Lincoln’s First and Second Inaugural Addresses

Today is the anniversary of Abe Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. In that speech President Lincoln delivered the greatest line from any inaugural address when he simply said, “With malice toward none.” Everyone remembers that one line, but Lincoln’s entire ending deserves to be honored.

“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.”

Today is also the anniversary of Abe Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. Again, Lincoln’s ending deserves attention.

“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

And here we are, a century and a half from those words, still together.