Many of the greatest presidential speeches were delivered during times of conflict. During his presidency, Lincoln spoke multiple times in regards to the Civil War. Shortly after being elected, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, which was followed by many more speeches including his second inaugural address. Both the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s second inaugural clearly display how Lincoln’s style of writing evokes emotion, and rally’s the audience. Not only were his words meaningful at the time but also can be a reminder of our country’s values today.
The Gettysburg Address was written in a time of war within our country. Arguments over slavery had been stirring for almost forty years with in our government. The ups, downs, and constant changes in the laws created uproar shortly after President Lincoln was elected. Eleven southern states decided to leave the Union and the Civil War began. In July of 1863, three days of battle between the Confederates and the Union took place near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This was one of the most brutal battles of the war (Freeman). The following November at the dedication of National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, in front of almost 15,000 civilians, military personnel and government officials (Heroes).
Lincoln was reelected president in 1864. Since Gettysburg, Lincoln had overseen the capturing of the Mississippi River lead by Ulysses S. Grant, victory in Tennessee, and victory in Georgia. Lincoln had a fight ahead of him after the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of War was created. This committee spilt Northern Democrats in to groups known as “War Democrats”, who supported the war and “Peace Democrats” and “Copperheads” who did not. Lincoln tied the Republican and War Democrats to for then Union Party and ran against George McClellan of The Peace Democrats and Copperheads. Lincoln won the election with popular vote results of 2.2 million Lincoln, 1.8 million McClellan and Electoral College votes 212-21(“Why the Civil War”). On March 4, 1865 Lincoln gave his second inaugural address to an audience who stood on the mud-covered Pennsylvania Ave, after days of stormy weather (“Address. Presidential Inauguration.”).
Although the purpose for each speech is different, Lincoln includes inspirational words on the current events unfolding. The Gettysburg Address was written to dedicate the land where many lives were lost during the Civil War. Lincoln does acknowledge this by stating, “We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this” (“ Abraham Lincoln Online”). He uses the speech to dedicate, but also to motivate and inspire the public by saying not only should we dedicate the land to the soldiers but:
[dedicate] to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased...