Lincoln in Person
Lincoln was famous for his funny stories, in part because of their humorous content, and in part because of his masterful delivery. Daniel Day-Lewis managed to capture both when he acted in the title role of Lincoln, Steven Spielberg's direction of a screenplay written by Tony Kushner.
Although the movie is a drama, there are moments in which Lincoln's humor and wit are displayed. While the script is a work of fiction, it plausibly depicts Lincoln's style.
For more resources on the movie, including the Unofficial Teacher's Guide, visit House Divided's Emancipation Digital Classroom.
Essential Question: Why was Lincoln perceived to be a funny storyteller, and for what purposes did he employ humor in his interactions with others?
Lincoln engages with two African-American soldiers in the Washington Navy Yard:
Lincoln aims to convince Secretary of State Seward to find the votes needed to pass the 13th amendment:
Lincoln tells a story to try to put two solicitors at ease:
Lincoln uses a folksy analogy to explain that to do justice, one must sometimes bypass the law:
Lincoln's son, Robert, tries to convince his father to allow him to enlist:
Lincoln arrives at the War Department telegram office, as everyone awaits news of the battle at Fort Fisher:
Lincoln talks with and over one of his aides, as he considers whether to pardon a young soldier for cruelty:
Lincoln talks with Mary Lincoln's dressmaker, a free African-American servant, about the prospects for the 13th amendment: