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Films >> Birth of a Nation (1915) >>

0:00:27 A Plea For the Art of the Motion Picture
We do not fear censorship, for we have no wish to offend with improprieties or obscenities, but we do demand, as a right, the liberty to show the dark side of wrong, that we may illuminate the bright side of virtue -- the same liberty that is conceded to the art of the written word -- that art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.
0:01:04 If in this work we have conveyed to the mind the ravages of war to the end that war may be held in abhorrence, this effort will not have been in vain.
0:01:11 The bringing of the African to America planted the first seed of disunion.
There is an African slave shown standing hunched over, wearing chains. More slaves cower behind him. A white man stands on a pedestal looking over the line of slaves.
0:01:33 The Abolitionists of the Nineteenth Century demanding the freeing of the slaves.
A courtroom. The judge points to the black men sitting next to him. The members of the audience cheer as motions to free the slaves.
0:02:04 In 1860 a great parliamentary leader, whom we shall call Austin Stoneman, was rising to power in the National House of Representatives. We find him with his young daughter, Elsie, in her apartments in Washington.
Elsie is fixing her father's hair. She kneels next to him in an attempt to console him and give him hopeful advice.
0:02:44 Some time later. Elsie with her brothers at the Stoneman country home in Pennsylvania.
While sitting together outside, Elsie's brothers read a letter. Elsie stands behind a curtain for some time, until she is motioned by her brother to come over. The family starts to argue, one brother storms off, grabbing the other to follow.
0:02:55 The letter
Dear Ben:--
True to my promise brother and I are coming to visit you, arriving in Piedmont on Friday next. We are both just dying to see you again and to meet your Kith and Kin.
0:04:27 In the Southland. Piedmont, South Carolina, the home of the Camerons, where life runs in a quaintly way that is to be no more.
A roadside view of the town. A women and her daughter walk peacefully along the road.
0:04:45 Bennie Cameron, the eldest son.
Ben witnesses children falling from a horse-drawn carriage. He leaves his gated home to converse with one of the woman in town.
0:05:20 Margaret Cameron, a daughter of the South, trained in the manners of the old school.
Margaret, shown inside her house, leans her umbrella against the couch and then decides to carry it upstairs with her. Ben waves goodbye to the woman in town he was conversing with earlier.
0:05:55 The mother, and the little pet sister.
The little sister sits next to mother in her rocking chair. Ben greets mother; pet sister hides behind one of the house's columns.
0:06:22 The kindly master of Cameron Hall.
Dr. Cameron speaks to Ben. Two puppies play near the men. The sister pesters Ben and then jumps into his arms. A cat is dropped on top of one of the puppies.
0:07:28 Hostilities
The cat scratches the dog. Margaret gives Ben his letter. The family gets excited.
0:07:56 The letter
Dear Ben:--
True to my promise brother and I are coming to visit you, arriving in Piedmont on Friday next. We are both just dying to see you again and to meet your Kith and Kin.
0:08:15 The visit of the Stoneman boys to their Southern friends.
Ben gets up to greet the Stoneman boys. The boys bow to greet Margaret and the pet sister. They shake hands with the mother and father. They are invited inside the house. Margaret flirts with one of the Stoneman boys.
0:09:25 Chums—the younger sons. North and South
The younger sons from each respective family greet one another.
0:09:31 “Where did you get that hat?”
In a passing conversation, the youngest Cameron seems to tease the youngest Stoneman about his hat. Childishly, they chase each other around the house and grapple with one another.
0:10:56 Over the plantation to the cotton fields.
Both families head towards the Cameron's plantation.
0:11:27 By way of Love Valley.
Phil Stoneman is infatuated with Margaret Cameron as they walk together towards the plantation.
0:12:42 He finds the ideal of his dreams in the picture of Elsie Stoneman, his friend’s sister, whom he has never seen.
While walking through the plantation, Phil shows Ben Cameron a picture of his sister, Elsie. Taken by her charm, Ben takes Phil's picture and keeps it for himself.
0:13:37 In the slave quarters. The two-hour interval given for dinner, out of their working day from six till six.
The slaves dance and jump with excitement as they enjoy the end to a day.
0:14:48 The gathering storm. The power of the sovereign states, established when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the individual colonies in 1781, is threatened by the new administration
The Northern and Southern Colonies are in disagreement as tensions grow between the two.
Dr. Cameron reads a newspaper claiming the South will secede if Abraham Lincoln is elected as President of the United States.
0:15:33 The Stoneman library in Washington, where his daughter never visits. Charles Sumner, leader of the Senate, confers with the master of Congress.
Both Charles Sumner and Austin Stoneman discuss the South's aggressive notion and the goals the North wants for the Nation.
0:16:00 Lydia Brown, Stoneman’s housekeeper.
Lydia Brown takes care of the house and appears to be the head housekeeper as she directs the other housekeepers.
0:16:36 The mulatto aroused from ambitious dreamings by Sumner’s curt orders.
Seeing that the North wants to abolish slavery and create equality between blacks and whites, Lydia is aroused by the very thought of it.
0:18:33 The great leader’s weakness that is to blight a nation.
This scene foreshadows what is to come. Senator Stoneman shows compassion for the mulatto house-keeper, and this ignites a fire of confidence within her. His racial tolerance will become the blight of a nation in the film.
0:19:05 The visitors called back to their northern home. The chums promise to meet again.
The two friends Ben and Phil say goodbye. Their friendship, despite political views, is proven strong through their sorrow while saying goodbye.
0:19:20 Young Stoneman vows the old vow that his only dreams shall be of her till they meet again.
The goodbyes continue. Miss Cameron is love-struck over her northern beau. As they say goodbye, she looks at him as if it is for the last time. Little does she know that in the future she will not be able to look at him at all. Also in this scene, as the rest of the Cameron family say their goodbyes to the northern boys, the black folks merrily cheer them off -- yet another instance in which the black folks are happy to be where they are and find joy through the lives of the white people.
