Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address Rhetorical Devices

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The Civil War was one of the most impactful events in United States history; Abraham Lincoln was the man who helped lead our country through that strenuous time. In his Second Inaugural Address Lincoln uses a variety of strong and effective rhetorical strategies to inspire his fellow Americans to accept the imminent closing of the Civil War with hopeful attitude and begin to heal a broken nation. Many people had made predictions for the end of the Civil War. However, President Lincoln does not definitively give either side the title of victor: “With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.” Using direct and declarative sentences, Lincoln is able to make his audience question their motives for making so many predictions. Rather than focus on who is in the right, Lincoln urges for a focus on the possibilities for a brighter future. The phrase “high hope for the future”, reassures the audience that America will recover from this conflict- no matter who wins or loses Lincoln continues to instill a hopeful attitude in his audience by using several biblical allusions throughout his speech. No matter the actions of the enemy Lincoln reminds America “let us judge not, that we …show more content…

He knows how many Americans are wishing for a speedy reconciliation: “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.” Through the use of internal rhyme, this simple statement takes on the essence of a child’s prayer- a prayer of desperate desire for peace. Also, by using the word “we” Lincoln connects with his audience through the appeal of pathos. Here is the mighty President of the United States begging for peace alongside everyone else. The audience is now more willing to acknowledge his own pleas for attitudes of hope and dignity at the end of the Civil

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