Spielberg’s Lincoln chronicles the last months of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and life, and the film is hitting theaters today! Due to the amount of key political and military figures in the film, it’s a little hard to keep track of who’s who – so we’ve created a character guide to brush up on American history!

THE LINCOLN FAMILY

Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis): 16th President of the United States of America from March 1861 until his death by assassination in April 1865. He was the president throughout the entire Civil War and one of the highest regarded presidents in American history. He is best known for abolishing slavery under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution and for leading the Union/The North to victory in the Civil War.

Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field): Lincoln’s wife and the First Lady of the United States from 1861-1865. Mentally unstable and extremely depressed due to the death of two of her children (and after the film takes place, a total of three children), she blames herself for her husband’s unhappiness.

Robert Lincoln (Joseph Gordon-Levitt): Lincoln’s eldest son and his only child to make it to adulthood. Studying to become a lawyer in Boston, he quits school and enlists, against his parents’ wishes, in the Union Army. Later in life, he became the U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Edward Lincoln: Lincoln’s second son who died when he was three years old in 1850. His death is said to what sparked the beginning of Mary Todd’s severe depression.

William “Willie” Lincoln: Lincoln’s third son who passed in 1862 from Typhoid Fever. Dying at 11 years of age, his death set Mary Todd Lincoln into an ever deeper depression and severe mental instability.

Thomas “Tad” Lincoln (Gulliver McGrath): Lincoln’s youngest son who frequently interrupted his father’s meetings and ran freely around The White House. He outlived his father, but died in 1871 at the age of 18 from Tuberculosis.

KEY PEOPLE IN LINCOLN’S CABINET

William Seward (David Stratharim): Secretary of State during the Lincoln Administration. A loyal member of the Republican Party, he severely opposed slavery and was a huge supporter of the 13th Amendment. Although not mentioned in Lincoln, Seward was also attacked the night of Lincoln’s assassination, but survived.

Edwin Stanton (Bruce McGill): Secretary of War from 1862 – 1868. He helped to manage the Union Army and lead the North to victory.

Gideon Welles (Grainger Hines): Secretary of the Navy from 1861 – 1869.

Montgomery Blair (Byron Jennings): U.S. Postmaster General from 1861 – 1864, Lincoln accepted Blair’s early resignation  – and makes a snarky comment about his early resignation in the film.

William Dennison, Jr. (James ‘Ike’ Eichling): U.S. Postmaster General from 1864 – 1866, succeeding Blair.

James Speed (Richard Topol): U.S. Attorney General from 1864 – 1866. He became a part of the Radical Republicans and advocated for African-American males the right to vote.

John Palmer Usher (Dakin Matthews): A kind and unobtrusive man, Usher was Secretary of the Interior from 1863 – 1865.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones): Representing Pennsylvania’s 9th district from 1859-1868, he was one of Congress’ most influential and outspoken members and lead the Radical Republicans. As demonstrated in Lincoln, he had very heavy influence in the passing of the 13th Amendment.

George Yeaman (Michael Stuhlbarg): A Democrat from Kentucky, Yeaman voted against his party in support of the 13th Amendment.

Wells A. Hutchins (Walton Goggins): A Democrat from Ohio, Hutchins also voted against his party in support of the passing of the 13th Amendment.

Charles Sumner (John Hutton): Changing parties many times, he is best known as a Republican Senator from Massachusetts.  Sumner helped lead the Radical Republicans alongside Thaddeus Stevens and supported anti-slavery.

Fernando Wood (Lee Pace): A Democratic Representative from New York, he was sympathetic to the Confederacy and was in high favor of slavery.

James Mitchell Ashley (David Costabile): An Abolitionist Republican from Ohio. He had a large roll in suporting Union Troops to defeat the South.

OTHER KEY PEOPLE IN SUPPORT OF THE UNION

W.N. Bilbo (James Spader): A political operative who was once imprisoned  but freed by Lincoln. He, along with two partners, lobbied members of Congress to support and pass the 13th Amendment.

Elizabeth Keckley (Gloria Reuben): A former slave who became the personal modiste for Mary Todd Lincoln. As a freed slave who worked for the First Family, she took advantage of her position and became a civil activist to help blacks later in life.

