I just watched the trailer for the movie ‘Lincoln’ and couldn’t help but notice a barrage of comments filled with ignorance, strife and bitterness. This is the dilemma faced when looking back at history and trying excavate the truth; it may be too much to bear or not in line with what you want.
For as long as I remember reading of the “end” of the American Slave Trade I have always observed conflicting views especially with regard to Lincoln. The man, the mystery , the icon. Honest Abe always seems to stimulate thought provoking discourse.
Some say old Abe was never for the slaves and fell to back to a position where he had to let them “free” to save a Union at war. The South was gaining tremendous wealth off the blood, sweat and tears excreted by the ones commissioned undemocratically to toil from sun up till sun down in the unforgiving cotton fields.
While others say that Lincoln, in seeing the wickedness upon the land decided such treatment of human being is inhumane and against the principles on which the United States was found.
Well whatever the reason Lincoln has become synonymous which the American Civil War and the Abolition of slavery (1864/1865) in the United States.
Two things should be noted however:
- The Father of the United States, George Washington owned 316 enslaved Africans. So what principles was the country really founded on?
- Many argue that ‘free’ human capital was the driving force behind Industrialization and not the steam engine as is often portrayed, though is played a major role in the age.
- The laws which would be passed in the post slavery period of the United States up until the 1960’s with J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO basically criminalized black life in the US.
- Some argue that black life is still being criminalized with the prison system the new way of abusing human existence, with the corporate dominated media a primary engine of shaping stereotypes which help the process.
Check out this PBS link for the award winning documentary, “Slavery by Another Name” Click here.
Regardless of your views Steven Spielberg promises a look behind the man and not the monument so I will certainly be watching the film.