« ZurückWeiter »
some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall be- 5 lieve what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe that doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
10 I have stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modifications of my oftexpressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
SPEECH AT GETTYSBURG
November 19, 1863
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil 5 war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so con
ceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place
for those who here gave their lives that that nation 10 might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we
should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or 15 detract. The world will little note, nor long remember,
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us 20 to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that
these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, 25 under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS
: March 4, 1865 Fellow-Countrymen-At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed very fitting and proper. Now, at 5 the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented.
The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
15 On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avoid it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without 20 war, insurgent agents were in the city, seeking to destroy it with war-seeking to dissolve the Union and divide the effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war 25 rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth
of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar
and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was 5 somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetu
ate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict
the territorial enlargement of it. 10 Neither party expected for the war the magnitude
or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease, even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked
for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental 15 and astounding.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat 20 of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not
judged. The prayer of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. Woe unto the world
because of offences, for it must needs be that offences 25 come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of these offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which having continued through His ap
pointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives 30 to both North and South this terrible war as the woe
due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern there any departure from those Divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this
Their , dare her.
mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with 5 the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so, still it must be said, that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, 10 let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.