Religion Used as a Tool in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
One month before the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln gives his second inaugural address. Lincoln's speech would beseen as far from ordinary in the present day due not only to the brevity, but because of the emphasis of religion. This being an extremely critical moment for the entirety of the nation, Lincolnmust find a way to address the population without breeding more animosity from those who oppose him. To do this, I will argue that Lincoln uses religious discourse to shift criticism away from himself(and the North) and provide purpose for what he believes the country must move towards. To develop up my argument, I will analyze the text's religious discourse systematically while referring to othersections when necessary. Before I begin with the religious aspects of the speech, I would like to briefly investigate the significance of Lincoln's first two paragraphs which seemingly have noreligious influence.
In the first two paragraphs there are no direct quotes from the Bible, but the insurgent agents within the Union can be interpreted in a biblical way. When referring to the story ofthe Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are thrown out because of the snake who knowingly tricked them into consuming from the Tree of Knowledge. With this context, the insurgent agents become the snakeswho are attempting to destroy that which they can not change, the ideals that the North perceive as right. As Lincoln recites this information and further details of the conflict, he does not mentionhimself. These passive techniques begin the shift of criticism from himself, to those insurgents and the war. Now we must explore the greater topic of religious discourse within this text.
Tocreate a general sense of identification, Lincoln references the fact that both sides of the war read the same bible. This section becomes increasingly more important because previous to it, Lincoln...
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