0:21:11 The First Call for 75,000 Volunteers. President Lincoln signing the proclamation AN HISTORICAL FACSIMILE of the President’s Executive Office on that occasion, after Nicolay and Hay in “Lincoln, a History.”
Lincoln in his office surrounded by his cabinet. They read him the proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers to fight for the union of the United States of America. Calm and morose, steady Lincoln signs the proclamation which is to "begin" the war.
0:22:11 Abraham Lincoln uses the Presidential office for the first time in history to call for volunteers to enforce the rule of the coming nation over the individual states.
Lincoln continues to sign the proclamation. As his colleagues make their way out satisfied, he wipes his eyes and looks to the ceiling in contemplation.
0:23:04 The Stoneman brothers departing to join their regiment.
Elsie says goodbye to her brothers. During their goodbyes, all three have a jovial spirit. Elsie even goes so far as to mock the war by shooting in the air. The boys seem very confident and excited to be performing their duty.
0:24:05 After the first battle of Bull Run. Piedmont’s farewell ball on the eve of the departure of its quota of troops for the front.
The southerners throw a ball in celebration of the war that they hope will mark their separation from the Union. The atmosphere of the ball completely contrasts the atmosphere of the less sophisticated and slightly barbaric celebration outside.
0:24:46 Bonfire celebration in the streets.
The celebrating continues. The dance remains very organized and contained, while outside there is a demonic red glare that shines over the black folks as they celebrate the beginning of the defense of their lifestyle. Here is another instance in which Griffith depicts the black people as content with their surroundings. Also, inside the Cameron house, one of the Cameron boys looks on in satisfaction as he sees the black people celebrating and a young black couple going for a stroll.
0:25:38 While youth dances the night away, childhood and old age slumber.
Again there is more dancing. In a separate room the young Cameron sister is sleeping on a couch near the slumbering old folks. The "young Colonel" comes in and plays with his kid sister, covering her with a confederate flag. This shows how common and familiar the flag was in southern households.
0:26:29 The first flag of the Confederacy baptized in glory at Bull Run.
A large crowd gathers as the "young Colonel" raises the massive Confederate flag. Women, adorned with rings of flowers in their hair, embrace each other in celebration of their soon-to-be freedom. In the black-side of town the celebration has not slowed. The set up of this scene, as well as those before it, seem to suggest that the blacks and the whites are both content to live in their own separate worlds and that in some ways perhaps a "separate but equal" state may have been not only adequate, but embraced.
0:27:10 Daybreak. The time set for the troops’ departure.
All women and children line the streets as they wave goodbye to the men; everyone is extremely excited. The music is cheerful and powerful.
0:27:36 The assembly call.
A horn is blown, and this signals that all men must assemble. You see the men leaving their homes and wives.
0:28:23 Their state flag. The spirit of the South.
The son shows his younger sister the flag that states "Conquer we must for our cause is just. Victory or death." He is very proud of his cause and is proud to be leaving to fight.
0:28:42 Conquer we must for our cause is just. Victory or death.
0:29:09 A mother’s gift to the cause--three sons off for the war.
Although Mrs. Cameron is sad to watch her three sons leave, she is proud of what they are doing. The soldiers are in formation as they march through the streets.
0:31:41 Elsie on her return to her aunt’s home in Washington tells her father of her brothers leaving for the front.
Elsie is excited and enthusiastic when she tells her father that her brothers are leaving for the front.
0:32:25 Two and a half years later. Ben Cameron in the field has a letter from home.
Ben Cameron reads a letter from his younger sister. The camera zooms in on the letter and shows that his sister is very excited to see him. She also informs him of how much she has grown since he last saw her.
0:32:39 The letter
you have really grown a moustache - oh my! I'm just dying, dying to see you. Well, I'm growing up too -- they say I'm such a big girl now you wouldn't know me
xxxxxx (kisses)
Your little[crossed-out] big Sis
0:32:53 News from the front. Little sister wears her last good dress as a ceremonial to the reading of her brother’s letter.
Ben's younger sister steps outside of her home to read a letter he wrote her. As she is reading the letter she is very happy, and when she is done she tucks it safely away in her dress.
0:33:56 Piedmont scarred by the war. An irregular force of guerillas raids the town. The first negro regiments of the war were raised in South Carolina.
Everyone is frantically running through the streets. The people try to run into their homes to remain safe from the guerrillas that are marching through the streets.
0:35:21 The scalawag white captain influences the negro militia to follow his orders.
The militia proceeds to tear apart the Cameron home while the women of the family hide away in an underground safe room. White men are being pulled from their homes and killed.
0:37:26 The Confederates to the rescue.
Confederates ride in to the town on horseback shooting at the African Americans. The African Americans are shown fleeing from the Cameron's house as patriotic music announces the departure of the African Americans along with the success of the Confederates.
0:38:22 After the rescue.
The Confederates are celebrated by the Cameron family. The family embraces each other as they share their excitement of the departure of the African Americans from their house.
0:38:51 Letters from home revive tender reveries for “the little Colonel.”
"The little Colonel" takes out Elsie Stoneman's picture to admire her. This small, brief escape from the reality of war makes him smile, then he proceeds to place her picture back into his coat for safe keeping.
0:39:23 On the battlefield. War claims its bitter, useless, sacrifice. True to their promise the chums meet again.
Confederate soldiers come out of hiding from behind a tree to attack their Northern enemies. Bullets fly and many fall to the ground. The two youngest sons of the Cameron and Stoneman family meet in battle. Both wounded, they die on the battle ground side by side, one embracing the other.
0:40:35 News of the death of the youngest Cameron.
The Camerons gather around a letter stating the death of their youngest son and brother. The mother falls to the couch sobbing as the others run to her side to comfort her.
0:41:24 Others also read war’s sad page.
