This Sunday, February 24, 2013, the Academy Awards will be presented. Highly favored by some for “Best Picture” is the Steven Spielberg movie, “Lincoln.” In that movie, a character called Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones) appears. We know that Thaddeus Stevens was a fervent abolitionist. But few know he was also a “conspiracy theorist.”
Something called the “Anti-Masonic Party” had been a force in politics beginning in the 1820s. Millard Fillmore, later to become U.S. President, had been an early member of the Anti-Masonic Party. In the 1830s, as the Anti-Masonic Party morphed into the Whig Party, Thaddeus Stevens was a steadfast holdout to Anti-Masonry. Stevens managed to secure a legislative inquiry into the “evils” of Freemasonry. Later, in Hagerstown, Maryland, Thaddeus Stevens spoke on the proposition that “wherever the genius of liberty has set a people free, the first subject of their solicitude should be the destruction of Free Masonry.” (Bowers, Claude G. The Tragic Era. 1929)
There is much in the Spielberg “Lincoln” movie which is historically inaccurate. Minor punctilios of criticism were allowed into mainstream “news” accounts, notably “Fact check: Honest Abe, somewhat honest film”, by Darryl Levings (Kansas City Star, Nov. 15, 2012)
But what does it tell us about the American mind that a myth about Abraham Lincoln and the 13th Amendment is now being foisted off in the Steven Spielberg “Lincoln” movie? The movie portrays “log rolling”, i.e., Lincoln moving heaven and earth to secure passage in Congress of the 13th Amendment. And yet, wrote Ida Tarbell, “there is little reliable proof of what he [Abraham Lincoln] did or did not do. Certainly there is nothing to show that he took any part in what may be called the ‘log rolling’ for the measure.” (“In the Footsteps of Abraham Lincoln: XLVIII – After the Emancipation Proclamation”, by Ida Tarbell. Sheboygan Press-Telegram (Sheboygan, WI), Jan. 26, 1924)
Not mentioned in the Spielberg mythmaking mania is that Abraham Lincoln not only supported, but was the secret author of a constitutional amendment that passed the House and Senate shortly before his inauguration in 1861 that would have forbidden the federal government from ever interfering with southern slavery. This – what they don’t tell you – was “the first thirteenth amendment”. (Source: “A Plagiarist’s Contribution to Lincoln Idolatry”, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo)
On March 27 or 28, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln met at City Point, Virginia (now annexed into Hopewell, Virginia) with Generals Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman along with Admiral David Porter aboard the River Queen. This meeting is depicted by G.P.A Healy’s 1868 painting The Peacemakers. At the City Point meeting, Abraham Lincoln “gave secret orders to his military leaders for what Lloyd Lewis called ‘one of the most cunning examples of the double-cross that the whole range of American politics, before or after him, could show.’ These orders were, in short, to grant to the opponents at the proper time a truce that embraced a formula for peace on the basis of the situation as it had existed before the outbreak of the war.” (“McGovern at City Point”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, Dec. 4, 2012)
The Abolitionist faction of Lincoln’s Party had been stabbed in the back! Abraham Lincoln wanted to bring back the Union “with malice toward none.” Yes, Old Abe personally detested slavery. But he was seeing the “big picture” of preserving the Union as paramount.
The Abolitionists were furious about the City Point betrayal. In the summer of 1865, an un-named stenographer belonging to the “trial of the conspirators” quietly offered the editor of The People’s Weekly his theory about the Lincoln assassination. It was Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the “Radical” faction of the Republican Party, who had “warmed into life the brutal instincts of [Edwin] Stanton, [Joseph] Holt and [Lafayette] Baker, to have Lincoln assassinated.” (“Addenda To Lincoln’s Assassination”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, Nov. 24, 2012)