The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

To Make Men Free

How accurate is the portrayal of the president in Lincoln?

Most critics and moviegoers agree that Daniel Day-Lewis turned in a magnificent performance as the chief executive. A seasoned actor who took on relatively few roles, but then devoted himself wholeheartedly, Day-Lewis had shone in previous films such as My Left Foot and Last of the Mohicans. In Lincoln, he did a remarkable job of presenting the soft, human side of the nation’s sixteenth president.

There were the jokes, always made in good humor, and the casual asides, as well as the profound statements. There was the awkward relationship with the eldest son, Robert Lincoln, and the ongoing turmoil of the relationship between husband and wife. And there was, occasionally, the moment when Lincoln turned into steel. When one of his political handlers suggested that the vote be put off, Lincoln turned on him with words that bite, even now. “I am clothed in power. You will get me those votes!”


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