Austin Stoneman reads of his youngest son's death in a newspaper article. Stoneman and his youngest daughter embrace each other as they mourn his death.
0:41:43 The last of their dearest possessions to be sold for the failing cause.
The Cameron family gathers various items to sell. Flora gives up her nicest dress for the cause. She reflects on her decision by grabbing at her remaining patched and tattered dress but quickly becomes cheerful as she feels she has done good for the soldiers.
0:42:43 Elsie Stoneman goes as a nurse in the military hospitals.
Elsie says goodbye to her family as she leaves to nurse wounded soldiers.
0:43:04 While the women and children weep, a great conqueror marches to the sea.
Women hold each other closely for comfort as hundreds of men on horses come galloping in to town. Guns are shot at indistinguishable targets as small clouds of gunpowder fill the air.
0:44:11 The torch of war against the breast of Atlanta. The bombardment and fight.
A red and pink curtain of light. A group of panicked men, women, and children run from the attackers on horseback as intense, fast-paced music creates a sense of urgency for the scene.
0:46:18 The last grey days of the Confederacy. On the battle lines before Petersburg, parched corn their only rations.
Men are eating their corn rations but eat more like animals in that they eat off cardboard and use their hands to eat the corn. Their clothes are ripped and torn and in desperate need of washing. Many men don't even have shirts on.
0:46:50 A sorely needed food train of the confederates is misled on the wrong road and cut off on the other side of the Union lines.
0:47:27 General Lee orders an attempt to break through and rescue the food train. A bombardment and a flanking movement are started to cover the charge.
High-ranking men (including General Lee) have a meeting on their horses to decide on what to do next. In the background trumpets play to symbolize the importance of the men and their decision.
0:47:54 The action before daybreak with artillery duel in distance.
The battle begins, and the audience sees nothing but smoke and fire. Men are racing around, and flags are waving.
0:48:23 “The little Colonel” receives his orders to charge at an appointed moment.
Men are shooting from their trenches and then receive the order to charge when "The little Colonel" says to. Gunpowder surrounds the trench, and the soldiers are almost unrecognizable.
0:48:48 The intrenchments of the opposing armies separated by only a few hundred feet.
Men start rushing into the battlefield. People begin shooting cannons, and the smoke increases in the scene.
0:49:28 The masked batteries.
The battle continues with fast-paced music in the background to add to the anticipation of fighting. Men ride around on horses, and flags remain to be waved to represent the two sides of the war.
0:50:59 The field artillery.
Larger weapons are brought in and added to the fighting. Soldiers begin to fire cannons, and the music intensifies to symbolize that the battle is reaching its climax.
0:51:33 The mortars.
There are a lot more explosions, and men are racing around as the battle only intensifies.
0:52:12 “The little Colonel” leads the final desperate assault against the Union command of Capt. Phil Stoneman.
After "The little Colonel's" order, men leave their trenches and charge onto the battlefield to begin hand-to-hand combat.
0:54:51 Two lines of intrenchments taken, but only a remnant of his regiment remains to continue the advance.
The Confederate soldiers, even though they are greatly outnumbered, fight on, but are being shot down by the North.
0:55:07 All hope gone, “the little Colonel” pauses before the last charge to succor a fallen foe.
The "Little Colonel" brings water to a wounded soldier from the North as he is dying.
0:55:29 The Unionists cheer the heroic deed.
The Union soldiers cheer for the Colonel for his gesture, and the colonel leads the charge against the next trench. Most of his men shot down, he runs to the battle line and jams the confederate flag down one of the cannons. He then collapses and is taken in by the soldiers and not harmed, by the commander's orders.
0:56:54 In the red lane of death others take their places and the battle goes on into the night.
The scene shows the battle going on, with a red tint to represent the blood spilled in war.
0:57:06 War’s peace.
A shot of the rows of dead bodies from the battle.
0:58:31 The North victorious.
The North wins the battle and waves the American flag.
0:58:48 News of the death of their second son and of the eldest being near death in a Washington hospital.
The Cameron family receives the news of one son dead and the other severely injured. The whole family is stricken with grief.
0:59:41 War, the breeder of hate.
The youngest Cameron daughter becomes enraged at the news of the death and injury of her two brothers.
1:00:15 The woman’s part.
The sister continues to grieve for her brother.
1:00:30 “The Little Colonel” in the military hospital set up in the Patents Office where Elsie Stoneman is a nurse.
The Colonel awakens and recognizes Elsie Stoneman, whose picture he has been carrying around in his jacket, singing at his bedside.
1:01:45 The letter
My request that you use Your influence in any way Possible for the welfare of my Old boarding school friend Col. Ben Cameron, who has Been committed to your hospital. Lovingly your bro
1:02:04 “Though we had never met, I have carried you about with me for a long, long time.”
The Colonel explains about the picture.
1:02:48 Mother Cameron comes from Piedmont to visit her stricken eldest boy.
Mother Cameron tries to enter the hospital area but is blocked by an armed soldier.
1:03:12 “I am going into that room to my boy. You may shoot if you want to.”
Mother Cameron comes from Piedmont to visit Ben. The guard at the hospital refuses to let her in at first, but eventually does. She finds her son talking with nurse Elsie.
1:04:25 The army surgeon tells of a secret influence that has condemned Col. Cameron to be hanged as a guerilla.
Mother Cameron is devastated when she is informed her son is accused of being a guerilla outlaw and will be hanged. Elsie tries to think of a way to save Ben.
1:05:05 “We will ask mercy from the Great Heart.”
Elsie devises a plan to try and save Ben. Elsie encourages Mother Cameron to ask Abraham Lincoln to grant a pardon.
1:05:27 The mother’s appeal.
They plead with President Lincoln and eventually convince him to issue the pardon. Elsie and Mother Cameron rejoice.
1:07:59 “Mr. Lincoln has given back your life to me.”
Mother Cameron and Elsie tell Ben that Lincoln has issued the pardon; they are all very joyful.
