The Massachusetts Studies Network

The Better Angels with John Stauffer

Event Details

The Better Angels with John Stauffer

Time: November 16, 2014 from 3pm to 5pm
Location: Kendall Square Cinema
Street: 355 Binney St
City/Town: Cambridge, MA
Website or Map: http://www.masshist.org/calen…
Event Type: film, screening
Organized By: Gavin Kleespies
Latest Activity: Oct 23, 2014

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Event Description

Special screening ofThe Better Angels, a film about Abraham Lincoln's childhood followed by a discussion led by Professor John Stauffer of Harvard University. 

This is a story of the youth of one of America’s greatest heroes, Abraham Lincoln. Spanning nearly three years in the wilderness of Indiana, it tells of the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever and the two women who guided him to immortality.

Tom Lincoln leads his wife and children, Sally and Abe from Kentucky to the new state of Indiana. Abe, 10, is a quiet boy; gentle and intelligent. He knows happiness for a time until his mother is infected and dies from a mysterious illness. Abe, Sally and their cousin Dennis are left under the care of Tom, a callous disciplinarian.

When Tom leaves to find a new wife, the children are abandoned in the wilderness during a harsh winter. Abe must protect his siblings from wild animals, cold and hunger. Weeks pass before Tom’s return. He brings a new mother, Sarah. Having pledged his love solely to his late mother, Abe resists Sarah as she strives to win him over.

Recognizing Abe’s insatiable appetite for knowledge, Sarah takes up the challenge of schooling him and raising him as if he was her own. Sarah proves unyielding in her tenderness, love and devotion to Abe and his family. He learns to accept her, seeing that, in her he has regained his lost mother and a loving parent who inspires him forever. This understanding frees him to journey onward to the destiny that awaits him. He would later in life call her his “angel mother.”

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