Lincoln's Inaugural Address vs Obama's Inaugural Address

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Justin Lee
Ms. Ferris
AP English Language, Pd. 6
Novemeber 7, 2011
Lincoln Vs. Obama
When presidents address their inaugural speech, not only are they taking their first step as the nation’s leader, they are stating the most important words of their presidential career. These words set the tone, character, and purpose of their term as they begin to march ahead hoping to direct the nation on a good path. As these men encounter different obstacles in different eras, each inaugural address has evolved throughout our nation’s history as times have changed for better or worse. Among the presidents, both President Abraham Lincoln and President Barack Obama faced enduring tests heading into their terms as the country was in turmoil; Lincoln recovering from one of the most destructive wars in American history, Obama confronting the worst national economic crisis since the Great Depression. President Lincoln and President Obama deliver their Inaugural Addresses in different centuries, yet use biblical references and tone in similar and differing ways to convey both purposes. For example, Lincoln and Obama both use biblical references in their Inaugural Addresses to help illuminate their purposes. Lincoln, for instance states, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God.” During the time of Lincoln’s Inauguration, he is faced with the challenge of uniting a country split in two. After the Civil War, Lincoln uses these biblical references to appeal to ethos through a similar concept. His references help connect himself to his audience, as well as binding the audience together, through common Christian beliefs. Additionally, Lincoln says, “The Almighty has His own purpose.” He emphasizes the fact that we are in God’s hands, “If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in providence of God, must come, but which having continues through His appointed time.” Lincoln uses these references to God to create common grounds...
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