In early 1865, as the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history, neared its conclusion, a newly re-elected President Lincoln drove a fractious and disunited Congress to cast its most significant vote — the passage of a constitutional amendment — the thirteenth — abolishing slavery in the United States.
Facing fierce pro-slavery opposition, President Lincoln waged a battle of strategy, persuasion, and political muscle to build a coalition out of his mistrustful and quarrelsome allies. Every day and every vote counted, since a swift and decisive victory in Congress had to come before the impending Confederate surrender, or the opportunity to end slavery might have been lost. The battle for the Thirteenth Amendment was a defining moment for America’s greatest President. All of his extraordinary powers — his moral vision, his unparalleled skill and determination as a politician and as a leader — were summoned to their fullest extent for this campaign. The result of which Lincoln himself considered among the most important moments in American history.
A political tactician without peer, the civilian Commander in Chief of the armed forces at the country’s gravest moment of crisis, a husband and a father, struggling with his brilliant, mercurial and devoted wife over their mutual fear of losing their own son to the war — Abraham Lincoln fought to bring the country through its darkest hour to “a new birth of freedom” — in what were to be the last months of his life.
Courtesy: Dreamworks Pictures.