They're all speaking of Steven Spielberg's “Lincoln” and, from an artistic standpoint, I'd tend to agree. The acting is superb. The sets are authentic and the pacing is strong, if a tad tedious at times.
But, Lincoln is also disingenuous. It leads the viewer to believe that Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens was a veritable demi-god who was instrumental in assuring that Abraham Lincoln's post war wishes, expressed in the immortal words of his second inaugural address “...with malice towards none and charity to all” were, in fact, enacted.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Stevens (and his fellow Radicals) made sure the defeated South WAS treated with malice towards all and charity to none (except the newly freed slaves, that is). The Radical Republican Reconstructionists sent so-called Carpetbaggers south to pillage what was left of the Confederacy's shattered economy. They also made sure newly-freed slaves were elected to both houses of Congress and kept an occupying army in the defeated states for 12 years!
The Radical Republicans so infuriated the erstwhile Southern plantation aristocracy that the latter quickly banded together to create the Ku Klux Klan. And, after the U.S. Army had finally departed, the Southerners undid most of the 13th Amendment's provisions, and installed the heinous Jim Crow laws.
So, rather than a happily ever after ending as suggested by Spielberg's Lincoln (and, his beatification of Stevens), the facts are quite the opposite. Southern blacks continued to be treated as little more than slaves until the passage of LBJ's landmark Civil Rights Act of 1965.
Spielberg drew obvious parallels between 1865 and 2012 (including the ironic ways in which the Republican and Democratic Parties have literally flip-flopped in terms of their basic platforms). But, he did the casual movie viewer a very real disservice by suggesting Stevens was a hero (and the 13th amendment the seismic event) that both appear to be in the movie.
It would take another century of lynchings, shootings, church burnings, Freedom Riders, race riots in Little Rock, Newark and Watts (and, of course, the non-violent leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,) to finally even begin to deliver on Lincoln's words.
But, maybe we'll see that in a Spielberg sequel? If so, I'd suggest the title, 'Life After Lincoln: What Really Happened.'