Eric Foner: "['Lincoln'] offer a severely truncated view"





Eric Foner, a history professor at Columbia University, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for history for “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.”

...The film grossly exaggerates the possibility that by January 1865 the war might have ended with slavery still intact. The Emancipation Proclamation had already declared more than three million of the four million slaves free, and Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia, exempted in whole or part from the proclamation, had decreed abolition on their own.

Even as the House debated, Sherman’s army was marching into South Carolina, and slaves were sacking plantation homes and seizing land. Slavery died on the ground, not just in the White House and the House of Representatives. That would be a dramatic story for Hollywood.

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