Yesterday Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney complained in an open letter to Steven Spielberg that Lincoln has dishonored the reputations of two Connecticut Congressmen as well as Connecticut itself by incorrectly showing that said Congressmen voted against the 13th Amendment when the votes were taken on January 31st, 1865. Courtney wants Spielberg to publicly admit the mistake before the 2.24 Oscar telecast, and also dub it out before the film goes to DVD/Bluray.
“As a Member of Congress from Connecticut, I was on the edge of my seat during [Lincoln‘s recreation of the] roll call vote on the ratification of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery,” Courtney writes on his website. “But when two of three members of the Nutmeg State’s House delegation voted to uphold slavery, I could not believe my own eyes and ears. How could Congressmen from Connecticut — a state that supported President Lincoln and lost thousands of her sons fighting against slavery on the Union side of the Civil War — have been on the wrong side of history?
“After some digging and a check of the Congressional Record from January 31, 1865, I learned that in fact, Connecticut’s entire Congressional delegation, including four members of the House of Representatives — Augustus Brandegee of New London, James English of New Haven, Henry Deming of Colchester and John Henry Hubbard of Salisbury — all voted to abolish slavery. Even in a delegation that included both Democrats and Republicans, Connecticut provided a unified front against slavery.”
I figured Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner, a man of honor and respect, had to have a good reason (perhaps a dramatic one?) for, according to Courtney, ignoring the historical record, so I asked Disney publicist Stephanie Kluft if this matter could be explained. She ignored me but studio publicists are always slow on the pickup. Update: Kushner’s husband Mark Harris wrote back promptly (I didn’t see his reply right away — it was hidden in the folds of the original message) and explained that Kushner was on a plane and thus unreachable. So there it is.