Abraham Lincoln’s political accomplishments, specifically his orchestrating the passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, have generally been tied to his Aquarian penchant for idealism, freedom, humanitarian efforts, progressive thinking and doing what was best for the collective. This simple rendering of what made Abe tick – an astrology-centric analysis that honors his Uranian impulses – has satisfied most students of history for more than a century.
Now comes Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” which shows a brasher side of our 16th President, portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis. An expedient, highly sophisticated political animal who would do pretty much anything to save the Union in 1865, Lincoln knew precisely when to set his idealism on the back burner in favor of a more Saturnine, practical end-justifies-the-means strategy.
“Lincoln” is a movie about one thing: Lincoln’s goal, in narrow window, to add legislation that would abolish slavery to the Constitution prior to the end of the Civil War, thereby affecting the Confederate economy. In the process, he had to contend with Democratic opposition and a deeply fractious House of Representatives made up of members of his own party. Day-Lewis’s kind and reflectively steely depiction amounts to a quiet plea for reason amidst the blustery hot-air pronouncements of the men running the country and the take-no-prisoner lobbyists hired to help the mission along.
Especially moving is Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), a die-hard abolitionist who nevertheless makes peace with tempering his language. The result was that the 13th Amendment wound up ensuring equality of black people before the law, rather than having the legislation be a racial pronouncement fueling the sort of opposition Lincoln could not afford to entertain.
In “Lincoln,” Spielberg demonstrates that during this critical period in our nation’s history, each archetype in Lincoln’s hands – Uranian vision and Saturnine expediency – was hardly mutually exclusive.
Rating: ♅♄ (Uranus/Saturn)