Abraham Lincoln

9 September 2016

Improvement is like an angel that visits those in need. It knows no bounds in aiding people who begs its presence. In President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, he summons this angel of improvement. With the final drops of blood having been spilled in the Civil War, Americans looked down the road, questioning that which lay ahead. Through his use of personification, parallelism, and biblical allusion, Lincoln swiftly and justly answered. Showing the poise of a man worthy of the title “President,” Lincoln demonstrates courage and forthrightness in the face of adversity.

War can tear a country in two almost as fast as a bullet can hit a target. The Civil War did just that in the United States. Luckily, by the time Lincoln made his speech, the monster that was the American Civil War had “speedily passed away. ” Lincoln refers to this war as a “mighty scourge” in order to allow the people to sink their teeth into just how bad it was. Hundreds of thousands laid dead, millions injured, and half of America in ruins. Lincoln saw the anguish the nation faced and felt the people deserved to see it as well.

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Lincoln also talked of the need to “bind up the nation’s wounds. ” He had realized countries were almost humanlike; they were made up of many parts and all were necessary for proper function. In America, the citizens were these tissues and organs, and there was no better way for them to come to the aide of their country than with a strong sense of nationalism. In a blaze of glory, Abraham Lincoln, using strong personification, helped restore a nation that was once clasped tight in the hands of chaos and destruction.

The War Between the States, though appearing riled up by anger and fury, was actually extinguished through faith and fear. Lincoln’s use of parallelism in lines 61 and 62 helps to stomp down the remaining embers of the hostilities. “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray” conveys Lincoln’s notion that even in a time of war, America was still bound together. It took all Americans to start the war, and all Americans to end it as well. Such syntax was meant to heal the people of the US and remind them of the strong brotherly bond they all held.

Parallelism can also be seen from lines 70-76. Lincoln pleads that the people bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones, having “malice toward none” and “charity for all. ” His repetition of infinitive verbs is the ideal ending for his address, giving people the hope they need to push on for a better future. Littered throughout President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address are several biblical allusions and references. When discussing both blacks and whites, Lincoln states “Both read the same Bible, and both pray to the same God. Such powerful words were meant to breakdown the barrier between blacks and whites in order to catalyze the rebuilding of the country. Lincoln also reminds the countrymen that “The Almighty has his own purposes” and the war could easily have been strung out longer. By talking about faith and God, Lincoln forces Americans to feel protected, united, and to want to do more for their ailing country. His rhetorical appeal to ethos also grows, as Lincoln comes off not as a man riddled by war, but as a man held in place by religion. Through this, Lincoln allows his argument for uniting America to truly come full circle.

To finalize the analysis, Honest Abe sprinkles personification, parallelism, and biblical reference onto his inaugural address to open the eyes of the American people. The war was over, and there was no turning back. Rebuilding had to happen, and Lincoln made sure it would. Long gone were the days of families being torn and whole cities being burned. Whether black or white, North or South, Abraham Lincoln had to fix the people before he could fix the country. With an inaugural address that had something for everyone, Lincoln instilled the patriotism he himself felt into his fellow Americans.

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