If Jon Stewart knows one thing, it's that sometimes you need to bring the 16th president of the United States on your television show in order to set the record straight. So to help Judge Andrew Napolitano figure out the reality of the Civil War, he did just that on last night's episode of The Daily Show.
You may recall a few weeks ago when Stewart ran a segment featuring The Daily Show's Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore, who "un-fucked the facts" about the Civil War for Fox News – and in particular, Napolitano. Well it seems Napolitano wasn't wholly convinced, because he went on Stewart's show last night spouting the very same opinions. So Stewart did what anyone would do: he had Abraham Lincoln, played by Jessica Williams, face off against Napolitano in a game show called "The Weakest Lincoln."
To judge the contestants, Stewart brought on three university professors, from CUNY, UMASS Amherst, and Columbia. How'd it go?
The first question: "Why did Abraham Lincoln start the Civil War?"
Napolitano's answer: "Because he wanted to preserve the union, because he needed the tariffs from the southern states."
Lincoln's answer: "Well they shot first, and you don't mess with Lincoln. All the vampires know what I'm talking about."
Judges: "They shot first, and you don't mess with Lincoln."
Lincoln, 1. Napolitano, 0.
What about Napolitano's argument that Lincoln should've just bought all of the slaves instead of going to war? The history professors shut that one down, too. The Union simply didn't have the money it would have cost to purchase the slaves, and besides, the South wasn't willing to sell. As for Napolitano's theory that slavery was dying naturally at the time of the Civil War: "Slavery was not only viable, it was growing ... This idea that it was dying out or was going to die out is ridiculous," said one of the judges.
I lost track of the score, but I'm pretty sure Napolitano lost.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.