A Rhetorical Analysis Of Abraham Lincolns Powerful Speech

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A Rhetorical Analysis Of Abraham Lincolns Powerful Speech



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Matthew Pinsker: Understanding Lincoln: House Divided Speech (1858)

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He was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation, but as dutiful as any participated in almost all votes and made speeches that toed the party line. Giddings on a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia with compensation for the owners, enforcement to capture fugitive slaves, and a popular vote on the matter. He dropped the bill when it eluded Whig support.

Polk 's desire for "military glory—that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood". Lincoln emphasized his opposition to Polk by drafting and introducing his Spot Resolutions. The war had begun with a Mexican slaughter of American soldiers in territory disputed by Mexico, and Polk insisted that Mexican soldiers had "invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil". One Illinois newspaper derisively nicknamed him "spotty Lincoln". Lincoln had pledged in to serve only one term in the House. Realizing Clay was unlikely to win the presidency, he supported General Zachary Taylor for the Whig nomination in the presidential election. In his Springfield practice, Lincoln handled "every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer".

As a riverboat man, Lincoln initially favored those interests, but ultimately represented whoever hired him. Rock Island Bridge Company , a landmark case involving a canal boat that sank after hitting a bridge. The idea was never commercialized, but it made Lincoln the only president to hold a patent. Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court in cases; he was sole counsel in 51 cases, of which 31 were decided in his favor. Lincoln argued in an criminal trial, defending William "Duff" Armstrong , who was on trial for the murder of James Preston Metzker.

After an opposing witness testified to seeing the crime in the moonlight, Lincoln produced a Farmers' Almanac showing the moon was at a low angle, drastically reducing visibility. Armstrong was acquitted. Leading up to his presidential campaign, Lincoln elevated his profile in an murder case, with his defense of Simeon Quinn "Peachy" Harrison who was a third cousin; [g] Harrison was also the grandson of Lincoln's political opponent, Rev. Peter Cartwright. Lincoln argued that the testimony involved a dying declaration and was not subject to the hearsay rule. Instead of holding Lincoln in contempt of court as expected, the judge, a Democrat, reversed his ruling and admitted the testimony into evidence, resulting in Harrison's acquittal.

The debate over the status of slavery in the territories failed to alleviate tensions between the slave-holding South and the free North, with the failure of the Compromise of , a legislative package designed to address the issue. Douglas proposed popular sovereignty as a compromise; the measure would allow the electorate of each territory to decide the status of slavery. The legislation alarmed many Northerners, who sought to prevent the resulting spread of slavery, but Douglas's Kansas—Nebraska Act narrowly passed Congress in May Lincoln did not comment on the act until months later in his " Peoria Speech " in October Lincoln then declared his opposition to slavery which he repeated en route to the presidency.

I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world Nationally, the Whigs were irreparably split by the Kansas—Nebraska Act and other efforts to compromise on the slavery issue. Reflecting on the demise of his party, Lincoln wrote in , "I think I am a Whig, but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an abolitionist I do no more than oppose the extension of slavery. In Lincoln was elected to the Illinois legislature but declined to take his seat. The year's elections showed the strong opposition to the Kansas—Nebraska Act, and in the aftermath, Lincoln sought election to the United States Senate.

Lincoln instructed his backers to vote for Lyman Trumbull. Trumbull was an antislavery Democrat, and had received few votes in the earlier ballots; his supporters, also antislavery Democrats, had vowed not to support any Whig. Lincoln's decision to withdraw enabled his Whig supporters and Trumbull's antislavery Democrats to combine and defeat the mainstream Democratic candidate, Joel Aldrich Matteson. Violent political confrontations in Kansas continued, and opposition to the Kansas—Nebraska Act remained strong throughout the North. As the elections approached, Lincoln joined the Republicans and attended the Bloomington Convention , which formally established the Illinois Republican Party. The convention platform endorsed Congress's right to regulate slavery in the territories and backed the admission of Kansas as a free state.

Lincoln gave the final speech of the convention supporting the party platform and called for the preservation of the Union. Dred Scott was a slave whose master took him from a slave state to a free territory under the Missouri Compromise. After Scott was returned to the slave state he petitioned a federal court for his freedom. His petition was denied in Dred Scott v. Sandford Taney in the decision wrote that blacks were not citizens and derived no rights from the Constitution.

