Directed by Steven Spielberg, a two-and-a-half-hour movie Lincoln (2012) captivates the audience by evoking scenes and memories of the Abraham Lincoln’s regime in power as the 16th President of the United States of America. The film portrays Lincoln as one of the greatest statesmen to have ever lived and shaped not only the American but also the world’s history. He is epitomized as a leader who is charismatic and elegant.
The two most outstanding political themes include war and slavery at the time. The opening scene is a depiction of the 1865 era when Abraham Lincoln has just been re-elected as president during an uncompromised Civil War. The audience can see wounded limbs and a battlefield that is evidently bloody and full of dead soldiers through the memories of the two black soldiers reminiscing the whole battle incidence as they talk to Lincoln regarding the possible future of the Union. All these while, Lincoln is put across as a president weary of war and full of warmth, humanity and as a modest man who remains calm amidst the struggles he faces with his emotionally overwhelmed wife. The memory ends one year later with the Confederate general Robert E. Lee's surrender.
The president is also strongly committed to doing everything possible to make sure that the 13th Amendment is passed to outlaw the slavery injustices of that era. He is so passionate with this Amendment that he seeks the assistance of the Secretary of State, William Seward (played masterfully by David Strathairn), to get three politically oriented negotiators to convince members of the House of Representatives to vote so that the Bill is passed.
Lincoln strongly condemns slavery terming it as an injustice that is monstrous in nature. During his famous speech entitled House Divided, delivered at the State Capitol, Lincoln is portrayed as having taken a stand and influencing the audience against war and slavery, warning that a house which is divided against itself cannot stand at all. In his key note address, Lincoln is persuading the masses that America cannot continue leading two separate lives with one side half free and another half slaves. At particular instances, he engages into racial discrimination debates with Douglas, determining slavery as illegal.
The movie climax is achieved when he has to make a life changing decision in January, 1865 by choosing to either call off the war as a sign of compromise with the enemy, or go ahead with the attempt of convincing members of the House of Representatives to change their minds and ratify the 13th Amendment. The primary aim of this was to abolish slave trade by declaring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” (“13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution”).
Lincoln has been used as a character to portray that even high level leaders like presidents are faced with challenges and critical decision making process. He is juggling between his role as a president, a husband and a father, too. The film has confidently portrayed the war and slavery issues that affected America but has been mostly kept off in places of public discussions.