What do the Emancipation Proclamation, a museum exhibit, and the latest Spielberg film have in common? It's the story of Abraham Lincoln, and our Vince Gallagher got a little insight on these pieces of American history.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Visitors line up at the New York State Museum to view a piece of real history: Abraham Lincoln's original Emancipation Proclamation.
"And I hope everyone realizes what a precious opportunity it is to connect to an extraordinary piece of writing in Lincoln's own hand," said Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar.
Holzer is a Lincoln Scholar, and with the 150th anniversary of the proclamation, it is time to reflect on this executive order.
"New York State has preserved it's Emancipation Proclamation and it's our tangible connection to this change in American history, this widening of opportunity," said Holzer.
Since the Emancipation Proclamation is based on the Commander in Chief's role as President, as opposed to an actual law passed by Congress, it's been defined as everything from revolutionary and controversial, to maligned and misunderstood, and back again.
"Lincoln feared the majority of the country would not support it, that white voters would rebel against the Republican Party, that soldiers would leave their post, that people would stop volunteering," noted Holzer.
But, in addition to this, and a Civil War exhibit, it just so happens there's another Lincoln-themed event: the opening of the much anticipated Spielberg film, "Lincoln". The film is already receiving rave reviews, particularly for Daniel Day Lewis, who portrayed a President he really couldn't fully research.
Holzer said, "That's why it's so brilliant, because it's one person imagining it, not being tied to previous films, not being tied to photographs and statues, but ingesting a ton of reading about Abraham Lincoln."
Between the viewing of the Proclamation, which will be available across New York State, and Spielberg's film, there is a message that can be summed up here.
"Lincoln was a genuine anti-slavery heroic liberator, and it's about time he got that reputation back, because he deserves it," noted Holzer.
A new telling of an old story, "Lincoln" opens nationwide on November 16.