1:08:14 Her son convalescent, Mrs. Cameron starts back for Piedmont to attend the failing father.
Mother Cameron says goodbye to her son and thanks Elsie for all her help. She then travels back home to Piedmont to her ill husband. Elsie sits back down next to Ben's bedside at the hospital.
1:09:29 Back at home with the good news.
Mother Cameron arrives back home in Piedmont. She tells her family that Ben is well and that President Lincoln has issued a pardon to save Ben's life. The family is overjoyed.
1:09:58 Appomattox Courthouse, on the afternoon of April 9, 1865, the surrender of Gen. Robt. E. Lee. C.S.A., to Gen. U.S. Grant. U.S.A. AN HISTORICAL FACSIMILE of the Wilmer McLean home as on that occasion, and the principals and their staffs, after Col. Horace
Union and confederate officers gather in the Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. General Robert E. Lee formally surrenders to General U.S. Grant.
1:10:48 The end of state sovereignty. The soul of Daniel Webster calling to America: “Liberty and union, one and inseparable, now and forever.”
General Robert E. Lee and General U.S. Grant shake hands signifying surrender of the Confederate Army.
1:11:28 The same day, Col. Cameron is discharged and leaves for home.
Colonel Cameron is discharged. He kisses Elsie's hand farewell and heads back home. Elsie is very sad to see Ben leave.
1:12:25 The feast for the returning brother. Parched corn and sweet potato coffee.
Flora giddily prepares the sweet potato coffee; meanwhile, the slave is trying to prepare something for Flora to wear on top of her dress.
1:12:56 “Southern ermine,” from raw cotton, for the grand occasion.
Flora places raw cotton on her dress to make a design so her dress will look like it is fancier. She then examines herself in the mirror and looks saddened.
1:13:51 The homecoming.
The women get ready and are anxious for the Colonel Ben Cameron's arrival. They hear him coming, and they wait anxiously at the door. Colonel Cameron gets out of the carriage and enters the gate. He looks around and examines the house. Flora goes out first and greets him and begins to cry in happiness. Colonel Cameron kisses her head and hugs her. As he enters into the house, all of the women greet and hug him at the door.
1:16:23 The Radical leader’s protest against Lincoln’s policy of clemency for the South.
Stoneman greets President Lincoln. He starts protesting very loudly and angrily about Lincoln's policy of clemency for the South
1:17:06 “Their leaders must be hanged and their states treated as conquered provinces.”
Stoneman is very angry; Lincoln seems very calm and serene.
1:17:31 “I shall deal with them as though they had never been away.”
Lincoln stands up and declares firmly that he will "deal with them as though they had never been away." Stoneman is shocked and walks away angry and upset. Lincoln stands alone, solemn.
1:18:09 The South under Lincoln’s fostering hand goes to work to rebuild itself.
Colonel Ben Cameron walks out smiling with the slave and the Cameron women. The mother puts up a "boarding" sign on a pillar of the house.
1:18:37 “And then, when the terrible days were over and a healing time of peace was at hand” …. came the fated night of April 14, 1865.
Colonel Cameron is dressed up and goes to Elsie Stoneman's house. She greets him and spins while he examines her dress. Then Colonel Cameron goes over and greets Austin Stoneman.
1:19:10 To the theatre.
The Stonemans all leave for the theater.
1:19:26 A gala performance to celebrate the surrender of Lee, attended by the President and staff. The young Stonemans present. AN HISTORICAL FACSIMILE of Ford’s theatre as on that night, exact in size and detail, with the recorded incidents, after Nicolay and
Phil helps take off Elsie's coat. She looks into the binoculars.
1:20:08 The play: “Our American Cousin,” starring Laura Keene.
The play starts and the curtains rise. The actors and actresses come out and everyone applauds.
1:20:44 Time, 8:30. The arrival of the President, Mrs. Lincoln, and party.
They enter into the balcony. Everyone looks over at the balcony and applauds and cheers. Lincoln greets everyone and sits.
1:21:28 Mr. Lincoln’s personal bodyguard takes his post outside the Presidential box.
Applause and jubilation from the crowd is directed at President Lincoln. He smiles and nods his head in a thankful way. The show then begins.
1:22:09 To get a view of the play, the bodyguard leaves his post.
The music suddenly changes from upbeat to an evil and foreboding sound. It foreshadows the horrible result of Lincoln's bodyguard leaving and exposing the president.
1:22:36 Time, 10:13. Act III, Scene 2.
The screen is dark on one side maintaining focus that Lincoln's bodyguard is not doing his job being in a poor position to protect the president. Elise Stoneman points out a suspicious and villainous looking individual in the theatre.
1:22:49 John Wilkes Booth.
The frame switches between Booth and Lincoln. Then Booth makes his move to the door of Lincoln's room. He pulls his gun and triumphantly looks up to find the courage to proceed. The pistol is cocked, and Booth opens the door to Lincoln's room. He fires the bullet killing Lincoln and jumps from the balcony onto the middle of the stage.
1:24:16 “Sic semper tyrannis!”
Booth passionately shouts the words to the crowd and then flees the scene. There is outburst, mayhem, and confusion in the theatre. Woman are fainting and men shouting as the scene goes dark. Lincoln is carried away to bleak sounding music.
1:25:02 Stoneman told of the assassination.
Men rush into Stoneman's office to tell him the tragic news. He and many others are obviously affected and shocked by Lincoln's assassination. Stoneman stands in a stoic pose thinking of what has happened and what is the result.
1:25:36 “You are now the greatest power in America.”
Stoneman stands in his office, looking detached from the world. The mulatto woman stands behind him stroking his arm while she says, "You are now the greatest power in America."
1:25:36 Assassination of President Lincoln and Attempt to Take the Life of Secretary Seward.
1:25:48 The news is received in the South.
All members of the Cameron family are in a state of shock. They look upset because the future is uncertain.
