Thursday, November 29, 2012

How Accurate is Spielberg's "Lincoln"?

As I posted in my review of the new movie, I found the film to be amazingly accurate by Hollywood standards.  So I was intrigued to see comments on the film by two noted Lincoln authors, Matthew Pinsker and Allen Guelzo.

Guelzo's comments highlight some of the many accurate pieces of the film, including the spirit of Lincoln himself.  He is troubled by the "talkiness" of the movie.  Pinsker appreciates the movie, but is troubled by some of its inaccuracies and its simplification of history.

Both are generally correct in their assessments as historians, but I feel like they don't quite understand the possibilities and limitations of film.  Contrary to Pinsker, I am impressed by the sophistication of the storyline, which actually produces a fairly complete, if not fully nuanced, picture of the political realities faced by Lincoln.  In fact, I think this attempt at showing a more sophisticated picture, including the burden of the office beyond simply trying to pass the 13th Amendment, is why the film clocks in at well over 2 hours long.

Certainly there are inaccuracies in the movie, beyond conveniences like having Lincoln explicitly spell out to the Cabinet his underlying rationale for using the 13th Amendment to solve problems caused by executive assumption of war powers.  The Peterson House scene has significant problems in my mind -- the room is too big, Lincoln is in the bed wrong, Lincoln is dressed wrong -- and there is evidence that Lincoln handled military death cases in an established routine different from the late night reading depicted in the movie. 

But the film is hugely successful at exploring the nature of these people and the extraordinary time in which they lived.  While Pinsker is right to point out the confrontation between Lincoln and son Robert, I would argue that the scene is an accurate portrayal of certain key historical attributes -- the uneasy relationship between father and son, Lincoln's occasional flashes of temper (while Lincoln was notoriously lax in disciplining the children, there were exceptions, such as mistreatment of animals, that kindled his anger), Lincoln's defensiveness of Mary, to name a few.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Movie Review: "Lincoln" (2012)

After more than a decade of gestation, Steven Spielberg's bio-pic of Abraham Lincoln, based (as the credits say, "in part") on Doris Kearns Goodwin's best-selling book Team of Rivals, offers a sympathetic and humanizing portrait of the 16th President.  The 2 1/2 hour film, which takes place entirely during the final four months of Lincoln's life, focuses on the contentious debate in the House of Representatives over the proposed 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, including how it might affect efforts to encourage the Confederates to surrender.

Rather directly, the movie seeks to explore the man behind the monuments and myths.  Much like the famous Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, where Daniel Chester French's massive marble Lincoln sits between full-text inscriptions of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, Spielberg's movie opens with the war-time president talking with two African-American Union soldiers, who begin reciting the Gettysburg Address, and concludes with the last third of the Second Inaugural.

With these speeches and snippets of surrounding dialogue, screenwriter Tony Kushner bookends the film with the common schoolhouse portrait of Lincoln.  Between the famous words and their magnanimity, though, Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose previous film experience was scripting Spielberg's 2005 movie "Munich," breathes life into the mythic figure.  Through personal interactions with his family, encounters with common soldiers and citizens, and meetings with other government leaders and generals, Lincoln here is funny, passionate, beaten down, wise, cunning, and occasionally misunderstood and unapproachable.

Central to this is two-time Academy Award-winner Daniel Day-Lewis, who almost certainly will be nominated again for his performance.  In addition to the brilliant make-up artistry that makes Day-Lewis look uncannily like the often-photographed Lincoln throughout, the famously intense method actor inhabits the role fully, with wit, determination, quiet intelligence, weariness, and a surprising steadiness that manifests itself, intriguingly, in the ease of a man completely comfortable with himself in every situation he faces, whether political, military, or personal.  

Much will likely be made of the high voice Day-Lewis employs, especially by those who have heard actors portray Lincoln with rich baritone voices on television and in previous movies -- or even at Disney's Hall of Presidents.  However, Day-Lewis has relied on the surviving testimony about Lincoln's voice, which says that Lincoln had a high voice, sometimes almost squeaky, and spoke with a Western twang that always turned words like "scared" into "skeered."  (Personally, I think that the voice Day-Lewis uses is a bit more polished than I imagine from contemporary descriptions of Lincoln, but it is clear that the actor has skillfully crafted his performance from these descriptions.)