While many Democrats hoped that Dred Scott would end the dispute over slavery in the territories, the decision sparked further outrage in the North. In Douglas was up for re-election in the U. Senate, and Lincoln hoped to defeat him. Many in the party felt that a former Whig should be nominated in , and Lincoln's campaigning and support of Trumbull had earned him a favor. For the first time, Illinois Republicans held a convention to agree upon a Senate candidate, and Lincoln won the nomination with little opposition. Lincoln accepted the nomination with great enthusiasm and zeal. After his nomination he delivered his House Divided Speech , with the biblical reference Mark 3 , "A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. The Senate campaign featured seven debates between Lincoln and Douglas. These were the most famous political debates in American history; they had an atmosphere akin to a prizefight and drew crowds in the thousands. Douglas emphasized his Freeport Doctrine , that local settlers were free to choose whether to allow slavery and accused Lincoln of having joined the abolitionists.

Douglas's argument was more legal, claiming that Lincoln was defying the authority of the U. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision. Though the Republican legislative candidates won more popular votes, the Democrats won more seats, and the legislature re-elected Douglas. Lincoln's articulation of the issues gave him a national political presence. Seward , Salmon P. Chase , Edward Bates , and Simon Cameron. While Lincoln was popular in the Midwest, he lacked support in the Northeast and was unsure whether to seek office. Traveling untiringly Lincoln made about fifty speeches.

By their quality and simplicity, he quickly became the champion of the Republican party. However, unlike his overwhelming support in the Midwestern United States his support in the east was not as great, where he sometimes encountered a lack of appreciation and in some quarters was met with much indifference. Horace Greeley , editor of the New York Tribune, at that time wrote up an unflattering account of Lincoln's compromising position on slavery and his reluctance to challenge the court's Dred-Scott ruling, which was promptly used against him by his political rivals. On February 27, , powerful New York Republicans invited Lincoln to give a speech at Cooper Union , in which he argued that the Founding Fathers of the United States had little use for popular sovereignty and had repeatedly sought to restrict slavery.

He insisted that morality required opposition to slavery, and rejected any "groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong". Journalist Noah Brooks reported, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience. Historian David Herbert Donald described the speech as a "superb political move for an unannounced candidate, to appear in one rival's Seward own state at an event sponsored by the second rival's Chase loyalists, while not mentioning either by name during its delivery". At times he was presented as the plain-talking "Rail Splitter" and at other times he was "Honest Abe", unpolished but trustworthy.

On May 18, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln won the nomination on the third ballot, beating candidates such as Seward and Chase. A former Democrat, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, was nominated for vice president to balance the ticket. Lincoln's success depended on his campaign team, his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for internal improvements and the tariff.

As the Slave Power tightened its grip on the national government, most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party. Throughout the s, Lincoln had doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters rejected claims that his election would incite secession. Breckinridge as their candidate. Lincoln and Douglas competed for votes in the North, while Bell and Breckinridge primarily found support in the South. Prior to the Republican convention, the Lincoln campaign began cultivating a nationwide youth organization, the Wide Awakes , which it used to generate popular support throughout the country to spearhead voter registration drives, thinking that new voters and young voters tended to embrace new parties.

As Douglas and the other candidates campaigned, Lincoln gave no speeches, relying on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. The party did the leg work that produced majorities across the North and produced an abundance of campaign posters, leaflets, and newspaper editorials. Republican speakers focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty. The goal was to demonstrate the power of "free labor", which allowed a common farm boy to work his way to the top by his own efforts.

In the runup to the election, he took an office in the Illinois state capitol to deal with the influx of attention. He also hired John George Nicolay as his personal secretary, who would remain in that role during the presidency. On November 6, , Lincoln was elected the 16th president. He was the first Republican president and his victory was entirely due to his support in the North and West. No ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 Southern slave states, and he won only two of counties in all the Southern states, an omen of the impending Civil War. The South was outraged by Lincoln's election, and in response secessionists implemented plans to leave the Union before he took office in March Attempts at compromise followed but Lincoln and the Republicans rejected the proposed Crittenden Compromise as contrary to the Party's platform of free-soil in the territories.

Lincoln tacitly supported the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress and was awaiting ratification by the states when Lincoln took office. That doomed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed. En route to his inauguration, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North. On February 23, , he arrived in disguise in Washington, D. Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered.

There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Lincoln cited his plans for banning the expansion of slavery as the key source of conflict between North and South, stating "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended.

