Mencken Raps Gettysburg Address
Kuypers, reached by phone over the weekend, had not seen “Lincoln” yet but supplied a quote by iconoclast H.L. Mencken that threw cold water on the words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that are featured at the start of the movie.
Calling it both “the shortest and most famous oration in American history,” Mencken praised its “eloquence” but said it was “poetry, not logic, beauty, not sense.”
Lincoln praised the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg for supporting a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” but the Union soldiers actually fought against self-determination, says Mencken.
“It was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves,” he wrote.
His description of the Address was that “It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue.”
Alabama State Senator Davidson Quoted
Kuypers’ 2002 book, “Press Bias and Politics, How the Media Frame Controversial Issues,” covers the attacks that Alabama State Senator Charles Davidson came under in 1996 when he wrote that economics and political self-determination were the causes of the War that cost 600,000 lives rather than slavery and that the Confederate flag symbolized states’ rights rather than slavery.
Northern states wanted high taxes on imports to block competition from England and France which were trading manufactured products for the South’s cotton.
According to Davidson, all Southerners fought in the war including whites, blacks, Indians, rich, poor and members of all religions.
Economic aspects of the Civil War are unmentioned in the movie with most of the focus on the deals Lincoln made to get the 13th Amendment passed.
Enforcement of Amendment Was Weak
The Free Legal Dictionary by Farlex says enforcement of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, dealing with individual rights, was weak.
“For many decades, however, the goals of the Civil War Amendments were frustrated. Due perhaps to the waning public support for postwar Reconstruction and the nation's lack of sensitivity to individual rights, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the application of the amendments.
“The Supreme Court thwarted the amendments in two ways: by restrictively interpreting the substantive provisions of the amendments and by rigidly confining Congress's enforcement power.”
— Jack O’Dwyer