The Syntax of Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

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With a war within a whole country between two appendages from the same body, it took incredible patience and the right choice of words to create unity once more. On March 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln had a strong grip on where to go and how to fix the United States in his Second Inaugural Address that didn’t exclude anyone in the U.S. when he alliterated and reiterated the words of unity and mixed in subliminal persuasions of ending the Civil War.

Even when being a President of a powerful nation, Lincoln did not succumb to “Me" and “I"'s and, in fact, only refers to himself once in his address when he “trusts” that their “progress…is…reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all” letting the listeners know that this isn’t about him but everyone as a country (Lines 11-14). He does not even really point fingers and say specifically who did or wanted what, and claimed that “All knew that [slavery] was somehow the cause of the war” annihilating the South’s secession and focusing on the entire country. The alliteration of “all”, “both”, “each”, “we”, and “us” creates that atmosphere that everyone is in the same situation together, establishing Lincoln as a man for everyone. The tone throughout the paper has a hint of tiredness in the beginning but remains sharp while the diction focuses on establishing facts and factual beliefs, particularly when claiming each side “invoked His aid against the other” (Line 44). Lincoln had the idea that using religion could touch everyone since “[the north and south] read the same Bible and pray to the same God” which meant more broadened attention from all sides of the war and a more encouraging way to make the sides realize that “[God]… [gave]…this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came” (lines 57-58). At this point, Lincoln probably expected everyone to think of how correct he was and that each side dreaded the other so much, God had brought his wrath upon them in the form of the Civil War. A very...
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