By Dave Rosenthal
3:00 PM EST, January 2, 2013
I don't know about you, but watching the movie "Lincoln" sent me to the bookshelf and Internet to learn more about political wrangling over the adopition of the 13th Amendment.
The movie was a great political science lesson, but it was obvious that Steven Spielberg's epic was a big-screen CliffsNotes version of history. It was imposible to include all of the back stories involving Cabinet members and members of Congress. For example, I wanted to know much, much more about why legislators in my home state of Connecticut voted against the amendment.
For the complete version, there no better source than Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," from which the movie was adapted, but the 900-plus pages may be daunting for some. Here's an alternative: The National Archives has produced "The Meaning and Making of Emancipation," an ebook that describes the years-long struggle through documents in the Archives' collection.
The government documents are interesting, but most touching artifacts are letters from slaves and their relatives. Here's an excerpt from one letter: Dear Wife i have enlisted in the army i am now in the state of Massachusetts but before this letter reaches you I will be in north Carlinia and though great is the present national dif┐culties yet I look foward to a brighter day When i shall have the opertunity of seeing you in the full enjoyment of freedom I would like to no if you are still in slavery if you are it will not be long before we shall have crushed the system that now opreses you for in the course of three months you shall have your liberty.
According to the National Archives, you can download the iPad version iTunes, or on your iPad with iBooks at https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/meaning-making-emancipation/id587569455. For Android phone, Android tablet, iPhone, iPad, Nook, SONY Reader, other mobile device or eReader, or PC or Mac, download the ePub file from http://www.archives.gov/publications/ebooks/ Open the ePub file with an eReader app on your phone or tablet, your eReader device, or an online ePub reader for your Mac or PC. The ebook is also available on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/doc/117165086/The-Meaning-and-Making-of-Emancipation. Excerpts are online at http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?tag=ep-150 .
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun