Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The screenplay by Tony Kushner was based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and covers the final four months of Lincoln's life, focusing on the President's efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives.
In January 1865, President Abraham Lincoln expects the Civil War to end within a month. However, he is concerned that his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation may be discarded by the courts once the war has concluded and that the Thirteenth Amendment be defeated by the returning slave states. Lincoln feels it is imperative to pass the amendment by the end of the month, thus removing any possibility that slaves who have already been freed may be re-enslaved. The Radical Republicans fear the amendment will merely be defeated by some who wish to delay its passage; the support of the amendment by Republicans in the border states is not yet assured either, since they prioritize the issue of ending the war. Even if all of them are ultimately brought on board, the amendment will still require the support of several Democratic congressmen if it is to pass. With dozens of Democrats having just become lame ducks after losing their re-election campaigns in the fall of 1864, some of Lincoln's advisors believe that he should wait until the new Republican-heavy Congress is seated, presumably giving the amendment an easier road to passage. Lincoln, however, remains adamant about having the amendment in place and the issue of slavery settled before the war is concluded and the southern states readmitted into the Union.
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