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Abraham Lincoln 2nd Inaugural speech

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Lauren DiNardo

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of Abraham Lincoln 2nd Inaugural speech

There were thousands of spectators were gathered to hear this speech.
Intended for a national and international audience.
A lot of different opinions were present.
There was not one biased opinion.
The Second inaugural address was given shortly before the end civil war, when the nation was divided.
Lincoln wanted to assure the nation that the war was ending extremely soon and the nation should unite.

"...let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds...to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."

The subject is the civil war
Lincoln urges a national reconciliation (to compose or settle, win over to friendliness).
"with malice toward none, with charity for all."
This was Lincoln’s most profound reflections on the causes and meaning of the war because it was obvious that the end of the civil war was near. End of Civil War: April 9, 1865.
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
Abraham Lincoln
(16th President)

The speech took place on a Saturday, March 4, 1865.
Second time Lincoln is taking office.
In the east portico of the Capitol Building (Washington D.C.).
One month before the official ending of the civil war
Just as Abraham Lincoln rose to speak, adjusting his spectacles, the weather cleared and rays of sunshine broke through. The crowd gasped.
Leader of the Union
First president to be assassinated
Opponent of slavery
Background Information
"...to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan..."

This is an example of an appeal to pathos, as Lincoln plays with the emotions of families.



"The progress of our arms...is well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all."
The president assures the people that they know everything he does and tells them that they will know his plans for the future.
Lincoln gives a statistic to the people regarding the slaves in the nation and tells the people of his plan for the United States since the end of the war.
"One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves...constituted a peculiar and powerful interest..."
"Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and this invokes his aid against the other"
This quote is an example of a concrete image for an abstract ideal. It uses the image of a Bible and God, both religious and Holy figures, to sway the audience to believe that the nation is truly capable of being united
words he uses to describe the war include:
- terrible
- offense
- mighty scourge
- unrequited toil
-mainly specific, concrete
These words are polysyllabic, meaning they contain more than one syllable

words used to describe god include:
- living
- caring
These words are more general, abstract
- mainly ordinary, plain
He uses these words to describe the diction, to make the important words stand out and emphasize the meaning of them .
By using and choosing certain words in his speech, he can make the content more meaningful

Listeners included Frederick Douglass and other slaves who had gained their freedom through the Emancipation Proclamation, and John Wilkes Booth (man who assassinated Lincoln.

“I saw you in the crowd today, listening to my inaugural address,”
the president remarked.
“How did you like it?”
“Mr. Lincoln,”
Douglass answered,
“that was a sacred effort.”
Frederick Douglas
John Wilkes Booth
Audience Cont.
Describes the National moral debt that was created by
“bondsmen’s 250 years of unrequited toil.”
Speech ended with a call for compassion and reconciliation.
Lincoln explains that the
“scourge of war,”
was best understood as divine punishment for the sin of slavery.
Subject Cont.
Brief and brilliant speech
Lincoln seems determined and supportive of America and hopes that they will unite and create lasting peace.
Lincoln describes his desire for reconciliation in a heartfelt and meaningful tone.
Optimistic about future
Rhetorical devices
: attribution of personality to an impersonal thing
" to bind up the nation's wounds"
-he is giving the nation the ability to have wounds, meaning that the Almighty god will strive to help in fixing the nation after the war, and its costly effects
- this rhetorical device changes the meaning of the words, to go into a greater depth to describe the nation after the war

the sentences are long, with multiple commas and semi colons
this suggests that his thoughts were complex and planned out
many of the sentences have explanations and details following, suggesting the depth of his ideas
most of his sentences vary in structure
Words describing the war provide a negative connotation because they allude to dangerous effects that cause pain and worry.
Words describing God provide a positive connotation because they give inspiration to the people and uplift their spirits in their time of need.
Verb Choices
Word choice
Bind- to secure with a bond
"to bind up the nation's wounds;"
-Not just the ordinary unification
-America needs to unite as one and share a connection and eternal bond.
Cherish- to hold or treat as dear; feel love for
"and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."
-This verb does not just mean enjoy.
-It means to love/ pride in your actions forever.
-Much more of an emotional connection with the reader than enjoy.

-Lincoln uses specific verbs in his speech to describe the actions of those he was talking about, to describe the actions that were taken and the actions that need to be taken in the future.
Full transcript