This is the only substantial dispute. We must not be enemies The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. By March , no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and the Republican leadership agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated.

Major Robert Anderson , commander of the Union's Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, sent a request for provisions to Washington, and Lincoln's order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war. Historian Allan Nevins argued that the newly inaugurated Lincoln made three miscalculations: underestimating the gravity of the crisis, exaggerating the strength of Unionist sentiment in the South, and overlooking Southern Unionist opposition to an invasion.

William Tecumseh Sherman talked to Lincoln during inauguration week and was "sadly disappointed" at his failure to realize that "the country was sleeping on a volcano" and that the South was preparing for war. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood. But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot; they did just that. On April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send a total of 75, volunteer troops to recapture forts, protect Washington, and "preserve the Union", which, in his view, remained intact despite the seceding states.

This call forced states to choose sides. Virginia seceded and was rewarded with the designation of Richmond as the Confederate capital, despite its exposure to Union lines. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas followed over the following two months. Secession sentiment was strong in Missouri and Maryland, but did not prevail; Kentucky remained neutral. As States sent Union regiments south, on April 19, Baltimore mobs in control of the rail links attacked Union troops who were changing trains. Local leaders' groups later burned critical rail bridges to the capital and the Army responded by arresting local Maryland officials. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus where needed for the security of troops trying to reach Washington.

Taney to issue a writ of habeas corpus. In June Taney, ruling only for the lower circuit court in ex parte Merryman , issued the writ which he felt could only be suspended by Congress. Lincoln persisted with the policy of suspension in select areas. Lincoln took executive control of the war and shaped the Union military strategy. He responded to the unprecedented political and military crisis as commander-in-chief by exercising unprecedented authority. He expanded his war powers, imposed a blockade on Confederate ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, suspended habeas corpus , and arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers.

Lincoln gained the support of Congress and the northern public for these actions. Lincoln also had to reinforce Union sympathies in the border slave states and keep the war from becoming an international conflict. It was clear from the outset that bipartisan support was essential to success, and that any compromise alienated factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions. Copperheads criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on slavery. The Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. The law had little practical effect, but it signaled political support for abolishing slavery.

In August , General John C. Lincoln canceled the illegal proclamation as politically motivated and lacking military necessity. Internationally, Lincoln wanted to forestall foreign military aid to the Confederacy. Navy illegally intercepted a British mail ship, the Trent , on the high seas and seized two Confederate envoys; Britain protested vehemently while the U. Lincoln ended the crisis by releasing the two diplomats. Biographer James G. Randall dissected Lincoln's successful techniques: []. Lincoln painstakingly monitored the telegraph reports coming into the War Department. He tracked all phases of the effort, consulting with governors, and selecting generals based on their success, their state, and their party.

He worked more often and more closely with Lincoln than any other senior official. Lincoln's war strategy embraced two priorities: ensuring that Washington was well-defended and conducting an aggressive war effort for a prompt, decisive victory. Occasionally Mary prevailed on him to take a carriage ride, concerned that he was working too hard. Lincoln began to appreciate the critical need to control strategic points, such as the Mississippi River.

McClellan general-in-chief. McClellan's slow progress frustrated Lincoln, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington. McClellan, in turn, blamed the failure of the campaign on Lincoln's reservation of troops for the capitol. In Lincoln removed McClellan for the general's continued inaction. Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln restored him to command of all forces around Washington.

McClellan then resisted the president's demand that he pursue Lee's withdrawing army, while General Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee. The appointments were both politically neutral and adroit on Lincoln's part. Burnside, against presidential advice, launched an offensive across the Rappahannock River and was defeated by Lee at Fredericksburg in December. Desertions during came in the thousands and only increased after Fredericksburg, so Lincoln replaced Burnside with Joseph Hooker. In the midterm elections the Republicans suffered severe losses due to rising inflation, high taxes, rumors of corruption, suspension of habeas corpus , military draft law , and fears that freed slaves would come North and undermine the labor market.

The Emancipation Proclamation gained votes for Republicans in rural New England and the upper Midwest, but cost votes in the Irish and German strongholds and in the lower Midwest, where many Southerners had lived for generations. In the spring of Lincoln was sufficiently optimistic about upcoming military campaigns to think the end of the war could be near; the plans included attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston. At the same time, Grant captured Vicksburg and gained control of the Mississippi River, splitting the far western rebel states.

