Xavier Judy Agnello 2nd Period AP English III 3/19/13

Lincoln Analytical Essay

If there is one typical characteristic of speeches made by President Lincoln, it is certainly their shortness. Regardless of how long or short these speeches may be Lincolns Point is often conveyed with power. Several examples can be found in his second inaugural address where he uses periodic sentences and subordination, generalized subjects, Biblical allusion and a tone shift to de-emphasize the present conflict and instead focus on hope of future reunification and freedom for all.

Lincoln begins his speech, discounting the first two sentences, with several sentences of consistent, but non-standard structure: each is periodic, ending with either a verb or indirect object, and prefixed with one or more subordinate clauses. Generally, these clauses address the present or immediate past, and the final clause is something of a dismissal. Thanks to the many speakings of others, “little new would be presented.” The war is known and trusted to be “reasonably satisfactory” to all. Therfore, these events and the predictions of their future are set forth as not the subject at hand.

From here, Lincoln begins a consideration of the events leading up to the war. Notably, in this section nearly all subjects are replaced with general phrases lacking antecedents. In doing this, Lincoln hopes to establish the similarity of the sides, that they are still truly one people. He avoids placing blame, saying “All dreaded [war], all sought to avert it.” Even when he recounts

however. God has seen fit to cleanse the land by fire and “to both North and South gives this terrible war. if not the people. Lincoln shifts the question of the war at large to the words and almost the very perspective of God. firmly establishing the problem of the past.” In this shift of subject. Lincoln introduces shared religion as a point linking the sides. “fondly we hope and fervently we pray” to end this terrible scourge. Nevertheless. he does call against the values of the south. the Americans are once again grouped. “one of them would make war.” the antecedent of “one.” put the war behind them and care for one another once again. In this denial of judgment. It is the therefore.” Their differences paling in the eyes of the Almighty. imperative that they “strive on to finish the work we are in. are combined even as they battle. Only when addressing slavery does he specifically indict the south. Lincoln continues.” assumed to be known. In the continuing discussion. they are now all victims of their countrymen's transgressions and. in this. Through this shared conflict “one” and “all” have again become “we.Xavier Judy Agnello 2nd Period AP English III 3/19/13 the beginnings of the war. Lincoln makes clear the need for their reunification because of their inherent sameness. Returning again to ambiguity and likeness. is deliberately not stated. Subtly. having now established this point of anti-slavery sentiment. . by questioning how a man could expect a just God to help them profit by the toil of others: he then quickly hides this statement behind a denial of judgment. there is a significant tonal shift.

in God's eyes their conflict is simply a means to scourge a mistake of man. Lincoln uses the authority of God to drive home the point of the whole speech: all American states. Truly. the issue becomes simply that of human unification. it pales in significance to the values at hand. Further while they are recognizing this equality. trust in the same God. thus those people should see their equality and be united in it.Xavier Judy Agnello 2nd Period AP English III 3/19/13 All told. they should recognize the equality of the slaves over which the war arose. and in this they have unity. . whether Confederate or United. America was founded on ideas that all men are created equal. Further.