WASHINGTON – The other “Indispensible Man,” Abraham Lincoln, is of course coming to a theater near you this weekend.
Among many other things, the Rail Splitter was a tinkerer and a patent holder. Having in his youth navigated the Sangamon River in Illinois and plied the Mighty Mississippi to New Orleans, where he saw firsthand the Crescent City’s slave auctions, Honest Abe invented and patented a method for lifting boats over shoals and other river obstructions.
During the Civil War, Lincoln took great interest in the machinery of warfare as he struggled to defeat the Confederacy and find ways to hold the Union together.
It is no exaggeration to declare that this nation has yet to produce a more resourceful and beloved statesman.
Steven Spielberg’s film, “Lincoln,” benefits incalculably from the performance of the award-winning Anglo-Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis. It is as if Day-Lewis was born to play the role.
One scene in particular should be of interest to the engineer. In it, Day-Lewis’ Lincoln is again at the Telegraph Office, the chief executive’s refuge from the unrelenting pressures of the White House, the place where news from the front is received, unfiltered.
Lincoln regales the office clerks with a parable about the mathematician Euclid, mechanical law and its universality in the struggle to end slavery. This scene alone makes it worth seeing “Lincoln.”