A Somber, Unforgettable Lincoln Address

Posted April 03, 2012 by Robb Zerr
Abraham Lincoln

"The Almighty has His own purposes."How little did President Abraham Lincoln know that these words in his Second Inaugural Address would be so prophetic as well as haunting. Lincoln delivered the address on March 4, 1865. Forty-five days later, he would be dead, the victim of an assassin's bullet.

With a Civil War victory just days away and the end of slavery in sight, Lincoln chose to make his address somber rather than victorious. He asked that the South not be treated harshly in the aftermath of war and the beginning of reunification and reconstruction.

Just 701 words long, his address was the second shortest in history. The complete passage for this quote was actually: "It may seem strange that any men should dare to 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 be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes."

During the speech, he invoked God's name 14 times, quoted from the Bible four times and three times he asked for prayer. If you're visiting Washington D.C., the entire speech is inscribed on the Lincoln Memorial along with the Gettysburg Address.

Watching his inaugural address that day were John Suratt, Edmund Spangler, George Atzerodt, Lewis Paine and David Herold. They were in the company of actor and co-conspirator, John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's killer.

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Authors Mentioned: Abraham Lincoln

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