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Scene from Film 'Lincoln' on Lincoln's Courageous Leadership

In a powerful scene during the film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis, the bloody Civil War has tested the nation's endurance, but the tide is finally turning. Although the secession of the Southern States may have started the war, President Lincoln now sees that it will not truly be over unless slavery is abolished. Since a constitutional amendment would require a 2/3-majority vote, getting it passed will mean nothing short of all-out war in Congress. There's a core of support, but many in Lincoln's own party are lukewarm ... and they still need to win votes from some Democrats. The rhetoric is strong on all sides, with many saying things like, "Congress must never declare equal those whom God has made unequal!" Having failed a year earlier to abolish slavery, many think it's foolish to invest more political capital in trying again.

While his own inner circle quibbles about the merits of curing slavery and whines about the impossibility of getting enough votes, President Lincoln slams his fist on the table and says:

I can't listen to this anymore. I can't accomplish a [darn] thing of any human meaning or worth until we cure ourselves of slavery and end this pestilential war. And whether any of you or anyone else knows it, I know I need this. This amendment is that cure. We're stepped out upon the world stage now. Now, with the fate of human dignity in our hands. Blood's been spilt to afford us this moment. Now! Now! Now! And you grouse and heckle and dodge about like pettifogging Tammany Hall hucksters. See what is before you! See the here and now, that's the hardest thing, the only thing that counts. These votes must be procured.

Editor's Note: The actual scene uses the Lord's name in vain (instead of using the word 'darn").

Watch the scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qjtugr2618

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