Albany in Lincoln

NYT has an interesting bit about Albany's brief mention in Spielberg's Lincoln -- a scene in which William Seward tells Lincoln he'll get in touch with a friend from Albany to help supply arm twisting muscle for passage of the 13th Amendment. Says Harold Holzer to NYT: "It's a nice inside message to the days when Albany was fully functional, if barely legal."

Comments

William H. Seward is one of the greatest statesmen to ever live. Most people only know him for engineering the purchase of Alaska, but he was the driving force behind many of the liberties and justice we take for granted in modern America.

He graduated Union College in 1820. And as a student there I noticed there was next to nothing honoring him. So I spent five years of my life erecting a monument to him, which stands today on the corner of Seward Place and Nott St. I hope this movie will generate more interest in this "local" hero. The monument is a boulder (from Alaska) with a bronze plaque). I was told that a drunk driver (student?) crashed her car into the monument recently. But I hope that scuttlebutt isn't true.

P.S. I was also the driving force behind naming the student shuttle "Seward's Trolley" in reference to "Seward's Folly."

P.P.S. Seward was a ginger!

Functional? Oh, very. Who put Seward into power? Thurlow Weed, who was called "the ablest spoilsman who had thus far appeared in the state whose politics, in the words of Seward's other guardian angel, John Quincy Adams, were 'the devil's own incomprehensibles.'"

Lincoln came to Albany in 1848 to meet with Weed. He also chatted up Millard Fillmore, who was then the Whig candidate for vice president.

http://www.hoxsie.org/2012/07/world-changers-thurlow-weed.html

Carl,

It was partially the stink of Weed (pun intended) that cost Seward his rightful spot as president, for he was WAY more qualified than Lincoln to serve as chief (and Lincoln knew that). I would encourage you to read more about Seward or visit his house in Auburn to take a second look at the greatest statesman in our history.

There are two names on the Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln, and Seward. Seward was an outspoken abolitionist (his family owned slaves in NYS by the way) and his unabashed views about the institution are also in large part what cost him the party nomination. "It is an irrepressible conflict" is one of the lines on the plaque I created for him in Schenectady.

Women's rights. Native American rights. The idea that prisons should be places of reform, not strictly for punishment, etc. etc. He even tried to end the feudal practices that were keeping Hudson Valley farmers in a state of medieval peasantry (before he crashed his carriage and botched that). These are all modern rights that we take for granted today. They are "self evident" now. But they weren't in Seward's time and he fought his whole life to make them so.

As an attorney he was the first in the state to use the insanity plea to defend a former slave in Auburn who went nuts and killed his former master. They were just going to hang the guy without a trial. And you better believe people wanted to do in Seward for standing up for the justice system there, when no one else would.

There's a reason why Harriet Tubman and Seward were friends and neighbors. Enough of the Thurlow Weed stuff, I say.

There's a new biography on Seward that's supposed to be very good - Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man.

I should have added - Inaugural AOA Group Read anyone?

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past short week on AOA: + M. asked about finding a progressive, friendly, diverse church in Albany. +... (more)

The warmest winter day

This all sounds familiar... The high temperature Friday hit 74 degrees at Albany International Airport. That is not just a new record for highest temp... (more)

Wallpaper and power

The Schuyler Mansion recently completed the reproduction and reinstallation 18th century wallpaper -- "Ruins of Rome" -- and the historic site's blog shares the details... (more)

Nice, but...

Over at The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer asks a timely modern ethical question: Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change? The question... (more)

Siena Hip-Hop Week 2017

The annual Hip-Hop Week returns to Siena March 20-25 with a series of events focused on the art, politics, and culture of hip hop. The... (more)

Recent Comments

If you've never checked out a Friends meeting (Quakers), I recommend giving it a go. I'm Jewish, but have been sporadically attending Friends meetings for several years. We sit in silence. There's no pastor. The idea is that G-d is within all of us, and if someone's truly and deeply compelled to speak, they share their message. Sometimes it's a full hour of silence and then at the end of the meeting we share joys and sorrows and community updates and you realize that the people sitting silently beside you are some of the most engaged, empathetic, and fair-minded activists around.

Fair Share 4 Albany

...has 2 comments, most recently from Greg

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 2 comments, most recently from Greg

The untaxed city within the city

...has 39 comments, most recently from BS

How we all ended up talking about a gondola between downtown Albany and the train station

...has 19 comments, most recently from -B

Progressive, warm, vibrant Jewish congregations?

...has 2 comments, most recently from llcwine