As I read the lines carefully of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, I wonder how a man who is elected for his second term as president with over 54% of the popular vote, and in turn, compose such an eloquent address can be assassinated little more than a month later. In reading other commentaries concerning this address it seems to me that everyone concurs that this address is one of the finest speeches ever written by a president. Lincoln wrote other memorable speeches such as his first inaugural address, and the Gettysburg Address, which are of equally high caliber, however, his second inaugural address is considered a favorite by most critics. Even the surrounding circumstances at the time of the address are unique. There was weeks of wet weather that had caused Pennsylvania Avenue to become a sea of mud and standing water. When the thousands of spectators came to witness the address they had to stand in thick mud at the Capitol grounds. Then the most amazing thing happened . . . as Lincoln started to deliver the address, the clouds parted and a sunburst broke forth. Even the president commented in surprise about it after the address was over.
One commentary was written that said the following: "Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, which was his favorite of all his speeches, on March 4, 1865, at the start of his second term as President of the United States. At a time when victory over the secessionists in the American Civil War was within sight and slavery had been effectively ended, Lincoln did not speak of triumph, but of loss, guilt and sin. Some see this speech as a defense of his pragmatic approach to Reconstruction, in which he sought to avoid harsh tre...
... middle of paper ...
... may speedily pass away." He wishes the war to be fought and won as quickly as possible.
I believe this speech was successful in its intention. The rhetoric was clear and understandable, and it expressed Lincoln's values to the audience which approved greatly. He really had to sell himself and his ideas to the audience especially since the end of the war was at hand and he wanted to avoid harsh treatment of the south and encourage help with reconstruction which was controversial. I, personally, revere this speech as one of the best orations given by a United States president.
Works Cited List
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln's_second_inaugural_address ; last modified 12:20, 15 Nov 2004.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- One of Lincoln’s most famous quotes is “A House divided against itself cannot stand.” This describes his presidency well- focusing on maintaining the Union. In the beginning, Lincoln tried to stay out of sensitive affairs involving the North and South in an attempt to keep them together, promising the South little interference. Despite this, he played a key role in passing the Thirteenth Amendment, doing whatever it takes to end slavery for good and ending the Civil War. Reading Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address, one wouldn’t think he would be the president to end slavery.Speaking on outlawing slavery, he says,“I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” A... [tags: American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln]
1028 words (2.9 pages)
- Uses of Rhetoric in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address On March 4th, 1865, the Civil War was drawing to an end and Abraham Lincoln gave his Second Inaugural Address to become the President of the United States for the second time. At this point it was clear that the North was to win the war. Instead of boasting and bragging about his victory, Lincoln took a different route in his speech. He focused instead on putting the war behind the nation and reunifying the country. In this famous speech, he used various forms of rhetoric and literary devices to achieve this goal.... [tags: Abraham Lincoln, United States]
767 words (2.2 pages)
- While it cannot be argued that Abraham Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” (Address) and Emily Dickinson’s masterpiece known as the “Success is Counted Sweetest” are timeless pieces in literature, some could debate on their placement in the literary categories. Generally, Abraham Lincoln’s Address is labeled as rhetoric while Emily Dickenson’s “Success is Counted Sweetest” is considered to be a poem. The best way to distinguish one from the other would be to go through the elements of rhetorical discourse and see where the literatures show similarities, or otherwise express their differences in their style.... [tags: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War]
1051 words (3 pages)
- President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address is considered one of the greatest speeches in history and one of the shortest Inaugural Addresses at just 15 minutes. He attempts to build up America’s pride and calls the nation to support their country. He describes these goals using a variety of rhetorical devices to increase public reaction. His short but powerful speech gives comfort to an American public fearful of war. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917, into a new wealthy Catholic family (Mehltretter).... [tags: inaugural address, communists, war]
1203 words (3.4 pages)
- From 1861 to 1865 the United States faced a time of great turmoil among the North and the South in various battles that came to be known as the American Civil War. During this time, the South wanted to secede from the Union so that they could keep slavery, the North however wanted to abolish slavery and keep the North and the South united. The controversy from this period sparked some of the greatest speeches, plays, books, and poems of all time, all powerful and heartfelt in their own way. Included in the literary works born from the Civil War are Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address as well as Emily Dickinson’s poem, Success Is Counted Sweetest.... [tags: American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Rhetoric]
1393 words (4 pages)
- 'With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.' In the delivery of Lincoln's 'Second Inaugural,' many were inspired by this uplifting and keen speech. It had been a long war, and Lincoln was concerned about the destruction that had taken place.... [tags: Rhetoric of Lincoln's Inaugural Speech]
637 words (1.8 pages)
- In a tradition dating back to George Washington, every newly-elected president gives an inaugural address at the time of his swearing into office. Many of these inaugural speeches have been given during times of war. Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address was given on March 4, 1865, near the end of the American Civil War, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Fourth Inaugural Address was given on January 20, 1945, in the last year of World War Two, and John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address was given on January 20, 1961, during the darkest years of the Cold War.... [tags: United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt]
892 words (2.5 pages)
- Often of times, many of us speak without giving thought to how our words and the manner in which we speak will affect ourselves or another person. Regardless of how insignificant and harmless a few words and the tone we emphasize may seem, both hold power. In a moment, they have the power to either build up and give life or tear down and give death. In a moment, they have the power to shape and characterize the behaviors and values of both societies and individuals alike. In a single moment, they have the power to span beyond the individual who spoke it and cause, whether good or bad, repercussions that will affect a multitude of generations ahead.... [tags: World War II, Treaty of Versailles, Adolf Hitler]
971 words (2.8 pages)
- Jefferson’s Inaugural Address as a Neo-Aristotelian Criticism Modern, American political culture continues to be defined by partisan politics. Themes of gridlock, the inability to compromise, and violently competing differences in opinion define the narrative of American political action and governance. On March 4, 1801 Thomas Jefferson delivered an inaugural address that pivoted around new partisan politics that defined the election of 1800. The election of 1800, between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Aaron Burr, was the first partisan election of the newly formed federal government.... [tags: United States, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr]
1302 words (3.7 pages)
- On Thursday January 20th 2005, President Bush delivered his second inaugural address after being sworn in for his second term. In his address Bush promised to keep his word and fulfill his duty as president of the United States. These duties have not been upheld according to the numerous protestors who showed up at his Inauguration. In his Inaugural Address Bush discussed many things. The inaugural address was a speech which would reassure the American people that President Bush will lead us to victory.... [tags: essays research papers]
500 words (1.4 pages)