Allusion In Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

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When Abraham Lincoln was sworn in for his second term as president in 1865, he didn’t bore his audience with a long and frivolous inaugural address. Instead, he used his speech to reunify the divided country. Our 16th president’s tone, use of repetition, allusion and syntax convinced both the north and south that they shared commonalities, because of their devotion to God and their common opinions on the prolonged Civil War.
The purpose of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address was not to rally the north to win the Civil War, or to prove to the people that he was a worthy president, but to consolidate our broken nation at the tail end of a continuous and bloody conflict. It was obvious that the north was going to win the war, and it was just a
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While elaborating on the north and south’s commonalities, he stated “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God”, which is likely to make both groups of citizens realize that they really aren’t so different after all. Additionally, Lincoln quoted “let us judge not, that we not be judged” which is a Bible verse that most practiced christians would recognize. Lincoln’s use of allusion caused citizens in both the north and south realize that their only differences were their sides in the war. Lincoln also mentions the irony of God in these times of hostility. Why would one man pray for victory, when it would mean the death of countless other God-fearing men, who were most likely praying for the same thing? Why, Lincoln mused, would God take a side? “The prayers of both could not be answered”, and so neither were answered and the American Civil War became a four year bloodbath of meaningless conflict.
Finally, Lincoln touched on the issue that was no doubt filling the minds of Confederate and Union citizens alike. He made them feel even more comfortable with each other by assuring them that everyone wanted the war to be over. It wasn’t just because the south was losing, or because the north was ready to stop fighting. It was because America just wasn’t meant to be a warring country. The United States were meant to be united, even through hard times, and Lincoln wanted
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