Analysis Of Abraham Lincoln`s Second Inauguration Speech
AnalysisOf Abraham Lincoln`s Second Inauguration Speech
Thespeech was delivered by Lincoln in his second term inauguration asthe U.S President on fourth of March 1865. During this period theAmerica’s civil war and slavery were gradually coming to an end. Inhis speech, he defended his approach in the reconstruction process.He did not want to harshly treat the defeated men of the south as hecontinuously reminded the nation of how both sides were wrong duringthe war. He had a good balance of his victory as well as the declineof slavery in his country. In this speech, he also talked of divineprovidence after wondering aloud what God’s will was in allowingsuch a war to happen among the Americans (White2006).Thepaper addresses the importance of his speech and the chain of eventsthat had made him give the greatest speech of all time.
Analysisof Lincoln’s speech during his second inauguration ceremony
Inhis speech, he does not fulfill the expectations of the people whothought he would boast of the victory of the north men and harshlytreat the defeated South men. Most of his speech was in a singlesyllable. The word God had been the mentioned about fourteen times.The speech revolved around reconciliation and peacekeeping amongstthe people. Many of the union members did not agree with his speech(Obamaet al 2009). Whenhe begins his speech, he uses a passive tone which draws attentionfrom him as he reflects on the war which had taken place inWashington.
Hethen shifts his tenor and subsistence bringing forth a remarkablemeaning to his speech. There is the usage of several rhetoricalquestions which guided the listeners throughout his speech. Thespeech uses words that were aimed at showing both the north and southpeople came from a common country.
Theintroduction of Bible virtues in his speech was also a clearindication that he thought both theologically and politically in thebest way possible to lead America towards its desired future.According to Lincoln both the south and north people were responsiblefor slavery in America which was against the laws of God. It is apowerful speech which was not as expected by many mainly aimed atuniting the Americans into one common umbrella for the better of itsfuture (Obamaet al 2009).
Importanceof the speech
Thespeech given by Lincoln was of importance to the people of America asit gave a clear impression of the history of the Americans theircurrent status and their future. The first reason was that throughthe speech Lincoln was able to acknowledge all those who had played arole in bringing the civil war to an end. This had also marked theend of slavery in the country. The northern people who were againstslavery had defeated the southern Americans who supported slavery.Lincoln takes time in his speech to thank the North Americans fortheir triumph. He goes ahead to talk about what the country was fouryears ago. He was grateful for the support his people had given tohim through despite the controversies his reign had experienced(Guelzo2005).
Secondly,the speech expresses to the Americans his opinion on slavery. He isagainst slavery terming it as a sin before God. He does not see areason as to why any person should earn a living from anotherperson`s sweat rather than their efforts. As a person from the north,they opposed slavery at all means against the southern people whosupported slavery. In the civil war, his forces succeed in defeatingthe south men who were soul promoters of slavery as a result, hesucceeds in reducing slavery in America. The slavery situation makeshim sad as it has caused his country to lose many innocent livesbecause war. The war was as a result of the North men and South menfighting due to the differences concerning slavery in America
Thespeech brings outs the leadership qualities of Abraham Lincoln. Hestands out as a great leader he does not support slavery tradedespite knowing the advantages of cheap, free labor. The peopleexpect him to be harsh to the south men who had been defeated in thewar, on the contrary in his speech he puts it clear that it is nothis responsibility to judge man basing on his deeds. It`s a goodexample of a leader who does things from the correct point of viewand not what others think about the situation (Giovanniet al 2009).
Itis from Lincolns` speech that we can know the impact of the civil waron the Americans. However, his desire for divine intervention gives aclear picture of the adverse effects of the civil war as manyinnocent lives had been lost with a lot of property destroyed. Hedescribes the war as a terrible one a clear indication of thebitterness he had on the effects of the war on the people of America(Giovanniet al 2009).
