President Abraham Lincoln began his second term in office in March 1865. As he again took office, Lincoln knew the American Civil War was nearing an end. He dedicated his Second Inaugural Address to laying out how he hoped the divided nation would be reunited.
Have students read Handout A: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and then answer the following questions.
Comprehension and Analysis Question:
- How did Lincoln contrast his first Inaugural Address with his Second Inaugural Address?
- What issue does Lincoln attribute to causing the Civil War? Does he blame either side for starting the war?
- Lincoln makes several religious references in his speech. He states, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God;” How does Lincoln use religion in his speech? How does he use religion to support his message of unity?
- Lincoln concludes his speech by stating, “With malice toward none; with charity for all;” Restate this sentence in your own words. What was Lincoln calling on the nation to do?
- Do you think it was possible for the Union to both reconcile with the South and exercise justice simultaneously? Why or why not?
“With Charity for All:” Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural and Reconciliation Answer Key
Answer key for Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address eLesson.
With Charity for All: Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and Respect
In this lesson, students will review Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, delivered as Union troops were within sight of ultimate victory in the Civil War. They will analyze how he demonstrated respect in his approach to his second term of office and plans for restoring the Union. They will achieve the following objectives.
Reading Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address | A Primary Source Close Read w/ BRI
Kirk and Tony analyze Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, paying close attention to how Lincoln speaks directly to a broken nation, and how the overall address compared in tone to his First Inaugural Address. How did Lincoln convey his plans for reconciling a war-torn nation?