Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's with the Lincoln Movies?

I might have missed something obvious, but it's interesting that there seems to be a rush on Abraham Lincoln movies right now.  I grew up thinking Lincoln was the best president in US history. Maybe that's because my oldest grandparent was born in 1883 and his father fought for the Union in the Civil War.

Then my sister moved to mid-Florida and I went to college in South Carolina and then Kentucky.  Enter the residual sentiments of the side that was devastated.  So the Civil War is said to have been about states' rights rather than slavery.

So is it a coincidence that Abraham Lincoln is really cool right now (vampire killer, you know)?  Or is there actually someone in Hollywood trying to remind us of something?  Surely not.

I don't believe that the primary issue of the Civil War was states' rights.  That's the secondary issue.  The primary issue was that the southern states didn't like where things were headed over the issue of slavery.  And when Lincoln was elected and they didn't get their way, they wanted to take their slaves and go home.

Of course the nation was less than a century old at that point.  There was a not too distant memory of the good old days when no so called "federal government" could tell you what to do. The most "independent thinkers" surely went West in those days. Things were getting too established in the East for them.  In the West you didn't have as much of the rule of law. If you had big enough guns, you could pretty much do whatever you want.

The last time state's rights flared up was over civil rights, the federal government telling white folk that they had to let black kids go to school with their kids.  And people didn't like it.  The National Guard had to come in because governors like George Wallace wasn't going to let the federal government tell his state what to do.  Good grief, it was like the Civil War all over again.

And so it is that I had to laugh when I saw that this title actually was newsworthy: "Rick Perry doesn't support secession petition."  What is it we're fighting over this time?  The right to keep our slaves?  The right to keep blacks out of our schools?  "States' rights" is always the secondary issue.


Keith Drury said...

It is interesting how an historical person emerges and dominates for a time... maybe we ran out of the recent obsession with the founders in books and have moved on up? Certainly Doris Kerns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals has raised Lincoln's image recently--I have not read it, but Sharon has.

John Mark said...

I believe in secession. But then, I was raised in WV, the only state to secede (from Virginia) and get away with it. :)