1:26:14 “Our best friend is gone, What is to become of us now!”
The camera focuses on the specific section of the newspaper. The title is in bold print and clearly visible to the audience.
1:26:35 The Birth of a Nation Second part—Reconstruction. The agony which the South endured that a nation might be born. The blight of war does not end when hostilities cease.
The conclusion of Part I and the introduction of Part II. It provides the transition between the two parts and gives some background.
1:26:48 This is an historical presentation of the Civil War and Reconstruction Period, and is not meant to reflect on any race or people of today.
This is purposely done by Griffith because the second part is offensive to some people. The stated purpose of the movie is to clearly and correctly depict the Civil War and Reconstruction, not to offend or cross lines.
1:27:03 Excerpts from Woodrow Wilson’s “History of the American People:”
"….. Adventurers swarmed out of the North, as much the enemies of the one race as of the other, to cozen, beguile, and use the negroes ….. In the villages the negroes were the office holders, men who knew none of the uses of authority, except its insolences."
1:27:26 “…. The policy of the congressional leaders wrought … a veritable overthrow of civilization in the South….. in their determination to ‘put the white South under the heel of the black South.’” Woodrow Wilson.
The quote "to put the white South under the heel of the black South" is very important to Part II. It became the title and motto for the abolitionist Reconstruction plans.
1:27:39 “The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation….. until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.” Woodrow Wilson.
This has an epic and heroic tone to it. Griffin leads into this with quotes of Northern domination and unfairness. It emphasizes Griffin's vision of the Ku Klux Klan as a protector of the South.
1:27:55 The uncrowned king. The Executive Mansion of the Nation has shifted from the White House to this strange house on the Capitol Hill.
Stoneman drops his cane, and the men surrounding him come to his aid. He is now officially recognized as a powerful figure in the Reconstruction era.
1:28:33 Stoneman’s protégé, Silas Lynch, mulatto leader of the blacks.
Silas Lynch is noticeably thrilled for the future and eager to be an influence on Reconstruction. He is introduced by Stoneman to the other abolitionist leaders.
1:29:59 “Don’t scrape to me. You are the equal of any man here.”
Stoneman says this to Silas Lynch in front of the abolitionists. This is a significant quote because it provides insight to Stoneman's ideas for Southern Reconstruction.
1:30:11 The great Radical delivers his edict that the blacks shall be raised to full equality with the whites.
Approaching Stoneman, Lynch tries to scrape to him, but Stoneman stops him, declaring that blacks should have full equality with whites. As Stoneman's mulatto housekeeper eavesdrops, she celebrates this proposal.
1:30:34 Senator Sumner calls. Forced to recognize the mulatto’s position.
Sumner enters the meeting, but, beforehand, acts condescendingly to Stoneman's housekeeper, which upsets her greatly.
1:31:15 The Senator urges a less dangerous policy in the extension of power to the freed race.
As Sumner suggests a less radical approach to the blacks' freedom, the housekeeper continues to eavesdrop on the meeting and becomes thrilled at Stoneman's promises of social and political equality.
1:32:01 “I shall make this man, Silas Lynch, as a symbol of his race, the peer of any white man living.”
The housekeeper continues to listen in on the meeting and becomes ecstatic at Stoneman's promise to make Lynch a true symbol of racial equality.
1:32:25 Sowing the wind. Stoneman, ill at his daughter’s apartments, sends Lynch South to aid the carpetbaggers in organizing and wielding the power of the negro vote.
As Lynch is sent to the South to aid the cause, he begins to look at Elsie Stoneman with disturbingly lustful eyes, though he hides his ill thoughts tactfully. As he leaves, it is apparent that Stoneman has become weak with illness.
1:33:42 Lynch makes Piedmont his headquarters.
Ex-slaves are shown dancing happily together in the streets while Lynch is organizing his new headquarters in Piedmont.
1:34:38 The Freedman’s Bureau. The negroes getting free supplies. The charity of a generous North misused to delude the ignorant.
Ex-slaves are brought from the fields and streets to receive free supplies in order to influence their vote. Elsewhere, black Union soldiers are shown marching through the town and past the Cameron home just as the Little Colonel walks out. They are shown acting unpleasantly and pushy towards him.
1:35:20 “This sidewalk belongs to us as much as it does to you, ‘Colonel’ Cameron.”
Lynch approaches Cameron, noticing the disgusted look on his face, and informs him of the blacks' right to be on any street they wish. Cameron reacts angrily towards this comment, but he is kept from losing control by the lady at his side.
1:35:40 Stoneman, advised by his physician to seek a milder climate and desiring to see his policies carried out at first hand, leaves for South Carolina.
Under doctor's orders, Stoneman joins the Camerons in Piedmont to better his health and his work.
1:36:07 Their arrival in Piedmont. Influenced by his children he has selected the home town of the Camerons for his sojourn.
All are welcomed into the Cameron household after they are warmly greeted outside.
1:36:53 “Yo’ northern low down black trash, don’t try no airs on me.”
Stoneman's African American servant tries to give the Camerons' Mammy servant the bag to carry, but she violently refuses and threatens his "northern low down black trash" self if he tries to mess with her further. She kicks and pushes him into the next room, while he raises weak protest. Meanwhile, the youngest Cameron finds the Little Colonel and Elsie on the porch. She embraces Elsie, and once Elsie realizes who the girl is, she returns the affection. Elsewhere, Stoneman's servant eyes Cameron's servant creepily and frightens her even more.
1:37:56 “Dem free-niggers f’um de N’of am sho’ crazy.”
Mammy declares that the freed blacks from the North are crazy as she moves away, slightly shaken and very bewildered.
1:38:12 Lynch’s second meeting with “the little Colonel.” The black’s condescension.
