The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through his Words. Abraham Lincoln What is this speech about? What Should Happen After the War? To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. The North was not, however, completely innocent, Lincoln asserted. This is the stance he refers to in this passage. Tripp, The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, p. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it.
When President Lincoln and invited dignitaries walked onto the huge platform they saw a crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000 people. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. Lincoln concluded his speech with a plea for calm and cool deliberation in the face of mounting tension throughout the nation. Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitutionwhich amendment, however, I have not seenhas passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. The president, however, took a much different tack.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. At the beginning of his speech, he sounded more like an onlooker than the main actor. The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one section, while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other. The Almighty has His own purposes. We are not enemies, but friends. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. In Washington, as many as 50,000 people gathered underneath the newly completed iron dome of the Capitol.
In this final paragraph, he declared that the true test of the aims of war would be how we now treated those who have been defeated. Rather, he offered a moral framework for reconciliation and peace. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. The Union is much older than the Constitution. May Congress prohibit slavery in the Territories? Lincoln gave his explanation of the meaning of the war in the form of a question. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.
Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. That of neither has been answered fully. Gobright, Recollection of Men and Things at Washington During the Third of a Century, p. Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address Abraham Lincoln gave many memorable addresses during his political career, but his second inaugural address is ranked as perhaps his greatest speech. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. When he defines American slavery as one of those offenses, he widened the historical and emotional range of his address.
As late as August 1864, neither Lincoln nor his Republican Party believed he could win reelection. Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. He began by downplaying the significance of this inauguration in comparison to his first one, when the nation hovered on the brink of war and all waited to hear what Lincoln planned to do about it. His listeners were certainly moved emotionally, some of them even to tears, but many didn't care for the President's message. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time.
They didn't like being told that they shared in the guilt of slavery. What has happened to require this speech at this time and place? Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? Lincoln, the escort being composed of the Union Light Guard. At the time, Booth was deeply involved in a plot to kidnap Lincoln and take him to Richmond, where he could be exchanged for Confederate prisoners of war. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. Many in the North wanted to abolish slavery or at least prevent it from spreading into the Western territories.
It is a lawyer's question. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. He had held to a strict policy of silence during the months leading up to his inauguration, carefully avoiding making any statements that could be misconstrued by either North or South, prior to becoming the legal leader of the nation. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.
While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war — seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Fellow-countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Source: , edited by Roy P. He believed that we should end the war with a mutual agreement to cease fighting.