The Second Inaugural Address: The Spoken Words

John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer and Dawn Vogel

in Lincoln Revisited

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227365
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240869 | DOI:
The Second Inaugural Address: The Spoken Words

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Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address was delivered on the fourth of March 1865. Many know this address primarily because of the opening lines of the last paragraph, “With malice toward none; with charity for all.” In this brief address Lincoln mentions God fourteen times, quotes scripture four times, and invokes prayer three times. If Lincoln believed the Second Inaugural was his finest address, it has usually not been so remembered. Both the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address are enshrined at the Lincoln Memorial, but this chapter suggests that the Second Inaugural has most often lived under the shadow of the Gettysburg Address. The chapter's purpose in lifting up the Second Inaugural is not to diminish the Gettysburg Address. It offers some brief remarks comparing the context of the two speeches and then some extended comments on the meaning and rhetorical artistry of several aspects of the Second Inaugural.

Keywords: Abraham Lincoln; Second Inaugural Address; God; scripture; prayer; Gettysburg Address; Lincoln Memorial

Chapter.  6085 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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