Francis Preston Blair (Hal Holbrook): The father of Montgomery Blair, he was  a supporter and adviser to Lincoln. With Lincoln’s consent, Blair traveled unofficially to Richmond (the Confederacy Capitol) and asked Jefferson Davis to appoint representatives to travel to D.C. to discuss peace negotiations. This resulted in the Hampton Roads Conference (Reference “Civil War Events”).

Ulysses S. Grant (Jared Harris): Commander of the United States Army from 1864 – 1869 and led the Union to victory over the Confederacy. He was an alcoholic and later became President of the United States – and is reputed for not being one of the best men for the job.

Lydia Smith (S. Epatha Merkerson): Congressman Thaddeus Steven’s biracial housekeeper. Stevens never married, and Smith lived with him, romantically, for many years.

John Hay (Joseph Cross): Personal assistant and secretary to Lincoln.

John George Nicolay (Jeremy Strong): Working with John Hay, Nicolay was also a secretary to Lincoln. The two collaborated together on Lincoln’s official biography, published in ten volumes from 1890-1894.

IMPORTANT FIGURES OF THE CONFEDERACY

Alexander Stephens (Jackie Earle Haley): Vice President of the Confederate States of America. He met with Lincoln in February 1865 on a failed attempt to make peace and end the Civil War, but it was a failed attempt mainly due to Stephens’ disagreement with the passing of the 13th Amendment.

R.M.T. Hunter (Mike Shiflett): Secretary of State for the Confederacy from 1861-1862, and then became a Senator from Virginia from 62-65. He attended the Hampton Roads Conference with Stephens and Campbell.

John Archibald Campbell (Gregory Itzin): Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy and attended the Hampton Roads Conference with Hunter and Stephens.

Robert E. Lee (Christopher Boyer): General of the Confederate Army, he surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, ending the Civil War.

Jefferson Davis: President of the Confederate States of America.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

November 6, 1860: Lincoln is elected as the 16th president of the United States with 180 Electoral votes and 40% of the popular vote. His campaign focused heavily on not spreading slavery into non-slave states.

December 20, 1860 – June 8, 1861: Eleven southern states seceded from the U.S.A. and form the Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.

March 4, 1861: Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States. Seven states have seceded from the Union at this point. Lincoln states he would not accept the secession and hoped to create a peaceful resolution.

April 12-14, 1861: Shots are fired and The Battle of Fort Sumter occurs, thus marking the start of the Civil War. Four more states will secede after the first battle of the War.

June 1861: West Virginia is born, not wanting to secede with the rest of Virginia as a slave state. Four other slave states commit to staying part of the Union, including Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri.

February 20, 1862: Lincoln’s third child, Willie, dies at the age of 11.

January 1, 1863: Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, stating that all slaves in areas of rebellion were free.

July 1-3, 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg occurs, which was the bloodiest and most Northern fought battle of the Civil War. Union troops defeated Lee’s Confederate Army, which ended Lee’s invasion of the North.

November 8, 1864: Lincoln is re-elected as the President of the United States for a second term, winning 212 electoral votes and 55% of the popular vote. This is the first time since 1832 a President has won re-election, and the first time since 1812 there was an election during a war.

January 31, 1865: The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution is passed, abolishing slavery.

February 3, 1865: Confederate representatives Alexander Stephens, R.M.T. Hunter, John Archibald Campbell, meet Union representatives President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward to negotiate peace terms aboard the River Queen near Newport News, Virginia. Lincoln refused to consent to a treaty and demanded the C.S.A. to voluntarily abolish slavery, and also to fully restore the Union. The conference was unsuccessful, as the C.S.A. could not agree to Lincoln’s terms, and merely wanted to be recognized as an independent country.

April 1-3, 1865: After 10 months of fighting in the Richmond-Petersburg area, Richmond, the Capitol of the Confederacy, falls to the Union.

April 7-9, 1865: On April 7, Grant’s troops surrounded Lee’s, and within the next two days, Grant called upon Lee to surrender. On April 9, the two generals met at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, which marked the official end of the Civil War.

April 14, 1865: Lincoln is shot while watching a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth. Booth was a well-known stage actor, who was a Marylander and sympathetic towards the Confederacy and a supporter of slavery. Lincoln died the next morning.

Be sure to also check out Hypable’s review of Lincoln before seeing the film!

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

Read full article

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?