|How to Watch Lincoln|
In November, Associate Professor of History Michael Vorenberg took questions on Facebook. Here are some of his answers. Read more here .
FB I always understood
Lincoln to be more concerned with … the nation’s best interests …
before considering his personal convictions [on slavery]. Do you
believe the film presented an accurate representation of [Lincoln’s]
FB What historical inaccuracies should I look out for?
MV Compared to many mainstream films set in the past, this one is fairly historically accurate in terms of the look and feel of things. Certainly there are inaccuracies. For example, the antislavery amendment was never discussed in a cabinet meeting, though Lincoln discussed it with some cabinet members individually, and the amendment was rarely if ever referred to as the “Thirteenth Amendment.”
FB How accurate was Daniel Day-Lewis’s representation of Lincoln’s accent, pitch, and intonation?
MV Of course, we can’t
really know how anyone spoke in the era before recording equipment. Yet
many newspaper writers and memoirists did comment on Lincoln’s speaking
style. For example, if you look at newspaper coverage of the
Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois in 1858, you see many writers
commenting on the style of speech of the two speakers, with writers
generally praising Douglas over Lincoln. (Douglas’s voice was
relatively deeper than Lincoln’s, and Lincoln’s was somewhat nasal.)
It’s obvious that Daniel Day-Lewis researched the voice issue and
worked hard to get it right.