Did Abraham Lincoln really use profanity? If you’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s new movie, you might think so. Show Notes

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
Listen Now Number of listens: 0Download File Number of downloads: 0

Did Abraham Lincoln use profanity? Did his colleagues cuss at each other? Probably not. 

In the new movie “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg places foul words into the mouths of its historical characters.

James McPherson, a Lincoln biographer and a consultant on the movie, says, "The profanity actually bothered me, especially Lincoln's use of it. It struck me as completely unlikely—a modern injection into Lincoln's rhetoric."

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mr. McPherson emailed his objections to the screenwriter after reading an early draft, but then found out that the language made it into the movie anyway. 

David Barton, who has appeared as an American history expert on Fox News and CNN, say he agrees with McPherson. Barton says: "There are records of [Lincoln] confronting military generals if he heard about them cursing.

“Furthermore, the profanity used by Republican operative William Bilbo was virtually nonexistent in that day and it definitely would not have been used around Lincoln. If Lincoln had heard it, it is certain that he would instantly have delivered a severe rebuke."

By the way, there is an excellent new book out on Abraham Lincoln’s religious beliefs. It’s called “Lincoln’s Battle With God,” and is written by historian and best-selling author Stephen Mansfield. 

I had a chance to talk to Mansfield recently, and he points out that while Lincoln was an atheist as a young man, after suffering several personal crises, he eventually came to a deep faith in Jesus Christ.

If you’d like to learn more about Lincoln’s faith journey, you can go to lincolnsbattlewithgod.com

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

« search entire media archive