A key insight into Lincoln's character in this film, and the point at which the movie "Lincoln" is closest to the spirit of Team of Rivals, is that much is revealed through Lincoln's interactions with other equally strong people.  One of the many strengths of Kushner's fine screenplay is the character development of those around Lincoln, especially his wife Mary, son Robert, Secretary of State William Seward, and influential Republican patriarch Preston Blair, but also of other identifiable historic figures with less screen time.

Spielberg has cast strong actors to portray these many roles, and the ensemble gives consistently excellent performances.  While Tommy Lee Jones perhaps has the showiest supporting role as the outspoken Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens, David Strathairn and Hal Holbrook (a portrayer of Lincoln himself on stage and screen) find authenticity as Seward and Blair, respectively.  The most surprising supporting performance, owing in equal parts to the strength of Kushner's script as to the acting, is Sally Field as Mary Lincoln.  Although she is too old for the character (which is noticeable given that most of the other actors are pretty close to the age of the historic figures they portray), she not only gracefully embodies the First Lady's contradictory personality traits, she demonstrates some of the gifts -- noticeably a passion, and relative skill, for politics -- that must have served as the foundation for the lasting, though sometimes stormy, marriage between Abraham and Mary Lincoln.

Such character details, too many to mention, are but one aspect of the depth of research evident in virtually every aspect of the film.  While there are a few mistakes and inaccuracies, the movie is overwhelmingly rooted in well-documented details -- a point made clear in the credits where more than a dozen noted Lincoln and Civil War historians are thanked for their assistance.  From the set design -- including an amazing recreation of Lincoln's White House office -- to the period music incorporated into John Williams' outstanding score to the frequent inclusion of contemporary-recorded comments in the screenplay to the  appearance, dress, and accents of the large supporting cast (even those with few lines), the film is consistently, and by Hollywood standards almost fanatically, accurate.

Even the feel of the movie points to this historical accuracy, which is a credit to Spielberg.  Unlike some films "based on historic events" that simplify characters and plot details for clarity, there is a complexity, even messiness, to "Lincoln" that evokes the turbulence of January 1865.  At times dialogue is overlapping or even muttered inaudibly, and there are disorienting, quick emotional shifts from the deadly serious to the ridiculous, as when yet another public reception painfully reminds both Lincolns of their son Willie's death during a previous formal White House dinner, but they must they must immediately happily welcome their guests in a receiving line.

With the usual top-notch production values of a Spielberg movie, added to Kushner's strong screenplay and the excellent acting ensemble headed by Day-Lewis, "Lincoln" is a remarkable film.  Despite its short time span, it has an epic vision of the personalities and circumstances surrounding the central figure.  And in the midst of those dramatic circumstances, it offers a compelling and vivid presentation of Lincoln the man, quirky and wise, compassionate and irreverent, and in some ways more impressive than even the marble statues.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Trailer Released for Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Earlier this evening, the official trailer for Steven Spielberg's long-awaited "Lincoln" premiered online (with a special online event featuring the director and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Robert Lincoln in the film).

Overall, it certainly looks impressive (and sounds impressive, with that sweeping music playing underneath).  I was pleasantly surprised at the scope implied by the trailer.  Previous films about Lincoln (with much smaller casts) always had a pretty quaint feel, but this is evidently an epic where dozens of important people will surround the president at the center of the storm.

Among the locations/events I could identify in the trailer, aside from scenes of Lincoln in the White House: Lincoln with the troops (probably in late March 1865), the fall of Richmond and Lincoln's subsequent visit, the Hampton Roads conference (led by Lincoln and Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens), debate (over the 13th Amendment?) in the House of Representatives, the Second Inaugural Address, the surrender of Robert E. Lee (at which Robert Lincoln was present), and the War Department Telegraph Office.

