Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

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  • Topic: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, Slavery
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  • Published : January 14, 2013
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Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

In the "Second Inaugural Address" (1865), Abraham Lincoln contemplates that they, as a United Nation, should reflect on the effects of the Civil War and move towards a better future for this nation. He addresses God and the issue of slavery in order to encourage the Northern and Southern states towards reconciliation. Lincoln tries to reveal his intention by utilizing figurative diction, parallel syntax, and a shifting tone.

Abraham Lincoln uses figurative and euphonious diction to encourage reflection on the Civil War to the people of Northern and Southern United States. First, he uses figurative paradox to contradict judging others (the slaves), and expect that "we" (the owners of the slaves) should not be judged. "It may seem strange that any men should dare 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 not be judged." This paradoxical statement addresses God as a medium that will assist the country with slavery from the "sweat of other men's faces" (the slaves), yet the owners expect not to be judged when they do much to be judged; this will give insight to the people to reconciliate their actions. Also, euphonious diction is used through the term of rhyme; in which Lincoln expresses the hopes for "us" (the North and South) to end the Civil War effects without trying to doing anything to end this cause. "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away." He uses the words "pray and "away" as a rhyme to fully express the meaning of trying to work towards the reconstruction of the aftermath in the Civil War; rather than hoping it will pass away soon. Abraham Lincoln uses figurative and euphonious diction to lead the people of Northern and Southern United States in reflecting on the Civil War through his vision for a better future.

Lincoln also uses parallel syntax to include both...
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