Millercenter.org’s summary of speech:
“Just over a month before his assassination, Lincoln gives his brief yet poignant second Inaugural Address. With the end of the Civil War rapidly approaching, Lincoln uses the opportunity to look toward the eventual peace and reconstruction of the Union. He begins his closing remarks with the famous words ‘With malice toward none; with charity for all.’”
Thoughts on Transcript:
Notes on speech:
- In his first address, Lincoln had sought to avoid war. In his second, Civil War has raged for 4 years. Peace is only two months away.
- Some people sought to dissolve Union without war
- No one expected the war to be as bitter or as long as it has been
- God is on both sides and neither side. His answers are his answers.
- “With malice toward none”
Phrases I have underlined, starred, or otherwise marked:
“On this occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war – seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties depreciated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.”
“One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it.”
“Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.”
“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”
“Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'”
“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.”
Thoughts on delivery (audio and/or video of speech):
None. They didn’t have that technology when Lincoln was inaugurated.