Only one thing bothers me in the trailer -- but it is a big thing.  I'm not convinced that Daniel Day-Lewis has gotten Lincoln's voice right.  The descriptions of it that survive imply that Lincoln had a rather high-pitched voice and that he never really lost his Kentucky -- or frontier -- twang.  While the actor is certainly speaking in a higher range, I hear very little twang and very little of the slightly shrill quality sometimes ascribed to it.  (One newspaper report famously had Lincoln beginning a speech, "Meester Cheerman.")  Daniel Day-Lewis' approach sounds to me like a flat Hoosier accent, which does not match any of the contemporary descriptions of Lincoln's voice.  Hopefully this is too short a sample of dialogue in the trailer, but it concerns me because I had high hopes that the notoriously precise actor would offer a definitive performance.

[You can read more about Lincoln's speaking voice from Harold Holzer here.  He compares the description of Lincoln's voice to Kathryn Hepburn, which seems very a propos to me.]

Aside from this, though, I am pleasantly surprised by the trailer, which suggests that the project is more ambitious than I had imagined.  More than this, the focus on race implies that screenwriter Tony Kushner has perhaps crafted a narrative arc from the debate over the 13th Amendment to Lincoln's April 11 speech, in which he suggests granting voting rights to African-Americans who have served in the Union army and navy, which would offer a new perspective on the more often-told Lincoln stories.  I'm sure there will be a few more clues before the film is released in two months.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yet Another Lincoln Movie?

Owing to my hectic summer schedule, and not having been in the mood, I have yet to venture out to see "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," though I have finally obtained a copy of the book on which the R-rated thriller is based.  I imagine that I will be more anxious to see Steven Spielberg's long-awaited Lincoln biopic in December (a project that has taken about 15 years since he obtained the pre-publication movie rights to Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals").

Imagine my surprise today, though, when I came across this mention of yet another Lincoln-related movie.  According to movie-related chatter online, actress Diane Kruger, perhaps best known for her appearance in "National Treasure," has revealed that she will play Lincoln's step-mother in "Green Blade Rising," which will be produced by noted director Terrence Mallick.  Aside from the historically troubling statement that it will focus on Lincoln's Kentucky years -- and thus on a period before his biological mother Nancy died and his father remarried -- this seems like an interesting way to do a coming-of-age drama.  On the other hand, given the disappointing box office for "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," I find it amazing that someone is willing to invest in a Lincoln movie that would seem, on its face, to have even less general appeal.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review: The Global Lincoln

The Global Lincoln edited by Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton (Oxford University Press, 2011), hardcover, 344 pages

William Lee Miller bookends his bestselling biography, President Lincoln, with an introduction and conclusion that focus on the global response to Abraham Lincoln. Miller contrasts the perfunctory greetings that Lincoln received from other heads of state when he assumed office with the more expansive condolences these leaders sent following his assassination. While Miller clearly believed that the changing tone offered a global appreciation, and even affirmation, of Lincoln's service as president, these chapters offered more questions than answers in my reading.

In a new way, after reading Miller's conclusion, I wondered if the global outpouring about Lincoln immediately following his assassination was a short-term emotional response or if it inaugurated Lincoln into the pantheon of noteworthy leaders, as it did in the United States. While Lincoln's cultural impact in the United States is fairly obvious, and has been the subject of many recent books, such cultural impact worldwide has been largely unstudied, especially outside of the British Isles. 

The Global Lincoln, a series of essays edited by Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton, seeks to explore this very question. Growing out of a conference sponsored jointly by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and Oxford University in 2009, the book brings together the research of several historians on the legacy of Abraham Lincoln around the world. While fully half of the essays focus on Europe (and half of those specifically on the United Kingdom and Ireland), there are also intriguing essays on Lincoln's reputation and cultural impact in India, Africa, East Asia, and, intriguingly, the American South. 

The essays are a bit varied in their focuses. Some, like Harold Holzer's essay on the Lincoln image in Europe, build on previous work. A couple focus on Lincoln's specific impact during his presidency on Germany and Italy in one piece, and on Britain in another. Most, though, attempt a brief assessment on the Lincoln legacy over the last 150 years in specific countries or regions. In particular, essays by Vinay Lal and De-Min Tao on Lincoln's cultural impact in India and in China and Japan, respectively, are especially fascinating and provocative. 