Lynch arrives at the house and greets Stoneman and Elsie on the Cameron's porch. He greets Elsie rather lustfully, and she shows her discomfort by inching toward the Little Colonel beside her. As Lynch introduces himself to the Little Colonel, the Little Colonel refuses to greet him by crossing his arms and turning away proudly. Stoneman tries to protest such disrespect, but Lynch insists on letting it go and walks with Stoneman into the house, leaving Elsie and the Little Colonel on the porch.
1:39:38 Lynch a traitor to his white patron and a greater traitor to his own people, whom he plans to lead by an evil way to build himself a throne of vaulting power.
1:40:02 The Southern Union League rally before the election.
1:40:44 Sign
Equal Rights
Equal Politics
Equal Marriage
1:40:56 Stoneman the guest of honor.
1:41:27 Enrolling the negro vote. The franchise for all blacks.
1:41:40 “Ef I doan’ get ‘nuf franchise to fill mah bucket, I doan’ want it nohow.”
1:42:04 The love strain is still heard above the land’s miserere.
1:43:10 The love token.
1:43:30 Bitter memories will not allow the poor bruised heart of the South to forget.
1:45:06 Still a North and a South. Pride battles with love for the heart’s conquest.
1:46:48 “I’ll watch you safely home.”
1:47:11 Love’s rhapsodies and love’s tears.
1:48:05 Election day. All blacks are given the ballot, while the leading whites are disfranchised.
The blacks are controlling the ballot box and therefore who votes. Black men are shown casting more than one ballot, while white men are turned away from voting. In the background, crowds of Black men are cheering and rejoicing.
1:48:57 Receiving the returns. The negroes and carpetbaggers sweep the state.
The whites display that they are unhappy with the results.
1:49:13 Silas Lynch is elected Lieut. Governor.
The whites change their state of emotion and begin rejoicing.
1:49:43 Celebrating their victory at the polls.
The crowds rejoice over the Colonel, lifting him up and cheering. Inside, Elsie seems upset from a lack of attention.
1:50:34 “The little Colonel” relates a series of outrages that have occurred.
The Colonel and four other men are gathered, as the Colonel speaks.
1:50:49 “The case was tried before a negro magistrate and the verdict rendered against the whites by the negro jury.”
The Colonel describes to the men gathered the scene from the courtroom. A black judge and a black jury preside over the case of a black man. When the jury sides in favor of the black man, the courtroom appears to be divided. People observing the trial range from all ages, young to old, and include all social classes. Outside the courthouse, the Negroes badger and bully the white folk.
1:51:54 Even while he talks, their own faithful family servant is punished for not voting with the Union League and Carpetbaggers.
Black soldiers suspend the black servant from a tree and begin to lash him repeatedly. When a white man comes to defend him, the black soldiers shoot him. After the shot is fired, the blacks survey the area. In fear of being caught, they cut the servant down and flee the scene. Then, the vision is redirected back to the Colonel and the four men. The Colonel stands up, the men embrace him, and they lend their support.
1:53:19 The faithful soul enlists Dr. Cameron’s sympathy.
Dr. Cameron comes to the scene of the lashing/shooting. He reassures the distraught black servant. The servant then joins the Colonel and group of men.
1:53:53 The riot in the Master’s Hall. The negro party in control in the State House of Representatives, 101 blacks against 23 whites, session of 1871. AN HISTORICAL FACSIMILE of the State House of Representatives of South Carolina as it was in 1870. After phot
The Chambers buzz with activity as women in long dresses observe from a first-floor balcony.
1:54:27 Historic incidents from the first legislative session under Reconstruction.
1:54:39 The honorable member for Ulster.
Chaos ensues in the chamber as a speaker presents. Men are eating, drinking, standing up, reclining, fighting amongst themselves, and taking their shoes off. The men demonstrate a lack of respect.
1:55:08 The speaker rules that all members must wear shoes.
Chaos in chambers.
1:55:27 It is moved and carried that all whites must salute negro officers on the streets.
1:55:44 The helpless white minority.
1:55:53 White visitors in the gallery.
From the first-floor balcony, blacks, young women, and white men all observe the chaos occurring below. Two girls laugh at the scene, while the white man with them, possibly their father, scowls in disgust.
1:56:11 Passage of a bill, providing for intermarriage of blacks and whites.
The black majority cheers and exalts. The on-lookers in the balcony cheer. However, the white man and his two daughters leave in disapproval of the vote.
1:56:56 Later. The grim reaping begins.
The Cameron girls play together outside.
1:57:25 Gus, the renegade, a product of the vicious doctrines spread by the carpetbaggers.
Gus, a former slave who gained education and a title of recognition through the army, and many other blacks are ecstatic to have finally obtained political equality and control of the Congressional session as made possible by the carpetbaggers. Their excitement seems perhaps restless and power-crazed.
1:59:47 The “little Colonel” orders Gus to keep away.
Ben, the "Little Colonel," is angered by a series of outrages that have occurred to other whites.
2:00:41 In agony of soul over the degradation and ruin of his people.
Ben is shown sitting by himself and in apparent agony and anger over the recent black dominance over whites. His hand gestures and body posture communicate his frustration.
2:01:32 The inspiration.
Ben looks up from his hunched-over seat on a rock to see two white children hiding beneath a white sheet and scaring away four black children. Ben immediately stands up and is overjoyed by this moment of epiphany.
2:01:32 The result. The Ku Klux Klan, the organization that saved the South from the anarchy of black rule, but not without the shedding of more blood than at Gettysburg, according to Judge Tourgee of the carpet-baggers.
The KKK is shown in their white outfits that conceal their faces and bodies on their horses, who are also wearing their signature white sheets.
2:02:07 Their first visit to terrorize a negro disturber and barn burner.
Members of the KKK wait on horseback outside a "negro disturber and barn burner's" house. One member appears to be drinking out of a bucket while the other two give hand signals. The victims run into the house, and the KKK rides away.
2:02:56 Lynch’s supporters score first blood against the Ku Klux.