The Federal government's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before delegated the issue to the individual states. Lincoln argued that slavery would be rendered obsolete if its expansion into new territories were prevented. He sought to persuade the states to agree to compensation for emancipating their slaves in return for their acceptance of abolition. In June , Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory, which Lincoln signed. In July, the Confiscation Act of was enacted, providing court procedures to free the slaves of those convicted of aiding the rebellion; Lincoln approved the bill despite his belief that it was unconstitutional.

He felt such action could be taken only within the war powers of the commander-in-chief, which he planned to exercise. Lincoln at this time reviewed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet. Privately, Lincoln concluded that the Confederacy's slave base had to be eliminated. Copperheads argued that emancipation was a stumbling block to peace and reunification; Republican editor Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune agreed.

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, , and effective January 1, , affirmed the freedom of slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas under such control.

With the abolition of slavery in the rebel states now a military objective, Union armies advancing south liberated three million slaves. Enlisting former slaves became official policy. By the spring of , Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of 50, armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once". The Proclamation included Lincoln's earlier plans for colonies for newly freed slaves, though that undertaking ultimately failed.

Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19, He defined the war as dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality for all. He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end, and the future of democracy would be assured, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth". Defying his prediction that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here", the Address became the most quoted speech in American history.

Grant's victories at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign impressed Lincoln. Responding to criticism of Grant after Shiloh, Lincoln had said, "I can't spare this man. He fights. Meade's failure to capture Lee's army after Gettysburg and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac persuaded Lincoln to promote Grant to supreme commander. Grant then assumed command of Meade's army. Lincoln was concerned that Grant might be considering a presidential candidacy in He arranged for an intermediary to inquire into Grant's political intentions, and once assured that he had none, Lincoln promoted Grant to the newly revived rank of Lieutenant General, a rank which had been unoccupied since George Washington.

His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 2, Grant in waged the bloody Overland Campaign , which exacted heavy losses on both sides. He emphasized defeat of the Confederate armies over destruction which was considerable for its own sake. As Grant continued to weaken Lee's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. Lincoln refused to negotiate with the Confederacy as a coequal; his objective to end the fighting was not realized.

The Confederate government evacuated Richmond and Lincoln visited the conquered capital. On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox , officially ending the war. Lincoln ran for reelection in , while uniting the main Republican factions, along with War Democrats Edwin M. Stanton and Andrew Johnson. Lincoln used conversation and his patronage powers—greatly expanded from peacetime—to build support and fend off the Radicals' efforts to replace him. To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party. Grant's bloody stalemates damaged Lincoln's re-election prospects, and many Republicans feared defeat.

Lincoln confidentially pledged in writing that if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House; [] Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked them to sign the sealed envelope. The pledge read as follows:. This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.

The Democratic platform followed the "Peace wing" of the party and called the war a "failure"; but their candidate, McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform. Meanwhile, Lincoln emboldened Grant with more troops and Republican party support. The National Union Party was united by Lincoln's support for emancipation. State Republican parties stressed the perfidy of the Copperheads. On March 4, , Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. In it, he deemed the war casualties to be God's will. Historian Mark Noll places the speech "among the small handful of semi-sacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world;" it is inscribed in the Lincoln Memorial.

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3, years ago, so still it must be said, "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether". With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Reconstruction preceded the war's end, as Lincoln and his associates considered the reintegration of the nation, and the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves. When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates were to be treated, Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy. His main goal was to keep the union together, so he proceeded by focusing not on whom to blame, but on how to rebuild the nation as one. Thaddeus Stevens , Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade , who otherwise remained Lincoln's allies.

Determined to reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, , offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office and had not mistreated Union prisoners, if they were willing to sign an oath of allegiance. As Southern states fell, they needed leaders while their administrations were restored. Banks to promote a plan that would reestablish statehood when 10 percent of the voters agreed, and only if the reconstructed states abolished slavery. Democratic opponents accused Lincoln of using the military to ensure his and the Republicans' political aspirations. The Radicals denounced his policy as too lenient, and passed their own plan, the Wade—Davis Bill , which Lincoln vetoed.

The Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat elected representatives from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Lincoln's appointments were designed to harness both moderates and Radicals. Chase, who Lincoln believed would uphold his emancipation and paper money policies. After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the nation with a constitutional amendment. He declared that such an amendment would "clinch the whole matter" and by December an amendment was brought to Congress.

