Steven Spielberg’s magnificent film, "Lincoln," movingly dramatizes the struggle for passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We should be grateful. That epic battle gave us the legal victory required to free the slaves, a victory that assured the integrity of America’s promise of freedom—to her citizens and to the nations of the world. Many have said that this was the most important achievement of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.
Lincoln himself, though, would not have agreed. He believed that the Emancipation Proclamation—issued 150 years ago this January 1—was the greatest accomplishment of his life and his presidency. Perhaps if we wish to honor Lincoln as he deserves, we should honor him as he preferred—by remembering the terrible clash of forces that gave his Proclamation birth
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