Supporters of Lieutenant Governor Lynch hide in trees and bushes then shoot members of the KKK as they ride past on horseback.
2:03:27 The new rebellion of the South.
The white garments and hats of the KKK are brought to Stoneman's attention.
2:03:54 “We shall crush the white South under the heel of the black South.”
An angry Stoneman orders a crackdown on the Klan.
2:04:18 “Your lover belongs to this murderous band of outlaws.”
Stoneman informs his daugher, Elsie, of her fiance's affiliation with the KKK.
2:04:46 The tryst. Confirmed in her suspicions, in loyalty to her father she breaks off the engagement.
Elsie's suspicions are confirmed when she finds her fiance carrying his KKK garments. She is furious and calls off their engagement.
2:05:54 “But you need not fear that I will betray you.”
Ben attempts to console Elsie, but she storms away in fury and leaves him.
2:06:27 Over four hundred thousand Ku Klux costumes made by the women of the South and not one trust betrayed.
The Little Colonel shows the women of his family his Klan costume and deliberately tells his young sister that she must keep her Klan knowledge a secret.
2:08:20 Little sister consoles the disconsolate lover.
The colonel's young sister kisses him on the cheeks, making him cheer up. While he is being cheered, Miss Stoneman is in her room crying about their relationship.
2:09:06 Against the brother’s warning, she goes alone to the spring.
The youngest Cameron girl goes to the spring to fetch water alone; little does she know she is being watched by Gus.
2:12:21 “You see, I’m a Captain now—and I want to marry--"
Gus, having followed the young Cameron girl to the spring, explains to her that he wants to take her as a wife. Black men and white women were never married, and Miss Cameron is scared of Gus.
2:13:05 “Wait, missie, I won’t hurt yeh.”
Miss Cameron runs from Gus after he approaches her by the spring. She flees, fearing that her honor would be compromised.
2:16:11 “Stay away or I’ll jump!”
After Gus pursues her endlessly throughout the forest, Flora threatens him to leave her alone as she is helplessly cornered at the edge of a cliff. But after he fails to listen, she jumps to her death and is left lifeless at the bottom of the mountain.
2:18:08 For her who had learned the stern lesson of honor we should not grieve that she found sweeter the opal gates of death.
As Flora's body lays motionless at the foot of the mountain, Ben stumbles upon her after he discovers Gus's jacket in the forest. Once he finds her body, he clings to it and mourns her loss.
2:19:19 And none grieved more than these.
Ben returns Flora's limp corpse back to her home. Her mother and eventually the rest of the Cameron family enter and are left grief stricken at the sight of her dead body.
2:19:35 The son’s plea against his father’s radical policy.
As Flora lies dead on a couch, Ben is reminded of her African American murderer and rapidly flees the scene vengefully as he is reminded of the KKK's costumes that laid beside her.
2:20:31 Gus hides in “white-arm” Joe’s ginmill.
Aware that men are currently on the hunt for him, Gus skeptically peers around Joe's gin mill for a place to seek refuge. He enters and explains his situation to the men and shuts the door securely behind himself.
2:21:10 Townsmen enlisted in the search of the accused Gus, that he may be given a fair trial in the dim halls of the Invisible Empire.
A white man enters Joe's gin mill, and eventually a brutal fight erupts among the men, and Gus shoots the white man, leaving him dead. Paranoid that bystanders have seen his actions, Gus flees the scene on horseback and is pursued by a group of men who capture him.
2:24:53 The trial.
Gus is brought before the KKK, and a verdict is decided.
2:25:30 Guilty.
Gus is carried away on horse to be lynched.
2:25:41 On the steps of the Lieut. Governor’s house. The answer to the blacks and carpetbaggers.
Gus, who was lynched, is dropped off at Lynch's house.
2:26:51 Morning.
Lynch and another man look at the lynched man with horror.
2:27:23 Lynch accepts the challenge by ordering negro militia reinforcements to fill the streets.
2:27:43 Having embroiled Lynch in the uprising, Stoneman takes his temporary departure to avoid the consequences.
Lynch meets with a few others.
2:28:03 The Clans prepare for action.
Stoneman departs.
2:28:23 “Brethren, this flag bears the red stain of the life of a Southern woman, a priceless sacrifice on the altar of an outraged civilization.”
The Confederate flag is dipped in Flora's blood.
2:28:39 “Here I raise the ancient symbol of an unconquered race of men, the fiery cross of old Scotland’s hills….. I quench its flames in the sweetest blood that ever stained the sands of Time!”
Ben raises the cross.
2:29:24 The summons delivered to the Titan of the adjoining county to disarm all blacks that night.
Ben dips the cross in water and then gives the cross to a man. This man is then given orders to ride off.
2:30:05 Spies dispatched to hunt out whites in possession of the costume of the Ku Klux. The penalty—death.
Ben, who ordered the ride, tells other Klansmen that they must "disarm blacks that night."
2:31:16 Lynch happy at last to wreak vengeance on Cameron House.
Lynch has a drink. The Cameron daughter packs.
2:31:38 The bitterness of ideals crushed.
Elsie Stoneman is asked to have her father intervene. An angry black woman kicks a black man laughing at the black militia for harassing the Camerons. Lynch happily gives orders to have the black militia invade the Cameron house. The militia harasses Dr. Cameron.
2:32:07 The scalawag white Captain, in accordance with the Carpetbaggers’ policy, makes the arrest.
The ex-slaves rescue Dr.Cameron and ride away with him in the carriage.
2:33:40 Appealing to Elsie Stoneman to have her father intervene.
Elsie is desperately appealed to in her bedroom; it is an attempt to convince her to have her father help intervene in the rescue of Dr. Cameron. Meanwhile, two mulattoes, a woman and a man, on the property also decide to help rescue Dr. Cameron.
2:34:21 The faithful souls take a hand.
A group departs in an effort to rescue Dr. Cameron. The group consists of people of both black and white race.
