Allusions In Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

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Four years prior to his second Inaugural Address, President Lincoln had given a speech about war, “an impending civil war.” Now, after four years of such conflict, the President is issuing a speech of reconciliation, trying to convince his people to come back together with their Southern brethren, and try and heal the grievously wounded nation. A gifted rhetorician, the President used three primary literary tool s to make his point: parallel structure to illustrate similarities between Northerner and Southerner, allusions to the Bible to highlight the Christian values so important to both, and personification to paint the war as an evil enemy, and the nation as a wounded friend. In the second paragraph, Lincoln concludes with the parallel statements “one… would make war rather than let the nation survive… the other would accept war rather than let it parish, and the war came.” While this obviously paints the South as the aggressors, it is far from a condemnation, instead it has the North sharing responsibility for the conflict, through their willingness to “accept war.” Later, in the third paragraph, the President states “neither party expected …show more content…

He says in the third paragraph “let us judge not, that we be not judged.” This is a direct allusion to Jesus and his statement “Judge not lest we be judged.” It reflects the Christian values of forgiveness, something North and South share, and that should certainly apply for both in their current situation Lincoln also quotes the Bible twice in the third paragraph, in the sections “woe…cometh” and “the judgements…righteous altogether.” Both these allusions point how the values shared by North and south apply to the current situation. With frequent use of He and Him, Lincoln shows how the war may fall into God’s plan; this encourages both sides to not lose faith, and to bear in mind God’s teachings should still be

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