In the 2012 movie Lincoln, Stevens is cast as the radical whom Lincoln must tame to ensure passage of the 13th Amendment. This is Hollywood drama. The ardent abolitionist was as cagey a politician as Lincoln, and needed no persuasion to support his life's goal.
Unlike Lincoln, we cannot ignore Frederick Douglass' critique in the current conversation over equality, or lack thereof, of opportunity, access and mobility in this country.
The Birth of a Nation provides the key to explaining both the rise of the Tea Party and the totally irrational hatred that a substantial fraction of Americans holds for President Obama.