The Civil War

Abraham Lincoln delivered several long speeches during his political career. He is best known, however, for these two relatively short speeches. Both are engraved on opposite ends of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Previous generations, including myself, were required at one point in their public education to memorize the Gettysburg Address and deliver it word for word in front of the class. Both speeches, written during the Civil War, reflect Lincoln’s view that the United States was the best form of government and that its survival was in the interest of all Americans as well as all people throughout the world. In both speeches he makes clear what is at stake in the Civil War and offers a glimpse at the possibilities for the future nation. Your response to the questions should be at least 300 words in total. Access the primary source excerpt from Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural from the Primary Source folder under Content to help you answer these questions. You may also consult Chapter 15 in the textbook to help you answer the following questions:


1. What, in your opinion, does Lincoln mean by “new birth of freedom” in the Gettysburg Address?


2. How does Lincoln view God’s role in the 2nd Inaugural? What is the responsibility of the American people toward God?


3. What is Lincoln’s vision for the United States and does that vision alter or impact our present understanding of the United States?

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