Passage became part of Lincoln's reelection platform, and after his successful reelection, the second attempt in the House passed on January 31, Lincoln believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen. He signed Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate needs of former slaves. The law opened land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen. Lincoln announced a Reconstruction plan that involved short-term military control, pending readmission under the control of southern Unionists.

Historians agree that it is impossible to predict exactly how Reconstruction would have proceeded had Lincoln lived. Biographers James G. Randall and Richard Current , according to David Lincove, argue that: []. It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson's mistakes.

Eric Foner argues that: []. Unlike Sumner and other Radicals, Lincoln did not see Reconstruction as an opportunity for a sweeping political and social revolution beyond emancipation. He had long made clear his opposition to the confiscation and redistribution of land. He believed, as most Republicans did in April , that the voting requirements should be determined by the states. He assumed that political control in the South would pass to white Unionists, reluctant secessionists, and forward-looking former Confederates. But time and again during the war, Lincoln, after initial opposition, had come to embrace positions first advanced by abolitionists and Radical Republicans.

Lincoln undoubtedly would have listened carefully to the outcry for further protection for the former slaves It is entirely plausible to imagine Lincoln and Congress agreeing on a Reconstruction policy that encompassed federal protection for basic civil rights plus limited black suffrage, along the lines Lincoln proposed just before his death. Lincoln's experience with Indians followed the death of his grandfather Abraham at their hands, in the presence of his father and uncles. Lincoln claimed Indians were antagonistic toward his father, Thomas Lincoln, and his young family. Although Lincoln was a veteran of the Black Hawk War, which was fought in Wisconsin and Illinois in , he saw no significant action. On August 17, , the Dakota uprising in Minnesota, supported by the Yankton Indians , killed hundreds of white settlers, forced 30, from their homes, and deeply alarmed the Lincoln administration.

He ordered Indian farms and food supplies be destroyed, and Indian warriors be killed. Henry H. Sibley led militiamen and regular troops to defeat the Dakota at Wood Lake. Lincoln personally reviewed each of execution warrants for Santee Dakota convicted of killing innocent farmers; he commuted the sentences of all but 39 one was later reprieved. He also faced significant public pressure, including threats of mob justice should any of the Dakota be spared. Lincoln responded, "I could not afford to hang men for votes. In the selection and use of his cabinet, Lincoln employed the strengths of his opponents in a manner that emboldened his presidency.

Lincoln commented on his thought process, "We need the strongest men of the party in the Cabinet. We needed to hold our own people together. I had looked the party over and concluded that these were the very strongest men. Then I had no right to deprive the country of their services. Lincoln adhered to the Whig theory of a presidency focused on executing laws while deferring to Congress' responsibility for legislating. Lincoln vetoed only four bills, including the Wade-Davis Bill with its harsh Reconstruction program. The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act provided government grants for agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of and granted federal support for the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad , which was completed in There were two measures passed to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs a policy with long precedent , and a Federal income tax.

In , Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariffs , following the first enacted by Buchanan. He also signed the Revenue Act of , creating the first U. Lincoln presided over the expansion of the federal government's economic influence in other areas. The National Banking Act created the system of national banks. The US issued paper currency for the first time, known as greenbacks —printed in green on the reverse side. In response to rumors of a renewed draft, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a false draft proclamation that created an opportunity for the editors and others to corner the gold market.

Lincoln attacked the media for such behavior, and ordered a military seizure of the two papers which lasted for two days. Lincoln is largely responsible for the Thanksgiving holiday. It had been sporadically proclaimed by the federal government on irregular dates. The prior proclamation had been during James Madison 's presidency 50 years earlier. In , Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November of that year to be a day of Thanksgiving. In June , Lincoln approved the Yosemite Grant enacted by Congress, which provided unprecedented federal protection for the area now known as Yosemite National Park.

Lincoln's philosophy on court nominations was that "we cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known. Noah Haynes Swayne was an anti-slavery lawyer who was committed to the Union. Samuel Freeman Miller supported Lincoln in the election and was an avowed abolitionist. David Davis was Lincoln's campaign manager in and had served as a judge in the Illinois court circuit where Lincoln practiced. Democrat Stephen Johnson Field , a previous California Supreme Court justice, provided geographic and political balance. Chase, became Chief Justice. Lincoln believed Chase was an able jurist, would support Reconstruction legislation, and that his appointment united the Republican Party.

