Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

In: Historical Events

Submitted By CathyChandler
Words 516
Pages 3
April 23, 2010 Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address In an attempt to garner sympathy and cooperation, for the sake of progress in southern reconstruction, from both sides of the former front, Lincoln first uses passive word choice and language, and then uses biblical allusions to conjure a moralistic tone. Initially, Lincoln's language and word choice do not appear to be antagonizing. Lincoln's statement: “All dreaded it-all sought to avert it,” referring to the “impending civil war,” avoids placing definite blame on the south. By speaking in this manor, Lincoln firmly asserts his belief that the south had no intention of bloodshed, partially relieving the conscience of many southern citizens. However, Lincoln's word choice shifts to a defensive stance. The shift can be seen when Lincoln says, “Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive.” Again, Lincoln casts aside all blame of bloodlust, but he also casts blame away from the union. His mixed language here is meant to invoke a feeling of acceptance in citizens rather than antagonizing them. Before Lincoln begins making allusions, he defends the original intent of the government, “... claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it...” It refers to slavery, and Lincoln's language serves to point out the south's own childishness in a passive, dismissing demeanor. Overall, Lincoln chose his words wisely as not to directly accuse or attack those in the south so that southern citizens would be more likely to cooperate during reconstruction. Next, Lincoln creates a moralistic tone by using biblical allusions to appeal to the sympathies of citizens. Beginning with “Woe unto the world... but woe to that man by whom the offenses cometh,”…...

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