NEW: Screenwriter defends film, says no key moments of the story were altered
In movie, two Connecticut lawmakers are seen voting against ending slavery
History shows all four Connecticut representatives voted yes on 13th Amendment
Rep. Joe Courtney sends a letter to director Steven Spielberg
Watching the movie “Lincoln” on Saturday, Rep. Joe Courtney was perplexed during the climactic scene.
Two of his predecessors from nearly 150 years ago, lawmakers representing the state of Connecticut in 1865, are seen voting against the constitutional amendment to end slavery.
Courtney asked the Congressional Research Service for the records, and sure enough, all four representatives from Connecticut voted yes on the 13th amendment.
But in the film, we see the fictional lawmakers Augustus Benjamin and Arthur Bentleigh of Connecticut each vote “Nay.”
“I could not believe my own eyes and ears,” Courtney said. In a letter of protest to director Steven Spielberg, he said that although he thinks overall the film is tremendous and compelling, “placing the State of Connecticut on the wrong side of the historic and divisive fight over slavery is a distortion of easily verifiable facts.”
Screenwriter Tony Kushner conceded the discrepancy but defended the film.