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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

The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 20,000 documents.

Search Lincoln's papers to locate more documents related to his second inauguration.

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

This collection includes a special presentation on Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration, which presents 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

This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.

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

The Printed Ephemera collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history.

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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  March 26, 2015
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