Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address Summary

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Throughout his term of office as America’s forefront public official, Lincoln relied heavily on scripture. A divided union is certainly no loss to a Biblical scholar, and Lincoln’s knowledge of religious and literary discord aided him through the quest of reuniting his conflicted republic. In his Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln relayed the very essence of the spiritual and practical expression that lied behind the action of America’s bloodiest crusade. He chose the words of Jesus; words which preceded the widely recounted parable of the lost sheep. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” Lincoln understood that America was like the lost sheep told …show more content…
However, one must argue that his drive was riddled with serious ethical compromise. For example, following the succession of the southern states, Lincoln had both the authority and political capital to free the slaves currently held in the border states. To an outsider, his decision to this executive action and allow the slaves to remain imprisoned brings one to question his claimed moral imperative. However, Lincoln well understood the consequences of such an action. If any of the four border states were to join the rebellious southerners, it would not only present a serious military threat, but aid the southerns in both momentum and much needed agricultural and fiscal resources. As I am certain this moral dilemma plagued Lincoln in the weeks leading to the emancipation, I am convinced that an alternative was not considered. The Union would win the war, and if it was on the backs of freemen and slaves alike, so be …show more content…
To properly evaluate such a scenario, it would be smart to revisit the forming of our democracy whose shaping was the initial discussion of this very question. It is also smart to note that the majority of our founding fathers were slave owners, but the majority opposed the expansion and continuance of such a practice. However, through the unreal means of compromise practiced at the convention, a settlement was reached which included the ban of importation, a calculated measurement of population for use of representation, and a heavier tax burden incurred by slave permitting states. This compromise should not be underscored and certainly remained relevant to Lincoln’s dilemma. Even at a time when the full horror and corruption of slavery was not fully absorbed by even the far-reaching visionaries of the day, this issue could have divided the nation and prevented a joint union. The question remains, does this settlement undermine the moral standing of those who fought for abolition, yet settled for compromise? This was the question that plagued Lincoln. It was a question of considerable ethical lack of

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