Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address Essay

Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address Essay

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Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

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:'s_second_inaugural_address ; last modified 12:20, 15 Nov 2004.

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