest politics, and interventionism generally
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Tom DiLorenzo has extreme animosity for President Abraham Lincoln. He'll nitpit a Lincoln statement or two and will say, incredibly, that the Civil War was not about slavery. And he'll criticize ad nauseum Lincoln's violation of habeas corpus while overlooking the larger picture of slavery.

Speaking of slavery, this new article by DiLorenzo reinforces a few observations:

1) I have never read, or seen, an article by DiLorenzo attacking against the slave south.

2) I have never read, or seen, an article by DiLorenzo criticizing Southern General Robert E. Lee -- a villian who fought and killed tens of thousands to keep slavery alive. Instead DiLorenzo regularly attacks Northern General Sherman who had the lowest casualty rate of any general in the war!!! Is it that General Sherman freed slaves as he marched to the Atlantic?

3) Another question: why does DiLorenze support any state's claim to secede from the Union for the sake of freedom when that state denies freedom to thousands of individuals!! A question that might be asked of Ron Paul as well.

Rate :   8  5Rating :   3
More crap from JIm C. who refuses to read anything that proves Lincoln ordered his generals NOT to free slaves as they progreesed south. Lincoln is a true US president, willing to kill for the purpose of looting others.

You normally rant on but your recent posts are pathetic.
Rate :   11  1Rating :   10
Dear Tom,

Which books on Lincoln, or articles, or essays, would you consider essential to read to know who the real Lincoln was and what truly informed his decisions/politics? TIA...jt

PS...the fewer the better, in terms of available time, so if you could perhaps recommend a first tier list and then a second tier, that would be most appreciated.
Rate :   2  6Rating :   -4
Ever hear of something called google? Are u that lazy?
Rate :   4  2Rating :   2
Did I ask you? I was asking HIS opinion, not google's. There are hundreds of books/articles and more on Lincoln that show up...doh. It'd be a question I'd be glad to answer on a topic about which I'm an expert, were someone to ask me. From the lack of response, looks as though he's not going to respond anyway...happy?
Rate :   1  6Rating :   -5
DiLorenzo won't respond only becasue he hasn't read or doesn't care to read any books about Lincoln and his efforts to abolish slavery. All he cares about is that Lincoln prevented the Southern States from leaving the Union -- nevermine that they initiated violence against their neighbor states in an attempt to maintain the trafficing of human beings.

DiLorenzo is that sect of Libertarian, including Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell, that hold State Rights over individual rights and, like Lysander Spooner, believe the Constitution has no authority over them. They believe in secession by whim which will result logically into total anarchy and a clan like society not unlike the present 'nation' of Somalia.

As for books about Lincoln a good start would be TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Goodwin documenting Lincoln's efforts to push through the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery once and for all in the entire nation.

Rate :   7  3Rating :   4
DiLorenzo isn’t the only one that doesn’t read peoples comments here. If you bothered to read more comments you would quickly realize that most here are well versed in history and have come to the determination that your view of Lincoln, Lew Rockwell, and Ron Paul makes as much sense as the theory you spew about the US launching pre-emptive strikes against those nations that are bold enough to stand up against the covert wars the US has been waging against them for years. You totally ignore any comments that challenge your precious view of a rotten and corrupt past president, Lincoln. You ignore the ample evidence that he actually wanted to keep the status quo and maintain slavery. You never comment or provide evidence to the contrary when statements are made by others that he ordered his generals to not free any slaves as they moved south. Lincoln was brutal to the point of murder if needed to keep a strangle hold on the south. You consistently rely on nothing more than the incident where the south fired the first shot to justify Lincoln’s act of declaring war but totally ignore that this shot was fired in self defense. Aggression does not have to come in physical form but the response from the south had to be physical as Lincoln would not accept any diplomatic solution. The farce that Lincoln fought the war to end slavery can be disputed by grade school children yet you cling to it.

The longer you post here the more your comments pour out nothing but hatred. There is no historical, journalistic, philosophical, moral or any other kind of value in them. You’ve become the bully in grade school who turns to aggression because of his short comings in matters that require the use of his intellect but has nothing to draw from.
Rate :   8  2Rating :   6
Now THAT'S the real baloney!
Rate :   7  2Rating :   5
Latest comment posted for this article
Now THAT'S the real baloney! Read more
Jim C. - 2/15/2013 at 5:08 PM GMT
Rating :  7  2
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