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Primary Documents in American History

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Lincoln taking the oath at his second inauguration, March 4, 1865.
Lincoln taking the oath at his second inauguration, March 4, 1865.
Harper's weekly, 1865.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address was delivered on March 4, 1865, during the final days of the Civil War and only a month before he was assassinated. In his second inaugural address, Lincoln discussed the war and slavery, and ends with these words of reconciliation:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to 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 orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Digital Collections

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

Includes a copy of a printed invitation from Lincoln's second inauguration ball. Search Lincoln's papers to locate more documents related to his second inauguration.

"I Do Solemnly Swear . . .": Presidential Inaugurations

Contains a special presentation on Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration, which includes manuscripts, prints and photographs. In addition, Marvin Kranz, historical specialist, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, provides historical insights into Lincoln's second inauguration.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

A transcript of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address is also available in the Congressional Globe and the Senate Journal from March 4, 1865.

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

Contains a broadside of another copy of Lincoln's second inaugural address. This collection also contains a copy of his second inaugural address as it appears on the north wall of the Lincoln memorial.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

The Chronicling America site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836-1922. Search this collection to find newspaper articles about the 14th Amendment.

A selection of articles on the Lincoln's second inaugural address includes:


American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Lincoln's Second Inauguration

An online exhibit on Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration containing a memo Lincoln wrote to his cabinet members and a poem printed for his inaugural parade.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln Association

Our Documents, President Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, National Archives and Records Administration

Selected Bibliography

Miller, William Lee. Lincoln's Second Inaugural: A Study in Political Ethics. Bloomington: Poynter Center, Indiana University, 1980. [Catalog Record]

Tackach, James. Lincoln's Moral Vision: The Second Inaugural Address. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002. [Catalog Record]

White, Ronald C. Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. [Catalog Record]

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  January 21, 2015
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