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Lincoln, Slavery, and Race in Civil War New Jersey: The Documentary Evidence and Treatments in Film

Larry A. Greene


The article notes that the recent films on slavery, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012), Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchanged (2012) have enlivened discussions on the slavery and the Civil War. But Greene finds them all wanting in nuance and historical accuracy. He particularly points out Spielberg’s lack of enlightenment on Lincoln’s conservatism and yet his capacity for growth in his views on slavery and emancipation, that are also that of the nation, the North, and New Jersey. In this richly documented study, the author clarifies the historical record and hopes that “in the future, Hollywood will turn the camera’s lens to the complexities of the North in the antebellum, Civil war, and Reconstruction eras for as New Jersey’s own history demonstrates—the diversity and complexity of attitudes over slavery, race, emancipation, and the Civil War are plentiful.”

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