- Lincoln's favorite story. It's about Ethan Allen going to England to conduct business upon the end of the American Revolution. While there, he gets invited to the house of a notable English lord. While there, he notices a portrait of George Washington on the wall in the bathroom (it's been put there as an insult), but doesn't comment on it. After dinner and some talking, the lord, with a smirk, just has to ask what Allen thought of the portrait. Specifically, if he put it in the right place. Allen says he does think it's in the right place. The lord gets confused and asks him why. Allen responds "There is nothing that will make an Englishman shit quicker than the sight of George Washington."
Edwin Stanton: You're going to tell a story! I can't bear hearing another story! (walks out)
- Right after that, the screen cuts to a picture of Washington on the wall. Somehow, it makes the story even funnier.
- Even better because Ethan Allen actually said this in real life.
- Let's be clear. Just about ALL of Lincoln's stories are this.
- The story about the parrot that kept announcing each day was the day the world would end until his owner shot him is funny in a more awkward sort of way.
- And Edwin Stanton storming out upon realizing Lincoln is going into Let Me Tell You a Story mode.
- Granted, Lincoln started telling this story in the middle of the attack on Wilmington, and Stanton was arguably right to be angry, as he felt Lincoln was being flippant.
- As usual, just about everything that comes out of Tommy Lee Jones' mouth.
- Special mention to the scene where he verbally intimidates one Democrat into voting for the 13th Amendment but not switching parties. "Say it slowly, Re-pub-li..."
- Then he concludes their talk with "Congratulations on your victory, now get out."
- The phrase "fatuous nincompoop" deserves mention as well.
- And again, the stuff said on the House floor in the movie is based very closely on the official records (which however, some claim Stevens had "sanitized" as his actual eviscerations of his political opponents were even more brutal and less fit for print)
- The adventures and misadventures of Sewards' lobbyists as they attempt to court votes from lame-duck Democrats with job offers or outright bribes, including an inverse of the Percussive Pickpocket (crashing into a Congressman so that he drops his bank withdrawal, and "helpfully" piling the cash up... onto a folder containing their proposal) and an incident where one of them tries to shoot the ringleader (he flees, realizes he forgot his papers, and throws leaves and dirt into the calmly-reloading Congressman's face while cursing).
- Even better, it actually looked like the Congressmen was trying to reload faster than the ringleader could collect the papers, because it's no myth on how incredibly tedious it was to reload a gun from that time.
- "Well, I'll be fucked."
- The response is also good; "I wouldn't bet against it."
- Tad riding his goat-pulled carriage. Also another true bit of history.
- "Don' let 'im pardon any more deserters... zzzz...."
- Lincoln's not-so-epic speech during the flag-raising ceremony.
Lincoln: The part assigned to me is to raise the flag, which, if there be no fault in the machinery, I will do, and when up, it will be for the people to keep it up. [Beat] That's my speech.
- Made even funnier because, in a nod to well-known Lincoln lore, he's shown storing the written version of it in his hat.
- After one of the more weak-willed Democrats decides to vote yes, saying he doesn't care if he gets shot, his neighbor votes no, then yes, and then he abstains, all within the course of maybe 11 seconds.
- In the beginning of the film, two young white soldiers run up to Lincoln during his talk with the black soldiers and are obviously shocked and tongue-tied to be in the presence of their president. So what do they finally say?
Soldier 1: Hey, how tall are you?Soldier 2: Aw, man, shut up!
- Robert trying to argue with his father about not being allowed to enlist before the big party. Lincoln walks off, which leads to this:
Robert: I'll be the only man over 15 and under 65 not in uniform!Tad: I'm under 15. *motions to the Union army uniform he's wearing*Robert: *turns and walks out in exasperation, slamming the door behind him*
- The men being hired to offer patronage jobs to Democrats are being told what they can and can't do. One man's justification for resorting to bribery: "It's not illegal to bribe Congressmen. They starve otherwise."