2:35:08 The master in chains paraded before his former slaves.
Dr. Cameron is led to a horse-drawn cart with his wrists shackled by a military captain and two soldiers. The military captain and soldiers mock Dr. Cameron.
2:35:35 Hoping to effect a rescue, the faithful souls pretend to join the mockers.
The rescuers join the procession pretending to mock Dr. Cameron as well. After a signal, the woman dives onto the two soldiers while the man takes the captain out. Dr. Cameron is put safely onto the horse-drawn cart driven by a friend. During the rescue effort, Elsie's brother, who is armed, kills a black man by gunshot. The rescuers join Dr. Cameron on the carriage and leave town.
2:36:16 “Is I yo’ equal, cap’n, --jes like any white man?”
Dr. Cameron is mocked by his captors.
2:37:21 Elsie learns her brother has slain a negro in the rescue of Dr. Cameron.
A man in uniform tells Elsie that her brother has killed a Negro.
2:37:42 Awaiting her father’s expected arrival.
While Elsie waits for her father, the group of refugees continues on by cart.
2:38:08 The social lion of the new aristocracy.
A lavish party is held by Lynch, the "social lion" of the new aristocracy. Both black and white guests are in attendance. Soldiers search for the rescuers, running past their dead comrade. On their journey, the refugees' carriage loses a wheel.
2:38:57 The little cabin occupied by two Union veterans becomes their refuge.
The refugees find a cabin, occupied by veteran Union soldiers, where they can stay.
2:39:52 The former enemies of North and South are united again in common defence of their Aryan birthright.
Members of both the former North and South, unite in a common cause, to defend their race. Soldiers approach the cabin.
2:40:42 Her father failing to return, and ignorant of Lynch’s designs on her, Elsie goes to the mulatto leader for help.
Elsie's father never returns, so she decides to go to the mulatto leader for help. Lynch forcefully proposes to Elsie.
2:42:38 Lynch’s proposal of marriage.
Silas Lynch asks Elsie Stoneman to be his wife, and she responds with a look of horror on her face.
2:43:38 Lynch’s reply to her threat of a horsewhipping for his insolence.
Lynch pulls back the curtain on the window and shows Elsie the celebration occurring in the streets.
2:44:03 “See! My people fill the streets. With them I will build a Black Empire and you as a Queen shall sit by my side.”
Lynch kisses Elsie's dress, and she flails around in fear, banging on the locked door to get out.
2:45:36 Lynch, drunk with wine and power, orders his henchmen to hurry preparations for a forced marriage.
(THE SCENE ORDER IS REVERSED HERE) Three of Lynch's henchmen are shown hurrying about obeying his orders, while Elsie appears absolutely terrified and continuously bangs on the door to be let out. The Clansmen are shown riding through a river. Elsie faints in Lynch's arms, and Stoneman arrives at the house. Lynch hides Elsie in the next room.
2:47:40 Summoning the Clans.
(THE SCENE ORDER IS REVERSED HERE) Two Clansmen are shown on white-robed horses racing, holding a burning cross. More men follow and race through the countryside. Meanwhile, Elsie is still trying to escape from Lynch with no avail.
2:49:28 “I want to marry a white woman.”
Stoneman pats Lynch on the shoulder in approval for his desire to marry a white woman.
2:49:38 The Clans being assembled in full strength, ride off on their appointed mission.
Many hooded Clansmen ride off through the country in a cloud of dust.
2:50:11 And meanwhile, other fates - -
The Camerons are shown speaking to one another, and two of Lynch's henchmen are in the room with Elsie.
2:50:45 “The lady I want to marry is your daughter.”
Stoneman is visibly angered and looks as though he was going to raise his fist to hit Lynch before walking away.
2:51:32 The town given over to crazed negroes brought in by Lynch and Stoneman to overawe the whites.
[right order????] The blacks are shown gathered in the streets while Lynch and Stoneman are still arguing, and the Clansmen ride into town on their horses. Elsie wakes up in the other room and tries to run away before being caught by one of Lynch's henchmen.
2:51:43 White spies disguised.
????Elsie discovers the KKK disguised as common blacks, spying on her through the window to save her from Silas Lynch.
2:52:59 The Union veterans refuse to allow Dr. Cameron to give himself up.
Chaos floods the cabin as the black militia attacks; Elsie squirms as black servants force her to quiet down; commotion among the blacks fills the streets.
2:53:50 While helpless whites look on.
Three families blankly stare at the chaos in the streets in town.
2:54:13 Ku Klux sympathizers victims of the black mobs.
The KKK attack the black militia and rescue Elsie and Austin Stoneman.
2:59:33 News of the danger to the little party in the besieged cabin.
The black militia force their way inside the cabin to attack the white men and family.
3:03:32 Disarming the blacks.
The KKK surround the black soldiers, and they drop their weapons and run away in fear. The victory music begins to play.
3:03:43 Parade of the Clansman.
The Clansmen march through the city to the cheers and applause of all the women and children. All the other black people in the city see the victorious Clansmen and run away. People are cheering for the Clansmen with their families.
3:04:40 The next election.
At the next election the blacks try to sneak in their votes, but the Clansmen are sitting with guns in hand at the booths. The black people leave.
3:05:01 The aftermath. At the sea’s edge, the double honeymoon.
The two Stoneman/Cameron couples are now allowed to leave on their honeymoon at the edge of the sea.
3:05:49 Dare we dream of a golden day when the bestial War shall rule no more. But instead—the gentle Prince in the Hall of Brotherly Love in the City of Peace.
All black people are in hell, slaughtered, and lying in heaps on the ground as the devil shepherds them. All white people are in heaven, with Jesus as their savior. Those that are married are able to see the kingdom of heaven, bright and beautiful.
3:06:42 “Liberty and union, one and inseparable, now and forever!”
A Christ-like figure stands above cheering people, declaring peace and unity for them.