In large part, the individual chapters reinforce each other -- and the conclusions of books on Lincoln's impact in the United States -- showing that the person of Abraham Lincoln has been a fairly tractable and malleable figure, useful in different ways at various times in various contexts, though with certain limitations. They also demonstrate that Lincoln has been adopted as a global statesman, recognizable and studied around the world. The limitations of this book are straightforward. As in any new exploration, only so much ground can be covered. At times, the individual chapters seem to be hopscotching through history; more frustrating, though, is that large swaths of the globe -- the continent of Africa and the continent and a half of Latin America -- receive only a single chapter each. 

Still, the overall strengths of The Global Lincoln far outweigh its limitations. The essays are strong, particularly those from well-known names in Lincoln/Civil War circles -- Richard Carwardine, Harold Holzer, and David Blight. And the project, long-overdue, invites the opening of new territory for future Lincoln and Civil War studies, namely the impact of this American crisis, and the examples of its key leaders facing that crisis, around the world.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lincoln Author, William Lee Miller, Passes Away

Earlier today, I came across an obituary for William Lee Miller, the University of Virginia professor who authored Lincoln's Virtues and President Lincoln, both of which might be described as moral biographies of the 16th President.  Having heard Miller lecture once on Lincoln, I was impressed with his erudition and his passion.

I have mixed feelings about his books.  I highly recommend Lincoln's Virtues, particularly the opening chapters, as a long-overdue addition to the Lincoln biography.  However, I struggle to appreciate the book on Lincoln's presidency, as I've written in a review of that book, finding it too hagiographic.  Although I don't know if I wrote it in the review, I also strongly suspect that the book is narratively mis-framed with the chapters on foreign reputation.

My critique, though negative at times, came from my respect for Miller's scholarship, which allowed him to write influential books on multiple subjects, including several presidents of different centuries.  And I mourn his loss, selfishly, because I know that he had been researching a project on Lincoln's use of Shakespeare.  I can imagine few people who could tackle that enormous subject well, but I think that Miller, with his curiosity, his intellect, and his ability to describe things of complexity with subtle and flowing prose, would have been up to the task.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

NEH Grant to Support Research into Lincoln's Anonymous Journalism

The AP wire has a story this week about a National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) grant to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to fund a study to determine what articles Lincoln may have authored in the Sangamo Journal from 1834 to 1842.  According to the NEH, the project is entitled, "Is That You, Mr. Lincoln?: Applying Authorship Attribution to the Early Political Writings of Abraham Lincoln."  UPDATE (5/7): Here is an article from The State Journal Register in Springfield with more details about how this project should work.

While this overly academic subtitle may be a bit mind-numbing, it refers to one of the now few under-examined parts of Lincoln's written works, determining what anonymous newspaper articles he likely wrote in his early political career.  There are multiple references to Lincoln writing anonymous or pseudonymous articles for Illinois newspapers, especially the Sangamo Journal; and, in the fairly well-known and embarrassing story of Lincoln's almost-duel with James Shields, the start of the controversy was over a couple such articles.  Over the years, historians have speculated which newspaper articles Lincoln may have written, mostly because they were looking into insights into his political beliefs during this time period.

Now this project will use multiple computer programs to analyze all of the articles in the period from 1834 to 1842 in the Sangamo Journal to determine, in a formalized manner, what articles Lincoln likely authored.  While such analysis will not be decisive -- after all, consider the arguments over whether Lincoln personally authored the famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, which appears over his signature -- it should offer historians more context for Lincoln's years in the Illinois legislature.

More than this, at least from my perspective, is the opportunity to see how Lincoln matured as a politician from his early years to the years leading up the 1860 election and then his presidency.  There are persistent contemporary accounts of Lincoln's willingness in early years to resort to personal attacks against his legislative opponents.  And he may have used other distasteful tactics (at least to our eyes).  Over the years, I've come to imagine that legislator Lincoln was very different than his presidential incarnation, mostly because I believe that there is no more firm believer than a convert.  Given the extraordinary absence of such normal 19th century political behavior during Lincoln's presidency, and given the limited evidence, especially in the Shields' affair, that it was not always absent, I have long guessed that Lincoln "converted" himself from traditional politics to his unique approach evident in his later years, one almost devoid of malice (with perhaps one or two exceptions).  This new research may offer some insight into this evolution as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Review: Did Lincoln Own Slaves?