Thespeech enables us to acknowledge the milestone the Americans had madein the past four years. It had been a tough situation as the nationhad split into two regions the north and south, because of thedifference of the north and south people towards slavery. He explainshow four years ago slavery was the order of the day in the country.The suffering people went through during the civil war caused byslavery issues. He then speaks of the current status where the Southmen had been defeated marking the decline of slavery in America. Thespeech also gives us hope for the better future in America whereeveryone will be given freedom to work and earn his living. He islooking forward to a better American society where everyone willenjoy living amongst the community members a situation that had notbeen present in the previous four years he was in power (Giovanniet al 2009).
Thespeech reminds the Americans of the need to be united after the civilwar. In his speech, Lincoln addresses the importance ofreconstruction of the nation. This was a disagreement between thenorth and south men towards slavery which had been the main cause ofthe civil war. He urges all Americans to take responsibility forslavery that had taken place and work in one accord towardseliminating it completely from their nation. Instead of creating arift between the north and south it provides a bridge to fill the gapbetween the two regions for the sake of America (Giovanniet al 2009).
Eventsthat had made Lincoln give one of the best speeches in the history ofAmerica
Thereare two main correlated events that played a major role in Lincolngiving such a great speech during his inauguration. The first reasonwas that of the civil war that had hit the Americans in previousyears. He was bitter about the effects the war to the Americans. Hisdescription of the war as being terrible was a clear indication ofloss of lives and destruction of property during the war. His speechis also as a result of his victory as a North man over the southernmen who were supporting slave trade. He feels triumphant as he hadachieved one of his main goals which were to win the battle overslave trade. The speech shows his kind heart to the South men as hedid not want to treat them harshly because they were on theopposition side but rather encourage peace and reconciliation betweenthe north and south regions after the war (Masur 2010).
Thesecond event was the decline of the slave trade from the previousyear`s which had resulted in a civil war to when the war was overleading to abolishing of the slave trade in the country. He talksabout how the southern men used to earn a lot by taking advantage ofslaves who were the source provider of labor to their farms. According to Lincoln, this was a crime against humanity. He is notquick to subject the south men to harsh treatment for the sufferingthey had inflicted on the slave`s lives. The defeat of South menmakes him give an optimistic speech of the future of Americans whereall people will be equally treated in the society (Masur 2010).
Thepaper analyzes the speech made by Lincoln which was contrary to theexpectation of most of the people. He opts to focus on reconciliationbetween the south and north men rather than boast of the victory thenorth men had obtained. The speech was of importance to the Americansas it reminded them of the need to be united, the status of theircountry four years ago, their current status on slavery as well astheir future. The main events that led to the delivery of such apowerful speech were the civil war in America as well as theevolution of slavery trade in America and how the north men hadmanaged to suppress it by defeating the Southern men. America`sfuture is a great in that all people are now being given equal accessto opportunities promoting self-development which in turns leads tocountry`s social and economic development (White 2006).
Guyatt,Nicholas (2011) ‘‘America’s Conservatory: Race, Reconstruction,and the Santo Domingo Debate.’’ Journal of American History 97:974-1000.
Heidler,D. S., Heidler, J. T, & Coles, D. J. (2000).An Encyclopediaof the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and MilitaryHistory (p.950). ABC-CLIO.
Guelzo,A. C. (2005). Lincoln`sEmancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America.Simon and Schuster.
Masur,Kate (2010): ‘‘The African American Delegation to AbrahamLincoln: A Reappraisal’’ Civil War History: 56:117- 44.
Giovanni,N., & Glover, D. (2009). Lincolnand Douglass: An American Friendship.Weston Woods.
Obama,B., & Lincoln, A. (2009). TheInaugural Address, 2009 Together with Abraham Lincoln`s First andSecond Inaugural Addresses and the Gettysburg Address and Ralph WaldoEmerson`s Self-reliance.Penguin.
White,R. C. (2006). Lincoln`sGreatest Speech: The Second InauguralSimon and Schuster.
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