Rhetorical Devices In President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

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When President Lincoln was first elected, he was put in a difficult situation. Multiple states were in the stages, or already began seceding from the Union. They used the claim of “state rights” and tariffs to disguise their true intentions; to expand and protect the institution of slavery. Shortly after Lincoln was first inaugurated, the Civil War broke up, bringing neighbors against neighbors, friends against friends and families against families. Near the end of one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the country, Lincoln was elected for a second time. In his second inaugural speech, Lincoln examines the consequences of the war, laying his vision for the future. Ultimately, Lincoln employs rhetorical devices in his speech to unify the divided country. …show more content…

In his inaugural speech, Lincoln makes clear the the country needs to unite and mend. In the second paragraph, Lincoln uses epanalepsis to emphasize unity, saying, “All dread it - all sought to avert it.” This line repeats the word all twice, therefore emphasizing that both the North and the South hated the notion of a civil war, and allows the people of both sides to see the similarities in their beliefs. Similarly, Lincoln uses and anaphora to showcase the similarities between both sides. In the fourth paragraph Lincoln states, “Neither party expected...Neither anticipated...should cease.” By repeating the word neither, Lincoln makes clear that both sides had a clear aversion to the war. This repetition also attempts to clear both sides of wrongdoing, emphasising that neither side expected the outcome to be so severe. However, Lincoln does not solely use rhetorical devices to compare the similarities of both sides, he also uses rhetorical devices to attempt to unify the country around one

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