Did Lincoln Own Slaves?: And Other Frequently Asked Questions About Abraham Lincoln by Gerald J. Prokopowicz (Pantheon, 2008), hardcover, 352 pages

Today many websites have an FAQ section, where "frequently asked questions" are answered. Applying this concept to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, historian Gerald J. Prokopowicz asks and answers countless questions about the sixteenth president, including the gem mentioned in the title. Prokopowicz, chair of the history department at East Carolina University, is well-suited to the task, having served for nine years at the (now closed) Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he likely heard most of these questions too many times to count.

In roughly chronological order, Prokopowicz proposes and answers questions touching key aspects of Lincoln's life, including his childhood, his adult life in Springfield, his presidency, the Gettysburg Address, and his assassination. The inquiries offer a wide perspective, responding as often to questions that might be asked by a curious child as to those from adults who have a more in-depth knowledge of history.

Prokopowicz is a pleasant authority, answering questions in a lively and engaging manner, frequently sharing a refreshing sense of humor. This writing style, along with an intelligent ordering of many questions, creates a surprising "page-turning" quality to the book, in spite of its basic Q & A approach. I expect that many will find the book to be an excellent read.

The years of study behind Prokopowicz's answers is evident as he shares knowledgeable, and often thorough, replies to the inquiries. Other Lincoln experts may argue that he comes down on the wrong side of some of the current debates in Lincoln scholarship -- I certainly disagreed with his assessments a time or two -- but cannot deny that he does a credible job explaining the contours of such controversies.

One such example is the book's title question -- did Lincoln own slaves? Rather than simply offering the basic answer, which is no, Prokopowicz uses it as a way to frame his consideration of modern doubts about portraying Lincoln as "The Great Emancipator, which is certainly one of the key current debates in the Lincoln world.

Long-time students of Lincoln are unlikely to learn much new in this book, though it does provide a handy reference to many of the common questions. Instead, this is a work intended to provide a helpful resource to the more casual student of Lincoln, who doesn't want to thumb through a biography -- and doesn't entirely trust an Internet search -- to answer basic questions about the sixteenth president.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review; April '65

April '65: Confederate Covert Action in the American Civil War by William Tidwell (Kent State University Press, 1995), paperback, 264 pages

In the late 1980s, three authors, two historians and a longtime American intelligence officer, offered a compelling new theory o the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Published in 1988, Come Retribution used lots of circumstantial evidence to show Confederate government involvement in the planning of the ultimately fatal attack against Lincoln, first conceived as a kidnapping, by the Confederate Secret Service.

William Tidwell, the intelligence officer among the group, follows up that substantial work with more evidence in April '65: Confederate Covert Action and the American Civil War.  In this case, he has dramatic evidence that suggests Confederate President Jefferson Davis was aware of the kidnapping plot and approved it.

Here, the case is again circumstantial.  There are few new bits of evidence about the Lincoln kidnapping/assassination plot itself, but there is new evidence regarding other covert operations which tantalizingly suggest parallels to the Lincoln plot.  Tidwell gives an overall mapping of covert operations in the Confederacy, considering how they were funded and how they were supervised and assessed.  The evidence suggests that there were no "lone wolves" among the Confederate operatives, implicitly and preemptively rejecting an argument that although Booth might have been an operate, in the case of the Lincoln plot he was acting of his own volition.

Much evidence points to the use of Confederate gold funding some of the kidnapping plot, including the possible payment of gold to John Wilkes Booth.  In this book, Tidwell documents the use of gold to fund all sorts of covert operations, and offers evidence that all such uses of Confederate gold required Davis' signature. This implies that Davis knew of, and approved of, some version of a plot against Lincoln in order to have issued a directive to the treasury to release some gold to involved operatives in Canada.  (This inference is not ironclad, however, given that the funding for the Secret Service in Canada was made in large payments designed to cover multiple operations.)

