Professor Andrew Worthington
Addressing the Nation
Throughout the history of the United States of America, there have been many leaders. President Abraham Lincoln and President John F. Kennedy are arguably two of the greatest presidents that this country has had. Whether it was 1865, during the bloodiest war in the history of the US, or 1961, during the most tense international power struggle that we have ever faced, these men were able to do what was needed to get the job done. The one ideal that they shared that made them great leaders was an aspiration to make this country the best in the world. Some differences between these men were their specific goals as leaders. While Lincoln was very occupied with his domestic affairs, because of the ongoing civil war of his time, Kennedy was much more concerned with foreign policy. He was focused a lot more on the global position of the U.S, while Lincoln had to focus his attention on fixing the inner workings of the country first. These concentrations by the presidents are presented in Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and in John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, in which the presidents addressed the nation.
Although Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were both great leaders, their goals for the nation were quite different. President Lincoln’s goal for his presidency, which he states quite clearly in his second inaugural address to the nation, is to finish out the ongoing Civil War. For example, “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”(Lincoln, 235) Here, President Lincoln expresses his discontent toward the war, and his understanding and desire that it ends as soon as possible. He also tells, in his speech, of how the war began. “Both parties deprecated 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...