Lincoln's Second Inagural Adress Belmont High School Ap L Anguage And Compostion Essay

1402 words - 6 pages

Wilson Sosna
AP Language and composition
Mr. McKnight
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
It was a rainy and cold day in Washington D.C. The date, March 4, 1865. This was the
day that Abraham Lincoln would deliver his second inaugural address to a historically large
crowd of over 40,000. Just a month before the speech the confederacy would face a terrible
defeat at the hands of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. He led a force of sixty
thousand on a rampage through the heart of the south, South Carolina, the seedbed of succession.
The defeat of the Confederacy was clearly imminent and many Americans saw the day as a time
for celebration. Festivities were planned in many major cities such as Boston, Chicago, and San
Francisco. Lincoln, however, had other plans. His address, while short at only 5 to 7 minutes,
would have a lasting effect a hundred years after its delivery. In the address, Lincoln uses a
number of rhetorical strategies such as unifying language, religious themes, and a lack of
personal pronouns and a passive tone to unify the nation, and properly convey his message that
the war was a pointless, and bloody conflict. He saw the day as a time to mourn for those who
had fallen, and a time to mend the shattered nation.
One of Lincoln's most recognized rhetorical strategies was unifying language. This is
one of the pillars that made his speech so different from those in the past, and future. Instead of
gloating of his achievements as President, and victory over the confederacy he tried to unite the
two nations as one. Throughout his speech, he never addresses the confederacy, and instead only
addresses the nations as one, the union. Lincoln writes that “One-eighth of the whole population
were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part
of it.”(P3) This quote clearly shows lincoln's use of unifying language. Instead of saying
something like “One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed
generally over the union, but instead only in the confederacy” he refuses to address the two
countries. This creates a sense of unity between the Union and Confederacy because of the fact
that there is no accusatory language that directly references or attacks the south. Lincoln ...

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