Tidwell is always careful to never overstate his conclusions, leaving them implied most often.  This is most obvious in the final chapter in which he details circumstantial evidence of the involvement of Mosby's raiders in the kidnapping plot.  Using parole information of certain of Mosby's companies, he discovers that several of them surrendered after others along a line related to Booth's escape route, shortly after Booth's death at the hands of pursuing US troops.  Alongside a few other extant orders, he traces the movements of many of Mosby's troops around Washington DC during the period of Lee's daring escape toward, and ultimate surrender at, Appomattox Court House.  Tidwell posits that these soldiers were detached to facilitate Booth's escape after either kidnapping or killing Lincoln.

Although not as shocking as Come Retribution, this book furthers and supports the central thesis of that book that there was a larger Confederate operation behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.  As with any circumstantial argument, the theory cannot be proven beyond doubt, butt the weight of the evidence makes the theory highly credible.  If I doubt a few of Tidwell's conclusions, I find his overall assessment compelling, particularly in light of the known details of Booth's escape from Washington using a network of Confederate agents.  Edward Steers, whose Blood on the Moon remains the best single volume on the assassination, also finds value in this research, incorporating some of it into his narrative.

In short, this book is a worthwhile addition to the large number of books on the Lincoln assassination.  Unlike other books that posit wild conspiracy theories, this one rarely argues beyond the evidence or stretches the evidence -- and credulity -- to make its claims.  At times a little dry (though less so than Come Retribution), it is always reasonable and coherent.  For the student of Lincoln's assassination, it is an important new argument.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Large Collection of Union Telegrams

According to The Los Angeles Times, the Huntington Library in California has announced that it has acquired a large collection of materials relating to Union telegraphy during the Civil War.  Reportedly preserved by Thomas Eckert, who ran the War Department Telegraph Office during the last part of the Lincoln presidency (and beyond), it includes 40 large albums of handwritten telegrams in chronological order.  There also are several codebooks that reveal more about the Union telegraph code words used during the war.

This resource, once made available to scholars, has the potential to significantly alter our understanding of the war effort, particularly related to military logistics.  There is also the distinct possibility that previously unknown Lincoln telegrams may be discovered.  James McPherson, award-winning Civil War historian, notes in an interview that "it would have enriched my work" on Lincoln as commander in chief.  It likely means that the recent book by Tom Wheeler, "Mr. Lincoln's T-Mail's," reviewed in November, is already outdated.

Even if no new Lincoln-dictated telegrams are discovered, the collection should impact our knowledge of Lincoln as a war-time leader.  It is well-documented that Lincoln generally read through all recent telegraphic traffic during frequent visits to the War Department Telegraph Office.  At the very least, this should allow great insight into what Lincoln "knew" as he made decisions from 1863-1865.  Of course, it will take some dedicated research, meaning time, before the full value and impact of this material is known.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lincoln Check Found

Last weekend, it was revealed that someone had located a small collection of checks signed by famous people in bank storage, including one signed by Abraham Lincoln dated just two days before his death.  The sesquicentennial Civil War blog at The Washington Post, "A House Divided," has a nice entry about the check, including comments from Harold Holzer about its likely purpose.  Holzer rightly comments on the emotional importance of the artifact because it is from the final week of Lincoln's life.

Images of Lincoln's check, and a couple of other presidential checks found in the collection, are available from this Washington Post article.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Missing Pages of 1862 Message Located

This morning, I reread Lincoln's 1862 Annual Message to Congress in preparation for my annual Lincoln sermon.  In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy Basler, there is a notation that the first two pages are missing and are reproduced from a periodical.

Imagine my surprise when I read this article at lunchtime, when a team from the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project announced that the first two pages had been located at the National Archives, along with a complete second copy, signed by Lincoln, of the 86 page message (handwritten, though evidently not by Lincoln himself).

While the discovery seems unlikely to alter anything -- there is no reference that the quoted passage differs in any way from the original handwritten pages -- it is nice to know that the complete document of this important state paper is now available for researchers and properly catalogued and preserved for posterity, "for a vast future also" that Lincoln mentions in the message's memorable conclusion.