Lincoln appointed 27 judges to the United States district courts but no judges to the United States circuit courts during his time in office. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, Nevada , which became the third state in the far-west of the continent, was admitted as a free state on October 31, John Wilkes Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service.

Lincoln and his wife attended the play Our American Cousin on the evening of April 14, just five days after the Union victory at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse. At the last minute, Grant decided to go to New Jersey to visit his children instead of attending the play. At in the evening, Booth entered the back of Lincoln's theater box, crept up from behind, and fired at the back of Lincoln's head, mortally wounding him. Lincoln's guest Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped. After remaining in a coma for eight hours, Lincoln died at in the morning on April Two weeks later, Booth, refusing to surrender, was tracked to a farm in Virginia, and was mortally shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett and died on April Secretary of War Stanton had issued orders that Booth be taken alive, so Corbett was initially arrested for court martial.

After a brief interview, Stanton declared him a patriot and dismissed the charge. The caskets containing Lincoln's body and the body of his son Willie traveled for three weeks on the Lincoln Special funeral train. Many others gathered along the tracks as the train passed with bands, bonfires, and hymn singing [] or in silent grief. As a young man, Lincoln was a religious skeptic. In the s, Lincoln subscribed to the Doctrine of Necessity , a belief that the human mind was controlled by a higher power. In the s, Lincoln asserted his belief in "providence" in a general way, and rarely used the language or imagery of the evangelicals; he regarded the republicanism of the Founding Fathers with an almost religious reverence.

Ab Lincoln was a lyrical genius. Thank you so much for your website—you have so many wonderful resources! You have helped me with several ideas for a new speech and debate class that I am teaching to 8th graders next year! Andrew, I saw your FB link to this post and am so happy to have followed the link. As always, your points are right on the money, and provide lots of useful suggestions that all of us can incorporate.

One thought. I recite the GA from memory about twice a month, probably for the last 25 years. I do the same with a number of poems also. So I have referred to my website above. I used to be a college professor. Hope to hear from you. Best, Dave Anderson. The power and the memorability of this speech lies in the phrases that used rhetorical devices. Since Lincoln did this so well, his speech and his ideas lived long past his own death. I also appreciated the first piece of advice that tells readers to anchor their arguments. Building credibility and gaining the trust of audience members is incredibly important whilst giving a speech, especially if your speech is asking your audience to perform a task. If they do not relate to or trust you, your request will remain untouched.

This was an excellent analysis of Abraham Lincolns speech, and gave several useful tips that every public speaker and even presenter can use is his or her own speeches to make sure that their presentation is as effective as it possibly can be. Presentations can be powerful if they are presented in the correct way. From these 5 lessons, the ones that stood out to me were anchoring your arguments towards your audiences beliefs, the repetition of strong words and outlining the speech from past to future. I found it incredibly interesting that it is useful to say your most important words multiple times throughout your speech. This was interesting to me because in most of my communication and literature classes, I was told not to repeat myself and only speak, or write, new ideas or concepts that will build your main points.

I found this article extremely helpful. It introduced me to ideas I ever pondered when experimenting with speeches such as repetitive use of your most important words. It also showed how rhetorical devices can enhance your speech and make it very memorable to the audience. Lastly, I learned that organizing your speech to go from past, present, then future helps grab your audiences attention and get your idea across very clearly. I also believe that having a simple outline is and a clear call to action makes it easier to write a speech and easier for the audience to understand your point and decide whether they agree with you.

Concept Week 12 Team Awesome — Nov 27th, Subscribe - It's Free! Read our permissions policy , privacy policy , or disclosure policy. Contact us. Free Email Newsletter. Six Minutes Speaking and Presentation Skills. Your guide to be a confident and effective speaker. Browse Articles. Article Category: Speech Critiques. Speech Critique — Gettysburg Address — Abraham Lincoln I encourage you to: Watch the video with a recitation by Jeff Daniels; Read the analysis in this speech critique, as well as the speech transcript below; and Share your thoughts on this speech in the comment section.

Want to learn more? Andrew Dlugan is the editor and founder of Six Minutes. He teaches courses, leads seminars, coaches speakers, and strives to avoid Suicide by PowerPoint. He is an award-winning public speaker and speech evaluator. Andrew is a father and husband who resides in British Columbia, Canada.

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