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Lincoln’s Origins, Beyond the Log Cabin

The Better Angels is a portrait of the Great Emancipator as a (very) young man

Braydon Denney as Abe Lincoln in The Better Angels

What hunting vampires and ending slavery—the two activities Abraham Lincoln engaged in onscreen in 2012—have in common is that both seem far beyond the capabilities of us mere mortals. But the flashy axe decapitations in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter have nothing on the feat Daniel Day-Lewis performs in the title role of Lincoln: getting a piece of meaningful progressive legislation passed by a Congress full of white dudes. That most movies portray Lincoln near the height of real or fantastic powers does about as much to make our 16th president relatable as the massive stone monuments we carve in his image.

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