Historical Moments For President's Day (II)–Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. 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.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

3 comments on “Historical Moments For President's Day (II)–Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks, Kendall.

    Very timely and helpful reminder of what is surely the most profoundly theological presidential speech in American history. Ironically, Lincoln was not a formal member of any church, but an avid Bible reader.

    The Almighty has his own purposes indeed.

    David Handy+

  2. NoVA Scout says:

    It is a brilliant, magisterial speech – the absolute height of the English language from a man who probably had a total of a few months worth of formal education. Total fusion of King James Bible and secular political leadership. I do not think it possible for a mortal to write more powerfully than this.

  3. montanan says:

    It is a speech full of the wisdom of the knowledge of one’s frailties, of the cost of one’s convictions and the need to continue on, acknowledging that cost and giving grace to those who suffer for it. Beautiful. Would that all of us – especially those on the far right and the far left, but all of us, nevertheless – would be filled and speak with such wisdom, humility and grace – in short, that we would be full of such love.