The only English-language daily paper in Montreal, Quebec has an encouraging article out today which explodes several popular myths about Abraham Lincoln while reviewing Steven Spielberg’s new movie Lincoln. Writer Kevin Gutzman takes on Lincoln on many fronts in his lengthy piece, which will surely please Southern nationalists. Gutzman writes:
The trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln shows Sally Field as Mary Lincoln lecturing her husband that no other American has ever been so beloved as he. In reality, as that sister-in-law of a Confederate general and sister of other Confederate soldiers had reason to know, no American president has ever been as hated as Abraham Lincoln. His election led seven states to secede from the Union, after all, and four more withdrew after seeing his first few weeks’ performance in office.
Hearing Spielberg’s Mary Lincoln reminds one of H. L. Mencken¹s appraisal of Lincoln’s most famous speech, the “Gettysburg Address.” In that speech, on the occasion of a military cemetery’s dedication, Lincoln said: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Mencken, who possessed skill surpassing that of any other man in the art of the sardonic skewer, noted that the only thing wrong with Lincoln’s famous speech — held up ever since as the model of American oratory — is that: “It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.”
Gutzman’s entire article is well worth reading and sending to fellow Southerners who have fallen for the Lincoln Myth.